islam in the modern age | The rapid social change that took place in Europe in the period of the French Revolution and Napoleon (1789-1815) led in foreign politics to a commercially motivated expansion of European influences into other regions European colonialism. Before understanding islam in the modern age, we need short brief of near history.
By the 18th century European powers and commercial companies had already gained important footholds in the countries of the Maghreb, the Near East, and Asia.
With Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt (1798), however, there began a new chapter in relations between East and West. In the Near East, in the wake of the conquerors came the administrators, explorers, and archaeologists, and with the technological revolution of the 19th century (steamships, railways, telegraph) great distances were covered more quickly and connections made to distant lands. In fact, Islam in the Modern Age is very compheresive subject.
History of Islam in the Modern Age!
From the beginning of the 19th century the world empire of the Ottomans was severely weakened. And lost its non-Turkish provinces in quick succession: Greece and the Balkans became independent. While in the eastern provinces the British. And the bench supported local efforts to get independence in order to secure political and commercial.
Offence France pursued its interests most directly in the Maghreb in 1830 h took possession of Algeria. And put the neighboring countries of Morocco and Tunisia under commercial pressure, both of them coming to the ventre of state bankruptcy through European loans. Also Anally having to accept oldal Bench protection.
In these countries France pushed ahead aggressively with the seulement of French colonists (colom), who took the best land. European volonists dominated not only agriculture and most of the overseas trade. But also the exploitation of mineral resources, discovered after 1880.
The Italians in Libya and the Spanish in North Morocco followed their example. Britain took possession of India in 1857 and intervened massively in Persia and Afghanistan to promote les commercial interests.
Developments between 1800 and 1914 – European colonialism and political reforms,
Egypt the British supported the attemps by Muhammad Ali and his successor to gain independence (1805-1849). When the heirs of Muhammad Ali gotinto debt with various prestige projects (inter with the Sue Canal 1809). The British took possession of Egypt in 1882.
After Initial difficulties the British also brought the Sudan under their control and made
protectorare agreements with the southeastern Gulf States of the Arabian Peninsula.
By the beginning of the 19th century Indonesia and Malaysia were fimly in the hands of the Dutch and the British respectively. Circumstances deteriorated in the regions of Syria, Iraq, Palestine and the Lebanon.
In fact Islam is Islam so it wil never be changed. Islam is explained by Koran and also Kuran will be never changed. But if you know, some part of Kuran is commentable, some part is historical, some part from now, some part from future, some part from beyod the future! And we belive it comes from God! Islam is the quide and advice for good people to reach God sake!
They were still for the time being part of the Ottoman empire but they found themselves abandoned to a massive European influence led to great changes in all these countries. A cabinet system on the European model was established almost everywhere and in 1861
Tunisia became the first Islamic country to introduce a constitution.
The colonial powers enforced a free trade policy, under which they secured many concessions and monopolies for themselves, and pressed ahead with far-reaching schemes for the jurisdiction of sharia law by secularizing and centralizing the justice system. European technology and military training, along with a network of European residents and consuls, dominated official life in these countries.
Islam in Modern Age, The colonial powers,
The systems of education and training were reformed in the European ethos, slavery was
abolished, and traditional clan rule repressed. Through improved medical care and preventive hygiene measures many countries experienced a population explosion
and a drift from the countryside into the cities.
The Europeans placed great weight on training a domestic elite, who often ollowed their careers in the colonial motherland, which led to exile from their people at home and from traditional Islam. Training objectives were the technological and military subjects, yet the colonial powers were unable to prevent the emergence of a small intellectual circle in the colonies and protectorates.
The export of European nationalism seriously undermined the traditional communal spirit of
Islam but it led to a new self-confidence in many countries and to the rediscovery of their own history. One obvious indication of this was the coup d’état in the Ottoman empire by the nationalist “Young Turks” in 1908. The colonies and the protectorates were involved to different extents in the First World War.
The role of Islam: cultural self contemplation and
In the eyes of the Propean, Islam was an antiquated region and an obsolete social system, which wood in the way of disciplined and centralized administration, even the native champion of Idamic culture, too, recognized the need for fundamental
The development of national literature and the triumphal march of the Furopean educational and training system from the second half of the 19th century encouraged the growth of a small dite, who became very sophisticated and took ance that was a critical of their own traditions as it was of the European advance.
The leader of this tendency to reflection on cultural matters, known salafiya,” were prepared to accept the military and technological superiority of Europe but refused to recognize any European spiritual, moral, or cultural superiority.
Reform movements in Islam.
They did not simply conjure up the past heyday of Islam, but saw Islam as the keystone of a future cultural identity for their people. Throuch their ideas and appeals they became the spiritual father of modern Islam, yet they were the godfather of some positions taken by the later Islamists for “Fundamentalises”), above all with regard to the scope of sharia law. The European powers could see with their own eyes the strength of reform
movements in Islam.
The most obvious was the rebellion of Muhammad Ahmad (1844-1883), the “Mahdi,” in the Sudan, who expelled the Egyptians and the British from the country and took Khartoum in 1885. The British and the Teyptians could not defeat the Islamic regime of his succesor until 1898/99. Still more successful was the strictly puritanical reform movement of the Wihabis in the Arabian Peninsula, in whose name the al-Saud family became the dominant power
in the region.
From 1902 Abd al-Azis, known as Ibn Saud (1880-1953), conquered the Heja topether with most of the Arabian Peninsula including Mecca and Medina. And in 1932 proclaimed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Senussi movement in Libya, which finally took over leadership of the struggle against Italian occupation and installed the emir or king of Libya in 1922. Also had a similarly puritanical orientation. Nowhere did the European power consult the Islamic authorities in order to cooperate with them. So almost everywhere the lanter took an aggressive stance on the side of the anticolonial freedom movements.
Freedom and islam, The 20th century, the road to national independence:
The end of the First World War marked for the time being the venith of political power for Britain and France. Since the Ottoman empire had fought on the vide of Germany and Austria and was now one of the defeated nations. Territorially it had to confine itself to Turkey and to give up its Arabian provinces.
