What are Islam's rulings regarding art?

31 Aug

1. Islam is a religion that admires beauty, which exists everywhere. The Prophet himself once declared that God is perfection and that He loves beauty. Nevertheless, Islam gives priority to morals over beauty, and that in itself does not signify that Islam is against art. Islam thus considers that beauty should be based on morals. This is the attitude taken by Islam concerning all branches of art. Islam’s criterion when judging any branch or work of art is based upon the rule that what is right is good and what is evil is wrong. The Qur’an draws our attention in many verses to the beauty of the universe and the perfection of its creation, which is admired by everyone who sees it. [15/10, 16/6, 41/12]. Accordingly, Islam does not condemn any branch or work of art if it is beautiful. However, should it display any form of moral or material repulsiveness, Islam condemns it.
2. If the aim of any work of art is to appeal to one’s intellect and finer feelings, Islam naturally does not object to it. However, if it appeals to the carnal instincts of man and is not a manifestation of decent art, by spreading vice and by being an active factor in the deterioration of morals, Islam condemns it.
3. When musical melodies, singing, and the words of songs are refined and harmonius, they are approved by Islam provided that they do not induce the people who listen to them to succumb to any form of temptation forbidden by God. In other words, if art aspires to elevate the human emotions and the spirit of man, it is not only approved, but also admired. The Prophet admired the voice of Abu Mousa Al-Ash’ary when he recited the Qur’an. The Prophet also chose, from among his companions, those who were gifted with melodious voices to proclaim the time of prayer. He also listened to musical instruments such as the tambourine, the pipe, and the flute without making any remarks that could be interpreted as dislike for music. On the day of the Feast, Abu Bakr entered the Prophet’s house and found his daugher ‘Aisha, the Prophet’s wife, listening to the singing of two bondmaids who were also beating drums. When Abu Bakr objected, the Prophet replied: "Leave them, Abu Bakr; today is the day of the Feast". The Prophet himself also asked his wife ‘Aisha to send for someone to sing at the wedding procession of her relative who was married to one of the inhabitants of Al-Madina. There were numerous occasions when the Prophet indicated that neither music nor singing are prohibited in Islam, unless they are accompanied by a form of immorality or vice.
4. Regarding dancing, Islam differentiates between men’s dancing and women’s dancing. For example, men dancing in a group is approved of by Islam, and the Prophet allowed his wife ‘Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, to watch a group of Abyssinians dancing on the day of the Feast. Women dancing before other women is permitted by Islam, but their dancing in front of men is prohibited in order to eliminate any possibility of temptation, that may lead to immorality.
5. Acting is not prohibited provided that it adheres to morality. No one can deny the important role played by the art of acting in its dealing with and treatment of many problems of the community. It also criticizes the vices rampant in society and presents solutions to many matters that concern the community. Also any form of reasonable entertainment that does not exceed the limits of deceny is permitted by Islam. Photography is also permitted by Islam and has come to be a necessity in the world of today.
6. There are definite religious rulings that prohibit sculpture and statues. The reason for this prohibition goes back to the advent of Islam when most people worshipped idols. Islam feared that statues might be worshipped by those whose belief was superficial and that they might revert to the worship of idols. Currently, such a possibility does not exist and consequently no sin is committed. However, in order that Islam may prevent a recurrence of what took place in the pre-Islamic era in the future or even in the distant future, it has laid down its ruling, since it legislates for all generations and eras and what may seem impossible in one era may become a reality in another era, be it sooner or later.
End of Questions about God And Human Beings
To be continued…….

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