The Arts of Islamic Civilization by

Isma’il Raji al Faruqi

In dealing with any aspect of Islamic civilization, its final raison d’etre and creative base must be seen as resting on the Qur’ān. Islamic culture is, in fact, a “Qur’ānic culture”; for its definitions, its structures, its goals, and its methods for execution of those goals are all derived from that series of revelations from God to the Prophet Muhammad. Without that revelation, the culture could not have been generated; without that revelation, there could have been neither an Islamic religion, an Islamic state, an Islamic philosophy, an Islamic law, an Islamic society, nor an Islamic political or economic organization. Just as surely as these aspects of Islamic culture may be rightly seen as Qur’ānic in basis and motivation, in implementation and goal, the arts
of Islamic civilization should also be viewed as aesthetic expressions of similar derivation and realization. Yes, the Islamic arts are indeed Qur’ānic arts. How then are the Islamic arts to be seen as “Qur’ānic” expressions in color, in line, in movement, in shape, and in sound? This is the subject of this work.

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