Theology Remixed: Christianity as Story, Game, Language, Culture

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  2. Theology Remixed: Christianity as Story, Game, Language, Culture by Adam C. English
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These are often combined with Islamic calligraphy , geometric patterns in styles that are typically found in a wide variety of media, from small objects in ceramic or metalwork to large decorative schemes in tiling on the outside and inside of large buildings, including mosques.


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However, there is a long tradition in Islamic art of the depiction of human and animal figures, especially in painting and small anonymous relief figures as part of a decorative scheme. Almost all Persian miniatures as opposed to decorative illuminations include figures, often in large numbers, as do their equivalents in Arab, Mughal and Ottoman miniatures. But miniatures in books or muraqqa albums were private works owned by the elite. Larger figures in monumental sculpture are exceptionally rare until recent times, and portraiture showing realistic representations of individuals and animals did not develop until the late 16th century in miniature painting, especially Mughal miniatures.

Manuscripts of the Qur'an and other sacred texts have always been strictly kept free of such figures, but there is a long tradition of the depiction of Muhammad and other religious figures in books of history and poetry; since the 20th century Muhammad has mostly been shown as though wearing a veil hiding his face, and many earlier miniatures were overpainted to use this convention.

Some interpretations of Islam include a ban of depiction of animate beings, also known as aniconism. Islamic aniconism stems in part from the prohibition of idolatry and in part from the belief that creation of living forms is God's prerogative. Although the Quran does not explicitly prohibit visual representation of any living being, it uses the word musawwir maker of forms, artist as an epithet of God. The corpus of hadith sayings attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad contains more explicit prohibitions of images of living beings, challenging painters to "breathe life" into their images and threatening them with punishment on the Day of Judgment.

Religious Islamic art has been typically characterized by the absence of figures and extensive use of calligraphic , geometric and abstract floral patterns. However, representations of Muhammad in some cases, with his face concealed and other religious figures are found in some manuscripts from lands to the east of Anatolia, such as Persia and India. These pictures were meant to illustrate the story and not to infringe on the Islamic prohibition of idolatry, but many Muslims regard such images as forbidden. Islamic calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting and calligraphy , based upon the alphabet in the lands sharing a common Islamic cultural heritage.

It includes Arabic Calligraphy , Ottoman , and Persian calligraphy. The development of Islamic calligraphy is strongly tied to the Qur'an ; chapters and excerpts from the Qur'an are a common and almost universal text upon which Islamic calligraphy is based. However, Islamic calligraphy is not limited to strictly religious subjects, objects, or spaces.

Like all Islamic art , it encompasses a diverse array of works created in a wide variety of contexts. Islamic calligraphy developed from two major styles: Kufic and Naskh. There are several variations of each, as well as regionally specific styles.

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Islamic calligraphy has also been incorporated into modern art beginning with the post-colonial period in the Middle East, as well as the more recent style of calligraffiti. Islamic architecture is the range of architectural styles of buildings associated with Islam. It encompasses both secular and religious styles from the early history of Islam to the present day. Early Islamic architecture was influenced by Roman , Byzantine , Persian and all other lands which the Muslims conquered in the 7th and 8th centuries. Later it developed distinct characteristics in the form of buildings, and the decoration of surfaces with Islamic calligraphy and geometric and interlace patterned ornament.

The principal Islamic architectural types for large or public buildings are: the Mosque , the Tomb , the Palace and the Fort. From these four types, the vocabulary of Islamic architecture is derived and used for other buildings such as public baths , fountains and domestic architecture.

Northeast entrance to Delhi, India 's Jama Masjid. The Great Mosque of Kairouan also called the Mosque of Uqba is at the same time the oldest mosque in North Africa founded in and still used as a place of worship and one of the most important monuments of Islamic civilisation, [28] [29] situated in Kairouan , Tunisia. The fortress-palace of Alhambra , built in the 11th century, is a large monument and a popular tourist attraction.

Istanbul 's Sultan Ahmed Mosque was completed in Islamic architecture may be identified with the following design elements, which were inherited from the first mosque built by Muhammad in Medina , as well as from other pre-Islamic features adapted from churches and synagogues. Whilst theatre is permitted by Islam, [32] Islam does not allow for any performances to depict God, Muhammad , his companions, the angels or matters detailed in the religion that are unseen. The most popular forms of theatre in the medieval Islamic world were puppet theatre which included hand puppets, shadow plays and marionette productions and live passion plays known as ta'ziya , where actors re-enact episodes from Muslim history.

Live secular plays were known as akhraja , recorded in medieval adab literature, though they were less common than puppetry and ta'zieh theatre. One of the oldest, and most enduring, forms of puppet theatre is the Wayang of Indonesia. Although it narrates primarily pre-Islamic legends, it is also an important stage for Islamic epics such as the adventures of Amir Hamzah pictured.

Karagoz , the Turkish Shadow Theatre has influenced puppetry widely in the region. It is thought to have passed from China by way of India. Later it was taken by the Mongols from the Chinese and transmitted to the Turkish peoples of Central Russia. Other scholars claim that shadow theatre came to Anatolia in the 16th century from Egypt.

