Allah -the To
Creator, the Maker, the Giver of
be longs the Most
Every t h i n g i n t h e h e a v e n and earth
H e i s t he
Beautiful Names .
All-Wise â€? Al-Hasyr:24
Haji Mohd Daniyalai, Asma Al-Husna, 2002, Ink Calligraphy on Paper, Collection of Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
I Q R A’ T H E
G A R D E N
W I S D O M
This book is published in conjunction with the Exhibition IQRA’; THE GARDEN OF WISDOM Innovation & Design Gallery, Universiti Sains Malaysia Penang, Malaysia 5 – 30 March 2008 International Convention Center, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam 28 July – 2 August 2008 Queensbay Mall, Penang, Malaysia 12-24 September 2008 SRJK Sultan Abdul Aziz, Teluk Intan, Perak 7 - 9 November 2008 Cultural Center, Universiti Sains Malaysia Penang, Malaysia 8 January 2009 Hotel Equatorial, Penang 1 - 17 September 2009
Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah Universiti Sains Malaysia 11800 USM Pulau Pinang Malaysia Telephone: 04 6533888 ext-3261/2137/4786/4787/4788/4789 Fax: 04 6563531 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.mgtf.usm.my IQRA’; THE GARDEN OF WISDOM ISBN 978-983-43926-0-4 1.Arts, islamic--catalogs700.917671074 © 2008 Universiti Sains Malaysia All rights reserved. Apart for purposes of research, criticism and review, no part of this publication may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission. Equiry should be addressed to the publisher.
PROJECT ADVISOR Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak PROJECT DIRECTOR & EDITOR Hasnul J Saidon GUEST CURATOR Associate Professor Dr. Ruzaika Omar Basaree CONTRIBUTORS Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak Associate Professor Dr. Ruzaika Omar Basaree Himanshu Bhatt Nazlina Hussin LAYOUT DESIGN Salim Ibrahim, Llewellyn Frederick & Afzanizam Mohd Ali PROJECT COMMITTEE Zolkurnian Hassan, Mohd Firdaus Khairuddin, Nor Laila Abd Rozak @ Razak, Nurul Syikin Shuib, Aizuan Azmi, Nur Hafizah Abd. Aziz, Safinawati Samsudin, Shamsul Ikmal Mansori, Nor Mohammad Abd Rahim, Radhiyah Abu Bakar, Faridah Mohd Hashim, Rohayah Sanapi, Adlan Redzuan, Rosli Hamzah, Noordin Ban, Azizi Yahya, Muhammad Husni Abd Latiff, Izrul Abd. Aziz, Mohamad Yazdi Yaacop, Salmiah Mohamad, Noor Rashid Shabidi, Ravi a/l Vansamy.
CONTENTS ISLAM HADHARI IN ACTION : LESSONS FROM ANDALUSIA
IQRA’ & THE SPIRIT OF ANDALUSIA : IGNITING THE LOVE FOR KNOWLEDGE THROUGH ISLAMIC VISUAL ART
INSPIRED BY THE COSMOS
ISLAMIC ART AND SCIENCE EXHIBITION
VISITORS’ ARTWORKS, COMMENTS & PRESS COVERAGE
In Collaboration With:
Ummul Mushaf Al-Quran Mushaf Malaysia Taba’ah ‘Ain At-Taqwa Collectors’ Edition, 2003, Ink on Paper, Collection of Yayasan Restu, Selangor Darul Ehsan.
LESSONS FROM ANDALUSIA
1. RE-AWAKENING ANDALUSIA Islam Hadhari or civilizational Islam is an approach that emphasizes on development via the mastery of knowledge and education be it that of the individual or the nation so as to be prepared for future global challenges. It encourages the doors of ijtihad to be opened, so that interpretations are in tandem with the developmental needs of the prevailing time and conditions. Islam Hadhari aims to achieve ten main principles:
• • • • • • • • • •
Faith and piety in Allah A just and trustworthy government A free and independent people Mastery of knowledge Balanced and comprehensive economic development A good quality of life Protection of the rights of minority groups and women Cultural and moral integrity Safeguarding the environment Strong defenses
In order to put Islam Hadhari into practice with a civilizational framework, the heritage of Islamic civilization that used to unfold on the stage of history could be a useful reference point and become the source of inspiration for society to learn and emulate. A change in attitude and culture requires ijtihad and jihad (struggle) on a broader interpretation, covering all aspects of life, including the pursuit of knowledge, the mastery of science and technology and economic activity.
Society, local and global, should be made aware of Islam’s
The history of Andalusia, including modern day Spain,
contribution to civilizational advances especially in areas
Portugal and Southern France, cannot be divorced from
of science and technology that had eventually brought
that of the Abbasids Dynasty in Damascus and later
about the birth of the Renaissance in Europe. Initiatives to
seriously understand what happened then must be properly
collapsed in the 740s, the caliphate was assumed by Abu
understood and lessons derived from it learnt. (http://www.
‘I-Abbas, who founded the Abbasid Dynasty (750- 1258). A
member of the Umayyad family was able to make his way
When the Umayyad Dynasty in Damascus
West, first to North Africa and then to Iberia. The Abbasid In short, it is imperative for us to equip ourselves with the
later shifted its capital from Damascus to Baghdad. These
necessary knowledge, skills, values and awareness so that
two separate events marked the heights of Muslim learning
the target set could be achieved. In this regard, one zenith
leading to a new civilization in its own right.
of Islamic civilization that is worth benchmarking against is that of Andalusia where many of the principles of Islam
However, it is the event in Baghdad that first dominated the
Hadhari could be fully realized, beginning especially with a
world stage. By and large it overshadowed the growth of
mastery of knowledge.
a ‘new’ Umayyad caliphate in what is termed as the Near East.
Except for “nostalgic curiosity”, relatively little is
Between the period of 8th to 13th centuries, there were
known about Andalusia and its presence in Europe, for the
at least two major periods of intense scholarship:
subsequent 700-odd years is largely ignored, at times by
originating in Baghdad, the other the lesser known
design. Despite its decisive influence over the course of
Andalusia, which was primarily in the Iberian Peninsular.
European history and civilization, little is recorded about in
In both cases, the major efforts involved the transmission
the Western writings.
of knowledge mainly from Greek sources into Arabic before they were translated further into other languages. Thus
Worst, this period is typically described as “a time that was
it forms a good basis in attempting to implement Islam
dark and barbaric” qualified by the adjective “medieval.” It
Hadhari modelled after the Andalusia experience of over
is known as the “Middle” or even “Dark Ages” (500 – 1500),
one that is squeezed between the Classical and Modern era. It is often regarded as “unenlightened, backward and
intolerant culture”, a notion that is still propagated today,
deep thinking about the meaning of life, God and material
aided by the dearth of work that espouses a different
linked Islamic Spain with the larger part of Europe.
Fortunately, evidences that feature the contributions of Andalusia to Europe and the Western civilization glitter from time to time like an invaluable gem.
gem is a recent book by a Yale professor in Spanish and Portuguese, Maria Rosa Menocal, called “The Ornament of the World”. It began when the Muslims, normally called the “Moors”, entered the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula – which they named al-Andalusia at a time when much of Europe and the classical civilization of Greece and Rome had gone into eclipse.
Meanwhile, Andalusia (i.e. Moorish
Spain) brought with it a unique experience in terms of its tangible accomplishments in all spheres of life. Learning was emphasized, marked by a fascination with science, the Arabic literature and the philosophical discourse on reason and faith. The world created in the land of Andalusia saw a number of wealth being created. Not only there was commercial wealth in terms of consumption, productivity and exchange, there was also intellectual wealth, thanks to the libraries of Cordoba. More significantly, there were also a wealth of
All these were the key features that eventually
2. THE GREAT CENTRE OF LEARNING In 750, when the Abbasids overtook the rule of the
As such in the first century of Muslim rule in Spain, the
Muslim World and moved the capital to Baghdad in Iraq,
culture was largely derived from the flourishing civilization
the Umayyad prince Abd al-Rahman b Mwiyah b (Caliph)
developed by the Abbasids in Baghdad. But shortly during
Hisham (756-788) of the Dynasty in Syria was forced to
the reign of Abd al-Rahman III (912-961) al-Andalus began
flee to Iberia. Also known as the ‘Falcon of Spain’, he was
to assert its own identity and make its own contributions.
determined to show the world that his court at Cordoba –
By 929 he openly challenged the Abbasid Caliph residing
the capital, where running water and libraries were part of
in Damascus, by taking on the title Caliph. The Córdoba
the familiar landscape – was equaled in greatness to that
caliphate was the first urban and commercial economy to
flourish in Europe since the disappearance of the Roman Empire.
