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The Spirit of Religious Art Mohammad Reza Rikhtegaran University of Tehran
What is it in art which makes it religious? In the Islamic world, the word honar, art, was not the Muslims intellectual term and it has various meanings which relate to Irfan (mysticism) and religious truth. The meaning of art is “Love, Virtue, and Goodness”. The religious or irreligious nature depends on whether the existence of the artist before God is beneficent or satanic or in other words whether man’s nature is from God or from his carnal self; in accordance his art will be religious or irreligious. The art is religious in which the apparent senses and the inner power of the soul of the artist be all obedient to the Merciful god; In irreligious art, the artist is inspired by his carnal desires and not from God, and is accompanied by selfish and satanic desires. Religious art is related to “realization of truth” and appearance of “religious worlds”, “true love”, “beneficent presence”, “righteous aspects”, and “clarity of heart”.
Introduction What is the spirit of religious art? Does religious art mean the art of adherence to a certain religion? Or is it an art which has come into being in a land where a certain religion is prevalent? Or an art in which special events or texts of a sacred book are depicted? What is it in art which makes it religious? The answer to these questions calls for first, clarification of what art is in the first place. If we say that art
But in imitative techniques. ( i. is imitated. or in other words high point of philosophy. then still we have not paid attention to the truth and in fact so long as we have not defined art the terms “artist” and “works of art” remain ambiguous words. then we have spoken correctly. this meaning becomes clear in another way. In Plato’s view imitation ( Muhakat ) in the sense that the world of senses is a “retrogressive and ghostly “ level of the world of ideas. And if we say that art is what appears in works of art. the artist is not content merely with what is in nature and reality. dance is all forms of imitation. although each of them presented differing meanings for this word.66 Mohammad Reza Rikhtegaran is what artists’ posses and based on which they produce works of art. Philosophical Approach to Art What is Art? This is a question which many thinkers have attempted to answer from ancient times to the present-day era. Therefore. In philosophic expression. he considered imitation in an ontological manner. beauty and ugliness. music. we have still not defined art. In other words in all these disciplines the good and evil of life.e. in his view art based on mimesis (imitation) is an art which is not on the level of ideal existence. Pythagoras. In the view of Aristotle too poetic innovation (poesies) painting. but surpasses potential and good . Therefore Plato’s view about art which is merely imitative is that by resorting to imitative techniques we become aloof from what is original and origin in his view is idealistic and the world of abstract reasoning is the high point of the experienced way of the dialectic. On the other hand since art is related to imagination and imagination is a lower power of the self (in comparison to reason). but it is clear that. in the level of logical truths of the world of ideas and it relates to the lower levels of those truths). Plato and Aristotle were the first who delved into the meaning of art and considered it imitation (mimesis) (1).
Immanuel Kant is one of the first who dealt in appropriate detail with the issue of art and beauty and wrote an independent book on it. but nature itself by according and coalescing the powers of the artist and give order to his art. This means just as a person may be an expert and experienced in such techniques as reasoning or in oratory or other techniques (3). Of course in his view this order is not based on metal concepts. He in fact wants to say the journey of the imagination becomes actualized by “extraction of elements from the world of reality” and in other words the imagination of the artist is a creative one and not illusory. Thus if all the words of Aristotle are summarized in a sentence. we must say that art (techne) in his view is technique of experience in imitation and in this way. In this way he separates art correctly from daydreaming and fantasy. such that the work which is created is completely different from natural things and the effect of relation and unconnected relations and the hand of the artist and the plan he has put into it is completely clear and obvious and in fact it is because of this appearance and unconnected relation and presence of the artist that a work is called artistic. Mimesis for Aristotle is the basis of the journey of the artist and is his jumping point. it is possible that his expertise in innovation ( bringing forth) of artistic works be general. the bringing forth of Poesies (2) is a kind of experience Techne.The Spirit of Religious Art 67 and evil and travels in his imagination and through his internal power gives shape to what he has extracted from reality. as if nature by granting genius to a person itself achieves the act . or in the creation of poetry may be special. In Aristotle’s view. Among the modernist. with the extraction of elements from reality “ realization of movement and presence of the artist “ is bringing forth of artistic works.(4) He considers art a result of a genius and genius a natural blessing which gives order to art.
