Islam through Art


Islamic culture stems from a way of life which was nomadic. Its art reflects an awareness that the world is impermanent; thus favouring concise thought and abstract expression. The purity of Arabic calligraphy lies in disciplined restraint. Islam’s decorative style abounds in colour and geometric pattern. Above all, Islamic creativity is revealed in religious architecture, and the interior and exterior furnishings of tombs and mosques.

By studying the 30 images in this 66 page document, students can become familiar with the historic background within which the religion has evolved.

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PART 1 — Life of the Prophet Muhammad
The Revelations
The Holy Qur’an
The Night Journey
The Prophet’s Lifestyle
The Hijra or Flight to Madinah
The Final Pilgrimage
The Final Sermon
The Death of the Prophet

PART 2 — Islamic Art
The Islamic View of Art
The Three Categories of Art
Islam and Pictorial Representation
The Compilation of the Qur’an
The Sacred Power of Sound
The Art of Calligraphy
The Role of the Scribe
The Importance of the Circle

PART 3 — The Spread of Islam
The Five Pillars
Makkah and the Ka’bah
The Hajj

PART 4 — The Third Art Form
The Mosque and its Furnishings
The Minaret
The Mihrab
The Minbar
Development of the Mosque
The Tombs of Islam
The Paradise Garden
Science in the Islamic world

PART 5 — Teaching and Classroom Activities

Angel Jibril (Gabriel)
The opening surah of the Qur’an
The opening of surah 7
Qur’anic quotation in Arabic calligraphy
Ascent of the Prophet Muhammad to heaven
Dome of the Rock
The Quba mosque, Madinah
Illustration of the shrine at Madinah
Tomb of the Prophet, Madinah
The armies of Islam
Record of restoration of a minbar
Instruction in the Qur’an
Arab steed
Endowment deed of a princess
Mughal tent hanging
Pottery ewer and bowl
Carpet, detail
Prayer mat or wall hanging
Bedouin embroidery
A band of pilgrims on the way to Makkah
Great Mosque, Makkah
Great Mosque Hassan ll
African mosque
Interior of a mosque
Mosque lamp
Interior of the Sa’did Sultans’ tomb, Marrakesh
Interior of the Taj Mahal
World map, C12


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