Simon O'MearaNov 5, 2021
The Ka'ba Orientations
Readings in Islam's Ancient House
Edinburgh University Press 2020
The Kaʿba is the famous cuboid structure at the center of the Great Mosque in Mecca. In his book The Kaʿba Orientations: Readings in Islam's Ancient House (Edinburgh University Press, 2020), Simon O'Meara (SOAS) looks at the way Muslims from the beginnings of Islam to the 18th century engaged with the existence of such a structure, as a location, as an architectural object, as a direction, as a focus of devotion and prayer. He studies both material and visual as well as literary engagements through which Muslims pilgrims and scholars interpreted their own place in the world in relation to a location held to be the world's axis, and the consequences from a religious and psychological perspective of the often fraught and violent history of the built structure itself, its uses, and the emotional connection that millions of Muslims continue to feel towards it to this day.
Miguel Monteiro is a PhD student in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University. Twitter @anphph