Toward Islamization of the Non-Visual Arts: A Brief Discussion of Some Crucial Issues

In his recent article, “Religious Fascism and Art,” Dr. Sa‘ad al Din Ibrahim concludes with these words addressed to all scholars in the visual and nonvisual arts field: “Those who have the ‘Islamic alternative or alternatives’ let them be obliged, if they truly believe in the existence of refined standards for aesthetic creativity different from those available, (let them) endeavor to present these refinements to society. They have endeavored and succeeded in recent years in presenting alternatives in economic institutions, services and investments, which attracted large numbers . . . why do they not do the same in the arts field?”

Frantic endeavors at Islamizing the non-visual arts have reached a highpoint at the present time. These endeavors are primarily due to the realization of the grave effect art has on shaping morals and channeling, or swaying them in certain directions, and to its easy accessibility to, and profound effect on, emotion and intellect. Many contemporary Islamists have found some basis for literary theory but have not arrived at one grounded in the Qur’an and the Sunnah with a view leading to Islamization of the non-visual arts (literature) and the fine arts as a whole. Although this discussion does not present a theory, it attempts to draw attention to crucial issues which may invite further endeavors for the Islamization of these artistic disciplines.

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