Monday, 5 March 2012

The Value of Art

I'm currently knee-deep in reading for my PhD literature review. Most of the time the words pass by me, but now and again I come across a sentiment so profound I have to share it.

The below are the words of Tim Winter, also known as Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad, of Cambridge University.

He speaks about the sociological emphasis put upon the theological reality of what it means to be a Muslim, but in doing so, shared the following thought: -

"[Some argue that] Beauty must wait; because da'wah, the Mission, is more urgent. An odd logic to premodern believers, who assumed that every summons to the Real must be beautiful, and that nothing transforms a society or an individual soul more deeply than a great work of art, a building, a poem, or the serenity of a saint."

Unfortunately is has become a common belief amongst some Muslims that the sciences are of value, important and to be treasured, but study of the arts (of any form) is useless, pointless and not ilm an-nafia or beneficial knowledge.

A trend to be seen in contemporary da'wah too, where heavy emphasis is laid upon the 'scientific proof' and 'rational arguments' but little such consideration is given to the importance of beauty in calling to The Most Beautiful.

In general, I think Muslims would do well to remember the priorities of the 'premodern believers'.