The two great powers (the Entente) had in the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 already reached
agreement on their spheres of influence, which led to the French mandate ever Syria and Lebanon and to the British mandate over Palestine (and later Israel), Jordan, and Iraq, Boch powers were allied to the Hashemite family of Sharif Husein of Mecca (1856-1931), who had made himself king of the Hejar in 1916 (though he was expelled from there in 1924 by Ibn Saud).
The Entente powers permitted the installation in 1920/21 of Hussein’s sons Abdullah (1882-1951) and Faisal (1883-1933) as emirs or kings of Transjordan (Palestine and Jordan) and of Iraq
respectively. Abdullah, however, was committed to the authorization of a Jewish state (guaranteed in the Balfour Declaration of 1917). In 1922 the British recognized the independence of Egypt, where Fuad I (1868-1936).
History of islam, Title of King,
A descendant of Muhammad Ali, took the title of king. Britain was able, by and large, to secure for itself the lion’s share of trade with the countries of the east and to extend further its
position as a world naval power. France got into a precarious position in the Maghreb, since it found itself confronted by well-organized and European trained liberation movements, which also gained a considerable hearing internationally.
Britain faced similar difficulties in India, after Afghanistan had expelled all British influence in 1919. In the Indian National Congress Hindus (under Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru) and
Muslims in islam (under Muhammad Ali Jinnah) demanded both the withdrawal of the British and national independence, energizing their demands with well thought out actions.
Prompted by these reforms, Reza Khan (1878-1944) overthrew the Kajars in Persia in 1925 and
made himself shah. His authoritarian modernization and secularization led to an ongoing conflict with the Shiite clergy, which finally ended in 1978 with the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Understanding islam, Second world war,
In the Second World War the Islamic countries took varied positions, yet there were clear sympathies in some liberation movements for Nazi Germany because of its struggle against the British and the French. With the end of the war the time was ripe for national independence.
France gave Syria and Lebanon their independence in 1945, but conditions remained difficult there because of the complicated ethnic and religious mix. In 1947 the Italians finally had to withdraw from Libya.
Bloody Civil War,
In the same year India achieved its independence, yet the Muslim in islam leader Muhammad Ali
Jinnah (1867–1948). Who feared the numerical inferiority of the Muslims in islam in India, engineered the creation of a purely Islamic state of Pakistan in the west. After a bloody civil war there was an exchange of populations according to their religious allegiance. So that another Islamic state in the east of India came into being East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh (from 1972).
Indonesia had already declared itself independent under Ahmed Sukarno (1901-1970) in 1945
and Malaysia followed in 1957. In both countries the many religious and ethnic minorities have equal civil rights.
The situation developed particularly seriously in Palestine, where mainly Zionist Jews settled from 1917. When the flow of Jewish settlers from Europe intensified after 1945. the attempt by the British to limit the number of Jewish immigrants. In accordance with their earlier commitments on Jordan and Palestine. Led after bloody clashes to the foundation of the State of Israel. And the division of Jerusalem between Israel and Jordan.
To understand islam; Isreal and Arab War,
The majority of the Palestinians were either exiled to Jordan or brought under Israeli authority. Whereby the region became a prime flashpoint. An attempt by the Arab states to push Israel back led in 1967. To the defeat of the Egyptian-led Arab troops. After another defeat of the Arabs in 1973 Egypt and Jordan changed their political stance. And peace talks began, into which were also drawn the Palestinians under their leader Yasser Arafat (b. 1929). Serious problems also arose in the Maghreb. After a period of reprisals against the local independence movements France had to bow to international pressure.
In 1956 Morocco declared itself independent and the sultan, who had become the leader of the campaign for national independence, assumed the title of King.
Soldier for real islam! Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Term(1881-1938)
The army officer Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who was involved in the Young Turk rebellion of 1908, used his position as President of the Turkish National Assembly to depose the last Ottoman sultan in 1922 and to force Greece to evacuate Asia Minor.
As state president from 1923, he carried out a thorough program of secularization and modernization of the country and brought Turkey closer to Europe in its script, dress and education system.
As creator of the modern Turkish nation state he was given the title of “Father of the Turks” (Ataturk) by parliament in 1934.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,
In Turkey the nationalist government under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938), who deposed the last Ottoman sultan in 1922, undertook radical modernization, secularization, and Europeanization of the country.
Muhammad V (1909–1961). In Tunisia the charismatic lawyer Habib Bourguiba (b. 1903) negotiated independence in 1956 and set in train a radical modernization of the country. In Algeria, which officially belonged to France, the struggle for independence became particularly bloody.
After peaceful liberation movements, which argued for an autonomous republic within a union with France. Had been suppressed with great severity in the years following 1945. The Algerian Liberation Front (FLN) radicalized itself and went over to open rebellion in 1954. While the military organization of French-Algerians (OAS) terrorized the Muslim in islam population.
A spiral of terror and counter-terror with bloody attacks and bombings shook mainly the coastal cities. And finally crossed over to the French mainland, where the population was deeply split on the Algerian question. Finally President de Gaulle stood up to the military chiefs. And to the French-Algerians and granted the country independence in 1962.
Islam, Present day areas of conflict,
Particularly in the mainly secular states such as Turkey, Tunisia Algeria Indonesia, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt (after 1952). And laag (after 1958), major modemination programs in education, technology, the armed forces, medicine and science were undertaken at governmental level. And there were developments in the vocational training of women. Seria law was generally limited to local or family problems. And a thoroughly secular and European-style system of state
Those countries which were ruled in a more traditional way such as Morocco, Jordan, the Gulf Sates, and Malaysia, also undertook significant modernization programs, while the influence of traditional Islamic structures in official life remained more strongly entrenched in countries such as Saudi Arabia Pakistan, Sudan, and Libya.
From 1954 Egypt under President Gamal Abd el-Nasser (1918-1970) played a very significant role within the Islamic world at a time when the Arab region in particular was conscious of the politico-economic dominance of the USA and of attempts by the USSR to extend its political influence.