Secondly if . Genius is the use of innovation.e. first of all art is related to realization of truth and appearance of the inner self and its necessity is equipped with virtues and falling in the straits of bewilderment. the world beyond the sense and sense perception. creativity and originality. In the 20th century too many philosophers and thinkers presented views about art and beauty. the world of freedom and free will of man and his values. in the world of natural necessity.68 Mohammad Reza Rikhtegaran of bringing forth. the artist his artistic path is not dependant on taking elements from reality or imitation of reality and life. but the use of his free will and freedom is the basis of his work being artistic. In Kant’s view. In Heidegger’s view. For Kant genius is fully equal to imitation. happiness ). more than anyone else came close to the reality of art. Therefore in his view exclusion of art to pure sense and sense perception (i. and in other words. Among them is Martin Heidegger. Kant’s view on art and beauty with some changes were accepted by many of his intellectual disciples such as Schelling. It is in this way that through artistic bringing forth. the German philosopher who through his anti-custom and supra-consensus thinking.e. In this case works of art are manifestation of human free will and through this way a way for realization of the natural perfection of his existence (i. Kant’s differentiation of genius and imitation and contrasting them caused his aesthetic philosophy to become separate from the thought of Aristotle and his idea of mimesis. It is clear that this theory related to another class of art works and opened the way for many new art styles. Hegel and Schopenhauser and was also effective on the thinking of those who themselves in their thinking did not follow Kant as much. what happened in Western aesthetic teachings) is not right and against aesthetics. or the phenomenal world is created.
Application of the word “object” or “works of art” eliminates the important difference which exists between the work and the object: because a person needs to consider art really as “work” and not merely an object. this is completely pointless. we consider works of art as objects of theoretical consideration. we become distant from the work of art.(7) Dwelling with familiarity and intensity of truth and readiness and giving possibility for affecting it in us and in short.The Spirit of Religious Art 69 Philosophy of art means that without regard to book and tradition. or in other words its meaning and the world of the artist. but “standing near Heeman and the extraordinary grandeur of the truth that is realized through the work of art”. His intension of preserving the truth is not merely protecting and looking after it. he has found art through reality. he has paid the most attention to art and its relationship to reality. But by objectification of art works. (5) It is only in this case that the human role or sign of work. But on the other hand an object may be art or something natural (such as stone or wood etc). trying it in our lives and through this. Work is always either a work of man (or God). The word “work” itself indicates this point. Survival and protection of it. because art is not merely objects but “ in works of art signs of humans acts can always be seen. It is on this basis later that his understanding of existence. the manner of his closeness to reality appears. He considers art as one of the ways of “realizing the truth” and the creative preserving of truth in the work. The basic contribution of Heidegger in this respect is that instead of searching for reality through art. Moreover the meaning of Heidegger from the quality of creativity is that the artist through bringing forth and creation of work.e. But in his view only on the basis of “the logic and science of hermeneutics” (6) that we can come close to the presence of art without coming considering works of art as merely theoretic and detached deliberations. Therefore we should say that Heidegger does not have a philosophy of art in the usual meaning. . i. finds truth in a work of art… and creates a universe (8) and finds a plan.
Did Heidegger interpret all art as poetry? No. in the general sense. such as the blossoming of a flower. In his view all the innate arts.e. (9) Thus it is clear that the issue of Poesies. physics too. in the sense of appearing and unveiling in Heidegger’s thinking is especially important. because all arts are the creation points of appearance and unveiling of things which were previously hidden. “ Making possible” the realization of the truth at the same time gives the meaning that in artistic innovation merely the aspect of act and creativity of the artist is not important: but in fact mode of acceptance. Thus Heidegger considers all the arts as Poesies. bringing to life something from the self is also bringing forth ( creative poesies ). is merely addition of the agent. not only making an art or poetry and affiliated image making is bringing forth ( creation of poesies ). this is not the case. In fact nature is the ultimate Poesies.e. ability and readiness of the artist for “ making possible “ realization of the truth is also a condition and in other words relation and increase in self of the artist with bringing forth. all types of art ) poetry itself because it is related to language and language also is basically Poesies. is the most basic form of Poesies. appearance of the hidden and making possible the realization of truth in the sense of openness. but at the same time addition of the able is also at work.70 Mohammad Reza Rikhtegaran In Heidegger’s view. not only handmade artifact. which is itself related to bringing forth (poesies).e. i. (11) . But Poesies in its special meaning is related to poetry only. in that they make possible realization of truth of beings. are basically poetry. i. Because what is created through nature encompasses the same coming forth of something from the “self”. (10) Among all the types of Poesies ( i. He in fact noted that all arts are manners of “giving possibility for realization of the truth “and a type of appearance of the hidden.
