The Muslim Arts Essay Introduction Assalam-al-aluikum, through out this booklet Im going to describe about how Islam, one of todays leading religions, started off. I am also going to show you some of the worlds most beautiful calligraphy, most well decorated mosques and the most famous historic Islamic landmarks. I will also be explaining a few basic principles and the meanings of some of the holy words in the Quran. The Holy Prophet The prophet Muhammad was born in 571CE. He was born into one of the most rich and powerful Quraish tribes. He never saw his father and his mother died when he was six years old. He then lived with his grandfather, until he was eight years old. When he died he moved to live with his Uncle Abu Talib, who cared and protected him. Muhammad soon began to look after his uncles sheep and helped in expanding his uncles profits and trade. He became respected by many merchants, by doing many things e.g. He had an honest trade and never over charged any man and if anybody overpaid him he would travel all the way back to the man no matter where he is or how far away, to give him back his money, sheep etc. This is one of the many stories about him, the prophet sold some camels to man. After the man had left, the prophet remembered that one of the camels had 1 lame leg so at once Muhammad galloped after the man so he could give the man back the price of the camel, (it took the prophet 1-week to catch that man up). Such acts like this had been unheard of and soon a Rich widow in Mecca called Khadija who was known for her independance and nobleness heard about Muhammads honesty asked him to work for her in her large business. Muhammad accepted the offer and did trading trips for her by going to Syria with another slave called Maisarah. Maisarah spoke about Muhammad to her master very highly. Khadija completely won over by Muhammads honesty and manners asked him to marry her. Muhammad after talking to his close relatives agreed. Khadija was forty years old at the time and Muhammad was only twenty-five. As time wore on Muhammad became less and less involved with the business and spent more time thinking about all the problems of the world and in helping the poor people of Mecca. Muhammad used money as a means to free slaves. He had 7 children, 4 daughters 3 sons, all his sons died in infancy. Muhammad often went to mount Hira, where he spent a very long time thinking about different matters. One day after staying in the mountain for a very long time (610A.D) the angel Jibril appeared to him and brought the first message of Allah, that there is only 1 God and Muhammad is his prophet. The appearance of the angel was a strange thing that had never happened to him before, so he ran home and first told Khadija. Islam was a message to save mankind from suffering and illness. It was to teach kindness and to lead men to live good and clean lives and to test who can withstand all the worlds evil temptations. It also teaches you self-discipline, because youre the only one who can stop yourself from doing bad things. Famous Historic Landmarks In Islam there are many very magnificent old architural Mosques and buildings. Most of them have some of the most exquisite patterns and symbolic calligraphy along the inside and outside of the walls. Most of them were built where they are because something special happened there as you can see in the following. The Dome of The Rock The Dome of the Rock was built in Jerusalem and it is called the most beautiful building in Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock is the holiest Muslim shrine in the city. I have been inside it once and Muslims believe that gold-domed building was built over the rock from which Muhammad rose to heaven. Jews also believe it is the place Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Taj Mahal The Taj Mahal, designed as a tomb for the wife of a 17th-century Mughal emperor, was constructed by about 20,000 workers from 1631 to 1648 in Agra, a city in northern India. The massive domed structure was constructed using Islamic style, using white marble and inlaid gems. At each corner is a minaret (prayer tower), and passages from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, cover the outside walls. The bodies of the emperor and his wife remain in a room below the building. Mecca The al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, holds the holiest shrine of Islam, the Kaaba. As the birthplace of Islams founder, the prophet Muhammad, Mecca is considered a holy city. It is a pilgrimage point for Muslims worldwide, who are expected to visit the city at least once if they are able to do so. The Kaaba Pilgrimage to the Kaaba Muslims consider the Kaaba a small sanctuary near the centre of the Great Mosque in Mecca to be the most sacred place on earth. Muslim legend teaches that the ancient religious patriarchs Abraham and Ishmael built the shrine using foundations first laid by Adam. Muslims all over the world face towards the Kaaba while praying, and every able Muslim is expected to make a pilgrimage to the Kaaba at least once in his or her lifetime. This picture shows pilgrimage ceremonies, which consist of several days of rituals and festivals during the Islamic month of pilgrimages, Dhu al-Hijja. ISLAMIC CALLIGRAPHY ART Delicate glassware decorated in enamels was produced over many centuries in the Islamic world. This early 14th-century mosque lamp is covered with three inscriptions from the Koran delineated in Kufic script. When the lamp was lit, the flame within accentuated the elegant calligraphy. Miniature painting, in the form of illustrations to secular texts, was one of the few art forms in which the Islamic faith permitted the depiction of living things. This miniature by Aqa Mirak, a court painter to Tahmasp (1524-1576) illustrates a story; a fight seems to have occurred, and the loser is on his back. In the background a gardener works industriously. Mosaic Decoration Because the representation of living things were forbidden in Islamic religion, abstract patterns, usually depicted in mosaic, were used, and these reached great heights of refinement in Islamic architectural decoration. This intricate geometric scheme, used in conjunction with quotations from the Koran in the elegant Kufic script, decorates the interior of a madrasah in EÃ¯Â¿Â½fahÃ¯Â¿Â½n, Iran. Central Dome, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul The central dome of Hagia Sophia is decorated with intricate geometric patterns created by means of small pieces of gilded glass and marble of different colours. Roundels enclosing gold calligraphic script fill the pendentives. Such abstract patterns, used with quotations from the Koran executed in the elegant Kufic script, are typical of Islamic decorative schemes. ISLAMIC PAINTINGS Laila and Majnun at School Bizhad, one of the great Persian miniature painters, gave new impetus to the Oriental tradition of miniature painting.Laila and Majnun at School (1494) shows his skilful use of pattern and colour, and his graceful, calligraphic line. The flat, layered perspective shows the influence of Chinese landscapes. The juxtaposition of scenes taking place indoors and outdoors is particularly notable. Persian Manuscript A range of texts, from the Koran to scientific and literary works, and books of tales and fables, were illuminated in Islamic Persia. This page, from a Persian manuscript dating from the 13th century, consists of text and an accompanying illustration showing a group of men on horseback. Bibliography 1. Encarta Encyclopaedia 2002 2. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2001 3. Heroes of Islam Prophet Muhammed 4. Focus on Islam 5. www.islamicart.com 6. Skills in Religious Studies 2
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