Egypt în peril,
Nasser pursued an active policy of neutrality (“nonalignment”) in relation to the two superpowers but with political support at home for socialism and the USSR. When he nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956, British, French and Israeli forces took possession of the Canal Zone but were compelled to withdraw by the USA and the USSR, who saw their interests in Egypt în peril.
Nasser, who initiated important campaigns for unwondermination, social reform, and major technical projects, was regarded in the Arab world as a hero of new Arab self-confidence, who by populist methods propongamed the idea of pan-Arabism (especially through Egypt’s union with Syria (1959-1961) and made himself leader of the struggle against Israel.
His example hand an effect on various countries Iraq, where in 1958 a group of officers removed the Hashemite ruling family, Yemen, where in 1962 the ruling imam was deposeds and Labya, where Colonel Muammer al-Gaddafi (b. 1942) deposed the king in 1909 and ever since has combined revolutionary teal with a modemist but strict Islam.
Modern islam, Gulf States,
Even in Saudi Arabia there was in 1962 a modernist revolt by several prìnces. The “Nasserist” system was also for many people the sponsor of the coups by the Baath Party in Syria and Iraq, which formulated an “Arab Socialism.” In many countries, such as the Gulf States, this new self-confidence forced a final withdrawal of the former protectorate powers. In the 1970s, in most of the countries, such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Indonesia. There was widespread renunciation of socialist principles and an emphasis on national unity.
Since the political differences berween Arab countries also became clear. The concept of pan-Arabism declined in favor of a strong pan-Islamism with the emphasis on cultural exchanges and economic aid. The more populous countries of Asia, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, also played an important part in the Organization of Islamic Conferences. Which was revived in 1974.
The 1970s were overshadowed politically by religious civil war in the Lebanon. An event that had seismic repercussions throughout the Islamic world was the deposition of the shah of Persia in 1978. And the proclamation of the Islamic Republic of Iran by Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini (1902-1989).
Radical Islamic movements,
This new form of government had an immediate effect on the Islamic movements in the Lebanon, Sudan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and also strengthened the activities of other Islamic groups. Until then radical Islamic movements, such as the Muslim in islam Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria, had been largely suppressed and kept away from political power.
Aims and methods of Islamic groups range from parliamentary participation in Jordan to terrorist actions in Algeria and Afghanistan. On the whole they demand a radicalization of political Islam in the struggle against developments in the modern world. Such as secularism, liberalism, and religious freedom. Although they are kept under control in mox Islamic states, as before. They generate their energy from discontent, lack of prospects, and major social problems that exist in many countries.
In several states they have political influence, such as in Pakistan, where the religious scholar Abu
Ala al Maududi (1903-1979). Formulated the principles of an Islamic system of governance, or their activities lead to divisions in society. As in Turkey and to a certain extent in Egypt.
The Islamic struggle!
The Islamic struggle in Algeria became particularly violent. In 1991 the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), at that time a legal organizacion was on the point of winning the election. A coup by military leaders took place at the beginning of 1992. And supporters of the FIS responded with a series of acts of terrorism and saborage. Which plunged the country into a bloody civil war that still continues. The struggle in Afghanistan is also a violent one.
Radical Islamists, the Mujahedin, who had been supplied with weapons and know-how by the West during the Soviet occupation of the country (1979-1988), afterwards seized power and are prepared to take up arms against all “Western” and “un-Islamic” forces.
It should, however, be stressed that most Islamic countries today steer a cautious but self-confident course between, on the one hand, keeping to the Islamic way of life and strengthening their Islamic identity. On the other hand, being part of the international community of states, with the attendance prospects and risks of global technology and communication.
Islam countries, In Search of the Exotic East;
A preoccupation with the art of the Islamic world is a European phenomenon that has been
observed in different forms since the time of the Crusades. It is marked by contacts with the
Islamic world that were sometimes hostile. But also often stimulating.
In the 19th century, however, this phenomenon became more significant after the upheaval in
intellectual life caused by the Enlightenment. It developed in the middle and the second half of
the 19th century to reach a peak that was characterized more by the amount of discussion. About
the East (i.e. the Islamic world) than by its depth.
This phenomenon became known as “Orientalism.” On the one hand, there had been since the
18th century those who, mindful of the Turkish wars, condemned Islamic peoples as barbarous
enemies, this attitude finding particular expression in operatic characters.
On the other, there were those who idealized them as representatives of the “Noble Savage,” of man in his noble, natural state, as popularized by the novels of Voltaire, for example. The 19th-century approach is quite different, as much factual information and actual knowledge of the Islamic world started to reach Europe.
Many painters and creative artists were able to gain an idea of Islamic art on the spot or from the great European collections. It is characteristic of the division in ideologies during this period that a series of different theoretical approaches led to the study of Islamic art.
They had an effect well into the 20th century and in some areas had a marked
influence on the development of new artistic movements in Europe. First of all there arises the question about contact with form and content in Islamic art, the roots of which lie in the 19th century, because then a division could already be observed
between the two areas of “external form” and “intellectual content.”
One example that expresses this tense relationship particularly well is the mosque building in the castle garden at Schwetzingen (1750), whose exterior design imitates not only different Islamic architectural forms but European ones as well. Both the domed building and the form of
the minarets are derived from Ottoman mosques, the whole complex being reminiscent
of Indian buildings, and yet clearly classical forms of European architecture have been integrated into the hypostyle halls facing the lake in front of the mosque.
On the one hand, as a building in a pleasure garden of the late Rococo period, this mosque was used for events at royal festivals, which shows the division of formal architectural quotations and contextual structures particularly clearly.
On the other hand, during the conception of this building the architect had still endeavored, at least subliminally, to make some reference to the way of thinking of the Islamic East. The epigrams fixed to many internal and external walls clearly carry quotations of Islamic sayings.