During the Abbasid Dynasty (750 – 1258) in Baghdad, works of Aristotle, Euclid, Galen, Hippocrates, Ptolemy, Plato,
This was largely due to Abd al-Rahman III who was
Socrates, Aristotle, etc., were translated. Over time, copies
passionately interested in both the religious and the
of these translated works were disseminated throughout
the Islamic domains, later they made their way into Europe
and actively recruited scholars by offering handsome
through Spain and Sicily, near Italy.
He imported books from Baghdad
Soon, as a result, scholars, poets,
philosophers, historians, and musicians began to migrate to al-Andalus.
Soon too, an infrastructure of libraries,
hospitals, research institutions and centers of Islamic studies grew, establishing the intellectual tradition and educational system which became a hallmark of Andalusia Spain for centuries to come. Continuous traffic between Cordoba and Baghdad meant that Andalusia had access to similar reading materials, and eagerly kept up with latest innovations, fashions and products. While Charlemagne was being crowned
Holy Roman Emperor in 800, the Abbasid caliphs were
Caliph, al-Mamun (813-833) included a vast public library,
already well into the monumental translation project that
astronomical observatory and a bureau of translation.
translated the Greek philosophical and scientific tradition
Greek works (including those of Plato and Aristotle) were
into Arabic. Under the rule of the fifth Caliph of the Abbasid
translated into Arabic and a world atlas was compiled.
Empire, Harun ar-Rashid, between 786-808, for example,
Sciences flourished as original research in medicine was
agents were sent to purchase Greek manuscripts from
conducted in the Bayt al-Hikmah. Among the important
the Byzantine Empire where many classical texts were
works translated into Arabic were the medical texts of
preserved. Sometimes, they were gifts brought by the
Galen and Hippocrates, Euclid’s Geometry and Ptolemy’s
Byzantium envoys to Cordoba. A case in point is a copy
of Dioscorides’ treatise on medical botany in Greek, “De material medica”, that was presented in 947. It was later
Caliph al-Mamun employed people of all races and
translated into Arabic by no less than Hasdai ibn Shaprut,
religions to help translate books from around the world
a court physician to Abd al-Rahman III. Ibn Shaprut was
and cultures in Arabic. He held each translator in high-
instrumental in inaugurating yet another “Golden Age”,
esteem by rewarding him in gold based on the weight of
this time of Spanish Judaism, attracting many Jewish
their work. Thus great libraries and schools thrived on
scholars and poets to Cordoba.
the contribution by the translators spurring it ahead into a great centre of learning.
Meanwhile in Baghdad, a scientific research institute and translation centre, the Bayt al-Hikmah or House of
A leading personality of the ‘new wave’ was Hunayn
Wisdom, was established in about 828. Consequently,
ibn Ishaq (810-877) who then spent time in ‘the Greek
the heights of intellectual activities peaked, in parts due
lands’, learning the language. Hunayn’s innovation was to
to a new wave of translators who devoted much of their
abandon the literal tradition of translation and concentrate
efforts in translating manuscripts directly from the Greek.
on making the Greek works comprehensible to the Arabic
Gradually, the scientific community began to adjust itself
or Syriac readers.
from passive to active acceptance of the Greek learning,
entire Alexandrian medical curriculum into Arabic.
giving Andalusia the capacity to create its own intellectual
also revised earlier translations of Galen, renowned for
beacon. The Bayt al-Hikmah established under the
crystallizing all the best work of the Greek medical schools
He and his school translated the He
which had preceded his own time. After his death, his son
geography and astronomy.
Ishaq ibn Hunayn and his nephew Hubaysh ibn al-Hasan By then there were numerous translations of Greek authors
continued on with his tradition.
into Arabic in nearly every domain of knowledge. The ideas While Hunayn was bringing new ideas to translation, new
and points of views contained in these translations formed
movements were stirring in Baghdad.
a large part of the nutriment which Islam sampled and then
Musa Al-Khwarazmi, the famous mathematician (d. 863)
assimilated according to its own inner constitution, and the
was combining Greek and Indian mathematics to produce
foundation given to it by the Qur’an.
what is now called Algebra (from his book – “Kitab alJabr wa’l-Muqabalah” - The book of Restoration and
With the establishment of the Andalusia Umayyad dynasty,
Comparison), at the same time making contribution to
which lasted from 756 to 1031, came the Golden Age of Learning. Libraries were vastly larger than anything else in Europe at the time, colleges were established and literature, poetry and architecture flourished. This period gave birth to religious and ethnic tolerance, interfaith harmony, discovery and free debates which were the norm in facilitating the growth of learning.
3. THE WEB OF KNOWLEDGE During the Abbasid rule, with the exception of the literary
II (961-976), amassed huge libraries. The latter will be
texts, Greek works were reincarnated as a part of the
remembered for his patronage of literature and learning
remarkable new Arabic culture of learning and later that
since it was during his reign that the palace library became
According to Professor Menocal of Yale
one of the greatests in the world. In it were as many as
University in her book, “The Ornament in the World”, it
400,000 titles, as far afield as Persia, with the catalogue
was there in al-Andalus that the profoundly
alone filling 44 volumes and many of the works lavishly
Jews rediscovered and reinvented Hebrew; whilst the
decorated by scribes, gilders, printers and binders. There
Christians embraced nearly every aspect of Arabic
were also librarians’ information on 600,000 volumes.
style – from the intellectual style of philosophy to the architectural styles and game of chess – not only while
Menocal cited the historian and author of “The Decline
living in Islamic domination but especially after wresting
and Fall of the Roman Empire”, Edward Gibbon, who
political control from them. The word “Arabised” is used
describes the book worship of the Islamic polity he so
to acknowledge that the Andalusians did a great deal more
admired in Cordoba, compared to the anti-book culture of
than merely learn to speak the language. This facilitated
medieval Europe. This was at a time when the largest
the development of a knowledge web in Andalusia, with
library in Christian Europe probably held no more than 400
Cordoba as the initial hub.
manuscripts, according to Menocal. Even centuries later, the largest libraries in monasteries and towns of Western
This was indeed fortunate because in the 8th century
Europe held anything from several dozen to 150 volumes.
Spain, the prevailing body of knowledge had become
Only wealthy libraries like Durham had more than 500. On
fossilized inside its antiquated environment, leading to the
the contrary, in cities such as Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo,
wholesale loss of intellectual traditions. But it acquired a
Cordoba, Shiraz and Bukhara where the Islamic influence
fresh life, metamorphosing into a vital young and rigorous
was strong, there where a series of libraries and private
collections of 10,000 volumes or more in the 10th and 11th centuries.
Certainly, book-collecting was one of the passions of the times.
Both Abdul-Rahman and his son, Al-Hakam
In the 10th century Cordoba, for example, then the
capital of Umayyad Spain (929- 1031), the city is said to
the city had 700 mosques, some 60,000 palaces and 70
be unrivalled in both the East and the West for its wealth
libraries – one reportedly housing 500,000 manuscripts
and civilization. Andalusian scholars served as a major
and employing a staff of researchers, illuminators and
conduit bringing Greek philosophy, of which the Muslims
book binders. By comparison, major libraries in Western
had previously been the main custodians, to Western
Europe scarcely reached a thousand. Even into the 14th.
