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Jonathan Jue-Wong: Islamic Poetry as a Holistic Medium of Expression

Jonathan Jue-Wong: Islamic Poetry as a Holistic Medium of Expression

Islamic poetry is unique for encompassing many aspects of Islam, including the religion and civilization’s theological, philosophical, ethical, mystical, artistic, and political facets (Mahallati lecture, 12/1/2014). This was certainly evident in the classical and contemporary poetry we recently studied. I was personally drawn to two poems in particular that artistically expounded on key messages within(…)

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Jonathan Jue-Wong: The Word Expressed – Islamic Art & its Theological Underpinnings

Jonathan Jue-Wong: The Word Expressed – Islamic Art & its Theological Underpinnings

In addition to its prodigious aesthetic beauty, Islamic artwork is distinguished by several unique features. A major characteristic of Islamic art is the importance of calligraphy. Arabic calligraphy is a fine art itself, but is also interwoven into virtually all forms of Islamic arts. Many consider calligraphy to be the foundation of Islamic art itself(…)

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Jonathan Jue-Wong: Community, Form, and Function within Muslim & Hindu Houses of Worship

Jonathan Jue-Wong: Community, Form, and Function within Muslim & Hindu Houses of Worship

Architecture is utilized for spiritual purposes and expressions of piety within Islam, a relationship readily made apparent by our field trip, Professor Mahallati’s commentary, and the Burckhardt reading. Many mosques stress personal humility. Mosques are designed without seating; worshippers pray on the floor, sitting alongside one another in congregational community. This lack of furniture and(…)

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Jonathan Jue-Wong: Religion and Statecraft – Islam’s Role in the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires

Jonathan Jue-Wong: Religion and Statecraft – Islam’s Role in the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires

The so-called Islamic “gunpowder empires” (Streusand) were formidable states in their respective heydays. The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires were all Islamic empires, but differed in key respects. One key aspect that these empires differed in was the extent of their religious toleration and how pluralistic their societies were. Under Shah Isma’il (1487-1524), the subjects(…)

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Jonathan Jue-Wong: Essence and Intention, the Twin Cores of Islamic Morality

Jonathan Jue-Wong: Essence and Intention, the Twin Cores of Islamic Morality

Sufi practitioner Kabir Helminski describes the “embodied spirituality” known as Adab in his essay “Adab: The Art of Conscious Relationship.” Helminski, through measured description, quotes, and allegory, strives to illustrate the elusive Sufi concept of “Adab.” On a basic level, he defines Adab as “the ability to sense what is appropriate to each moment and(…)

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Many Beliefs, but One God: The Islamic Worldview (Jonathan Jue-Wong)

Many Beliefs, but One God: The Islamic Worldview (Jonathan Jue-Wong)

Beliefs within the Islamic worldview come from a range of sources, including the Quran, Hadith, centuries of theologians’ writings, and practical Muslim devotional life. The past week of readings and lectures have explored a wide variety of topics pertaining to Islamic cosmology, humanity, and divinity. One central matter covered in class and in The Vision(…)

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Jonathan Jue-Wong: ‘From Baghdad With Love’ – Muslim Contributions to the European Renaissance

Jonathan Jue-Wong: ‘From Baghdad With Love’ – Muslim Contributions to the European Renaissance

            The political and military stability established by the autocratic Abbasid caliphs in the mid 8th century enabled what scholar Karen Armstrong terms a “florescence” of learning and intellectual exploration (Armstrong, 55); intellectual endeavors that would profoundly affect and inform the European Renaissance within a few hundred years. The Abbasid(…)

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Jonathan Jue-Wong: Divine Retribution and Human Morality in the Surat Maryam

Jonathan Jue-Wong: Divine Retribution and Human Morality in the Surat Maryam

            In Daniel W. Brown’s discussion of the Quran in A New Introduction to Islam, he outlines three ways the Quran is approached: as a holy, sacred object; as an historical artifact born of a geographic and historical setting; and as a “discursive text to be interpreted and understood,” often(…)

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