But then it is certainly not a matter of using actual quotations from Islamic authors but more one of using the recreations of European authors. The misunderstanding of such examples of Islamic
art becomes perfectly obvious in a building like this or at the numerous Ottoman and Moorish style cafés, smoking rooms, and bath houses of the 19th century, so one ought not to underestimate the impact it had on the positive, creative development of European art
in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is obviously particularly impressive in
the field of applied art.
European arts and crafts,
The fascination here was both with the technical quality and skilled perfection of the products of oriental craftsmanship and with the fact that the artists could not understand most of the inscriptions and symbols they frequently came across (and so it was the perfect middle way between cultures).
Here there are only isolated attempts to fill the shapes with contexts (such as, for instance,
repeated comments and tips on (Ottoman symbolism). In the main, however, it can be seen
that European arts and crafts were influenced almost exclusively by the formal aspects of
One obvious example of this is the work of the French glass artist Philippe J. Brocard (producing in Paris from 1869), various of whose works looked back to Mamluk glass objects.
For example, to the model of the inscribed medallion often featured.
Islam and flourish
He replaced these inscriptions, however, with floral ornamentation or – as in the case of a mosque lamp in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Nancy, for instance instead of the original inscription he showed apseudo-Islamic flourish, which on closer examination seems to indicate the Latin word lux.
The approach really consisted of reviving, for Europe as well, the significance of written flour
ishes in Islamic art, though this flourish had tobe replaced by European intellectual content
because of a lack of knowledge (on the part of the artist, the viewer, or the purchaser).
Beyond this Brocard clearly shared the prevailing interest in Islamic artistic techniques and in the
fantastically formed vessels and decorative patterns, which Islamic art had well in advance
nf the European traditions and which were thus particularly valued by European craftsmen.
Firing and glazing techniques were therefore tried out in the field of ceramic art. In
particular Turkish-Ottoman Iznik ceramics and Moorish luster ceramics were studied and
People found the possibilities so fascinating that they wanted nothing more to do
with the naturalistic Biedermeier and Victorian decoration.
English architectural and artistic theory,
So, from the middle of the 19th century, increasing numbers in the European
art and craftwork movement, with backgrounds in English architectural and artistic theory,
sought a new style which would be suitable for applied art.
The first opportunity in this connection that presented itself to European artists
and craftspeople was the variable geometric decoration found in the Islamic world. This was
primarily the stylized two-dimensional floral decoration of Ottoman ceramics, which exerted
a dominating influence in the second half of the century.
As the interest in this decoration spread through very different European countries, the products of 60 European firms and manufacturers clearly came to reflect the intensive analysis of Ottoman examples. Particularly in the field of German arts and crafts there was discussion on the principles of what was the proper and ideal art for decorating everyday articles, a debate which was kindled by Islamic art and was to make a decisive contribution to new directions in applied
art at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries.
Ottoman motif style in the islam world!
Examples from the 19th century provide an impressive demonstration of how conceptual. And decorative features of Islamic art were used in patterns and how principles for decoration in
applied art were developed. On tiles made by the Yillery and Boch company an Ottoman motif style is combined with a clear coloration. Arranged quite intentionally with plenty of con-
trast in carefully measured two-dimensional colored surfaces with a flat floral decoration.
The subsequent development of these ideas ultimately led in the 20th century to the total
removal of all representational decoration.
Working from the geometric decoration on westen Islamic ceramics. As well as table and
carpet desions from the Islamic world. Adherents of the Bauhaus school of design, who held
intense and varied discussions about islamic art. (Richard Riemerschmid and Margarete Willers,
for example) succeeded in developing an everyday art using abstract decoration
A totally separate story unfolded in the development of European painting.
Unlike arts and crafts, the study of the style of Islamic painters. The two-dimensional style of
Islamic miniaturists, began at the tum of the 20th century. Works of 19th-century painters who chose Islamic subjects still almost completely retained the old traditions of European academic painting.
They represent the European artist’s fascination with a strange world, which was both a place that fulfilled a longing for freedom of ideas. And also provided the opportunity to express wishes, desires, and feelings in exotic garb.
This is noticeable in the paintings of the French artist Eugène Delacroix. Which vigorously portray the violent confrontations in the French North African colonies. And yet equally convey a romantic image of freedom and readiness for battle.
However, this approach is mainly exemplified through the arge number of orientalist paintings of bazaar, harem and slave scenes. Which offered Europan painters a welcome opportunity to depict erotically-colored subject matter.
Even in the work of an artist like John Frederick Lewis, whose paintings remain more restrained and disguised. There predominates an interest in representing a strange and incomprehensible
world. One that allows the European observer an almost voyeuristic peep into a forbidden
It is clear from the paintings of Jean Léon Gérôme that only an apparently realistic
picture can represent both aspects of contact with foreign lands. In his painting of men
praying Gérôme shows, in an entirely European style, which has an almost photographic feel in
its realistic reproduction of detail, a group of people at prayer in a hall, which the knowledgeable observer would recognize as the Amr Mosque in Cairo. He also attempts to retain this
realism in his portrayal of figures.
While this definitely succeeds for the details of clothing and faces, in comparison the realism of the whole picture is called into question. To the European observer the picture of an exotically-
clad barbaric warrior, which fascinated and shocked in equal measure, was painted in an apparently realistic setting at a strange prayer ritual. This offered the opportunity not only for
distance and identification, but also for the projection of the observer’s own imagined
desire and repressed feelings.
The lands of the Bible,
This admiration of foreign lands clearly distinguishes European contact with the
Islamic East in the 19th century from the previous period. To an extent previously unknown,
culturally aware Europeans and European artists were able to travel and gain authentic
practical knowledge of the Islamic world and its culture.
An extremely large number of them traveled in the East to make direct contact on the
spot with this foreign world. Ever since the Middle Ages, through the Crusades and pil-
grimages, there had been continuous interest in the lands of the Bible.
Many educational visitors, scientists, and artists also traveled to the eastern Mediterranean area to gain their own impressions of these genuine cultural sights.
