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The Divine Word in Islamic Art – Seyyed Hossein Nasr

The Divine Word and Islamic Art

The Word of Allah is the origin and principle of Islamic art par excellence. Just as the Word descends from the unseen and unmanifest order to the visible and material realm, so too does the art that is based upon it descend from the ‘formless’ sonoral level to the formal visual plane. And just as the Word, once having entered the formal plane of calligraphy, ‘develops’ horizontally by becoming ever more complex, similarly Islamic art unfolds its diverse possibilities through the course of history and in numerous Muslim cultures. By continuously reaffirming the presence of the One in the many and Unity in diversity, Islamic art, through its multifarious forms, allows for all Muslims to gain access to the spiritual journey back to the Origin from which the Divine Word issues.