PROF. ABDULLAH AL KADI, is vice-president for development, studies and communication services at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (University of Dammam) and professor of urban and regional planning. He completed his doctorate in 1996 at Portland State University in Oregon. He is also an architect, urban planner and historian and has authored numerous books and articles focusing on early Islamic history and civilization with a particular focus on the Hijaz. Al Kadi has been praised internationally for his groundbreaking research on the various travel routes by the Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) and his Companions. His groundbreaking books “Makkah to Medina: A Photographic Journey of the Hijrah Route” and “Milestones of Arabia” are widely considered as some of the most significant studies coming from a Saudi scholar in a generation. He regularly tours the world to promote his work and share his research.

Centers of Community: Discovering and Preserving Mosque Heritage

Since the dawn of time, both community and heritage in the urban context have played important roles in shaping and reflecting how our cities are formed today. This is evidently shown in the earliest mosques which are located in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

From the past to the present, this session will take audiences on a journey of discovery through culture and space within the mosques built during the time of the Prophet (ﷺ), and how they relate and apply to their surrounding urban fabric. Through unique stories from the past of how these landmarks came to be, and the inspirations and impact they had both locally and globally. It will also delve into the use of modern-day methods of preservation and how they could translate to representation of culture and heritage. Finally, this research provides an understanding about how the initial concept of a mosque reflects the importance of a community as referred to in the Arabic word, jama’a, derived from a root word meaning “to gather,” or “gathering;” being a place that provides a mixed use space for knowledge, health and spirituality for its surrounding communities.

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