we should say that in his view the source and origins of works of art. hakims and thinkers did not independently theorize on art and not write independent books and researches on art? In response to the first question we say that the principle of art and the quality of being artistic in the sense of appearance of the hidden and realization of the truth and presence and immediate relation and adornment with virtues and creativity and innovation and construction on the basis of those virtues and unveiling what was . and being affected by and giving ear to its voice and experiencing it from our side. is art itself. standing near Himan and grandeur of the truth which has been actualized in the work and dwelling in its openness and being called to.e. (12) which causes Poesies meaning “ making possible realization of the truth “ and appearance of the hidden and rise of the world in work of art from the artist and on the other hand causes creating preserving of truth. Initially we want to see whether the views of the Western philosophers and thinkers are merely focused on art in the West or they aso view other manners of art. according to the views of western philosophers on art to the meaning they had in the Islamic world does not require us to consider Muslim art as being invalid in western aesthetics? The other question is why our own mystics. in the sense of a of ways of realization of truth. i. (13) Transition from Philosophical Approach to Religious Approach to Art Before we explain art being religious or not.The Spirit of Religious Art 71 Now if we want to summarize Heidegger’s statements in this aspect of art. it is necessary to pay attention top several matters to prevent certain problems. such as Hafez and Saadi? In other words.
each art has a record of a particular science. Eastern and Western art are different from each other in appearance of truth and each is a separate appearance of truth. Of course we should not imagine that the meaning of science here is conceptual science. in other words having a world. otherwise unconditional application of their views on art is merely a result of inattention and ignorance to the truth of philosophy and philosophic viewpoint. Only with respect to this basic difference in the appearance of these two types of art that we can use the views of western thinkers on art. “Ars sine scientia nihil “i. The meaning of science here is manner of appearance of a particular world. The meaning of science here is the same manner of presence and relationship of the artist with the world which appears in his works. This science is not taught in universities. People of the middle ages rightly said that art without science is nothing. The issue of science is related to world because world is that through which science or knowledge is achieved.(14) In other words.e. In the Islamic world the word art was not the Muslims intellectual term and it has various meanings. But on this basis we should not think that what the western philosophers have said about art applies to our art too. Among these are the meaning acquiring technique (whose equivalent is techne in Greek) and industry (as when we use this word . Because the basic issue is that the truth that has appeared in the secular western art is different from the truth which appeared in the Eastern art. But the reason that our mystics and scholars did not make independent views on art is itself a precise point. Now it is with respect to this issue that we say that science which is the basis of art in the west and also that world which appears in western arts is different from science and world of Eastern art.72 Mohammad Reza Rikhtegaran hidden is human nature and from this point of view there is no difference between the west and the east.
In fact art here means love of truth. in addition to these meanings.The Spirit of Religious Art 73 in the expression “literary industries). there are also meaning for art which enjoys special importance in the present discussion. Consider the following couplets by Hafez: If your mind desires union. Also by artless Hafez does not mean lack of practical experience and knowledge of technique and lack of craftsmanship. In these verses by artists Hafez is not referring to experts of techniques or craftsmen. O Hafez You should become dust at the feet of artists Look at love’s beauty perfection not sin’s flaw Whoever is artless can observe only imperfection Truth’s Dervishes will not pay a trice For that Atlas’ tunic who lacks art Lover. In this case the meaning of art is finding all the practical laws related to vocation and technique and knowledge along with its delicacy and details and way of implementation of command according to its laws and principles. Passionately do I love and hope that this gentle craft May not like other arts cause despair In such verses the meaning of art is “love. (16) In the Islamic world. These meaning relate to Irfan (mysticism) and religion truth. libertine and flirt am I and hereby proclaim That you may know how many arts I ornamented am with. goodness and the condition that results from proximity to truth and clarity of . Moreover it also means the set of information and experiences. virtue. (15) The other meaning of art is using expertise and technique in appearance of beauty or agency of imitation or innovation or in other words a medium through which man explains his view about perfection.
