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Gabe Brown: Humans, God, and Love in Classical and Modern Islamic Poetry

Gabe Brown: Humans, God, and Love in Classical and Modern Islamic Poetry

Both the classical and modern poems that I selected concern humans’ relationship with higher ideals of God or love, which are intimately connected to one another. “Invocation”, the classical poem by the 11th century Sufi sheikh Kwajah Abudullah Ansari, uses simple language laced with contrasts to separate the human and divine realms. “You are all,(…)

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Gabe Brown: Art and the Divine

Gabe Brown: Art and the Divine

Islamic art draws on several important principles to create beauty that is evocative of the divine. The concept of ishan is inseparable from Islamic art; seeking beauty serves as a way of seeking and drawing closer to God. Titus Burckhardt remarks that beauty “is like a bridge that goes from the tangible world toward God,”(…)

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Gabe Brown: Manifestations of Artistic Form, Performance and Spirituality in a Mosque

Gabe Brown: Manifestations of Artistic Form, Performance and Spirituality in a Mosque

The mosque and Hindu temple visit revealed important connections between artistic form, performance, and spirituality. At the Islamic Center of Cleveland, the architecture of the mosque represents the divine order. Titus Burckhardt explains how the “rectangular body of the building corresponds to the earth, and the spherical cupola to heaven,” demonstrating the separation between humans(…)

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Gabe Brown: A Comparative Study of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires

Gabe Brown: A Comparative Study of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires

The Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Empires each originated from strongmen who either claimed religious legitimacy or led their followers to success on the battlefield. Osman Bey (d. 1326), a Turkish warrior, founded a principality in northwest Anatolia, from which his descendants expanded across all of Anatolia and the eastern Mediterranean, as well as parts of(…)

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Gabe Brown: Muslims and the Islamic Moral System

Gabe Brown: Muslims and the Islamic Moral System

The Islamic moral system incorporates various ethical schools while highlighting intention as its most important element. “Indeed all acts are measured by intentions,” says one Hadith. Because intention is so significant, Islamic ethics resembles duty-based and virtue ethics more than utilitarianism, which stresses the consequences of actions. A person’s deeds should flow from righteous intent,(…)

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Gabe Brown: The Special Relationship: God and Humans in the Islamic Worldview

Gabe Brown: The Special Relationship: God and Humans in the Islamic Worldview

The Islamic worldview focuses on God and his relationship to humans. The Quran tells us that “God is the light of the heavens and the earth” (24:35). He is the universal light that controls the universe. He is also the Real. “God’s reality is permanent and unchanging…All other realities exist as a function of God’s(…)

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Gabe Brown: From One Renaissance to Another

Gabe Brown: From One Renaissance to Another

A flowering of intellectual and scientific achievement marked the Abbasid era of the 9th-12th centuries. Muslim scholars studied and improved upon the sciences of antiquity in ways that highly influenced the European Renaissance. Knowledge and religion went hand in hand. According to P.M. Holt in The Cambridge History of Islam, Muslim scientists were seeking “to(…)

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Gabe Brown: Morality in the Qur’an

Gabe Brown: Morality in the Qur’an

Chapter 19 of the Qur’an highlights a few important aspects of humans’ relationship with God. Belief in God emerges as the key way in which the moral issues of obedience, patience, and justice are explained. Obedience to the will of God aids Zechariah in his quest to have a son. After Allah orders Zechariah to(…)

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