Islamic Art Resources
Knowing aspects of Islamic culture, Islamic art is the work of accumulating knowledge of the local environment and society. The basis of the early creation of Islamic art combined Arab, Persian, Mesopotamian and African traditions, in addition to Byzantine inspiration. Islam is built on this knowledge and develops its own unique style, inspired by three main elements.
The Qur’an is the first work of art in Islam. The independence of the verses and their relation to Muslims form an extraordinary meaning. Because each verse brings into a unique divine experience, feeling joy and happiness, threats and fears, obedience and rules, and so on. Repetition of these experiences in the verses of the Qur’an raises awareness and feels the presence of Allah SWT as explained in this verse:
“… When the verses of the Most Gracious Allah are read to them, they fall down with prostration and cry.” (Qur’an 19:58).
Therefore Islamic artists take lessons and methods from their experiences of the Qur’an, develop new approaches to art characterized by independence and interdependence of formative elements. The emphasis is on the presence and attributes of the Khaliq rather than on His creatures, including humans. Islam sees all humans as equal without color or form (perfect or imperfect). The only difference between humans is made on the basis of their piety.
Qur’an and Artists
“And poets, those who go astray follow them. Do you not see how they roam in every valley? And how do they say what they did not do? (Qur’an 26: 224-26).
In the Qur’anic verses it regulates the approach of artists, writers and professionals. Islam only approves the work of people who base everything they do in order to always remember Allah
“those who believe, do good work, and are much involved in remembering God” (Qur’an 26: 227).
With this background, the work of artists is guided by normative criteria so that they are always connected in remembering God. Because all activities, even art, must be done with the aim of approaching Allah SWT (worship).
“And I did not create jinn and men but that they serve Me. (Quran 51:56).
This thinking underlies the application of art in almost every object in the life of Muslims. Artists work with a variety of materials, from ceramics to iron, and their artistic style takes many forms, such as Arabic designs, geometric patterns and calligraphy.
Islamic Religious Rules About Art
The third determining factor that influences the nature of art in Islamic culture is the religious rule regarding the depiction of human or animal forms. Aside from the prohibition originating from the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, this thought was due to concerns that people would return to idolatry and figures, a practice that was strongly condemned by Islam. In the early days of Islam, statues and depictions of figures were seen as reminders of the idolatrous past. Muslims respect this rule and extend it to not exploit excessive body forms carried out in the West.
In contrast to the art outside Islam which is permissible to exploit imagination as freely as possible, Islamic art has a standard corridor. As in exploiting human anatomy, for example in western art, all parts of body shape can be displayed freely. In Islam it is forbidden to show body shape especially for women, so that human figures are always in full clothing and almost no depiction of women . Non-Islamic understanding concludes that this is a form of freedom of creation. but is that really true?
Art is one of the blessings of Allah SWT. Allah is beautiful and loves beauty, so excerpt one of the traditions of the Prophet SAW which was narrated by Imam Muslim. The limitation of freedom in Islamic art is not to dwarf human nature, but rather to raise human dignity as high as possible above its animal nature. With these restrictions and driven by the strong turmoil of creativity in high aesthetic demands, creative ideas arise which give birth to Islamic works of art. Freedom is born that remains obedient to the norm. From here then the underlying birth of Islamic ornaments that still display the aesthetics of objects without the depiction of vulgar objects themselves.
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