but none of these can be considered as the soul of basis of art being religious or non-religious. Have we not equated art with Irfan ( mysticism ) by saying the above.e. learning of craft in creativity. will also apply to art in these meanings. Hear the story of love from Hafez. but innovation and bringing forth and expression and creativity and construction on the basis of that presence is also important.74 Mohammad Reza Rikhtegaran the heart and Divine manifestation. but may never be expressed creatively but in art. This is why art is always accompanied by techne. .. in the common sense it is inevitably used for expression and creativity and bringing forth. In fact since true art in Islam has never been separated from religion. Therefore the question remains as to what is the basis of art being religious or non-religious? The answer to this question requires presentation of certain preliminaries. What is the factor separating art from Irfan? The point is that in art merely “realization of truth” and “present condition” and direct relation” is never brought up. It can even be said that this concept of art stands against “craftsmanship” and learning technique.(17) experts have never made independent statements or theories on it. i. purification of the self and ethical values as well as what has been said about worlds and appearance of truth etc. not from the preacher Therefore in Islam what has been said about adornment with virtues. Religiousity of Art We said that in all ways art in general involves “realization of truth” and “direct relation and presence” as well as “bringing forth and expression and creativity and construction” and finally “unveiling and manifestation”. It is possible that for a mystic a truth may be realized and a manifestation may occur.
selfishness and egotism. anger and pride then it is satanic. called the aspect of Al-Rab (God) and another aspect inclines him towards Satan. which is called the aspect of the self. these are the Angels and . arrogance. But if its temptations and satanic inductions or through the carnal self. the self of man has two aspects: the aspect which inclines him towards God. and one breath is not devoid of each other’s enmity. It is being situated between the worlds of the beneficent and satanic that makes man special among all the creatures. Because creatures are divided into four types: The first kind is creatures which have intelligence and wisdom but do not have nature and carnal desires. If the address is from the angels it is inspiration and if it is from the side of the self it is carnal and if it is from the side of the satan it is temptation. But if it is from the side of the Glorious God and as a result of this induction into the heart. (18) In other words. man is the only being who is located between the beneficent and satanic worlds and “his heart is hippodrome of friend of good and evil. and through it the dead heart of the man becomes alive and through the address of the angles enthusiasm for obedience and fear of committing sins comes into a person. And man’s heart is always exposed to a mind and mind “is an address which enters the consciences (hearts) and sometimes induced by angels and sometimes induced by satan and maybe the saying of the self or from the side of the glorious right. The criteria of the Righteous and the Satanic is that if selfishness is lessened and one becomes obedient and humble then it is from the righteous and if it is accompanied with egotism.e. i. it is a righteous address.The Spirit of Religious Art 75 Among all creatures. (19) The address of the righteous is the rays of light of knowledge which the lord sheds into the hearts of the near and dear ones from the realm of Ghaib. then the person will become bound to worldly bounds and expressions of false claims and acceptance of sins.
Man is a creation from a rare elixir Made up of Angel and of beast If he goes towards the one. The last kind and fourth kind are creatures which have both intelligence and wisdom and also nature and carnal desires and they are humans. The third kind has neither intelligence. The second kind of creatures is those that don’t have intelligence and wisdom but have nature and carnal desire and these are the animals. It is in this case that rules of obedience dominate over a person. In other words the animals are always having their heads downwards and can never raise them high. Now with this preliminary discourse we can refer to art being religious or non-religious. in accordance his art will be religious or irreligious. or in other words whether man’s nature is from God. That art is religious in which the apparent senses and inner power of the soul of the artist be all obedient to the Merciful God. The Angels always have their heads held up high and will never lower them. worship and prayer to the Right. The religious or irreligious nature depends on whether the existence of the artist before God is beneficent or satanic. nor nature.76 Mohammad Reza Rikhtegaran their quality is that they never disobey God and always fear Him and always follow His commands. turmoil and . (20) Among these four kinds none can go beyond their levels and progress to other levels except man. and in short his intelligence rule over all his existential powers: of course by intelligence here we do not mean the power of differentiation of generals from particulars. or from his carnal self. Here intelligence is a light which if it exists in the heart of man is a motive and a cause for obedience. not the rules of anger. nor wisdom. becomes better than it. nor carnal desires and these are plants and vegetables. or irreligious. and again whether man is righteous or satanic. But man has a unique position and situation. becomes baser than it And if it comes closer to the other.
