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The idea of beautiful in the sources of Islam
The idea of beautiful in the sources of Islam

Author(s): Alija Bejtić
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Orijentalni Institut u Sarajevu

Summary/Abstract: The theoretical discussion on whether or not there exists in Islam as a theological and philosophical doctrine the concept of the beautiful in the esthetic sense or whether or not Islam has an attitude toward art and what that attitude is, has long been carried on. The author has undertaken to consider that question directly in the Qur’an and Muhammad’s tradition (hadith); he has deliberately taken these sources only in order to elucidate the idea of the beautiful in Islam in the very beginning, apart from the attitudes expressed in the latter Islamic literature. The author has reached these conclusions: In pre-Renaissance civilizations, including Islam and the Islamic world as well, the idea expressed in modern times by the term art was expressed by the terms beauty and beautiful. The connection between the terms beauty and art having been established in this way makes it possible for us to see an entire little world in the qouted sources of Islam, where we encounter not only the concept of the beautiful and beauty, but also a representation of the object of beauty and even judgments of these objects as true bearers of the idea of the beautiful. Both the Qur’an and the hadith communicate in the language which is understood by the common man. Having this in view, and as both the Qur’an and the hadith contain a large number of wxamples of esthetic evaluation (understanding, valorization), it means accordingly that the pre-Islamic Arab society in Hijaz, in which the Qur’an and the hadith apeared, had a certain cultural and philosophical foundation which made it possible for the idea of the beautiful to be received and comprehended. Several pieces of evidence concerning this have been quoted. A terminology of esthetic notions taken directly from the texts of the Qur’an and the hadith has also been provided. The author quotes the hadith: “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty” (Allāhu ğamīl wa yuhibbu-l-ğamāl) and other examples and concludes that according to basic principles of Islam beauty is a divine capacity. He also states that according to these same sources the idea of the beautiful exists both in things which are the product of human hands and in thing produced by nature itself (pineapple fruit, shell of a snail, honeycomb, etc.).

  • Issue Year: 2002
  • Issue No: 50
  • Page Range: 113-136
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: English