To start this topic, the first question that arises in the mind is that what is art? Basically art is not a word, which has a specific definition, but in literal meanings art can be defined as a spiritual sense of a human being, which he or she notes down in an artistic way. Art refers to creativity. Creativity is something very similar to art. The human mind is a congregation of many ideas. These ideas when get note down beautifully on a piece of paper, it is called an art.
An artwork is usually considered as a masterpiece when its concept reaches the mind of the people and it is considered as an appreciable piece of work among the people. Masterpieces of art are just not paintings but spray painting, wall painting and other forms of art created for buildings are much appreciable. Islam is not only a religion but it is a way to lead a happy life. Islamic culture and traditions express its importance in the life of a person.
Islam has always supported everything either it is of any field.
Today the topic is about arts in Islamic religion so an outlook on the past Mughal and Muslim rulers will serve the arts in Islam as a great commodity. Islamic art is not only features which have been introduced to make beautiful mosques or tombs but in fact in true and literal meanings Islamic art is a beautiful creativity which is in every country conquered by Muslims in past centuries.
Muslim art has been one of the wonderful one in the world. Islam is not only a religion but it is a pattern of life. It is a beautiful way of life through which every new aspect of creativity has been launched.
The reason of Muslim art is not only extension in this field but to introduce new designs throughout the world and improve skills, which have been unknown since centuries. The newly conquered lands by the Muslims have many things old created by the Muslim rulers of past centuries. However, the architectures working there are now working according to the Muslim motifs and strategy. It has been a fact in almost every era that Muslims have succeeded in every field of creativity and this can be seen in Agra. Taj Mahal is considered as one of the most beautiful monuments of the Sub continent.
Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is still recognized as one of the most beautiful monuments of the Sub continent. The grave of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan lies inside the Taj Mahal and the beautiful calligraphy and textile designing on the beautiful bluish tiles can be seen from inside. But something really drastic happened with the laborers who built Taj Mahal. According to resources some 22,000 laborers built it and after its completion the laborers lost their hands as Shah Jahan said that no body could be able to build such a beautiful monument.
This incident rocked the world but still now the laborers are not valued for their creativity but Shah Jahan is praised for laying the base of such a beautiful monument. “In the time of Muhammad the Arabs had little or no art of their own, but, in their conquest of Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Iran they adopted the highly developed art of these countries. It is known from literary sources that the caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty (661-749) requisitioned materials and craftsmen from all the provinces for the construction of new cities, palaces, and mosques.
Byzantine and Syrian masochists were employed to decorate the mosque at Damascus, for which an Iranian was the chief architect. Artists from Egypt worked in Jerusalem, Damascus, and Mecca. ” (Dimand, 1947) It is a fact that Muslims in the beginning had no art of their own but soon as they started conquering other Muslim countries, they started introducing various forms of art and cultures adapted from other civilizations. Islamic art is basically an old art form, which started ruling the territories since seventh century.
It reached the minds and eyes of people when Muslim rulers of past started preaching of their wonderful ideas. The fields in Muslim arts contain ceramic painting, calligraphy, painting and architecture. There is a sort of unity among the Islamic arts and artists. The merchants, traders who buy the antique pieces created by Muslim artists of high quality have much more understanding with the consumers than any other buyer or sellers around the world. Moreover, the art of ornaments among Muslim craftsmen is an art of great common sense and attention or concentration.
Today, Muslim ornaments of past and present are valued most among the people. Muslim jewellery is much more appreciable than that of any other country. The most important feature in the classification of the Muslim art is architecture. Because of pious mosques and imambargah’s the Muslim architectures have to work very hard on the designs and decoration motifs of the mosques they are building. Muslims have many beautiful mosques and religious and visiting monuments on their credit such as the Great Mosque of Cordoba, Dome of the Rock mosque and the Taj Mahal.
Apart all of that the religious places, such as Kahan-e-Kaaba and the Shrine of Hazrat Imam Hussain (A. S, whose dome is made of gold). Besides architecture another important and most valued feature in Islamic art is of calligraphy. Calligraphy plays an important role in the history of Islam. Islam values calligraphy both piously and artistically. Artistically Muslim calligraphy is of high quality and piously it is used for writing the phrases of Quranic. Quranic verses when written through calligraphic wittings look more beautiful than ever.
Besides all of these creations Islamic artists or craftsmen have been master in metal work and pottery making. The sand of nearly all-Muslim countries is very fertile being close to rivers and seas so pottery work is very courageous here and appreciated too. Metal making, carpet weaving and ceramic work are also very common features in all of the Muslim countries especially in villages that is the reason why Muslim art is so much demanded in all of the foreign countries.
“Islamic Art is an illustrated history that takes a broad approach, covering architecture, crafts, and aesthetics as well as “art” in the narrow sense, and placing them within their social and historical context. It extends to around 1700, but does not cover the entire Islamic world, only the arid area from Morocco to Afghanistan. Mosques are central to Islamic architecture, but have by no means been static. “Minarets may now be seen as entirely characteristic of Muslim religious architecture, but the very first mosques had none.
” Patronage was critical, and rulers often reworked earlier buildings, making major monuments “architectural palimpsests. ” (Irwin, 1997) Islamic art has always been a way to enhance the skills of workers and people who work for the betterment of Islamic society. Islam is not just a religion but it is a patron to lead a happy life. Even today many visitors from foreign countries and people interested in arts and crafts come to see the creativity or Muslim artists, who work according to the Islamic principles and bring out the designs of those Mughal Muslim rulers who have been now hidden under some old rocks.
It can be said like that “Removing the sand from old rocks”. Conclusion Muslim art has been defined clearly. Research clearly shows that Muslim art is one of the most demanded and old forms of art in the world. Muslims has been working in this field since 7th century. However, when Muslims started conquering other states, they introduced new forms of art and craft there and now they are conquering the peaks of this creativity. Muslims and Islam has always guided people throughout their life in every field. Islam gives us better knowledge to lend a wise and proper life.
Islam has given a perspective to us. Today if Muslims are reaching high in this creative field then it is just because of the principles of our prophets and the guidance of Islam. Following of Islamic principles can lend to live a better and happy life and through this one can be able to touch those peaks, which sometimes remained in just imaginations.
References M. S. Dimand, (1947), A Handbook of Muhammadan Art, Hartsdale House. New York Robert Irwin. Irwin Islamic Art: Art, Architecture and the Literary World. Laurence King 1997.