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LECTURE 3.

VCL 155
The Concept and
Principle
Islamic World View
The most outstanding and far reaching feature of the Islamic
world view is:
embodied in the proclamation, La ilahailla Allah (There is no
god but God.), and in the monotheistic principle of tawhid
which it proclaim.
in the monotheistic principle of tawhid, which it proclaim.
Tawhid:
derived from the word for one,
unique, or peerless (wahid), it is a concept
implying oneness and utter transcendence
of God.

Tawhid:
precludes any confusion or absorption
of the divine in the non-divine.

Tawhid is:
a loaded concept which not only implies a
definition of the Muslims view of God,
but
also of his view of this world and of his role in
life as an individual and a member of society.
The view of nature
In Islam, nature is creation and gift. As
creation it is teleological, perfect and orderly;
as gift it is innocent good placed at the
disposal of man. Its purpose is to enable man
to do the good and achieved felicity. This
treble judgment orderliness, of purposiveness
and goodness characterizes and sums up the
Islamic view of nature.

Islam rejects:
1. The representation of the Divine with figures
from nature
2. The creation of any form of religious image
The beautiful and the significant in art:
is not in the aesthetic portrayal of humanity or
human attributes, or of the truths of nature.

Instead, this transcendence-obsessed culture
sought, through the creation of the beautiful, to
stimulate in the viewer:
a. An intuition of,
b. An insight into,
the nature of Allah SWT and of mans relation to
Him.
Islamic Aesthetics
The Islamic message of Tawhid permeated
both
the content
and
the form of Islamic art.

Content
It can be demonstrated that Islamic art is
primarily abstract art.

Since Allah (SWT) is so completely other-
than natural world, no creature from
nature could stand as symbol for Him.
The artist concentrates on:

1. Geometric and other abstract designs
2. Elaborate calligraphy
3. Heavily stylized and denaturalized figures from
the plant world
4. Animal form became fantastic creature divorced
from nature
Beauty for Muslim artist is not the
idealization of nature.

Beauty is consisted in a portrayal which
expressed something other than nature,
something meant to generate an intuition of the
real essence of the Transcendent.


There two level of content in Islamic art:
a. Content with a small c - which involves with
the obvious, surface content.
b. Content with a capital C which through its
representation of the ostensible motifs,
figures, characters, or events, seeks to
reveal a deeper message or Content.
Form
The Islamic view of God and reality has
influenced the artists choice as well as the
organization of those non natural or
denaturalized motifs.
Two formal characteristics of Islamic artistic
creations reveal their conformance with
Islamic message :
1. Their non-developmental nature

Example of a non-developmental form in
Islamic painting : has no one focal point to which
all minor elements of the picture point and
subordinate themselves.

2. Their conjunct and disjunct arabesque
structure.
The definition of arabesque is primarily a matter of
the structure of art.
Arabesque can be separated into two types: the
conjunct (muttasil from wasala, to connect) and
the munfasil (from fasala, to divide in sections).
A conjunct arabesque resembles a continuum.
A disjunct or munfasil arabesque comprises a
combination of motifs in such a manner as to
present a series of self-contained units, each
complete in itself. Each component is also
loosely interwoven with those other units
around it in such a way as to produce a larger
pattern of which small unit is but a single
pattern.
art also becomes an essential means
for gaining knowledge, and, in its fuller
development, for attaining the final
awareness. Knowledge and beauty become
one, single experience.



Art and contemplation:
the object of art is beauty of form,
whereas the object of contemplation is
beauty beyond form,
which unfolds the formal order qualitatively
whilst infinitely surpassing it.


To extent that art is akin to contemplation
it is knowledge, since Beauty is an aspect of
Reality in the absolute meaning of the world.
Nor is it the least of its aspects, for it reveals the
unity and infinity that are immanent in things.