On account of their geographical position the western Islamic countries were, in addition, considerably easier to reach than other exotic destinations.
The late 19th century as a whole is characterized by an urge to visit far off countries,
which were linked to illusions of paradise. This process, however, also served to give Europe a
separate identity from these foreign lands.
Here we may call to mind the travel literature of Karl Mays or the journeys of Paul Gauguin, who quite deliberately set off on that kind of journey, Artists who were looking for such a strange
world found it with the most modest financial outlay in the lands of the Islamic East. For that
reason it is not too surprising to note that particular countries, places, and routes became
popular and thus were able to develop into a sort of 19th-century “Grand Tour.
Painters from world!
“What travelers sought or hoped to discover on these journeys found particularly full expression the impressive accounts of the American painter R. Swain Gifford, who in 1870/71, with L.C. Tiffany, toured the countries of Europe and the Maghreb. He wrote in detail to his family that Tangiers was the most beautiful city he had seen on his travels.
This account was intended for publication and it matched. So precisely the illusions
that European artists and painters had had from the outset about the Islamic world that it
appeared almost as a commentary to the same tour produced works that captured.
Exactly these aspects of eastern lile in gouache and in oil. In spite of all the interest in and fascinationwith the foreign country it was in the end experienced only superficially. And it remained strange and fascinating above all because of its totally different character.
This kind of preoccupation with Islamic art could only occur in a period when in Europe the content. And form of its own art no longer came together into a unity. This was because painting had forfeited to photography its illustrative. And interpretative function and architecture could quite freely use ostentatious quotations from times past separated from their original functions. So then put these quotations together to form new compositions.
In such a historical period examining the external form of any foreign art informs the viewer how far it is removed from the content of his own art. It was perhaps in this period that the art of Islamic countries had the greatest and most enduring influence on the
wider development of the Modern Movement in Europe.
Here the works of modern architec ture offer an impressive example. In the first
decades of the 20th century architects like Walter Gropius or Le Corbusier succeeded in developing form of expression that broke radically with familiar traditions. And directed
itself towards completely new principles of form.
Both architects had studied Islamic art: Gropius spent almost a year in 1907/08 studying Moorish art in Spain. While Le Corbusier traveled to Turkey in 1911 for an intensive period of architectural study. Ottoman architecture provided him with a treasury of shapes and ideas from. Which he could draw for the structuring of space and gave him lessons in
Islam and miniatures,
There was also, however, a comparable development in arts and crafts. The theoretical
artistic analysis of two-dimensional decoration that developed into abstract decoratio. At the
beginning of the 20th century, strongly coincided with the study of Islamic art.
Here Moorish and western Islamic art, with their abstract, complex geometric decoration. And
color schemes, set the style. The designs of Johannes Itten make it crystal clear that adher
ents of the Bauhaus School paid close attention to the principles of Islamic. Applied art and also
Islamic painting it was itten who, in 1921. Analyzed the color composition and forma construction of Islamic miniatures. And on this basis developed new
principles for classical themes in European painting.
However, those artists who at the beginning of the 20th century were totally com
mitted to modern painting turned in the first decades of the century. Towards Islamic art and
its stylistic features. The famous exhibition “Masterworks of Muslim in islam Art” was held in Munich
in 1910 at the peak of this trend.
Representation of figures,
It had a farreaching national and international impact and provoked a major response in painting (from Robert Delaunay, August Macke, Edvard Munch, and Wassily Kandinsky, for example). These painters were no more preoccupied with the exotic content of Islamic art than were their predecessors of the 19th century.
However, they were very attracted by the two-dimensional effect of Islamic painting, particularly in the representation of figures, which corresponded to their own attempts to find a new kind of painting.
From then on, the picture was, above all, aperceptibly two-dimensional object. Besides
that, the shapes and colors of Islamic countries, their buildings, materials, and artistic objects,
fascinated these artists.
So works such as Macke’s Tunisia watercolors, with their vividly colored surfaces reduced to geometrical shapes and two-dimensional figures, thus breaking with previous traditions, or Matisse’s and Kandinsky’s North African paintings, cannot be explained except by the preceding intense examination of the principles of Islamic art, all of which can be verified from the records kept in diaries and letters by these painters.
While in the first decades of the 20th century Islamic art contributed quite decisively in this way to finding a new, really modern European artistic language, there was a second, parallel aspect to this preoccupation with the Islamic East, which can be observed almost unbroken up to the end of the 20th century.
The European obsession with Islamic art was indeed decisively influenced by the pleasure people got from souvenirs and the possibility of combining the most varied of stylistic elements.
Here was the opportunity to collect, as a witness to one’s own travel experience, independent of the stylistic norms of modern aesthetics, something that was bizarre, colorful, unusual, and strange_Characteristic of such contact with foreign parts is, for instance, the Arab room in the villa iN Potsdam of Berlin banker Herbert Gutmann which dates from the 1920s.
In this room in a totally oriental atmosphere with wall decoration in the most varied Islamic style
artistic objects from both the Islamic East and from China and Southeast Asia we brought together.
European art’s preoccupation,
So European art’s preoccupation with the Islamic East from the 19th century onwards ismarked by the quest for its own path, one in which it could set itself apart from all things foreign, by means of the opportunity to study foreign art and culture to a depth and to an extent hitherto never experienced. All that artists judged worthy of study was whatever supplied an answer to the difficulties found in their own cultural circle.
In spite of all the fascination they have attracted, Islamic art and culture still leave an impression of a strange exotic world, about which people could teach themselves but whose innermost feelings they could never truly understand.
Islam, Architecture and Art;
The variety of artistic developments in the 19th and 20th centuriesIn the 19th century deep-seated sociopolitical changes within the Islamic world. Led in all spheres of art, to a rupture with older artistic traditions.
This was particularly affected by the intensified contact of artists working in the East with the culture and art of Europe. As a consequence, there was both a greater openness of Islamic artists to European styles. And also varied and distinctive new approaches to the analysis of their own traditions.
