A musical gathering, dated 18th century, Ottoman Turkey. Aga Khan Museum Collection
The earliest examples of religious poetry in Islam are to be found in the verses of a small group of poets who were companions of Prophet Muhammad. The most famous poet was Hassan ibn Thabit (d. 669), who wrote poems in praise of the Prophet as well as to spread the messages from the Prophet. In the years following the Prophet’s death in 632, a number of the poets composed eulogies in his memory as well as poems inspired by passages of the Qur’an.
In the early years of Islam, Arabic poetry was largely non-religious, such as praise poems (madih), love lyrics (ghazal), hunting poems (tardiyyat), and satire (hija‘). Islamic religious poetry seems to have emerged in the late eight century in association with the widespread movement for religious and…
A manuscript of Rumi’s Masnavi dated1652–53. (Image: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford)
Persian literature is dominated by a highly sophisticated tradition of poetry dating to the tenth century. Persian poetry can generally be divided into two forms: the lyrical and the epic. The major lyrical forms are the qasida, ghazal, and rubai. The basic form of epic poetry is the masnavi.
The qasida, a long mono-rhyme (aa, ba, ca) similar to an ode, is mostly used as a speech or in praise of somebody as well as for secular or religious moralism. It consists of three parts – a prologue, the actual praise or tribute, and a final appeal to the patron. It was also used to praise of God and the Prophet. The chanted qasida is part of the religious tradition of Arabic and Persian–speaking Nizari Ismailis.
The ghazal, rhythmically similar to the qasida only…
In the year 570 CE, a Persian physician named Burzoy or Burzoya (Burzawayh in Arabic) living in the Sassanid kingdom of Persia travelled to India in search of a book of wisdom: a book greatly sought by then King of Persian Khusroy I (Anoshagruwa or “the immortal”) who ruled from 531 to 579 CE. Burzoy succeeded in his endeavours, returning to Persia with the knowledge he had gained. His book was in turn written down by the king’s wazir, Wuzurgmihr and included, at Burzoy’s own request, the story of his journey to India.
All of the following photos were taken by the great photographer Paolo Woods, during his visit to Afganistan in 2002. Unlike many Time Travel Booths, this one is not about how much has changed, but rather how much remains the same.
The UN has sent back to his village Shamsuddine and his family from the refugee camp in Mazlak where they had sought protection from the war and the drought. They were given one sac of wheat to eat and one to sow. It is not the sowing season so after the first sac was finished, they ate the second. Now they eat wild grasses.
Qablei Rahmani is a Mirab, a master of water. This is the first year the rain is back after a long drought. His work is to distribute the water of the Murghab river to the 1270 small landowners that live in the area. The…
Map of the city of Mahdiyya (Image: The Ismailis: An Illustrated History)
The map of the city of Mahdiyya (in modern-day Tunisia) is one of seventeen maps and diagrams illustrating a treatise about the earth and the universe titled Kitab Ghara’ib al-funun wa mulah al-‘ayun, loosely translated as The Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eye. The work was composed in Egypt between 1020 and 1050.*
The volume comprises two books, the first on the heavens in ten chapters , and the second, on the earth, in twenty-five chapters. The thirteenth chapter of the second book discusses “the island-city of Mahdiyya and begins with a description and history, followed by a map of the city, describing the founding of the city by the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Mahdiyya in 916-921.”*
This manuscript is a copy made in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century and shows, and depicts the city…
After you visited Israel, you went to Egypt, where you encountered some parochialism. Did that take you by surprise?
No, because I confronted it before. That is to to say, what you notice amongst Palestinians, whether inside Israel or on the West Bank and Gaza, is a sense of isolation. There’s no question that they live under the shadow of Israeli power. What is missing is easy and natural contact with the rest of the Arab world.
Japan’s Meiji period (1868–1912) is commonly described as a time of quick economic and political modernization and self-conscious competition with Western military might and colonial aspirations. The Meiji Restoration of 1868 marked the end of the feudal rule, of an agriculturally dependent economy, and of Buddhism as the official state religion (replaced with Shintô, which holds the emperor to be divine). Under the reign of Emperor Mutsuhito, Japan adopted a constitution with an elected parliament, built military might, experienced massive transportation and industrial industry growth, and put in place a national education system. Pale Pink and Light Blue, a current exhibition at the Museum for Photography in Berlin’s Kunstbibliothek, captures one aspect of the period’s.
The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) today announced that Kosmos Energy has been named the Presenting Sponsor of the Keir Collection of Islamic Art for its inaugural years of exhibitions and installations. The partnership between the Museum and the Dallas-based international oil and gas exploration and production company will provide $800,000 of support for the Museum’s forthcoming series of special exhibitions, installations in its collection galleries, and a prospective touring exhibition over an initial multi-year period. The sponsorship also includes resources to facilitate loans of items from the Keir Collection to other domestic and international institutions for related exhibitions and installations.