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Evelyn Wagaman: Islamic Worldview in Mystical Poetry

Evelyn Wagaman: Islamic Worldview in Mystical Poetry

Both classical and modern Islamic mystical poetry commonly touch on themes of love and God. These two topics arise in both works that I presented on, “The Alchemy of Love” by the classical poet Rumi and poem 59 in a anthology by modern poet Nizar Kabbani. “The Alchemy of Love” describes how love can improve(…)

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Evelyn Wagaman: Beauty and Meaning as Islamic Art

Evelyn Wagaman: Beauty and Meaning as Islamic Art

According to hadith literature, Muhammad once said, “God is beautiful and loves beauty” (qtd. in Siddiqui). What we today call Islamic art is representative of centuries of attempts to create beauty. Indeed, Islamic art is both beautiful and distinctive, consisting of complex patterns, arabesques, and calligraphy, while expressing important religious messages. The arabesque is one(…)

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Evelyn Wagaman: Form, Performance, and Spirituality

Evelyn Wagaman: Form, Performance, and Spirituality

Mosque architecture is characterized most simply by the presence of three basic elements: minarets, arches, and domes. But it is far from simple. In fact, the form of every mosque is intentionally both practical and spiritual. The mosque that we visited outside Cleveland demonstrates many instances of the interplay between form, practical performance, and spirituality.(…)

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Evelyn Wagaman: The Three Islamic Gunpowder Empires

Evelyn Wagaman: The Three Islamic Gunpowder Empires

One cannot tell a viable account of Islamic history without mentioning the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires. These three empires have had a continuing impact on Islamic art, culture, and society. In what follows, I will detail certain characteristics of each empire and offer comparisons between the three. The Ottoman Empire was expansive and lasted(…)

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Evelyn Wagaman: Islamic Ethics

Evelyn Wagaman: Islamic Ethics

Morality in Islam comes from a variety of sources, including the Qur’an, the Hadith of the Prophet, pre-Islamic traditions, and reason (Mahallati). The moral system itself can be described as a blend of deontological (duty-based) ethics, virtue ethics, and utilitarianism (Moosa 36). Because Islamic ethics combines so many sources and modes of thought, it is(…)

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Evelyn Wagaman: The Islamic Worldview

Evelyn Wagaman: The Islamic Worldview

The Islamic worldview, like any worldview, is difficult to characterize concisely. While the worldview might be summarized by the three principles of faith, more must be said to complete the picture. So, I will address in more detail the nature of God, humans’ relationship to Him, and the afterlife and eschatology. Perhaps a good place(…)

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Evelyn Wagaman: Islamic Influences on the European Renaissance

Evelyn Wagaman: Islamic Influences on the European Renaissance

Anti-Islamic sentiment where it is found in the modern world is often based on perceptions of Muslims as a backward people, less advanced in their thinking than those of the “Western” world. But those who hold this viewpoint would do well, before making any sweeping generalizations about Islam, to study its rich history of contributions(…)

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Evelyn Wagaman: Three Moral Points in Surat 19

Evelyn Wagaman: Three Moral Points in Surat 19

Surat 19, entitled “Maryam,” recounts the stories of several of God’s prophets, including Jesus, Abraham, and Moses. Throughout these stories, several moral themes emerge, allowing the reader to determine which qualities are pleasing to Allah and which are not. One quality we may examine is purity or, as it applies in a sexual context, chastity.(…)

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