Over and above that, European artists were working in many Islamic countries. Some of whom became teachers, transmitting European architectural theories at universities and newly
founded art schools.
These teachers had, inter alia, developed new approaches towards the proportioning of buildings. As well as the application of building decoration. Adoption of a European building style was viewed in many Islamic countries. As an opportunity to progress in a more “modern” direction.
One typical example of this was the intention of the Egyptian khedive Ismael to Europeanize Cairo. Following the precedent of the city plan for Paris by Baron
Georges-Eugène Haussmann (1809-1891).
Through this admiration for European art and the influence of European companies Islamic traditions almost came to a point of collapse. And the infrastructure of older craft industries was almost annihilated by the European industrialized system. Only when, from 1870, certain rulers gave their support for new construction was there. A rise in production figures and in craft quality.
The number of students of architecture also increased with state support, but they were sent to Europe to learn practical skills. Universities that carried out this training were: Rome, Milan, London, Glasgow, Berlin, Nuremberg and, particularly, Paris.
In the Islamic world it was now possible to see the development of a limited combination of Eastern and Western styles. The whole of Islamic secular architecture from the middle of the 19th century was therefore strongly influenced by models from Western colonial states.
Conversely, in the early 20th century, building styles and formal elements from the Islamic world provided stimulus for architectural development in Europe and North America.
Architects such as Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier then discovered the attraction of applying
Eastern form reduction (as in the buildings of Sinan or the medieval architecture of the Maghreb) to their concept of modern architecture.
This international integration was also pushed forward in the 20th century through the centralism of the USSR, which had a global effect. Then, in place of regional, ethnically-orientated artistic styles in the various Islamic republics of their own confederation and in the Islamic world in general, there now emerged a unifying style oriented towards the modern world in the service of ideology.
A sa result of this artistic policy, the unusual features of individual Islamic regions temporarily disappeared almost completely, but became even more strongly and widely emphasized in periods of nostalgia for their own traditions.
This latter trend became obvious, for example, when the Ottoman type of central dome
mosque with pencil-slim minarets spread into various countries as a leitmotif and since the 19th century, has become the international symbol of the ‘mosque building type.
Even if, because of international economic and political uniformity, 20th-century Islamic architecture can no longer be conclusively viewed in isolation there remains in existence one typically Islamic building the mosque. That is why the following remarks are limited to this special type of building, including a range of the most important examples and trends within 20th-century mosque architecture.
One of the essential criteria for the assessment of modern mosque architecture is the relationship of a building to its physical and ecological context as well as to its landscape environment. From this point of view, the designs of the Iranian architect Kamran Diba are the most instructive, for instance his Namaz-Khaneh garden mosque in Teheran, but also the Friday Mosque in Shushtar, designed in 1977.
Here he returns to classical formal elements, such as the siyada, which surrounds the original inner area of the mosque. He copies this and combines it with concepts of space interpreted in a modern way, like in the structuring of the minaret.
Another important element in the erection of mosques is the representation of the relationship of the building to its cultural context. This factor becomes increasingly important for mosques and cultural centers built in non-Islamic countries.
With the strong internationalization of modern society in the last third of the 20th century. Islamic religious communities spread throughout the Western world. These communities often finance the building of mosques and schools from their own resources.
An example is the Yavush Sultan Selim Mosque of the Islamic community in Mannheim. In this building modern formal elements are combined with the classical leitmotifs of the Turkish spindle minarer and the dome: inside there is very traditional architecture with an ambulatory around a fountain.
Western industrialized states,
At the same time a relationship is created between the modern outside world and, in the arrangement of the interior, the intrinsically religious building elements and traditions of Islamic architecture. This interplay between modern form and Islamic tradition is also found in other
buildings of Islamic communities in Western industrialized states, above all where mosque buildings are integrated into larger Islamic cultural institutions.
The great variety of communities for which these buildings have been developed can in the more successful cases be seen in the buildings themselves. So it is in London, where several Islamic cultural centers with accompanying mosque buildings have been established which are quite different in form although situated within just a few miles of one another.
The cultural context has an entirely different significance for the great state mosques, which are constructed in young newly-independent states and make a deliberate connection to the ideology of the older, established states. The mosque in Jakarta (Indonesia) provides one of the most telling examples.
Islam as its state religion,
The building harks back to old architectural styles such as the originally Ottoman spindle
minaret, but transforms them into an abstract symbol, and then refers to forms from modern office buildings and large-scale mid-20th-century complexes.
Here, the mosque, which principally serves as a prayer hall for the assembly of believers, has to enable the people to identify with the modern state promoting itself with Islam as its state religion.
Since the first third of the 20th century, two important trends can be discerned in the development of form in mosque buildings: the study of existing local tradition and the strong influence stemming from the international use of modernistic forms.
Typical of the continued existence of local forms of architecture and of a kind of ethnographic mosque style are the buildings erected in the region of West Africa where clay is the principal material. The mosques in Djenné and Niono in Mali are separated in time by over 100 years and yet still show a very similar sort of ambulatory with matching building techniques and
materials as well as some elements of form.
Local traditions in architecture,
A certain tension between modern building forms and the materials used and traditional architectural forms can be seen again and again in the mosque designs in the eastern Mediterranean area and the Near East. In Turkey especially, local traditions in architecture, together with the Ottoman building traditions among the successors to Sinan, are being studied more and more often.
The story of the construction of the King Abdallah Mosque in Amman (Jordan) is almost
equal in this sense to a political declaration. In 1979 Rasem Badran presented a modernist plan, which referred to the Islamic building traditions of the region only in the basic shape of the great dome and the smaller half-domes on the annex, but otherwise was visibly inspired by the modern concrete architecture of Europe and the USA.
In the end, the completed building, to a large degree, actually reflected Badran’s concept. And yet the details of form, such as the fenestration of the upper dome area, the shape of the sherefes (minaret balconies), the external decoration of the dome with large-scale ornamentation, and the classical calligraphy and star braid patterns, all of these at least quote from, and even consciously hark back to the tradition of Ottoman mosque building.