Europe. It was during the 10th century too that al-Andalus
century, the library at the University of Paris only had
produced a large number of excellent physicians, some
about 2,000 books.
of whom studied Greek medical works translated at the famous House of Wisdom. Cordoba had by then benefited
By 976, the library of Cordoba was said to have employed
from the vast translation and then passed it on to the rest of
500 librarians, scribes, physicians, historians, geographers
the Anglophone world. The citizens had been eager, even
and copyists; the catalogues not only had swollen to 44
greedy, recipients of the impressive Córdoba libraries.
volumes, but arranged by subject, then order of acquisition. Acquiring new materials was not difficult, as titles moved
Without doubt, in 10th century, the intellectual superiority
freely from Byzantium to Baghdad, Cairo to Cordoba, by
of the Andalusia’s with its Arabised culture of learning was
way of Venetian and Arab shipping routes.
recognised in Europe. The rich and varied cultural and
caliph library was itself one of the 70 libraries in a city
intellectual universe in the 9th and 10th centuries provided
that apparently so adorned books that a report of the time
the backdrop for the Umayyad vision. Cordoba with its
indicated that there were 70 copyists in the book market
some 100,000 inhabitants was not only the capital but also
who worked exclusively on copying the Qur’ans. Clearly,
the most important city of the Caliphate, making it Europe’s
the web of knowledge in Cordoba in the form of libraries
principal urban concentration during that epoch.
alone was already a significant benchmark of overall
social well-being, since they represented a near-perfect Soon Cordoba could boast of a population of some
crossroads of the material and the intellectual. The sort
500,000, compared to about 38,000 in a European city
of libraries built in Cordoba was unseen and unimagined
such as Paris. According to the chronicles of the day,
for hundreds of years amid the intellectual spolia of the
Roman Empire. The libraries, in turn affiliated with a sprawling network of copyists, booksellers, papermakers and colleges, churned out as many as 60,000 treatises, poems, polemics and compilations a year.
librarian at Cordoba was personally appointed by alHakam, the then Caliph of Cordoba. It is no wonder that Andalusia is very much closely associated with the birth of a civilization, perhaps not different from what is envisaged by the concept of Islam Hadhari.
4. THE LEARNING CULTURE Andalusian civilization reached its apogee in Cordoba.
Librarians had risen to such administrative and cultural
Just as essential to the social and cultural dimensions
power (as they were frequently authors and scientists as
embodied in the rich libraries of Andalusia, was a series
well) that such posts were exclusive to the most wealthy
of attitudes about learning of every sort, about the duty
and powerful families. One 10th century account of an
to transmit knowledge from one generation to another
Arabic ‘house of books’ runs, “… the library constituted a
and about the interplay between the very different modes
library by itself; there was a superintendent, a librarian and
of learning that were known to exist – modes that might
an inspector chosen from the most trustworthy people in
contradict each other, as faith and reason did and do now.
the country. There is no book written up to this time in
These sat happily in the libraries, side by side unafraid of
whatever branch of science but the prince has acquired
the contradictions, first-rate, noted Menocal.
a copy of it.
The library consists of one long vaulted
room, annexed to which there are store rooms. The prince had made along the large room and the store chambers, scaffoldings about the height of a man, three yards wide, of decorated wood, which have shelves from top to bottom; the books are arranged on the shelves and for every branch of learning there are separate scaffolds.There are also catalogues in which all the titles of the books are entered.” At about that time, book production in the East blossomed into a vital industry. Textual materials, translators, scholars and tradesman all spread throughout the Near East and Mediterranean. A new sector of the economy was born, specializing in acquiring, duplicating or locating rare books. The new libraries and colleges of Andalusia Spain were no exception. The prestige of one’s city or royal (caliph) library led to
a spirit of noble competition between the caliphs, viziers
discovered learning to the elites of Islamic capitals such as
and deputies of various provinces, each wishing to attract
Baghdad and Cordoba.
the brightest scholars and rarest literary talents. Many in court circles followed the lead of the caliphs and viziers
As one history records:
and sponsored translations into Arabic. The lead taken by the caliphs and viziers in the translation movement was of crucial importance for the acceptability of the newly-
“Andalusia was, above all, famous as a land of scholars, libraries, books lovers and collectors …. When Gerbert [of Aurillac] studied at Vich (ca. 995 – 999), the libraries of Moorish Spain contained close to a million manuscripts … Cordoba books were more eagerly sought than beautiful concubines or jewels … The city’s glory was the Great Library established by Al-Hakam II … ultimately it contained 400,000 volumes … On the opening page of each book was witten the name, date, place of birth and ancestry of the author, together with the titles of his other works. Forty-eight volumes of catalogues, incessantly amended, listed and described all titles and contained instructions on where a particular work could be found.”
Never more so than during the 10th and 11th centuries,
could Al-Andalus boasted the highest literacy rate in
the lands of Moors in Spain and Sicily, (which too had
Europe. The great Dutch Arabic historian of French origin,
its golden years as a centre of an Andalusia-like culture,
Reinhart Pieter Anne Dozy (1820-1883), declared that
with Palermo as the capital of Islamic Sicily), was greatly
during the days of the Andalusia’s caliph Abdul-Rahman
instrumental in dispelling the gloom of ignorance that had
III (912-961), nearly everyone could read, and although
enveloped the mediaeval Europe.
The light of knowledge which illuminated
doubtless this was an exaggeration, it is fair to assume that the country contained an unusually large percentage
Sicily, though not part of al-Andalus, stood next to Spain
of literate people.
in the diffusion of Arab culture. Even after the conquest of Sicily at the hands of the Normans in 1091, it was reported
Early Cordoba, unlike Baghdad, had no culture of
that the superior culture of the conquered race had won
translation at all, and the Córdobans could not read Greek.
the hearts of the conquerors. Thus, Sicily, which long into
But this did not hamper learning because by the time they
the Christian era continued to be a great centre of Muslim
got these translated texts they were already a part of a
civilization, played a vital part in the awakening of Europe.
scholarly tradition that lived in Arabic. There was also no
In fact, with central geographic position, it served as an
demand to translate anything into Latin. After all, every
intermediary between the two cultures, Christian and
civilized person – including the Jews and Christians who
Muslim, and provided an ideal centre for the dissemination
were citizens of Cordoba – could of course read Arabic,
of both cultures. A classical case is the most famous
compared to those who lived in the north, beyond the
geographer of the period al-Idrisi, who studied in Cordoba.
mountains – although the opportunity to learn the language
After traveling widely, al-Idrisi settled in Sicily and wrote a
of knowledge was available to them through the extensive
systematic geography of the world, usually known as the
web of knowledge, described previously. But mostly they
“Book of Roger” after his patron Roger II, the Norman King
did not choose to do so.
of Sicily. The information contained in the “Book of Roger” was also engraved on a silver planisphere, a disc-shaped
Indeed, the many branches of knowledge pioneered by the Andalusians during the mediaeval time provided the necessary link between the ancient and modern
map that was one of the wonders of the age.
GLOBALISATION, ANDALUSIAN STYLE
Other that Spain, southern Italy which was ruled by the Norman King of Sicily, also assisted in diffusing Andalusian culture to not only other parts of Italy, but also to central Europe. The continuous intellectual intercourse between the two Norman States of England and Sicily was instrumental in bringing many elements of Muslim culture to as far as distant Britain.
when the cities of the Saracenic world Baghdad, Cairo, Cordoba, Toledo, were growing centers of civilization and intellectual activity. It was there that the new life arose which was to grow into a new phase of human evolution. From the time when the influence of their culture made itself felt, began the stirring of a new life”.
A case in point is the work of the greatest surgeon of the middle ages, Abu al-Qasim Al-Zaheawi, (known in the
Even Philip K. Hitti, the orientalist, acknowledges the
West as Abulcasis or Al-bucasis), born near Cordoba. His
greatness of Arab culture when he writes in his “History
work was used as a standard reference work in the subject
of the Arabs” (London, 1937): “Moslem (sic) Spain wrote
in all universities of Europe for over five hundred years.
one of the brightest Chapters in the intellectual history
An author of the “Al-Tasrif”, the book was translated into
of medieval Europe. Between the middle of the 8th and
Latin and became the leading medical text for European
the beginning of the 13th centuries, as we have noted
universities during the later middle ages.
before, the Arab speaking people were the main bearers of the torch of culture and civilization throughout the world.
