Page 1

“He is

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 .


Almighty ,



All-Wise � 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




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: Website: 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.


















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.






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),

700 years.

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.

One such

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

of Baghdad.

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

secular sciences.

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

astromonical writings.

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.

Mohammed Ibn

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

of Andalusia.

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

Arabic universe.

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.

The head

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.




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.




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

had acquired.

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. “I 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.� 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 . ”

(96: 1-5)

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 Qur’an. Next is the Islamic architecture that

of Islam penetrates into all modes of activity, at all

creates spaces in which God’s word echoes and

moments of humans’ 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

various arts.

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



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 Dato’ 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: 1940’s Place of Origin: Kelantan Darul Naim, Malaysia Material: Cotton Size: 108cm x 98cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM


Title: Limar Cloth Year: 1940’s Place of Origin: Kelantan Darul Naim, Malaysia Material: Cotton Size: 126cm x 95cm Collection: Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, USM


TITLE: Ming’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 “Celepa� 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 – 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: Rubu’ Mujaiyab Estimated date: 18th Century Place of origin / source: Mesir Material: Copper Size: 21cm x 16cm Collection: Galeri Warisan MAR, Terangganu


TITLE: Rubu’ 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: Rubu’ 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





M A L A Y S I A 5 - 3 0


( 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 Dato’(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.


It’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 ,



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.


It’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 IQRA’ exhibition at the Culture Center, Universiti Sains Malaysia.


Berita Harian reporter interviewing one of the MGTF’s staff, Nor Mohammad regarding the IQRA’ 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 IQRA’ exhibition at the Hotel Equatorial, Penang.




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

Islamic world.

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

miniature works.

to Man’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 “to be beautiful is to be useful in the deepest sense of the word; functionality and utility are therefore not juxtaposed against beauty but complement it�. 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



“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

September 2008).

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

attractive setting.

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


Malay peninsula.

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

and interesting.

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







Islamic Patterns by children





Islamic Calligraphy by Ustaz Nazrul Hassan.


Islamic Calligraphy by Ustaz Nazrul Hassan & Ainina Hasnul Jamal.


Visitor ’s








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. Dato’ 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)

Thank You.

ISBN 978-983-43926-0-4 barcode


IQRA' - The Garden of Wisdom

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