The adoption of individual elements of classical Islamic architecture and their
transfer into a modern form with modern materials is an approach that can also be recognized in the King Sand Mosque in Jedda.
Mosque of Hassan,
Here, the architecture works through an simple Cubist forms shrough the smooth upper surfaces, devoid of decoration, and you at the same time it plays around with the classical elements of Mamluk architecture, such as, for instance, the shape of the minaret, the
Footbridge to the dome with fenestrated triangles, and a row of windows in the Mosque of Hassan Buildings such as the Sultan’s Mosque in Singapore (1924-1928) or the
in Casablanca (1986-1993) testify for a widespread unbroken relationship with tradition.
The Singapore mosque, with the form of its dome and minaret and also with such details as the shape of the windows and the exterior decoration, clearly refers back to the Moghul architecture of the 16-19th centuries, and via these features, qualifies as a building from the past.
For its part, the King Hassan Mosque in Casablanca looks to classical elements of North African mosque buildings. The minaret follows precisely the tradition of tower minarets in the Maghreb. The layout of the interior, too, consisting of many walkway arches, muqarnas column heads and vaulting as well as multicolored painted ceilings, revives the traditions of old Moroccan art, which was a matter of particular concern to the builder, King Hassan II.
Mosques in Isfahan and Istanbul.
A similarly recent high regard for old traditional crafts can also be seen in Iran and Turkey, where the ceramic decoration of mosques in Isfahan and Istanbul was restored with the use of old techniques.
The King Hassan Mosque, however, at the same time also adopted new approaches. The roof of the prayer hall can be opened with the help of modern technology and the qibla is
indicated with a laser beam. It is indicative that the design of this building was by a French architect, while local craftsmen carried out the decoration.
The difficulty in finding a design that combines tradition and the modern world and yet is also acceptable to the general public is demonstrated by the failed efforts of the distinguished Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy.
With his designs for New Gorma at Luxor he wanted to go back to the traditional day brick architecture of the region and at the same time create a modern building that would respond to the functional requirements of a mosque His ideas were indeed well received in the international art world, but they were felt by the general public to be “not rich enough” and “lacking
decoration and for the most part, were rejected.
Traditional Persian decorative technique,
The architect Jahangir Mazlum tried to follow a rather different path in 1977-1987 with the al Ghadir Mosque in Tehran. In which he used consistently modern forms, such as in the dome, which was formed like a prism from angular overlapping segments. But the whole design combined with a traditional Persian decorative technique.
So lines of calligraphy in relief brickwork or in blue glazed tiles were integrated into this monumental building. Thus making reference to Seljuk and Timurid decorative styles. This mosque, whose 12-sided shape recalls the 12 imams of Shia, is a very successful attempt to combine old traditions, religious ideas and modern approaches into a harmonious whole.
A series of radical new approaches to the layout of mosques is particularly evident in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
The great dome,
These countries attempted to follow a quite separate path in Islamic architecture. Bangladesh and Pakistan in the 1960s and 1970s were strongly under the influence of the American archi-
rect Louis Kahn (1901-1974). The mosque in Islamabad was constructed berween 1970-1986 by Vedat Delakoy. And actually the design still plays with classical forms, but these are rendered by modern techniques and in modern building forms. The great dome was turned into a tent-like folded roof that spans the wide prayer hall.
Minarets, with an educated reference to the Ottoman spindle minaret, appear refined, sharp, and needlelike, and have no sherefes. The structure of the exterior is plain exposed concrete with the surfaces decorated with textured concrete. So that this mosque has its effect via the main block and the wings of the building. Not through any surface decoration superimposed on
To that extent the architect here has answered the main European point of criticism of Islamic architecture. Namely that bearing and loading clements are not distinguishable one from another. But are hidden under covering of ornamentation that spreads over the whole structure.
The buildings of the London-based architect Basil al-Bayani should be viewed against the background of the postmodernist trends of the 1980s.
Mosque of the Books.
Using all available technology, he achieved some extremely unusual building forms. For his design for the “Mosque of the Books” he simply used the familiar formal clements of dome and minaret. However, the side walls of the prayer hall were themselves fragmented. And arranged like the pages of an open book. For al-Bayati, knowledge and belief are two sides of the process of discovery. And his design interprets the purpose of the building complex through the external structure.
The modern mosque. Which is constructed by Islamic as well as non-Islamic architects in the many different parts of the world. Always includes an interpretation and a message that reaches far beyond the original purpose of the building as a prayer room. For that reason. Over the last 150 years building forms have been drawn. As if by a pendulum swinging to and fro, between a separate tradition and influences from outside. Where the quest for a modern Islamic
identity, especially over the last 30 years, has left its mark on architectural design.
Islam and Sculpture,
In the course of the 20th century a far-reaching break with Islamic tradition took place in the genre of monumental sculpture, examples of which can be found in very different regions of the Islamic world.
With their three dimensional subjects, sculptors in exceptional numbers confronted the Islamic ban on images which derives from Koranic traditions. Since the early days of Islam, artists had always been compelled to avoid natural, imitative representation of people.
Three-dimensional naturalistic sculptures of the 19th century also demonstrate
the Europeanization of the Islamic world and the renunciation of religious dogma. The ban on images was strictly obeyed only in sacred areas. In the 20th century, as the former European colonies established themselves as independent states, the erection of freestanding statues always had to be combined with a political message.
And yet, especially in the first half of the 20th century. The influences of European movements in monumental sculpture like Art Nouveau and Art Deco were predominant in many Islamic countries. As, for instance, with Mahmud Muhtar’s statue Egyptian Awakening, which used the well-known visual element of the sphinx. In a composition of images oriented towards European
The trend towards monumental sculpture became stronger in the course of the 20th century. And often came under the influence of official communist- socialist art. As propagated by the USSR and adopted more and more in allied states.
For that reason a new sculptural art was developed against an explicitly political background. And deliberately advanced as a counterbalance to the classical Islamic view of the world. In order to simultaneously promote an image of national identity.
