Islam and Art

Discussion in 'Islam' started by wil, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Art and Islam seem to have a dysfunctional relationship over the centuries...

    One can find a lot of art by Muslims in the past...

    And then there became a time where drawing a depiction of Mohammed became wrong...despite again, many pieces of art by Muslims of exactly that...

    Then it became all images of humans...Landscapes and still life were ok...

    Prior to the revolution in Iran 'mainstream Muslims' had no issues with most art, had nightclubs, beaches, were very 'westernized' and a popular tourist destination.

    Can you help define what is meant by your statement regarding art and "mainstream Muslims" vs liberal vs conservative? Or is conservative now mainstream?
     
  2. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

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    I was really referring to the more Wahhabi/Salafi mentality, which most Muslims are not, however most Muslims seem to be reluctant to condone Islamic art due to hardliner criticism.

    Maybe "mainstream" isn't the right word - it's just that art is still controversial within most Muslim Communities.

    You are right that the condemnation of Islamic art is a latter day development.
     
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  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Yes, my understanding would not put them as mainstream.

    I saw a special on Afghanistan/Iraq Museums where curators hired painting restorers to paint over human figures so they wouldn't be destroyed. And some of the more potentially objectionable ones were removed altogether.

    It is amazing how the minority can control the majority of a religion and taint the entire group in the eyes of the rest of the world. We are having similar issues in the United States.
     
  4. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

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    About 12 years ago I took a work of calligraphy to the Masjid. It was the Arabic word "Salaam" (Peace) written in the shape of a dove. I had heard much about the controversy over art in Islam. I was sitting at a table in the library with a knowledgeable Brother and I asked him if this was bid'at (innovation), and he said "no" - at the same time as he said "no" a Brother standing beside the table said "yes". The two of them began to debate the issue - politely - neither changed their position.

    I've asked a couple of Imams about art in Islam. One said that most art is Haraam (forbidden/prohibited) - another told me we should have art in our libraries at the Masjid.

    I believe that latter day (modern) extremism has influenced some mainstream Muslims to be less tolerant and more literal in their understanding of Islam.

    Saudi Arabia pours a lot of money - and thereby influence into Western Masjids. I have seen, on numerous occasions, Salafi & Wahhabi literature inside Orthodox Sunni Muslim Masjids. Although few in the Community are actually Salafi or Wahhabi, they are influenced by their books on doctrine and commentaries of Quran.
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Yes, our Evangelical crowd in Christianity is swamped with literalism...and discounting science... It is disturbing. I think some of Islam is going the same way, and here our numerals and algebra came directly through Muslims and was saved by Muslims during the dark ages...

    I was at a Museum a couple of decades ago with Islamic art over the centuries and of course much of it they couldn't even bring because it was in huge wall mosaics, floor mosaics and the domes of mosques...so that was displayed and discussed in slide presentations throughout by various projectors in each room that also contained paintings.... It was incredible to see it all, depictions of battles, of Mohamed teaching, of scribes taking down his words... all a very moving experience.
     
  6. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

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    There is a well known Hadith (Saying) of Prophet Muhammad (saww) that addresses the esoteric & exoteric:

    "Indeed The Quran has been revealed upon Seven Ahruf ("Letters" - aspects, phases), of which there is no Letter that does not have a Zahir (Outward) and Batin (Inward) meaning..."

    This Hadith is recorded in Sahih Bukhari & Iqtan Suyuti
     
  7. yandex

    yandex New Member

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    This forum seem dead. Is everyone on a different site now? Which is that?
    Thx
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    This forum has never had the traffic of some other religious discussion sites... mainly because we work toward interfaith discussion and not wall to wall controversy...we try to keep folks to adhere to proper debate and discussion rules...and don't tolerate a lot of hate and venom.

    People that enjoy that have stayed....I can't really say where others go to holler at each other and spew vile...I have no interest in that.
     
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  9. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

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    This is a laid back forum - not a bunch of drama - which is something I like about this site.

    After the all the intensity following 9/11 it became difficult to even mention Islam without it causing a conflict - often resulting in offensiveness and disrespect. Truth be told I got cought up in myself for a minute - those first few years after 9/11 we're rough for a lot of Muslims, as well as others, and I was not at peace. The very thing (Islam) that had given me Salaam (Peace) and comfort for so many years, had become a source of turmoil & controversy - I don't feed into that anymore, haven't for awhile. I'm at peace again and I'm thankful to Allah for that.

    I like the site & I'm glad I joined.
     
  10. RogerBao

    RogerBao New Member

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    Art of sculpture is a form in most culture/tradition/religions but we don't see them in Islamic art. Is it haram?
    As long the figurines are not for worship, yet its forbidden?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  11. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

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    When it comes to art, sculptures would be the most controversial.