Writer Robert Briffault in his well-known work “The Making
Moreover, they were the medium through which ancient
of Humanity” (London, 1938) wrote:
science and philosophy were recovered, supplemented
“It was under the influence of Arabian and Moorish revival of culture, and not in the 15th century, that the real renaissance took place, Spain and not Italy, was the cradle of the rebirth of Europe. After sinking lower and lower in barbarism, it had reached the darkest depths of ignorance and degradation
and transmitted in such a way as to make possible the renaissance of Western Europe.” To this J.M. Roberts in “History of the World” (1995) reaffirms that “Arab Spain was of enormous importance to Europe, a door to the learning and science of the East.” Among other, this is evident from the range of Arabic words in European languages covering a variety of scientific fields. The existence of scientific words of Arabic origin in
European languages is attributed to the pioneering efforts
Muslim, Christian and Jewish scholars. This led to a new
of Muslim scholars in the fields of astrology, mathematics,
sense of confidence, and a renewed creativity and vigor in
physics, chemistry and medicine.
By the end of the
intellectual pursuits. New technologies played a vital role
middle ages, Europe became the most technologically and
in revitalising the medieval culture and knowledge. With
scientifically advanced part of the world. By around 1100,
the ‘invention’ of paper medium, “what followed was an
it marked the time when Western names began to appear,
explosion of books. It was as revolutionary as the printing
but the honours were still shared with the Andalusian
press”, writes Jonathan Bloom in “Paper before Print:
names especially Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Abu-Imran
The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World”.
Musa bin Maimoun (the Jewish, Maimonides). By then, the
Some historians labelled this as the seeding period of the
list of towering personalities of Andalusian scholarships
was ready peaking. The local (Arabised) thought and intellectual product Overall, from 750 to 1100 (some historians would argue
came to dominate and surpass that of the Greek learning.
even later), for at least 350 years continuously, there
Scientific sources of the Greek (including that of the Syrian
was an unbroken succession of the ages of Al-Jabir,
sources) were passed to the Arabised Andalusians, who
Khwarizmi, Razi, Biruni and Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and then
began to write new Islamic science. In presenting their
Omar Khayam. Men belonging to the culture of Andalusia
works, the scholars had to coin an entirely new terminology
– Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Persians, Jews and Christians
to introduce their innovations, which included such novel
created the unbroken chain of tolerance, prosperity and
concepts such as algebra, the algorithm, alkali, alchemy
peace. These scholars made a concerted effort to make
and alcohol. Arabic technical words and scientific terms
use of the whole of classical learning realising not only a
were later adopted in Latin, and were introduced into the
“Golden Age” of science but also eclipsed anything found
vocabulary of Europe where some are still in use. Others
in Christian Europe – which often considered such works
are in corrupted versions.
blasphemous and often destroyed them. According to some historians of science, these challenges Hence, in the intervening period of Andalusia, a lively,
to classical scientific ideas may have been a significant
cosmopolitan and learned culture was facilitated by the
factor in the genesis of Scientific Revolution of the 16th and
17th centuries, as attested by Elspeth Whitney in a book, “Medieval Science and Technology” (2004).
science and technology was shaped by the recovery of classical and Arabic science, including the works of Aristotle and the Arabic commentaries, giving it the basis for continuing achievement in all fields of science. Texts by Aristotle and his Arabic commentaries became the basis of university curriculum and hence for the scientific thought of medieval Europe until 16th and 17th centuries, according to Whitney. Even as the Muslims loss control of major cities of eastern Spain around 1248, there was purportedly still enough social energy and impetus on behalf of the Arab rules to foster a rich, scholarly culture, one which drew medieval luminaries such as Gerbert d’Aurillac (who later became Pope Sylvester II), Robert Grosse Este (later became Chancellor of Oxford University), Roger Bacon also known as Doctor Mirabilis (Latin for “astounding doctor”), to name a few. Indeed, Pope Sylvester II was regarded as the first Christian “to take up the torch of learning”. In short, complemented by the high level of learning, religious tolerance and social freedom, a large number of Christian students from all parts of Europe flocked to Andalusia to study in Moorish schools. Upon completion, they went back to their native places and spread the new knowledge and intellectual tradition.
LESSONS LEARNT: RECREATING ANDALUSIA
It is fairly obvious that many of the practices of the culture
Greek to Arabic astronomical and mathematical works,
of Andalusia were enshrined in the ideals and principles
to the surgical thesis of Al-Zahrawi (Albucasis). Gerard
of Islam as emphasized in Hadharic sense. In fact, the
remained in Toledo for the rest of his life and died in 1187.
Golden Age of Islamic Civilization was a direct outcome of the ideas and principles, without having to attach any
Salam in his Nobel Laureate address choose to focus on
religious label to them.
With Andalusia serving as the
one Michael the Scot. His narration traces back to about
intellectual hub of the day, it was not strange that the
800 years ago when the young Scotsman left his native
1979 Nobel Laureate of Physics, Abdus Salam, in his
glens to travel south to Toledo. His goal was to live and
inaugural address in Oslo cited a specific case in Toledo
work at the Arab Universities of Toledo and Cordoba, where
as an example. As early as 11th. century, Toledo had been
the great scholars such as Moses [Musa] bin Maimoun
a centre for the transmission of knowledge, culture and
and philosopher, physician and commentator on Plato and
science to Europe. Among the scholars who flocked to
Aristotle, Ibn Rushd (Averroes) had taught.
it from all over Europe, were medieval scholars such as Gerard of Cremona and John of Seville. Other famous
“Michael reached Toledo in 1217 AD. Once in Toledo,
translators were Peter Abelard of Bath, Robert of Chester,
Michael formed the ambitious project of introducing Aristotle
Stephenson of Saragossa, William of Lunis and Philip of
to Latin Europe, translating not from the original Greek,
which he did not know, but from the Arabic translation by Averroes who then taught in Spain. From Toledo, Michael
Gerard of Cremona for example went to Toledo to learn
travelled to Sicily, to the Court of Emperor Frederick II.
Arabic so that he could translate available Arabic works. He translated one of Ibn Sina’s seminal works on medicine
Visiting the medical school at Salerno, chartered by
into Latin which became a major text for centuries in
Frederick in 1231, Michael met the Danish physician,
Europe. This is in addition to more than 70 Arabic books
Henrik Harpestraeng – later to become the Court Physician
on different subjects – ranging from basic works of the
of King Erik Plovpening. Henrik had come to Salerno to
compose his treatise on blood-letting and surgery. Henrik’s
Thus, in the 12th and 13th centuries, medieval science was
sources were the medical canons of the great clinicians of
shaped by the recovery of classical and Islamic science,
Islam, Al-Razi and Avicenna [Ibn Sina], which only Michael
including the works of the Arabic commentaries, giving
the Scot could translate [from Arabic] for him.
it the basis for continuing achievement in all fields of science. These challenges to classical scientific ideas may
Toledo’s and Salerno’s schools, representing as they did
have been a significant factor in the genesis of Scientific
the finest synthesis of Arabic, Greek, Latin and Hebrew
Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, writes Elspeth in
scholarships, were some of the most memorable of
a book, “Medieval Science and Technology” (2004).
international essays in scientific collaboration. To Toledo and Salerno came scholars not only from the rich countries
To this Salam pointed out:
of the East and the South, like Syria, Egypt, Iran and
obstacles to this international scientific concourse, with
“Then, as now, there were
Afghanistan, but also from developing lands of the West
an economic and intellectual disparity between different
and the North like Scotland and Scandinavia.”
parts of the world. Men like Michael the Scot or Henrik Harpestraeng were singularities. They did not represent
Complemented by the high level of religious tolerance and
any flourishing school of research in their own countries.”
complete social freedom in Muslim Spain, a large number of Christian students from all parts of Europe flocked to
Scholars are still unravelling the motivations and the
Toledo and Salerno. After completing their studies in
conditions that led to this, most creative movement of
Moorish schools and centers of learning, they went back
cultural transformation, but the evidence is clear enough.
