Zoe Martens

The art reflected the significant Muslim belief that there is no divide between the secular and the sacred. Each work of art was not only visually beautiful, but beautiful in that it praised Allah and brought blessing and good omen. Despite the fact that the art pieces came from many different countries from Iran to Thailand, they all manifested praise of the one God. The artworks were all created for a greater purpose, rendering them sacred even if they may appear a trivial visual representation at first glance.

The merciful side of Allah is highlighted in the art pieces because they were created to bring protection and blessing. Beauty calligraphy was throughout the works, representative of the word of Allah in the Quran. But different verses and chapters were emphasized in each piece and the Quran displayed contained commentaries about various recitation styles. Varied relationships to the holy text does not change its meaning- artwork represents many different points of view, but they all see Allah as the one true God. Additionally, the artworks emphasize different aspects of Allah- for example; the ceramic plate lists the 99 names of Allah. But its center reads “in the name of Allah, the compassionate and the merciful”, highlighting that Allah’s mercy takes precedence over his wrath.

Allah’s mercy is displayed in the sacredness of the art pieces for each work brings its owner good omen. I especially liked the rings because they allow the owner to wear an entire chapter of the Quran on their person. The sacredness of art reflects the physicality of Islam- the exterior practices, whether the proper position for praying or creation of art, reflect the interior submission and devotion to God.