    The Kaaba, in Mecca was filled with 360 idols during the time of Prophet Muhammad (saww), which were removed before his death. Idolatry was seen as the definitive manifestation of Shirk (Polytheism, Association, Partnership), the greatest sin in Islam. This being so, strong reactions to religious imagery arose.

    There are Hadiths forbidding the use of any kind of imagery - statues being a prime example. The argument is that the prohibition applies only to religious images as objects of worship.

    You will find, in a general search, those who say that even photographs are Haraam (Forbidden) and others who say that only representations of Allah are forbidden.

    An interesting fact is that in The Quran (34:13) Prophet Sulayman/Solomon (as), in building the Temple, had his workman build for him - Statues! This is a Prophet of Islam who did this, and it is in Quran! The statues were not used for worship, but he did have them made during his prophetic mission and had them during his time as King.

    When this is pointed out you get a lot of "yeah buts". Bottom line, there is no "yeah but" In Quran.

    It's an undeniable Quranic fact that a Prophet of Islam had built, and was in possession of statues.
     
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  12. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    My niece has an Islamic co-worker, I believe he is originally from Pakistan, but I'm not sure which region. Anyway, he forbids his daughter to have dolls. My niece tells me he was absolutely horrified when someone gave his daughter a Barbie at her birthday party. The only explanation he offered was, it is forbidden and gave the doll back to the little girl presenting it. First I've heard of such, but I surmise dolls fall under the heading of statues in whatever tradition he follows. Seems odd though since neither he nor his wife seem all that strict in their faith. She doesn't even cover her head in public.
     
  13. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

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    The Brother is most likely Sunni being from Pakistan - majority are Sunni. To me, it is extremism to include a simple child's toy in the realm of idolatry. I don't think that most Muslims (world wide) would do the same.

    Such behavior usually comes from those who are not well versed and simply follow the dictates of a regional Imam and/or Mufti. Many Immigrant Muslims here in the US follow the School of Thought of their home towns. I doubt the Brother has ever even considered 34:13 or the context & authenticity of Hadith regarding imagery.

    Allah tells us numerous times in Quran to reflect upon things and to use our intellect and reason - too few do so.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
  14. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    I actually only know him through my niece, but as a doll lover that seems a bit extreme to me also. Thing is, he doesn't seem all that strict in his beliefs otherwise. Gets along just fine with his co-workers, most of whom are Hindu, including the shop owner who keeps a large statue of Ganesh in the back room. The same room where this fellow rolls out his prayer mat if a prayer time occurs during his shift. That and as I've mentioned, no Hijab for his wife. Just seems odd he'd be so vehement where dolls are concerned.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    One never knows...my old man would not let me have a GI Joe as a kid... because according to him...it was a Doll... so while his reasoning wasn't specifically religious, it was because of his homophobic notions that it would turn me gay.... And even without dolls, I turned into a happy guy!

    http://arabsinamerica.unc.edu/identity/veiling/hijab/
     
  16. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    Yes, I'm aware. I have some Turkish friends that dress like everyone else. Just struck me as odd someone would take an extreme religious stance where dolls are concerned, yet have a relaxed attitude in other areas.
     
  17. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Prior to the Ayatollah ouster of our Shaw there were beach resorts and night clubs all over the middle east...Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon.... folks all over taking extreme stances with religion and then ignoring other texts is common. I'd point out a number of them I see with Christian friends only to get my head shot off...lol.
     
  18. RogerBao

    RogerBao New Member

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    Not sure about that, I've worked in South East Asia and they were debating whether Barbie doll/teddy bear is ok or not!!

    I've checked, the hadith about statues, its Sahih & its not even in context of worshiping it, even just as decoration etc. So you can't blame the clergy.

    Abu Talha reported:
    I heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: Angels do not enter the house in which there is a dog or a statue.
    Sahih Muslim 2106 b The Book of Clothes and Adornment


    Does that mean angels didn't enter prophet Solomon's house?
     
  19. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

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    Most Muslims in Pakistan (and the region) probably would not allow their daughter to have a doll, but with the global population I think maybe would allow it, but I don't know for sure. However I've known Brothers from Pakistan who don't trip like that.

    When it becomes a case between Quran or Hadith, or anything or anybody, I'll always side with Quran. So I would respectfully disagree with any Imam who said the Angels did not enter the house of Prophet Sulayman (as).
     
  20. RogerBao

    RogerBao New Member

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    Well friend, you can publicly reject sunnahs that are not palatable to you in a secular or Western country but not in most Muslim countries especially Sunni.
     

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