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Illuminated Hearts, Sacred architecture, and mirrors

Many masterpieces of Islamic architecture feature large pools that reflect an image of the building.
Some of the most well-known are that of the Taj Mahal in India, seen here.

Another beautiful example is the “Chehel Sotun” in Esfahan, Iran.   Chehel Sotun means “forty columns”, but half of the columns are actually the reflection in the water.
Aesthetically, of course, there is undeniable beauty in these buildings, and for Muslims beauty is always a reminder of God:  “Indeed God is beautiful, and loves beauty.”

And yet there is always a deeper meaning as well:  As above, so below.  What’s on earth reflects divine realities.   The human realm is a mirror for God.
The surface of the pool reflects the building when it is still.    And so it is with our hearts.   When we achieve peace and tranquility in our own hearts, then our hearts become mirrors for God.

All the qualities that God possesses in perfection (love, mercy, justice) can become reflected at a human level inside our hearts.
When our hearts are not peaceful, the image of the building is flickering, distorted.

This is the meaning of the Qur’anic statement:

“Indeed the remembrance of God brings peace and tranquility to the hearts.”

As beautiful as the Taj Mahal and Chehel Sotun are, that is how beautiful a peaceful heart in remembrance of God is.
May we strive to find stillness in our hearts.

Then the Taj Mahal and Chehel Sotun would pale in comparison to the beauty of an illuminated heart.

The images are from Wikipedia.

Tags: esfahan, islamic architecture, mirror, pool, sacred, sacred architecture, taj mahal, water, zekr


  1. A beautiful reminder that we are made in God’s image and that we were made to reflect his beauty.  Thank you!

  2. This also lends me to “reflect” on the fact that Muslims believe we are all creatures of God, created by the Uniquely One that the “image” of reflecting the Creator is not in a literal sense of form but rather that through seeing the tiny bits of mercy in the creation we know that their is a All Merciful Creator.  Human mercy is dependent on many aspects and always incurs delay and analysis inside the mind of the human while the Creator’s Mercy is independent from any impurities or selfish motivators and often occurs in the life of the human BEFORE the event that requires the mercy to be expressed is reached in the linear timeline for the human.  God is Greater!

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