Home About Us shop support asma contact
Culture and Arts Religion Education Perspectives Calendar Newsletter Emails
Asma Society | American Society for Muslim Advancement
Culture and Arts

"God is beautiful and he loves beauty."
—a saying of the Prophet Muhammad

The faculty of creativity within the spirit of Islam is very important to the faith and its practitioners and Islamic world has a very rich heritage of traditional arts and craft. As in other faith traditions, art is used to celebrate and honor the Divine. The objective of Islamic Art, and what sets it apart from many other art forms, is to convey something of the spiritual ideals of God's beauty, respect for nature and sincere devotion to the Creator. Art for art's sake alone becomes an ostentatious display.

In the early days of Islam, fine art, literature, poetry and other forms of creative expression were primary factors in the spread of Islam to non-Muslim lands, particularly South Asia. In today's world of cultural and religious misunderstanding, Muslim artists again have a role to play. Through their art, these artists speak eloquently and evocatively through their works, suggesting Islamic purpose, values and identity, replacing negative stereotypes and ignorance with interest, respect and love. Art carries the unique possibility of intimately, gently and emotionally communicating the experiences of individuals and communities within a community and to other communities. Thus, Muslim artists are the cornerstones for building bridges so desperately needed now.

While drawing from the legacies of the past, the artist responds to current societal needs arising from new tastes, or even fashion, that originates from the environment they live in. Today, American Muslim artists are working in a particularly complex environment of challenges and responsibilities, which include resisting being overwhelmed or heavily influenced by Western modalities of art, creating without copying, creating not for the sake of self gratification and using creative energy to build on the rich Islamic historical legacies. This may sound like a tall order, but many Muslim artists draw spiritual strength, and spread it around, in attempting to mirror the beauty of Allah and by evoking the Hadith " God is beautiful and he loves beauty."