God is beautiful and He loves beauty

Technical Glossary


In Arabic, it literally means 'a place where someone would feel comfortable'. In Mamluk architecture the term describes a small hotel. A group of duplexes or triplexes rented mostly for travelers or to anyone interested. It can also be defined as a type of collective building for the accommodation of the middle class. Noteworthy examples are those of Qaytbay built in 1474 A.D. in the Northern Cemetery close to his funerary complex and that of Kizlar in Siyufiyya street built in 1618 A.D. Some rab‘s were found above wikalas, khans or stores.  


An open stretch of space.  


A Persian word meaning colour and in a historical context it means blazon, insignia or emblem. It symbolizes the position of a dignitary and his functions. Different ranks used by the Mamluks included cupbearer (al-saqi), the one responsible for the royal arms (silahdar), the one responsible for the royal warehouse (jamdar), and the taster (jashinkir). The Bahri Mamluk Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun was the first to use written blazons and from his time onwards the inscribed rank became the sultanic blazon.  


Garden or paradise.  

Rawhayn fi jasad  

Literally 'two souls in one body'. Medieval architects used this expression to describe two windows joined by a column in between.  


Another term for mashrabiyyas. More specifically, it is used to describe mashrabiyyas when they overlook a street, forming some sort of balcony.  


A calligraphic script where a finer pen is used for the vowels. This is considered one of the six 'classical hands'. 


The term is derived from the Arabic root, rabata meaning to tie, to bind. It is a kind of caravanserai but with a specific function. By the tenth century A.D. it came to mean an Islamic castrum used as a base for holy war (jihad). Ribats were built throughout the Muslim world from Morocco to Central Asia. The word was also used to describe urban structures which served commercial purposes or in which Sufis congregated. Another role they played was supporting the postal services, especially throughout the Seljuk lands. Many ribats are still to be found in the Maghrib; Munastir, Susa, Tafertast and Tit. In the eastern Muslim lands we have the celebrated eleventh century Ribat-i Sharaf in Khurasan and Ribat-i Malik on the road between Bukhara and Samarqand. Khan, wikala, and caravanserai can also be used to denote a ribat, particularly in the commercial or lodging context. 


Derived from Persian, meaning stable.  


Calligraphic script usually used on administrative documents. It is also used sometimes for sura headings, dedications and colophons in Qur'ans. It is considered one of the six 'classical hands'. 


The meaning of this word differs according to the context in which it was used. In a mosque, it means an arcade carried on columns or pillars. In a house, it means a living unit with all its dependencies.