to their native places and taught new knowledge they
It is nothing less than the intellectual vibrancy during the
By then the number of translators had
Andalusia period that sparked the change. It later grew
flourished. Early translations were primarily into Latin and
into a blazing that lighted up a new knowledge-based
some into Hebrew. Subsequent translations were done
from Latin or Hebrew into vernacular languages of Europe.
immense resourcefulness the Muslims and Andalusians to
It is tempting to equate the flame to the
understand, adapt and transform the Hellenistic intellectual universe into a vital worldview reintegrating the classical world back into a living culture. As noted in a journal “Interreligious Insight” as recent as July 2004 which focuses on dialogue among the world’s many faiths:
“Al-Andalus was not a perfect society, but it was arguably the pre-eminent Western society of its time inasmuch as it served as the link between the Greek and Roman civilizations before it and the European civilization that was to follow it. While the rest of Europe endured the Dark Ages, light and enlightenment shone brightly at times in al-Andalus.” Unmistakably, Andalusia had embraced Islam in the Hadhari sense, and it remains a shining example that needs to be understood, learnt and more importantly recreated in the spirit of civilizational Islam. This undoubtedly is in line with what Malaysian 5th. Prime Minester Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said at the Islamic Academy of Science’s
2005, Science Conference held in Kuala Lumpur. â€œI believe that the environment in Baghdad 800 years ago can serve as a powerful reminder of some aspects of Islam that have been neglected. Baghdad and the Islamic Empire (notably Andalusia) became a thriving repository of knowledge, driven by a passion for and openness to learning.â€? This aptly sums up what Islam Hadhari in action model on the Andalusia experience is all about.
Dzulkifli Abdul Razak Vice-Chancellor
Universiti Sains Malaysia
I Q R A’ A N D T H E S P I R I T O F A N D A L U S I A :
IGNITING THE LOVE FOR KNOWLEDGE THROUGH ISLAMIC VISUAL ART “Read in the name of your Lord Who creates, created man from a clot! Read, for your Lord is most Generous; Who teaches by means of the pen, Te a c h e s m a n w h a t h e d o e s n o t k n o w . ”
Abstract The love of knowledge and learning in the Islamic civilization between the 8th and 14th centuries has handed down a unique legacy in the form of various arts and scientific achievements. The Muslims were pioneers of new ideas from astronomy and botany to medicines, mathematics, architecture and art. Though there were differences in manifestations, the Muslims were bound together by certain unifying characteristics, which were intelligible and governed by the concept of unity in variety. “IQRA’: The Garden of Wisdom” examines the works of Muslim geniuses that have been recognized worldwide and how the spirit of Andalusia had influenced the art of other cultures particularly that of the Malay Archipelago.
The great love and respect for knowledge became
The literal meaning of Iqra’ in the Arabic language
the main concern in searching for a new life that
is “to read”. This was the first revelation sent to the
was more universal. In Islam, knowledge is “the
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. by the angel Gabriel.
food of the soul” (in the words of SMN al-Attas),
This word has so much meaning and value. It is an
it belongs to everyone and it is compulsory for
instruction to the ummah (people) of the Prophet
every Muslim to seek and acquire it. The most
to read, gain knowledge and make it a culture in
distinguishing characteristic of Islam is that, it
their daily life because reading itself is the key to
never tries to divide the individual from the society.
The individual is a part of the society just as much as the society in actuality is the reflection of the individual. According to al-Attas :
“Knowledge is the arrival o f m e a n i n g i n t h e s o u l a n d a l s o the arrival of the soul at mean i n g . I f i t i s p r o p e r l y t r a i n e d , i t will a r r i v e a t t h e r i g h t m e a n i n g . ” 1
1. Quoted from one of his lectures at ISTAC
“God is beautiful and loves beauty”
Muslims of the past took this command with full
Knowledge opens new discoveries about Allah’s
enthusiasm and gathered as much knowledge
creations and exposes us to His greatness. Muslims
as they could to build a civilization with endless
inherit one of the greatest civilizations that ever
knowledge that was very progressive and became
existed in the world. Their responsibility is to rise
leaders of their generation. They were experts in
once again to the standard of learning and knowledge
numerous fields of science and technology.
they once possesed. Islam is a religion of knowledge and treats it as the central means to salvation of the soul and also to the attainment of human happiness and prosperity in this world and the hereafter.(2)
2. Osman Bakar, ‘The History and Philosophy of Islamic Science’, Islamic Texts Society, Cambridge, 1999.
Islam emphasizes beauty and has been inseparable from it throughout its history. The concept of harmony and equilibrium, which characterizes the Islamic religion and the artistic as well as the cultural manifestations of Islam has been manifested in various traditional arts form design ornaments to beautiful tiles to intricate architecture and finally to the fine art of writing. As it was explained in the words of Titus Burckhardt himself :
“Beauty is inherent in Islam itself; it grows from its i n n e r m o s t r e a l i t y, w h i c h i s U n i t y ( a l - t a w h i d ) m a n i f e s t i n g i t s e l f a s justice (‘add) and generosity (karam).” 3
3. See Titus Burckhardt, ‘Mirror of the Intellect – Essays on Traditional Science & Sacred Art’ Translated and Edited by Willian Stoddart, Quinta Essentia, United Kingdom, 1987, p. 213.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, one of the world’s top
and growth, signify the living and changing material
Islamic scholars, has always maintained that
aspect of creation.
sacred art is the heart of religion and that Islamic art is the heart of Islam. Islamic art “crystallizes
According to Nasr, art is a combination of wisdom and
in the world of forms the inner realities of Islamic
science. The synthesis of art and science is evident
revelation and because it issues from the inner
in Islamic traditional civilization because both art and
dimension of Islam, leads man to the chamber
science are encompassed by beauty, which God
of the Divine Revelation” (Nasr, 1987).
loves. Islam regards art and science as yardsticks
argued that most Islamic art are made up of the
of civilization, which is important to the cultivation as
combination of calligraphy, which symbolizes
well as the development of every Muslim. Art and
the Principle of Creation that is related directly
science are the same form of human construction
to the Divine Word (Qur’an), geometric patterns
where one is physical and the other is conceptual.
that symbolize the idea of immutability and finally
Osman Bakar puts it beautifully when he says that :
the arabesques, that are associated with life
“What is art without beauty…without aesthetic consciousness, where would beauty be in the language we speak and write and the literary activities we carry out, in the building we construct…in the dress we wear… and indeed in everything else we make and produced in the name of development, progress and civilization.” 4
4. See Osman Bakar’s article entitled ‘COSMOLOGY’, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, Vol. 1, (Editor in chief John L. Esposito), Oxford University Press, New York/Oxford, 1995, p.323.
It is essential to understand the nature and role of
At the upper most stands the art of calligraphy, which
Islamic art, which expresses the essential message
is related to the expression of the Divine Word derived
of Islam. Islamic art is the means where the spirit
form the Qurâ€™an. Next is the Islamic architecture that
of Islam penetrates into all modes of activity, at all
creates spaces in which Godâ€™s word echoes and
moments of humansâ€™ life, reminding of the divine
reverberates. Below these come those arts that are
presence. Islamic art was and continues to be the
concerned with daily life such as the embellishment of
most precious support for Islamic ideals of life and
human dress and the utilitarian objects.
living. As for painting, it was found mainly in the pictorial The unity in Islamic art is related to the unity of the
illumination of books especially in the Persian
Divine Principle, to the unity of the cosmos and
miniature work, while sculpture barely played any role
also to the unity of the life of the individual and the
at all. These arts are vital today for the conservation
community itself. Islam reflects a wholeness which
of Islamic civilization since they reflect Islamic
is abundantly reflected in its aesthetic ideals. Islamic art thus possesses its own hierarchy based on Islamic teachings.
spirituality in their own way. Nasr expressed that :
“The principle of unity is also directly related to the combining of beauty and function or utility so characteristic of a l l I s l a m i c a r t … To b e b e a u t i f u l i s t o b e u s e f u l i n t h e d e e p e s t sense of the word;…Functionality and utility are therefore not juxtaposed against beauty but complement it.” 5
Islamic art is based upon Tawhid –Divine Unity, a
of the Muslim artists, but the relation between art and
concept implying the oneness of God, God’s realities,
religion and which domain of religion that is related to art
names and attributes. This in turn takes into account
is of great importance. The Syariah is the embodiment
the relation between God the Creator and the Universe
of the Divine Principle and its role is to provide a
as God’s Creation. God is in fact the Supreme Artist
guideline to what kind of art is permissible according to
and human is the most beautiful work of art created by
the Islamic world view.
