Crash Course in Islam — Art
>>STEVE ST. GEORGE: Hello. I'm Steve St. George. And this is your crash course in Islam. Today art in the Muslim world. There is a lot of debate over what exactly is Muslim or Islamic art. How do you define the art of a religion that spans cultures. There's no easy answer to that. But there is one form of art that has crossed cultural and national barriers, calligraphy. Arabic is sacred in Islam because it is the language that Allah used to communicate with the Prophet Mohammed. Once the Quran began to be written down on tree leaves and leather, people began to focus on beautifying the text in order to honor the words of Allah. Because this calligraphy flourished and has become the most revered form of art in the Muslim world. Out of the pure text grew abstract flourishes and geometric designs, these two becoming hallmarks of Islamic art. The depiction of other things such as humans and animals is up for debate. There are those who see no problem with depicting human beings while others argue that depicting living beings is a form of idolatry and a sin against Allah. Some architecture can also be considered examples of Islamic art, the most famous being the Taj Mahal in India.