Symbol of Divine Light surveys the history of the mosque lamp, describing the numerous variants made in different historical periods and containing more than 200 stunning color and b/w illustrations. The deep significance of light and the lamp in Islamic culture and other traditions--Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, Hindu, and Buddhist--is also explored, with reference made to the writings of authors belonging to the "Traditionalist school," notably Frithjof Schuon, Ren Gu non, Titus Burckhardt, and Martin Lings. The book presents a detailed exploration of the famous Koranic Verse of Light and the symbolism of its constituent elements: light, the niche, the lamp, glass, oil, and the tree. Parallels are also drawn with other traditions, indicating a universal symbolism. Symbol of Divine Light concludes that the most important function of the mosque lamp was as a symbolic reminder of the Verse of Light, as demonstrated by examples that were virtually non-functional as lighting devices and also the extensive use of the mosque lamp as a decorative motif in Islamic architecture. The book aims to give the reader an opportunity to contemplate the meaning of the mosque lamp as a symbol of Divine Light.
Nicholas Stone is an architect, dedicated to using traditional forms and techniques. Early in his career he worked with the Egyptian architect, Abdel Wahed El-Wakil, on projects reviving traditional brickwork techniques--notably at Al-Qiblatain Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Thereafter he worked on domes for the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, involving Islamic craft work, and further dome projects in Malaysia. There, in partnership with his wife, Nazanin Sheikhi, he established a design company, undertaking the design of the atrium of the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya; the design and construction of the prayer niche (mihrab), pulpit (minbar), and honeycomb vaults (muqarnas) for Al-Bukhary Mosque in Alor Setar; tropical house and Islamic garden designs; as well as the design and fabrication of a perforated brass mosque lamp, which ultimately led to the publication of this book.