(Aesthetics is defined as the science of beauty and perfection). sensual and sense related persons in his treasury and he has nothing in him except selfishness and egotism. his quality of obedience and worship to the Right becomes weak and imagination rules over intelligence which is the supporter of obedience and worship of the RIGHT. and commands for it.e. inevitably its attention is diverted towards low and base directions. on sense perception and apparent things. . In this case the self of the artist employs the intelligence for imagination. turmoil overrules the person and his soul is covered with the glitter of the non-eternal world and satanic qualities. and is accompanied by selfish and satanic desires. the artist is inspired by his carnal desires and not from God. Therefore it is only irreligious art which is limited to aesthetics. whether in sleep or awakening. is portrait of his true love. his spiritual powers become attentive to the holy realms and some of his dreams will come true. In this way he savors obedience and accepts good deeds and finds his way into the world of truth and at every moment his thinking. But in irreligious art. Because in the Islamic world art is lowered merely to aesthetics i. If such a person goes to sleep and abandons the worldly acts. These apparent and sense perception persons in the Greek language are called aisthetos from which the word aesthetics is derived. When the thinking of the person pays no heed to the heart and world of truth.e. In this case apparent and sense related persons become important and even genuine to him and art will be based solely on aesthetics. His thinking inclines towards the world and a worldly thinking only gathers the apparent.The Spirit of Religious Art 77 disobedience. Plato’s opposition to art was in fact opposition to art based on aesthetics and this is why it becomes clear why the western philosophers’ aesthetics are nonexistent in books of the Islamic world. i. In this case anger.
These . In other words the art of Saadi. true love". "beneficent presence". fantastic realism. Hafez. or the great artists and architects and builders and other branches of our ancient arts are not based on the irreligious art of West which is based on aesthetics. since the abilities of his soul and self has reached maximum power in acceptance of satanic inductions. Such dreams have interfered in his artistic bringing forth.78 Mohammad Reza Rikhtegaran In irreligious art all aspects of the artist are selfish and satanic. neoplasticism. His dreams will be nightmares of perplexity and disturbance and it is exactly these disturbed dreams which have created such modern art styles as surrealism. "righteous aspects". and satanic will be his existence. And in fact without the help of satan he cannot be in an artistic condition. Pop art etc. formalism. Attar and other great poets. neuroses. Such a person. consciousness and semi-consciousness relation between dream and awakening. even in dream and sleep he will not be safe from satan’s control. Final Considerations Once again we repeat that religious art is related to "realization of truth” and appearance of "religious Worlds". clarity of heart. the conscious and unconscious self etc. sentimentalism. Moulavi. is exactly this that the modern arts which are most irreligious are based on satanic inductions. the principles of Western aesthetics arc based on apparent sense and the apparent world and immediate relation to the carnal self and sensual effects and sentimentalism. In this case the work which is brought forth as a result of his condition will be the result of satanic thoughts. And the reason why in the West there is so much talk of artistic relation with satanism . expressionism. and new psychological phenomena. Thus religious art is separate from the principles of Western aesthetics. exorcism. that is in sleeping and awakening he is covered with inducements of the lower and satanic self. psychosis. constructivism.
