The Prophet Muhammad c. 570: Birth of Muhammad c. 610: Mohammed’s conversion; revelations from Gabriel 622: The hijra (“migration”) Muhammad fled to Medina First year in Muslim calendar 630: Muhammad captured Mecca 632: Muhammad died.
Orthodox Caliphate 632-661 (the first four caliphs) 634-644: Omar 634: Conquest of Damascus 636: Conquest of Jerusalem and Persia 640: Conquest of Egypt
Allah = God Islam = submission to God’s will Muslims = those who submit Jihad = the struggle to lead a virtuous life and to further the universal mission of Islam through teaching, preaching, and when necessary, warfare.
Religion Strict monotheism. Emphasis on personal morality set by the Quran (or Koran; literally, “recitation”). Absence of clergy.
Five Pillars of Faith (1) Declaring the central belief: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” (2) Saying prayers five times a day (3) Almsgiving (4) Fasting from dawn until sunset during the sacred month of Ramadan (5) Making the pilgrimage to Mecca
Government Theocracy: government and religion are inseparable. Caliph: the supreme religious and political leader of all Muslims.
Scholarship Arab scholars preserved hundreds of ancient Greek manuscripts, copying and editing them in Arabic translations (Fiero 227).
Scholarship The fund of scientific and technological knowledge, along with Arabic scholarship on Aristotle, stimulated a rebirth of learning in the 12th century and contributed to the rise of Western universities (Fiero 227).
Literature Poetry: Romantic love was a favorite subject, which had profound influence on the medieval romance (troubadour poetry) and the Renaissance poet Petrarch (Fiero 228).
Literature Sufi Poetry: A sufi is an ascetic Islam mystic who seeks to hold communion with the deity through contemplation and ecstasy. “Whatsoever I say in exposition and explanation of Love, when I come to Love itself I am ashamed of that explanation.” (Rumi)
Arabesque Thus, depiction of foliage in its varied forms became a very prominent feature of Arabesque art. One can visualize a strong link between art and nature in Islamic monuments where scrolling vines, surreal flowers and gracefully flowing leaves can be seen everywhere....
Inspiration The single most important factor that influenced the creation and evolution of Islamic Art is the Quran itself. One can find many verses in the Quran mentioning the beauty and abundance of Paradise with its exquisite gardens beneath which rivers flow.
Geometric Forms Islam and science were never seen as two separate subjects. From the Islamic viewpoint, geometry is one of the streams that flows from the Fountainhead of Islam. This belief that science is an integral part of Islam led to many discoveries and advancements in the field of mathematics by Muslims.
Islamic Art is therefore characterized by a beautiful combination of artistic foliage designs with geometric principles. The combination creates exquisite works of art unique only to the Islamic Cultural heritage.
Regulating Principles Repetition Infinite extension The looping together of motifs to form a meandering, overall pattern (Fiero 231).