God. To produce a work of art is not the main concern
5. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, ‘Traditional Islam in the Modern World’, Foundation for Traditional Studies, Kuala Lumpur, 1987, p.243.
Islam is centered on Unity and Islamic art is the result of the manifestation of unity upon the plane of multiplicity. According to the late Lois Lamya Al-Faruqi, an eminent scholar of Islamic art :
“The Islamic breakthrough in the arts was the result of the desire to give aesthetic expression to the proclamation – La ilaha illa Allah (“There is no god but God”).” 6
It is indeed remarkable that Islamic civilization has
the concept of Unity in Multiplicity. The Aqidah
handed down a unique legacy in the form of its
(faith) of the artist is an important factor in a sense
Even though there were differences in
that besides serving God which is his Ibadah
manifestations, somehow they were bound together by
(services), one also has to be knowledgeable,
certain unifying characteristics. The concept of Unity is
ethical and skillful in one’s work. Islamic art is
expressed in an abstract manner not in terms of any
actually the translation of the self into something
image. However, the prohibition of images is not really
that concerns the totality of the intellect, will and
absolute. A plane flat image that has been stylised is
love and because it is so, it is always considered
permitted for as long as its does not represent God or
to be non-personal. As an aesthetic expression of
the Prophet for the purpose of idolising or worshiping.
the Divine Unity, it is essentially looked upon as an part of submission to God.
Abstraction to a Muslim artist is actually the expression of a law that is intelligible and at the same time manifests
6. Lois Lamya Al-Faruqi, Islam and Art, National Hijra Council, Islamabad-Pakistan, 1985, p.16.
Islamic Doctrine of Tawhid Islamic art is therefore the result of the manifestation of unity upon the plane of multiplicity. It is based upon TawhidDivine Unity, a concept implying the oneness and transcendence of God as stated by Ismail and Lamya al-Faruqi:
“…has a goal similar to that of the Quran – to teach and reinforce in mankind the perception of divine transcendence.”
As a matter of fact, in its more universal sense, Islamic
naturalistic designs, they are normally subjected to
art is an art of repose and it is intellectual rather than
stylization and denaturalization techniques.
emotional. To a certain extent, Islamic art can be considered a conceptual art where questions and
A new manner of aesthetic expression was
answers are being provided as guidelines to what kind
demanded to emphasize God’s transcendence. An
of art is permissible and not permissible according to the
aesthetic mode that would reinforce the awareness
Islamic world view. Islamic art has been designated as
of the oneness and transcendence of God provided
an infinity art that goes beyond spacetime. The infinite
a breakthrough in the history of the Islamic art. The
pattern of the arabesques which is abstract has no
theme of Tawhid which has sustained every artistic
beginning and no end in its composition. In the case of
expression emphasizes the idea of infinity.
The striking thing about Islamic art is that it is non
Islamic art displays the signs of God’s beauty while
representational. According to Murata and Chittick, its
reminding people that these are only signs. Tanzih’s
abstract nature tends to represent ideas rather than
abstraction balances tashbih’s imagery by detaching
things because its abstraction is a function of reason
beauty from the objects within which it becomes
illuminated by Tawhid. They point out that tanzih refers
to the Creator being incomparable and separate from creation while tashbih refers to seeking similarities between the Creator and creation.
Ruzaika Omar Basaree Guest Curator
Mohd. Fariz Bin Shariffudin, “I am the observer who picture the reality and the hidden hand writings”, 2007, Wood, Collection of Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
SELECTED EXHIBITS :
TITLE: Printer Estimated date:19th Century Place of origin / source: Pattani, Thailand Material: Iron Size: 102cm x 82 cm Collection: Galeri Warisan MAR, Terengganu
TITLE: Asma Al-Husna Artist: Elias Ishak Year: 1987 Place of origin / source: Malaysia Material: Plaster of paris Size: 121cm x 44cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Surah Al-Ikhlas Artist: Haji Mohd. Daniyalai Year: 2002 Place of origin / source: China Material: Chinese ink on rice paper Size:168cm x 64cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Asma Al-Husna Artist: Haji Mohd. Daniyalai Year: 2002 Place of origin / source: China Material: Chinese ink on rice paper Size: 154cm x 57cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: All Praises to Allah Artist: Haji Mohd. Daniyalai Year: 2002 Place of origin / source: China Material: Chinese ink on rice paper Size: 148cm x 68cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: All Praises to Allah Artist: Haji Salil Li Wengchai Year: 2002 Place of origin / source: China Material: Chinese ink on rice paper Size: 159cm x 56cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: In The Name of Allah Artist: Mohd Gasimon Sha Juyou Year: 2002 Place of origin / source: China Material: Chinese ink on rice paper Size: 162cm x 49cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: There is No God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of God Artist: Unknown Year: Unknown Place of origin / source: China Material: Chinese ink on rice paper Size: 46cm x 46cm Collection: Professor Tan Sri Datoâ€™ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
Title: Talisman In The Shape of Ring and Pendent Estimated Date: 18th Century Place of Origin: Iran Material: Metal and Stone Size: 27cm x 6cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
Title: Silver Belt Buckle Coated With Gold Estimated Date: Unknown Place of Origin: Unknown Material: Silver Size: 13cm x 9cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
Title: Limar Cloth Year: 1940â€™s Place of Origin: Kelantan Darul Naim, Malaysia Material: Cotton Size: 108cm x 98cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
Title: Limar Cloth Year: 1940â€™s Place of Origin: Kelantan Darul Naim, Malaysia Material: Cotton Size: 126cm x 95cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Mingâ€™s Ceramic Calligraphy Year: Unknown Place of origin / source: China Material: Ceramic Size: 38cm x 38cm Collection: Muzium Seni Asia, Universiti Malaya
Title: Gambus Year: 1983 Place of Origin: Johor Darul Takzim, Malaysia Material: Wood Size: 68cm x 32cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
Title: Ceremonial Betel Leaves Box Estimated Date: 19th Century Place of Origin: Malay Kingdom of Temasik Material: Wood, Gold Platted Copper Size: 56cm x 35cm x 25cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
Title: Betel Leaves Box With Five â€œCelepaâ€? Estimated Date: Unknown Place of Origin: Unknown Material: Copper Size: Unknown Collection: Muzium Seni Asia, Universiti Malaya
Title: War Equipment And Costume Estimated Date: 16th â€“ 18th Centuries Place of Origin: Malay Kingdom of Bugis Material: Iron, Copper Size: 122cm x 75cm detail
Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
Title: Pedang Monggol Estimated Date: 18th Century Place of Origin: Monggol Kingdom of China Material: Iron, Copper, Turquoise Gemstone Size: 132cm x 12cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
Title: Sword (Pala) Estimated Date: 338 Hijrah Place of Origin: Iran Material: Iron with Quranic Verse detail
Size: 102cm x 10cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
Title: Sword (Talwar) Estimated Date: 17th Century Place of Origin: India Material: Iron with Handle from Copper Size: 87cm x 3cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
Title: Sarawakian Broad Knife, Conserning Death Estimated Date: 19th Century Place of Origin: Panglima Mat Salleh, Sarawak Material: Iron, Wood, Leather Size: 67cm x 5cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM detail
TITLE: Jile Blade Year: 1960 Place of origin / source: Somalia Material: Metal, Wood, Pelt, Leather Size: 57cm x 9cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM detail
Title: Sword Year: Early 1900 Place of Origin: Somalia Material: Iron With Handle From Wood, Copper, Leather Size: 90cm x 5cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
Title: Ceremonial Cannon Estimated Date: 19th Century Place of Origin: Indonesia (Siak Kingdom) Material: Iron Size: 167cm x 22cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM detail
