Ahmad Hussein


It is strongly believed that the scholarship in the field of Islamic art and architecture ‎still has many important under-researched areas, behind its visual aspects, that need to ‎be explored and analyzed. Archaeoacoustics, which is scientifically known as "The ‎archaeology of sound," is considered one of the significant disciplines in the field of ‎acoustics due to its role in revealing priceless information about different ‎archaeological sites and historic buildings around the world from the acoustic ‎perspective. Unfortunately, the archaeoacoustic studies of historic Islamic religious ‎buildings, especially in Cairo, are relatively neglected. Accordingly, this study aims in ‎the first place at analyzing the archaeoacoustic aspects and development of major ‎Cairene religious buildings, from the time of the Arab conquest through the Ottoman ‎period, in their relation to modern acoustics. Such analysis is believed to contribute ‎effectively in partially reconstructing the soundscape of the examined historic ‎buildings with regards to answering the following question: to what extent had the ‎architect, throughout the different the different periods of the Islamic history of ‎Cairo, been acquainted with the architectural acoustics principles? And how did that ‎knowledge affect the architectural designs of his religious buildings? ‎


Arab & Islamic Civilizations Department

Degree Name

MA in Arabic Studies

Graduation Date


Submission Date

July 2016

First Advisor

O'Kane, Bernard

Committee Member 1

Bacharach, Jere L.

Committee Member 2

Kenney, Ellen


130 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Though only my name appears on the cover of this dissertation, a great many people have contributed to its production. I owe my gratitude to all those people who have made this dissertation possible and because of whom my graduate experience has been one that I will cherish forever. Firstly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and deep appreciation to my advisor Professor Dr. Bernard O'Kane for the continuous support of my MA study and related research, for his patience, motivation, and immense knowledge. His guidance helped me in all the time of research and writing of this thesis. I am greatly indebted to Dr. O'Kane for his valuable teaching, and distinguished books and research from which I constantly learn. I have been extremely lucky to have a supervisor who cared so much about my work, and who responded to my questions and queries so promptly. I will recall, however, Allah the Almighty Divine words in His Holy Quran with regards to the value of scholars and scientists "Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do". Quran, (58:11) Dr. Ellen Kenney is one of the best professors that I have had in my life. She sets high standards for her students and guides them to meet those standards. I am really grateful to Dr. Kenney for her time and precious guidance in preparing my thesis. Dr. Kenney has always been there to listen and give advice. I am deeply obliged to her for the long discussions and insightful comments that helped me sort out the technical details of my work. Professor Dr. Jere L. Bacharach graciously agreed to be my external examiner, and his feedback in the final stages of my degree was invaluable. I am also indebted to Professor Dr. Hany A. Shawky, professor and researcher in the acoustics department at the Egyptian National Institute of Standards in Cairo, for his outstanding advice in the field of acoustics and his priceless time and efforts in analyzing and assessing the sound dissemination and intelligibility factors within the qibla areas of the chosen historic buildings. I am also thankful to Dr. Tarek M. El-Basheer for his appreciated efforts and contribution in the analytic acoustic part of the thesis. I would like to acknowledge Engineer Muhammad al-Hadidi for his great assistance in finding the proper analytic acoustic software i.e. Odeon room acoustics software, version 10, which was a cornerstone in my work. I am also thankful to Professor Dr. Muhammad Hossam al-Din Ismail and Professor Dr. Muhammad Abd al-Satar Uthman for their notable assistance and valuable archaeological knowledge. Very special thanks go to Marwa Sabry Osman, administrative affairs assistant in the ARIC department, for her generous support and assistance. Also, I would like to thank the staff in AUC library and the Rare and Special Collection, especially Yasmine Abdallah. I must also acknowledge Professor Elisabeth Yoder, Senior Instructor in the department of English, for her efforts and advices. I am thankful to Howaida Hussien for her kind assistance in the thesis organization and also to Eman Adel my thesis editor. I would like to express my gratitude to the American University in Cairo for granting me the Nadia Niazi Mostafa endowed fellowship in Islamic Art and Architecture in my last coursework semester. I am grateful to all my relatives and lifelong friends whose love and support have always been a cornerstone in any of my achievements; Professor Dr. Mohsen Bahgat, Mr. Hussein Muhammad, Mrs. Aileen Kader, Mr. Adel Bahgat, Dr. Hazem Hashim, Dr. Al-Hassan Mohsen, Dr. Noora Ahram, Mr.Ahmad Bechir, Dr. Ahmad al-Abbany, Mr. Ahmad al-Sergany, Engineer May Mohsen, Dr. Jihad Abu Ali, Samaa Moustafa, Mr. Hany Tawfik, Mr. Bahgat Galal, Mr. Ahmad Hussein, Dr. Nancy Kamal, Sarah Hussein, Sally Bechir, Dr. Eman al-Roubi, Noor Hussein, Yahia Hussein, Adam Hussein, Engineer Dalia al-Gebaly, Yusuf Awaad, and Habiba Awaad. Finally, it is rather difficult finding adequate words to express my sincere love, gratitude and appreciation to the most beloved persons in my life; Professor Dr. Awaad Hussein, Professor Dr. Magda Bahgat, Dr. Muhammad Awaad, Film Director Mahmoud Awaad and my dearest fiancé Professor Dr. Rehab Fathey and her kind family.