Telling Stories: Art
Issue 100 January 2013
There is a Hadith Qudsi, which states: “God is Beautiful and He loves beauty.” One of the aims of emel has always been to bring people closer to the Divine.
There is a Hadith Qudsi, which states: “God is Beautiful and He loves beauty.” One of the aims of emel has always been to bring people closer to the Divine. We do this by contemplating His attributes and see how they manifest in the world. The experience of art can be a means to contemplate Beauty, and to draw us closer to Him.
The magnificent calligraphy of Ahmed Moustafa brings to life the beauty of Arabic poetry and Qur’anic script. Calligraphy has always been a way to bring the word of God into a physical dimension. In Moustafa’s case, he uses Arabic poetry to form masterpieces such as his prancing horses, whilst drawing on the Qur’an for his other seminal work.
Other calligraphers such as Hassan Massoudy, Haji Noor, and Ruh al-‘Alam bring to form, elements of the Divine message.
Art has other roles within the culture of society. It can be a social commentary, as with the calligraphic graffiti on urban walls by Mohammed Ali. The photographs of Manal Al-Dowayam provoke debate in the exploration of different issues that women face within her native Saudi Arabia. Other art such as Ahmed Mater’s Magnetic Ka’ba, allow the individual to decipher the powerful force that draws one and a half billion people in daily prayer as well as millions within the Hajj and Um’rah.
For Muslims to progress at a civilisational level and to recapture the dynamism and beauty of our cultural inheritance, art has to be invested in. New talent has to be sought out and nurtured in order to develop our higher-level civilisational contribution to the world. Such nurturing is going to have to be done by patrons, like the Medicis of the Renaissance, who will finance artists, as well as everyday Muslims who must engage at every level with the development of a personalised, self-expression of faith through the medium of art.