Words to know: Arabesque Dome of the Rock Great Mosque of Cordoba Iwan Kufic Script Mihrab Minaret Mosque Reliquary Qibla Wall Taj Mahal
Islamic Art Islam is a monotheistic religion originating with the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. The word Islam means "submission", or the total surrender of oneself to God. A worshipper of Islam is known as a Muslim, meaning "one who submits (to God)". There are between 1.1 billion and 1.8 billion Muslims (19.6%), making Islam the second-largest religion in the world, after Christianity (33%).
Islamic Art Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, God's final prophet, and regard the Qur'an and the Sunnah (words and deeds of Muhammad) as the fundamental sources of Islam. They do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion, but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that Jews and Christians distorted the revelations God gave to these prophets by either altering the text, introducing a false interpretation, or both.
Islamic Art Almost all Muslims belong to one of two major denominations, the Sunni and Shi'a. The separation developed in the late 7th century following disagreements over the religious and political leadership of the Muslim community. Roughly 85 percent of Muslims are Sunni and 15 percent are Shi'a. Islam is the predominant religion throughout the Middle East, as well as in parts of Africa and Asia. Graffiti left inside Sunni mosque by Shi'ite militias, read"Wahhabis are the enemies of Iraq."
Islamic Art The Islamic Faith is based on the ‘Five Pillars’ of Islam: Shahādah - Profession of faithSalah – Prayer 5 times a dayZakâh - Giving to the poorSawm - Fasting during RamadanHajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca Although Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet, they reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, comparing it to polytheism. In Islamic theology, Jesus was just a man and not the son of God; God is described in a chapter of the Quar'an as "…God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him." ?
Jihad Jihad means "to strive or struggle," (..in the way of God) and is considered the "sixth pillar of Islam" by a minority of Muslim authorities. Essentially Jihad is an effort to practice religion in the face of oppression and persecution. The effort may come in fighting the evil in your own heart, or in standing up to a dictator. Military effort is included as an option, but as a last resort and not "to spread Islam by the sword" as the stereotype would have one believe. Jihad also refers to one's striving to attain religious and moral perfection. Most Muslims today interpret Jihad as only a defensive form of warfare: the external Jihad includes a struggle to make the Islamic societies conform to the Islamic norms of justice. Most Muslims are peaceful people, but many Islamic groups throughout the World have used Jihad as a reason for violence instead of defense.
The Dome of the Rock The Dome of the Rockis an Islamic shrine (or reliquary) and a major landmark located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was completed in 691, making it the oldest extant Islamic building in the world. Muslims believe that Mohammed ascended to Heaven from the rock inside of this Dome. The building is only open to Muslims. Jews believe that it was on this rock that Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac, and this stone may have once stood in Solomon's Temple. Muslim tradition also has it that it an angel will appear here with a trumpet call to announce the Last Judgment at end of the world.
This close-up photo of the lower exterior of the Dome of the Rock shows the magnificent tile work done by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1545. The arched niches used to contain mosaics, but they turned out to be too delicate for the harsh winters and Suleiman finally resolved the problem by replacing them all with tile. The Arabic inscription is of verses from the Qur'an.
IMPORTANT NOTE!! In the Islamic religion, it is forbidden to worship other Gods… Islamic art takes this rule VERY seriously by forbidding images of animals or people (which could represent Gods) in their sacred buildings. For this reason, art of Islamic Holy places lacks figural representations. Instead, Islamic artists created elaborate abstract designs.
Mihrab A mihrab is a niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla, that is, the direction of Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying. The wall in which a mihrab appears is thus the "qibla wall." Today, Mihrabs vary in size, are usually ornately decorated and often designed to give the impression of an arched doorway or a passage to Mecca. Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad are written in kufic script on the borders of the pointed arch of the niche.
Mihrab in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. ISLAMIC ART
Mihrab (prayer niche) Glazed ceramic tile 15th-16th Century ISLAMIC ART Cincinnati Art Museum
Arabesques The arabesqueis an elaborative application of repeating geometric forms that often echo the forms of plants and animals. Arabesques are an element of Islamic art usually found decorating the walls of mosques.
Writings from the Qur’an in Thuluth Script Burial tombs for Shah Jahan & Mumtaz Mahal
Great Mosque of Cordoba (Spain)Once one of the biggest mosques in the World, it’s now a Catholic Cathedral since the Spanish Inquisition.
Great Mosque of Cordoba (Spain) - Interior Once one of the biggest mosques in the World, it’s now a Catholic Cathedral since the Spanish Inquisition.