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Zachary Crockford: Islamic Art

Zachary Crockford: Islamic Art

In his article Philosophy of Muslim Art, Titus Burckhart points out that beauty is often expressed in Islamic art as the plentitude of God’s being, “It attaches itself to the appearances of things and at the same time rejoins in its qualitative limitlessness the Divine Being Itself, since it penetrates beyond all duality, such as(…)

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Zachary Crockford: Islamic Poetry

Zachary Crockford: Islamic Poetry

Both classic and modern Islamic poetry stresses the oneness of Allah and his pervasive power in the world. Mystical poetry often embodies an animosity towards literalism; how can the grandeur and majesty of a personal, emotional God be expressed in dry, dead legalese? Both Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi and his modern contemporary Nizar Qabbani highlight(…)

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Zachary Crockford: Mosque Visit

Zachary Crockford: Mosque Visit

In mosques, artistic form and performance intersect to locate the ungraspable center, God.  When we visited the Islamic Center of Cleveland Professor Mahallati pointed out the absence of furniture. In fact, there were no objects in the center of the room – besides the pillars the large bubble of space beneath the mosques’ dome was(…)

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Zachary Crockford: Three Muslim Empires

Zachary Crockford: Three Muslim Empires

Each of the three Muslim Empires used religion as a way of structuring society and controlling their sprawling dominion, but there were also pivotal differences in the way each empire framed and treated religion and existed in the global economy. The Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals all used religion as a political structure to order their(…)

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Zachary Crockford: The role of duty-based ethics in Islam

Zachary Crockford: The role of duty-based ethics in Islam

Although duty-based morality is central to Muslim ethics the emphasis on orthopraxy isn’t merely an end in itself; it provides a framework within which more individual principles and virtue driven morality can be developed. We’ve already discussed Islamic law and the emphasis Islam places on outward adherence, or orthopraxy. But, as Brown point out in(…)

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Zachary Crockford: Islamic Worldview

Zachary Crockford: Islamic Worldview

In Islam’s worldview people are artificially separate from one another and Allah despite the essential unity of the world and God himself – by effacing the ego Muslim’s can realize their place within the cosmic unity. Through repeated, ritual repression of the self, Islam reminds Muslims that they are inextricably beholden to the essential Being and the(…)

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Zachary Crockford: Islamic Influence on the European Renaissance

Zachary Crockford: Islamic Influence on the European Renaissance

Astronomy is one field in which we can observe how Muslim scholars of the early Abbasid centuries catalyzed the European Renaissance. Muslim astronomers sifted “ancient” Hellenistic astronomy through an editorial translation process and then worked as a scientific community to find solutions to the errors they found in the received knowledge. These astronomers, known as(…)

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 “Zachary Crockford: Three Moral Messages from the Quranic Surat Maryam”

 “Zachary Crockford: Three Moral Messages from the Quranic Surat Maryam”

– Singular Obedience to Allah – There is one God and he desires our full worship. Love for Allah should supersede blood relation, cult religions, and even affection for Angels. Sura 19 emphasizes this overarching allegiance to God by contrasting it with the biological father-son relationship: Zechariah cannot beget a son so he asks Allah(…)

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