Fatimi Architecture

The art and architecture of the Fatimi Imams AS is not only researched and studied in Aljamea, but brought to life in its buildings and edifices. These Fatimi ornamentations and monuments are not merely one-off replicas of their originals meant to serve as reminders of a former glory, but are rather components of a perpetual system of inspiration towards the everlasting ideals and values embodied by the Fatimi movement: āthār and maʾāthir



Aljamea’s campuses, those in use in Surat, Karachi and Nairobi, as well as that under construction in Mumbai, centre upon the masjid. Its dominance is underscored by the fact that all buildings follow its orientation towards the Holy Kaaba in Mecca. In Karachi and Nairobi, as is planned in Mumbai, the masjid lies ahead of all the other structures in its orientation, just as the imam of a masjid stands ahead of those that he leads in prayer.


The rukn mukhallaq, for instance, a chamfered corner from the exterior façade of al-Jāmiʿ al-Aqmar in Cairo in its incorporation of the Quranic verse, “Indeed, Allah is with the pious and those who do good,” reminds students that knowledge must lead to both piety and goodwill towards others. In this manner, all throughout Aljamea, through form and materials, structure and layout, Fatimi ideals and values are reinforced.


Around the courtyard, between the masjid and minaret are the classrooms, the library and other facilities. The buildings merge to form one giant complex, spanning the length and breadth of the campus. Despite their different functions and purposes, the campus lives and breathes as a whole: a single entity dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and character. Amongst these structures, the minarets stand tallest above the rest of the buildings acting as beacons signalling others towards the traditions and heritage of the Fatimi imams.


Another aspect of Islamic thought manifest in Aljamea’s campuses is its attention towards impacting Allah’s creations, the natural environment, to the least extent possible. Green building techniques and environmentally friendly operations are in practice in Surat, Karachi and Nairobi.

Where possible, buildings have been designed to utilise sunlight and facilitate natural ventilation to the greatest extent possible, decreasing dependency on artificial methods that consume great amounts of electricity. In Surat, a solar water heating system has been in use for the dormitories since the early 1980’s.

An intricate layout of coconut trees planted along the perimeter of the Karachi campus’ sports field mitigates water logging not only in Aljamea, but in the surrounding homes. Recycling, compost facilities, motion sensor lighting and paper reduction policies are just some of the ways in which Aljamea contributes to protecting Allah’s great bounty: the world we live in.

The new Jamea campuses, both in Nairobi and Mumbai are on track to be LEED certified with elements such as photovoltaic panels, passive ventilation strategies and geothermal cooling.

In this manner, both in theory and practise, Aljamea strives to reflect in itself and its students, the values inspired by Islam and the Fatimi tradition.

A home not only to students and faculty, but to the flora and fauna as well.