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  • Ahmed Amar

The Architect that Designed and Supervised the Expansion of Al Masjid Al Haram

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

A story of the architect who rejected fame and fortune over his remarkable work.


Have you ever wondered who designed and supervised the expansion of the holy mosques of Mecca and Medina?

It’s the bright artist and engineer; Dr. Mohamed Kamal Ismail. An Egyptian architect chosen by King Fahad Bin Abdelaziz to design and supervise the expansion Al Haram and Al Nabawi mosques.




An Overview of His Life


Born on the 15th of September 1908 in Al Dakahlia, Egypt. The youngest student to graduate Highschool in Egypt. He was lectured by English and Swiss mentors who taught him the arts of international architecture. Nevertheless, he was majorly influenced by the arts of Islamic architecture, and was meant to thrive in it. After his graduation he pursued his passion towards learning about Egyptian mosques. He continued his studies in France earning his third doctorate and the title of the youngest Egyptian to ever achieve it. He was awarded the Nile scarf and a rank directly from King Farouk. Moreover, the Saudi government awarded him the King Fahad’s prize for Design and architecture.


His Notable Work


Some of his notable work was designing and supervising Al Tahrir complex, The Federal Courthouse and Salah el-Din mosque.




Al Haram Mosque’s Cold Marble

The story starts with the Egyptian architect traveling to Greece to buy rare white marble that sustains its coolness throughout the Saudi Arabian heat for the floors of Al Haram mosque. He bought half the mountain’s reserve. The flooring of AL-haram mosque was completed and everything was set. As years passed, 15 years later King Fahad requests the same marble to be placed in the prophet’s mosque (Al Masjid el Nabawi). Fear and anxiety stroke Dr. Kamal’s heart as he knew the marble was very rare and almost impossible to find. As he travels back to Greece 15 years later he was shocked on knowing that the rest of the marble was sold right after his purchase. As his sole purpose was to please Allah he was well fortuned to know that the buyer was a Saudi Arabian company. Upon his arrival to Saudi Arabia he contacted the CEO of the company and briefed him of his mission. Lucky for everyone the rest of the marble was stored and unused for 15 years. The CEO of the company shared Kamal’s honor and rejected any form of payment for the marble. By God’s grace Masjid Al Nabawi was also floored with the same marble as Masjid Al Haram.

May god rest the soul of the memorable Mohamed Kamal Ismail. ­


References:

Arab Society for Architecture and Design website.

The Architecture of the Holy Mosque, Makkah Muhammad Kamal Ismail, Salmá Samar Damluji Hardback (21 May 1998)



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