In short non-religious art. and is only limited to collating and putting together parts or words. but . sense perceptions and internal experiences of the person were the bases of art and is related to so-called mysticism of the self and magic and techniques of meditation etc. Therefore non-religious. and the uneducated populace since they are attracted by this worldly glitter and their ears hear something pleasurable. Of course practically the religious arts were accompanied with the necessary technical craftsmanship and techniques. have a direct relat ion with the lower carnal self and have spread and this is why it is appropriate with the worldly conditions of the common people. We are not saying that acquaintance with it requires some special training. a spark of' fascination comes into their eyes and become dumbfounded. But in nonreligious or irreligious art. But religious art since it is a manner of "realization of truth" and "manifestation of religious worlds" automatically does not address the uneducated public. even satanic and sentimentalist presence does not exist. which are in fact connection of the self of a person with the lower and satanic aspects within him. As we said religious art is a manner of "realization of truth" and manifestation of the inner hidden" (in the meaning these terms have in religion) and was not based on mere internal experience or carnal actions and sense impacts. And this is only half the story. Because in many o f the non-religious modern artistic bringing forth. based on new and contemporary Western styles.The Spirit of Religious Art 79 great religious artists were not merely "artists" in the Western sense of the word and their art was not merely craftsmanship and creativity but was "adornment with inner virtues resulting from closeness to truth and inner light of the heart". especially in the modern era is inartist ic and full of errors and is totally the inducements of satan and the carnal desires.
Richard E. Thought. 1988. sophistry. Dr. It can be mentioned that Aristotle in his discussion on analogy has mentioned five types of creativity. Martin Heidegger. Hofstadter. Basic writings. 4. 5. The Greek word mimesis in most European languages is translated into Imitation. Trans. Amir Kabir Publications. For greater explanation of relation between truth and art. 1977. Northwestern university. Ibn Sina translated this word into "Mahakat" and Ibn Rashid into "Tashbih. Language. Its general meaning is only "bringing forth" which encompasses all arts. p. oratory and poetry.57 58 14. the Origin of the Work of Art by A. 1368. look at writer's article titled "Truth and Its relation to art. Poetry. Language. p72. language. Under the word "Art. 45. p. They are: Reasoning. 1979. 1971. Meaning of the book "Naqqadi Hokm" is Kant. 15. New York. Refer to the writer's article:"Hermeneutics and its relation to art and beaut y"." in Art Periodical. by A. Routledge and Kegan Paul. p. But its special meaning relates solely to "poetry" which is one of the kinds of Techne. 6. 8. Palrner.80 Mohammad Reza Rikhtegaran our meaning is that unless a person does not go beyond the stage of stupor and abandonment of his carnal desires and sent imentalism and so long as true love does not envelope his soul and being he will never find the path to the true way. Harper Collophon books. Trans. 1363. pp. Hermeneutics. PP293-4. Trans.Martin Heidegger. 3. Endnotes: 1. Here we do not mean that all Western arts are non. Muhammad Moin. Mehta. Martin Heidegger. Poesies for Aristotle have two meanings.religious and all Eastern arts are religious. 10. Tehran. Martin Heidegger. 17. 1971. Thought. 11.67-68. 18. No. Martin Heidegger. P111-2. 4. Poetry. Farhany Farsi. The Question Concerning Technology. Ibid.I. New York. Wintger 1368-Spring 1369." . Vol. London. in Periodical Art. by J. No." 2. 7. 9. Hofstadter. Cf. This is why most of the craftsmen in modern nonreligious arts and artists of various branches of new arts are among the uneducated people. Cf Walter Biemel. 13. 12. by David Farrell Krell.7. polemics. thought. Poetry.
corrected by Najib Mayel Heravi. P3. Especially among the Muslims of recent and contemporary ages. 2. Arnir Kabir Publications. Muli Pnblications. Moiduddin Jondi. 20. Muhammad Moin. nonreligious works are frequent." 17. 18. AI-Risalat AI-Qashiriye fi Ilm AI-Tasawwuf. . Alnafs Val Ruh va Sharh Quwaha. Farhany Farsi. P 43. AI Imam Fakhruddin Muhammad bin Omar AI-Razi. Vol. 1362. 1363. Dar ul Kitab AI Arabi. Tehran. under word "Sanaat.The Spirit of Religious Art 81 16. Beirut. Of course we dont want to say that in the Islamic period all the art works of Muslims were religious. 1364. Dr. Tehran. P101. Nafhat AI-Ruh va Tohfat AI-Fotooh. Tehran. 19. corrected by Dr Muhammad Saghir Hassan AI Masoumi. Abilqassern Abdulkarim bin Huwazen AI Oashiri.
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