1/27/12

The British Museum's Pilgrimage to Hajj: Explores the Heart of Islam

A clearer understanding of Islam has become an urgent priority for the West. And this may very well be the closest guide to experiencing one of its central rituals—and, as the exhibition demonstrates, ideas of community, trade and shared knowledge—that any non-Muslim will be able to obtain, since the Hajj itself is reserved for the faithful.

Mr. MacGregor feels that this exhibition, curated by Venetia Porter, exemplifies what a museum such as his can do in increasing the understanding between cultures for all its visitors. It upholds, too, the British Museum's reputation for staging unapologetically didactic shows that combine remarkably beautiful objects and rigorous scholarship.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204616504577172402386772604.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Noha Balaa Sinno: Reinventing letters and calligraphy




BEIRUT: Forced to flee Lebanon at the height of the Civil War, Lebanese artist Noha Balaa Sinno now sees Arabic calligraphy as a link to her cultural heritage and her past, and uses it as a way of maintaining ties with the life she left behind more than 25 years ago.

“You only need art to bring people together and make them understand each other,” she says. Now living in Los Angeles, Sinno says. “I missed all the visual things I used to see in my country: shapes, colors, old buildings. So I tried to reinvent them in my world.”

Her first solo show in Beirut, “Reshaping Letters,” which opened at Art Circle Thursday, is her 31-painting attempt to convey her emotions using only Arabic letters and geometric designs. She sees Arabic calligraphy as a way of overcoming cultural barriers, whether or not the audience speaks or reads Arabic.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Art/2012/Jan-28/161323-reinventing-letters-and-calligraphy.ashx#ixzz1khxtktBW

http://evention.me/2012/01/25/reshaping-letters-by-noha-balaa-sinno/
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=327277663969885&set=a.153158734715113.26800.105633372800983&type=1&theater

1/25/12

Architecture in Islamic Arts. Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum at State Hermitage Museum

Candlestick with Repousee' Designs, Late 12th or 13th century - Architecture in Islamic Arts. Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum in State Hermitage Museum Russia
http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/2011/hm4_1_293.html
http://www.akdn.org/museum/

Emperor Jahangir at the Jharoka Window of the Red Fort in Agra C. 1620
Architecture in Islamic Arts. Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum in State Hermitage Museum Russia
http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/2011/hm4_1_293.html
http://www.akdn.org/museum/

Haftvad’s Daughter and the Worm C. 1540
Architecture in Islamic Arts. Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum in State Hermitage Museum Russia
http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/2011/hm4_1_293.html
http://www.akdn.org/museum/

Kilga (Jar Stand) Possibly 12th century
Architecture in Islamic Arts. Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum in State Hermitage Museum Russia
http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/2011/hm4_1_293.html
http://www.akdn.org/museum/

Detail from Moses regrets his Generosity Towards the Intemperate Man C. 1604
Architecture in Islamic Arts. Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum in State Hermitage Museum Russia
http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/2011/hm4_1_293.html
http://www.akdn.org/museum/

Muqarnas element Late 15th or 16th century
Architecture in Islamic Arts. Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum in State Hermitage Museum Russia
http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/2011/hm4_1_293.html
http://www.akdn.org/museum/

1/24/12

How to Read the Qur'an A New Guide, with Select Translations By Carl W. Ernst

http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/T-7953.html
How to Read the Qur'an offers a compact introduction and reader's guide for anyone, non-Muslim or Muslim, who wants to know how to approach, read, and understand the text of the Qur'an. Using a chronological reading of the text according to the conclusions of modern scholarship, Carl Ernst offers a nontheological approach that treats the Qur'an as a historical text that unfolded over time, in dialogue with its audience, during the career of the Prophet Muhammad.

Following Muhammad Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World By Carl W. Ernst

http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/T-7369.html
Unlike many "Islam 101" books published since September 11, 2001, Following Muhammad avoids the traps of sensational political exposé and specialized scholarly Orientalism. Carl Ernst introduces readers to the profound spiritual resources of Islam while clarifying diversity and debate within the tradition. One out of five people in the world is Muslim; only 18 percent of those, however, are Arab. Ernst moves away from a Middle Eastern bias, addressing the pluralistic nature of Muslim societies and thought. Framing his argument in terms of religious studies, Ernst describes how Protestant definitions of religion and anti-Muslim prejudice have affected views of Islam in Europe and America. Ernst also covers the contemporary importance of Islam in both its traditional settings and its new locations and provides a context for understanding extremist movements like fundamentalism.

1/17/12

Islamic Manuscripts at Cambridge Digital Library

Cambridge University Library's collection of Islamic manuscripts dates from the origins of Arabic scholarship in Cambridge in the 1630s when the University founded a Professorship in Arabic and William Bedwell donated a Qur'an to the Library.

Since that time the collection has grown in size and diversity to over 5,000 works, including the collections of Thomas Erpenius, J.L.Burckhardt, E.H.Palmer and E.G. Browne. These manuscripts shed light on many aspects of the Islamic world, its beliefs and learning.

http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/islamic

Afghan Calligrapher Creates World's Biggest Koran


An Afghan calligrapher has created what is being billed as the world’s largest Koran. 


The ambitious project has been heralded in Afghanistan as a historic achievement, and potentially eclipses another massive Koran unveiled just two months ago.

Mohammad Sabir Khedri, the master calligrapher behind the Afghan project, spent five years working with nine of his students to complete the Koran, which measures 2.28 meters by 1.55 meters.

Khedri, speaking described the venture to RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan as the most difficult, but rewarding, in his life.

"This idea was a spiritual move to be closer to the path of God," Khedri said. "I have tried with all my heart and soul to reach this goal. Doing the calligraphy for the holy book has been the biggest challenge in my life."


http://www.rferl.org/content/afghan_makes_worlds_biggest_koran/24454258.html

1/14/12

Rare copy of Qur’an on display

Jan 14, 2012 00:12
LONDON: The British Museum here witnessed on Thursday the installation of one of the oldest known copies of the Holy Qur’an from the 8th century as an exhibit for a major Islamic exhibition.

The British Library has lent the copy of the Holy Qur’an to the British Museum for the exhibition: Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, which is set to open to the public on Jan. 26.

The Ma’il Qur’an is the oldest object to go on public display as part of the British Museum’s major exhibition dedicated to the Haj, the pilgrimage to Makkah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

This manuscript is from Arabia, probably copied in Makkah or Madinah and dates from the 8th century, one of the earliest in existence. The script is known as Ma’il, meaning sloping, on account of the pronounced slant to the right, and it is one of a number of scripts developed in the early Islamic period of the copying of the Qur’an.

In this copy of the Qur'an, as in other ancient fragments, there are no vowel signs or other aids to pronunciation, and the end of each verse is indicated by six small dashes in two stacks of three.

http://arabnews.com/lifestyle/islam/article562983.ece