TITLE: Astrolable for Measuring Wind Estimated date: 18th century Place of origin / source: Africa Material: Copper Size: 42cm x 36cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Navigation Compass Estimated date: 18th century Place of origin / source: Africa Material: Copper Size: 32cm x 20cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Astrolabe - Used to Measure Height Estimated date: 19th century Place of origin / source: India Material: Copper Size: 25cm x 17cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
detail TITLE: Astrolabe Place of origin / source: India Estimated date: 18th century Material: Copper Size: 44cm x 30cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Astrolabe - Used to Measure Distance Of Vertical Plane Estimated date: 19th century Place of origin / source: India Material: Copper Size: 38cm x 25cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Astrolabe Estimated date: 18th century Place of origin / source: India Material: Copper Size: 40cm x 28cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Celestial Globe Estimated date: 18th century Place of origin / source: Iran Material: Copper Size: 40cm x 30cm detail
Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Celestial Globe Estimated date: 18th century Place of origin / source: Iran Material: Copper Size: 38cm x 27cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Astronomy Globe Estimated date: 18th century Place of origin / source: Iran Material: Metal Size: 15cm x 16cm Collection: Galeri Warisan MAR, Terengganu
TITLE: Celestial Globe Estimated date: 18st Century Place of origin / source: Iran Material: Copper Size: 11cm x 14cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Rubuâ€™ Mujaiyab Estimated date: 18th Century Place of origin / source: Mesir Material: Copper Size: 21cm x 16cm Collection: Galeri Warisan MAR, Terangganu
TITLE: Rubuâ€™ Mujaiyab Quadrant Estimated date: 18th Century Place of origin / source: Mesir Material: Wood, lacquer Size: 23cm x 21cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Rubuâ€™ Mujaiyab Quadrant Estimated date: 18th Century Place of origin / source: Mesir Material: Wood, lacquer Size: 12cm x 28cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Twisted Astrolabe- Rubu Mujaiyab Estimated date: 18th Century Place of origin / source: Iran Material: Copper Size: 20cm x 20 cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Sun Clock Estimated date: 16th Century Place of origin / source: Spain Material: Wood, Copper Size: 72cm x 47cm Collection: Galeri Warisan MAR, Terengganu
TITLE: Measuring Equipment Estimated date: 19th Century Place of origin / source: Spain Material: Copper Size: 32cm x 14cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Astrolabe - Used to Measure Height Estimated date: 19th Century Place of origin / source: Spain Material: Copper Size: 158cm x 33cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Incense Burning Pot (Verse of Al Quran) Estimated date: 19th Century Place of origin / source: India Material: Copper Size: 145cm x 72cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
TITLE: Kitab Perukunan Estimated date: Early 20th Century Place of origin / source: Indonesia Material: Ink on paper Size: 30cm x 20cm Collection: Galeri Pusaka Moyang Negeri Sembilan
TITLE: Hand Written Quran Estimated date: 19th Century Place of origin / source: Pondok Langitan, Indonesia Material: Ink on paper Size: 33cm x 23cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM
I Q R A’ E X H I B I T I O N I N N O V A T I O N U N I V E R S I T I
S A I N S
D E S I G N
G A L L E R Y
M A L A Y S I A 5 - 3 0
M A R C H
( U S M ) 2 0 0 8
DYMM Tuanku Tengku Fauziah Al-Marhum Tengku Abdul Rashid & DYMM Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Ibni AlMarhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail observing one of the exhibits during their Royal visit on 22 March 2008 to the exhibition. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Datoâ€™(Dr.) Haji Ani Arope, Chairman of the Board of Directors, USM (third from right) and Y.Bhg Puan Sri Datin Masrah Haji Abidin were also present.
VIP visit by Tun Dato’ Seri Utama (Dr.) Haji Abdul Rahman B. Haji Abbas (The Governor of Penang) & Toh Puan Dato’ Seri Utama Hajjah Majimor binti Shariff on 26 March 2008.
TYT Tun Dato’ Seri Utama (Dr.) Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Abbas (The Governor of Penang) and Y.A.Bahagia Toh Puan Dato’ Seri Utama Hajjah Majimor binti Shariff were given a tour of the exhibition by Hasnul Jamal Saidon, Director of Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM.
About 2116 visitors came to view the exhibition.
The exhibition also featured a visitors' corner where khat demonstration was held and visitors were able to try their skills in calligraphy and coloring Islamic patterns.
Itâ€™s better to bend the willow when it is young.
Cordoba Mosque as the main backdrop for the exhibition.
I Q R A’ E X H I B I T I O N I N T E R N AT I O N A L C O N V E N T I O N C E N T E R BRUNEI DARUSSALAM 2 8 J U LY - 2 A U G U S T 2 0 0 8
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
The Sultan and his Royal entourage were given a tour of the exhibition by Zolkurnian Hassan, Senior Curator of Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah,USM.
'IQRA'- The Garden of Wisdom' was brought to Brunei Darussalam to be a part of a larger international exposition called 'The Nation of Zikir' held at the International Convention Center, Brunei Darussalam.
The exposition attacted about 30,000 visitors from all over Brunei Darussalam and the neighbouring Sabah & Sarawak.
Young visitors trying their hands on 3D exprience of Islamic architecture.
Nurturing the sprit of Andalusia through interactive exhibits.
I Q R A’ E X H I B I T I O N Q U E E N S B AY 1 2 - 2 4
M A L L ,
P E N A N G
S E P T E M B E R
2 0 0 8
If people were not coming to us, we will go to them.'IQRA'- The Garden of Wisdom' was brought to a place where most Malaysians love to go - shopping complex. In this case, it was the largest in Penang - The Queensbay Mall.
Islamic Art & Science is for all to ponder and appreciate. The exhibition in Queensbay Mall attracted about 6668 visitors including fellow Malaysians of other faiths. They were able to appreciate and enjoy the exhibition, especially the interactive sectors.
Itâ€™s time to exercise the brain.
Deep in focus.
The exhibition was held in the holy month of Ramadhan, the to most fitting month to spark the spirit of Andalusia - tolerance and harmony.
Seeking wisdom in the midst of cordial and inviting public setting where everyone is welcomed.
I Q R A’ E X H I B I T I O N S R J K S U LTA N A B D U L A Z I Z , T E L U K I N TA N 7-9 NOVEMBER 2008
Takle a short journey into heaven.
I Q R A’ E X H I B I T I O N C U LT U R A L C E N T E R , U N I V E R S I T I S A I N S M A L AY S I A 8 JANUARI 2009
‘IQRA‘ exhibition in conjunction with USM Maal Hijrah celebration on 8 January 2009.
Visitors viewing the IQRAâ€™ exhibition at the Culture Center, Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Berita Harian reporter interviewing one of the MGTFâ€™s staff, Nor Mohammad regarding the IQRAâ€™ exhibition.
I Q R A’ E X H I B I T I O N H O T E L E Q U AT O R I A L , P E N A N G 1-17 SEPTEMBER 2009
Visitors viewing the IQRAâ€™ exhibition at the Hotel Equatorial, Penang.
INSPIRED BY THE COSMOS At
corner of the exhibition titled “Iqra’ –
Curated by Ruzaika Omar Basaree, Iqra’ shows
Garden” Of Wisdom is a quaint collection of ancient
how the mastery of knowledge was deeply related
astrolabes – instruments used by navigators,
to the religion and spirituality of the ancient
astrologers and astronomers hundreds of years
before satellites and calculators were even dreamt of.
The exhibition is organized by Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah with
Made mostly from copper, the historical artifacts
the cooperation of Galeri Inovasi & Rekacipta
from the old Persian region are fascinating with
(USM), the Asian Art Museum University of
their multitudes of grooves and geometric lines –
Malaya, Yayasan Restu, Galeri Warisan M.A.R.
all carved by hand with immense precisian.
and Galeri Pusaka Moyang.
The astrolabes were designed to help achieve
With the rare display of original artworks and
complex tasks like locating and predicting positions
scientific materials from bygone ages, the
of the sun and moon, of planets and stars, as well
exhibition provides an insight into the great
as to determine times along given longitudes of the
intelligence of traditional civilization.