It is possible in addition to ascertain other derdopments in there was. Which had had a stronger exchange between artists from Furupe me from the Islamic world.
Concept of content
These developments are obviously discemble in the works of the numerous Turkish and North African artist who live eten for long periodo, in Western Europe and then rerum once again to their native lands Behind the designs is a view of sculpture that is oriented towards modern international in its use of form and its concept of content.
I was possible to create bww shuis sculptures or wooden carvings of hgures for which ideological orientation and religious bans were no longer relevant, be in the 19th, and especially the och
centuries, a glaring split with Islamic tradition can be seerved in the hidd of sculpture.
This son of an is subject to modernistic international wende, especially within the Islamic world, so that in this sphere it is only possible to promote the revival of traditions in a small way.
Islam and Paintings,
As in architecture, it is possible to recognize a state of creative tension between the exertion of European influence on painting and the maintenance of eastern Islamic tradition.
In the 19th century, under European influence, there developed for the first time in the history of Islamic culcare. A free style of painting Particularly receptive, first, to this artistic trend was Iran, which has always been inclined towards painting. So large-scale portraits of Persian rulers and
members of the Kajar court were produced in the royal studio (naqqashane). But also, after 1798, as wall decoration in over 40 newly built castles.
These representations are oriented towards the Western portrait, which emulates the natural
model, but the old traditions of Islamic miniature painting can be detected through the tendency towards ewo-dimensionalism and decorative internal drawing of individual color surfaces.
This attempt to find a middle way between the tradition of Islamic miniature painting. And the contemporary Western art of portraiture has parallels in the later painting of the Moghul dynasty .In India and also in Ottoman landscape painting of the 19th century.
West and domestic feelings,
At the end of the 19th century and in the first decade of the 20th century art was molded in numerous Islamic countries. By artists who had studied in Europe and who – after returning home. Strove for an independent synthesis between the modern world of the West and domestic feelings about art.
Because of this associations of artists sprang up, which diligently sought to find fashionable new approaches. That would gain acceptance against the established forms of their predecessors, which they saw as antiquated.
So, for instance, in Turkey, the Society of Free Artists and Painters, which had appeared in the 1920s. They fought the predominance of the Late Impressionist style and promoted against it an abstract artistic ideal. One of the chief advocates of this new development is Sabri Berkel,
whose compositions show a strong European Cubist influence.
He combines Cubist formal elements with the two-dimensional surface and very color-intensive traditions of Ottoman miniature painting. Because of that, Berkel’s series of works in the first half of the 20th century. Which attempted to find a way towards calligraphy-oriented abstract composition via examination of European Cubism, are exemplary of this genre.
Fear of emptiness,
Besides this style of painting strongly affected by academic art teaching from Western European art colleges. There developed from the middle of the 20th century. Principally in the North African states, an original style of painting. It was independent of academic training methods. Based primarily on the folk art of the individual region.
In these pictures there occurs again and again. It is an intensive study of everyday life in the East. Which now for the first time appears to be worthy of painting on a larger scale.
Compositions of this kind adopt older traditions of folk art. Frequently classed as naive painting or primitivism. Such as for instance the vivid arrangement of color. The filling of picture surfaces right to the edge (the horror vacui, (“fear of emptiness”). And the purely two-dimensional
The heavily stylixed, frequently almost stereotyped representation of natural subjects that is found again. And again to different degrees in the work of North African artists. It is also linked to this same aesthetic sense.
In the last quarter of the 20th century there developed in various Islamic countries. It was a painting style which endeavored to rediscover. And revive the “Islamic element in art, so largely returned to the traditions of calligraphy.
For in spite of the evolution towards independent casel pictures. They are taking place from the 19th century onwards throughout the Islamic world. Traditional bibliographic art still remained important. As it was looked upon as the principal characteristic achievement of Islamic art.
Such moves to combine easel painting and calligraphic art. They are found in the works of a fairly large number of artists.
Among them, for instance, is Ahmed Mustafa. Who, in his pictures, combines natural elements with decorative script that completely fills the surfaces. The inscriptions mainly extracts from the Koran. They are arranged in such a way. They suggest a surreal three dimensionality in the picture. Koran explains islam and Koran never forbids moral art!
With these pictures Ahmed Mustafa alludes to the Islamic ban on reproducing nature. And at the same time adopts approaches. Which combine calligraphy as the original art form of the Islamic world. It is with the artistic media. And stylistic trends of the 20th century.
The basic problem,
The Jordanian artist Wijdan Ali also frequently refers to Arabic script in her works. She deals as well with religious themes and creates a combination of past and present. For instance when she portrays the assassination of Husain. A descendent of the Prophet, at Kerbela in the 7th century. Which for her stands for injustice in general, which has always existed.
These different approaches make it easier to understand. The efforts made in the late 20th century to develop a modern. But still Islamic, easel painting and to position this alongside Western art.
The basic problem with a descriptive overview of art in the Islamic. Worldover the last 150 years is that it not only embraces an area. That stretches from the Western Sahara to Indonesia. Which naturally comprises a wealth of regions. And states each with its own separate traditions. But also covers a long period of time.
So by the very nature of things we are dealing with extremely heterogeneous art. And in the end. Only extreme openness to international Modernism can be considered a unifying element. It is problematic to speak of the specific art of individual countries. Because the trend towards globalization felt everywhere. Since the 19th century has also led to a more intense artistic dialog between cultures.Islam and art is rhythm devine!
Consequently the definition of the term “Islam and art” becomes increasingly difficult. Until now this referred to the religious. The background that united cultures over an enormous geographical area.
For the present-day, however, as Ernst Grube suggested in 1978. First of all we have to define certain observable essential features of artistic works. Which can be ascribed only by the
content and cultural traditions of the Islamic religion. Such a definition is, however, yet to be found. But you should aware! Islam in the Koran and culture of countries of islam do not mean same thing! Every Arabic culture and behavour does not mean Islam!