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The advocates of this view claim that when Yavuz Sultan Selim conquered Egypt in , he saw shadow theatre performed during an extacy party put on in his honour. Yavuz Sultan Selim was so impressed with it that he took the puppeteer back to his palace in Istanbul. There his year-old son, later Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent , developed an interest in the plays and watched them a great deal. Thus shadow theatre found its way into the Ottoman palaces.

This is a shadow play with live music..

Theology Remixed: Christianity as Story, Game, Language, Culture by Adam C. English

In Iran puppets are known to have existed much earlier than , but initially only glove and string puppets were popular in Iran. Kheimeh Shab-Bazi is a Persian traditional puppet show which is performed in a small chamber by a musical performer and a storyteller called a morshed or naghal. These shows often take place alongside storytelling in traditional tea and coffee-houses Ghahve-Khave.

The dialogue takes place between the morshed and the puppets. Puppetry remains very popular in Iran, the touring opera Rostam and Sohrab puppet opera being a recent example.

It is considered to be the first opera house linking Islamic culture with classical music. Many forms of dancing arts are practised in Muslim cultures, both in religious [37] and secular contexts such as folk and tribal dances, court dances, dances of celebration during weddings and festivals, belly dancing, etc. Some scholars of Islamic fiqh pronounced gender based rulings on dance, making it permissible for women within a female only environment, as is often performed at celebrations, [38] but discouraging men to engage in it.

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Most of the religious orders tariqa which dominate traditional Muslim religious life practice ritualised forms of dance in the context of dhikr ceremonies. Dhikr , "recollection" of God is a meditative form of worship different from ritual prayer where the seeker focuses all of his senses and thoughts on God in the hope of attaining maarifat experiential knowledge of God and triggering mystic states within him- or herself. Dhikr can be performed individually or with like-minded followers under the direction of a sheikh , and can involve silent meditation or repetition and visualisation of sacred words such as the 99 names of God or Quranic phrases, and may be done at rest or with rhythmic movements and controlling one's breath.

Traditional Islamic orders have developed varied dhikr exercises including sometimes highly elaborate ritual dances accompanied by Sufi poetry and classical music. Al-Ghazzali discussed the use of music and dancing in dhikr and the mystical states it induces in worshippers, as well as regulating the etiquette attached to these ceremonies, in his short treatise on Islamic spirituality The Alchemy of Happiness and in his highly influential work The Revival of the Religious Sciences.

Al-Ghazzali emphasized how the practices of music and dance are beneficial to religious seekers, as long as their hearts are pure before engaging in these practices. Notable examples include the Mevlevi Order founded by Jalaluddin Rumi , which was the main Sunni order of the Ottoman empire, and its sama ritual known in the West as "the whirling dervishes ".

In Egypt and the Levant , the Mevlevi form of sama is known as tannoura and has been adopted with some modifications by other Sufi orders as well. The Chishti order, traditionally the dominant Islamic institution in Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent and the most ancient of the major Sufi orders, also practices forms of sama similar to the Mevlevis, as well as other forms of devotional dance such as dhamaal. The order is strongly associated with the development of Hindustani classical music and semi-classical devotional genres such as qawwali through famed pioneer figures such as Amir Khusrow.

The Chishti order remains one of the largest and strongest Muslim religious orders in the world by far, retaining a vast influence on the spirituality and culture of around million Muslims living in the Indian subcontinent. Other examples of devotional dance are found in the Maghreb where it is associated with gnawa music, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia.

The Naqshbandi order, predominant among Iran 's Sunni minority, is a notable exception in that they do not use music and dancing in the context of dhikr. In addition to these strictly religious forms of dance, colourful dancing processions traditionally take place in Muslim communities during weddings and public celebrations such as Mawlid , Eid el-Adha , and so on.

Many Islamic cultures have also developed classical forms of dance in the context for instance of Mughal , Ottoman , Persian and Javanese court cultures, as well as innumerable local folk and tribal dances for instance amongst Bedouin , Tuareg and Pashto peoples , and other forms of dance used for entertainment or sometimes healing such as belly dancing principally associated with Egyptian culture.

Although tariqas and their rituals have been an omnipresent part of Muslim life for most of Islam's history and were largely responsible for the spread of Islam throughout the world, their following and influence has sharply declined since the late 19th century, having been vigorously opposed and combated in turns by the French and British colonial administrations and by Muslim modernists and secularists like Kemal Ataturk , and in recent decades have been the target of vocal opposition by the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect promoted by Saudi Arabia where most of the heritage associated with Sufism and tariqa was physically destroyed by the state in the s.

Wahhabi militant groups such as ISIS and the Taliban are repeatedly targeting dhikr ceremonies in terrorist attacks, notably in Egypt and Pakistan. Many Muslims are very familiar to listening to music. Because Islam is a multicultural religion, the musical expression of its adherents is diverse.

The Seljuk Turks , a nomadic tribe that converted to Islam, conquered Anatolia now Turkey , and held the Caliphate as the Ottoman Empire , also had a strong influence on Islamic music.

See Turkish classical music. Sub-Saharan Africa , India , and the Malay Archipelago also have large Muslim populations, but these areas have had less influence than the heartland on the various traditions of Islamic music. All these regions were connected by trade long before the Islamic conquests of the 7th century and later, and it is likely that musical styles travelled the same routes as trade goods.