8. The buildings and constructions in Islam are

comparatively few considering (Islam's)

power and as compared to the dynasties

preceding (Islam).



The reason for this is the very same thing that we mentioned concerning the Berbers.93 The Arabs, too, are quite firmly rooted in the desert and quite unfamiliar with the crafts. Furthermore, before Islam, the Arabs had been strangers to the realms of which they then took possession. When they came to rule them, there was not time 94 enough for all the institutions of sedentary culture to develop fully. Moreover, the buildings of others which they found in existence, were sufficient for them.

Furthermore, at the beginning, (their) religion forbade them to do any excessive building or to waste too much money on building activities for no purpose. When the reeds which the Muslims had used before, in building al-Kufah, caught fire, and the Muslims asked 'Umar for permission to use stones, his advice was: "Do, but no one should build more than three houses.95 Do not vie with each other in building. Adhere to the Sunnah, and you will remain in power." He imposed this (condition) upon the delegation, and then he ordered the people not to build buildings higher than was proper. Asked what "proper" was, he replied: "What does not lead you to wastefulness and does not take you away from purposeful moderation."

The influence of the religion (Islam) and of scrupulous­ness in such matters then faded. Royal authority and luxury gained the upper hand. The Arabs subjected the Persian na­tion and took over their constructions and buildings. The tranquility and luxury they now enjoyed led them to (building activities). It was at that time that they erected buildings and (large) constructions. But that also was the period close to the destruction of the dynasty. There was only a little time left for extensive building activities and town and city planning. This had not been the case with other nations. The Persians had had a period of thousands of years. The same was the case with the Copts, the Nabataeans, and the Romans (Byzantines, Rum), as well as the first Arabs, 'Ad and Thamud, the Amalekites, and the Tubba's. They had a great deal of time, and the crafts became firmly established among them. Thus, their buildings and monuments were more numerous and left a more lasting imprint (than the buildings of the Muslim Arabs).

Upon close scrutiny, this will be found to be as I have stated.

God inherits the earth and whomever is upon it.