Earth. It was a quest that produced a steady flood of In the Arabic language, the world ‘Iqra’ means “to
beauty and refinement in arts and the sciences.
read”. Art and science were regarded as yardsticks of Since time immemorial, research has helped to
civilization. Both were deemed related – one
open up Man’s understanding of the cosmos with
being conceptual and the other physical.
all its mystery and profundity. The exhibition underscores the nature and role In the ancient Islamic civilization, such quest for
of Islamic art as a means where spirituality and
knowledge was an ingrained part of the civilization’s
religion penetrated the daily activities of people.
With its display of calligraphy, architecture, literature
these are forms are bound by certain unifying
and ornaments, the project demonstrated how
aesthetics and functionality were deeply inspired by spirituality and the thirst for knowledge.
The unity in Islamic arts is related to the unity of its philosophical principle, the unity of the cosmos,
There was beauty in daily life, such as in the
and the unity of the life of the individual and the
embellishments of human dress and utilitarian
objects. Paintings were found mainly in the pictorial illumination of books, especially in the Persian
It is a unity that is discovered and appreciated due
to Manâ€™s endless quest to understand the greatness of the cosmos that we live in.
Scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr argued that most Islamic arts are made up of the combination of calligraphy which symbolizes the principle of creation, geometric patterns that symbolize the idea of immutability, and the arabesques which are associated with life and growth. Seyyed Hossein said that â€œto be beautiful is to be useful in the deepest sense of the word; functionality and utility are therefore not juxtaposed against beauty but complement itâ€?. Islamic civilization has handed down a rich legacy in the form of its various arts. Although there are differences in manifestations,
(Taken from News Straits Times, 23 March 2008 ) Himanshu Bhatt Writer
ISLAMIC ART AND SCIENCE EXHIBITION: http://www.penangheritagecity.com
“Iqra’: The Garden of Wisdom” is an apt theme
a full set of brass chain mail helmet and armor
for this 13-day exhibition (from 12th to 24th of
were on display. Books of Islamic architecture
and the beautiful handwritten holy Al-Quran were made available to the public to appreciate.
This Islamic art and science exhibition was held at one of the walkways at Queensbay Mall in
The progress in science and art mostly indicated
how well advanced a civilization was. In order for both to prosper, the patrons of art and science,
Despite limited space, an astonishing array of
which in most cases the ruling governments,
artifacts and artwork were displayed in a very
must be ready to provide enough funds for work
and research to be carried out. Since progress in these fields required a lot of time also, only the
The artifacts were carefully chosen by the
true intellects would appreciate the value of the
curator, Ruzaika Omar Basaree, who is also an
accomplished artist. It was interesting to note as it was forbidden in Most of them reflected the achievement by the
Islam to copy animals or human forms, even
Muslims in science and art at the peak of its
for artistic purposes, the Islamic art emerged in
the forms of beautiful geometry, calligraphy and architecture. Some of these were embedded in
From West Asia, well known as Andalusia - Spain,
objects used for daily living.
Turkey and Persia (Iran), especially, followed by their influence in South East Asia, especially the
resources. Some belonged to the permanent
collection of Tuanku Fauziah Museum and Art The examples of Islamic art and science were
Gallery, USM. Some of them came from the
numerous: calligraphy work, old navigation and
M.A.R museum of Terengganu, the Asian Art
astronomy apparatus, a sun dial, a giant incense
museum of University Malaya and also Galeri
burner, pottery with Arabic calligraphy and even
Pusaka Moyang (Ancestors’ Heritage Gallery).
The set up of the Islamic art and science display
The purpose of this exhibition is also to create
was very user-friendly and interactive. Visitors were
public awareness about the existence of USM’s
encouraged to participate.
Tuanku Fauziah Museum and Art Gallery which until now still is an obscure place for many of us. This
For example, 3-D glasses were ready for anyone
museum should have more visitors as they prepare
to put them on in order to see the splendor of 3-D
a lot of activities to make your visit very educational
images of some of the great architectural work in the
Islamic world. The activities range from short science projects There were also blank geometry patterns for children
for children, cultural shows to corporate bodies
to color. By encouraging these young visitors to
and also art and craft workshops (like batik and
participate, their visits would be more lasting and
t-shirt printing). The fees are also very reasonable
meaningful in their minds.
considering the quality of instruction being offered.
Other events were also scheduled alongside the
This museum took a bold step by bringing its
daily exhibition. There were a nasyid (Islamic choir)
products to where people were. However, I still think
show, kompang show (Malay hand-held drums),
there is still room for improvement. This exhibition
congkak playing (a traditional Malay game requiring
should have had more visitors if it was widely
a high counting skill), calligraphy sessions (both
publicized before it was held. It would also attract
Arabic and Chinese Muslim art), together with
more participants if the area allocated had more
an astronomy talk by a lecturer from USM. These
passers-by traffic, like the main central concourse.
events were to be done on different days. I know the choice made by the management was This exhibition of course tied in nicely with the
purely on economic reason. Still, this exhibition
month of Ramadhan. After all, the first verse of
was a success and the effort should be very much
the Al-Quran, the Suratul-Iqra’ was revealed to the
Prophet Muhammad in this month. Iqra’ means “read” in Arabic. By being able to read, one gathers the “Garden of Wisdom” in one’s life.
Nazlina Hussin Webmaster & Writer
I Q R A’ E X H I B I T I O N VISITORS’ ARTWORKS,
Islamic Patterns by children
Islamic Calligraphy by Ustaz Nazrul Hassan.
Islamic Calligraphy by Ustaz Nazrul Hassan & Ainina Hasnul Jamal.
A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, Universiti Sains Malaysia would like to extend its gratitude to the following individuals and institutions for their contribution and support.
Associate Professor Dr. Ruzaika Omar Basaree Mr. Himanshu Bhatt Mrs. Nazlina Hussin Mr. Abdul Aziz Abd Rashid Muzium Seni Asia Universiti Malaya Y. Bhg. Datoâ€™ Abdul Latiff Mirasa Yayasan Restu Dr. Hj. Manan Embong Galeri Warisan MAR, Kuala Terengganu Wan Ahmad Arshad Galeri Pusaka Moyang Dato Paduka Ahmad Bukhari Bin Pehin SiRaja Khatib Haji Abu Hanifah Secretary Majils Ilmu 2008 Brunei Darussalam Dr. Haji Junaidi Bin Haji Abdul Rahman Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam Jabatan Muzium Malaysia YM Raja Shahriman Raja Azidin
Mrs. Siti Rohani Ibrahim Queensbay Mall Management Office Jabatan Mufti Negeri Pulau Pinang Dr. Hisham Hashim D’ Kasturi Enterprise Dr. Chong Hon Yew Pusat Pengajian Sains Fizik Mr. Lim Hock Eng Perseid Telescope Mr. Anuwar Idris Khalifah Kompang Pusaka Anak Rebana, Balik Pulau, Penang Mr. Noor Rizan Khalid Jabatan Keselamatan Mr. Mohamad Abdullah Pejabat Perhubungan Awam Ustaz Nazrul Hassan Pusat Islam Mrs. Juriah Yahaya Jabatan Bendahari
S.S Dato’ Hj. Hassan Hj. Ahmad Mufti Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang Mr. Mohd Pisol Ghadzali Perpustakaan Hamzah Sendut 1 Universiti Sains Malaysia Mr. Mohd Jufry Yussoff Pusat Pengajian Seni Universiti Sains Malaysia Mr. Johari Ismail Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Negeri Perak, Ipoh, Perak Mr. Maksalmina Spec Resource Enterprise, Penang Mrs. Azizah Hj. Abdullah Perpustakaan Keluarga Azizah Pulau Betong, Balik Pulau, Penang Ustaz Zuhud ‘Ulya Iberahim Calligraphy Expert SMK Hutan Melintang, Perak Media Printing & Electronic Representatives
Mr. Norhelmi Othman Dewan Budaya Dr. Muhammad Azizan Sabjan Puan Zuraida Che Amin Secretariat of Philosophy and Islamic Science (SEFSI)
ISBN 978-983-43926-0-4 barcode