Islamic Art vs Cartoons A Short Look At The Psychology

Bismillahi rahmani raheem, assalamu alaikum,

Cartoons, islamicllay speaking are flawed and contrary to the wisdom and Knowledge Islam is trying to pass on.

Insha allah i can explain what Imam al Ghazali (as) understood about the subject of teaching knowledge, drawing people and idols, in a short reply. Imam al Ghazali said the Quran is like the sun for man’s mind, just like sunlight makes this world visible to the eye the Quran directs man’s perception, his inner self to the invisible things Allah created, like Jannah, hell, the Angels and Jinn, everything mentioned by Allah.

The Quran is an illuminating light for a persons consciousness so they can direct themselves to Allah, this is tawhid, to turn your heart and conscious awareness to Allah in every moment you live. But there are things that hinder this process in creation one of them is Idol worship, in modern times the same psychological mechanisms for idol worship are used by hollywood to increase the “idol” of their movie stars, in the prophets time their was no hollywood but the prophet (saws) identified the closest thing to this and that is drawing people and making statues.

He (saws) warned against it saying it leads to idol worship hence the same psychological mechanisms exist for appreciating a painting or drawing as that of idol worshiping. Islam eliminated idol worshiping but the prophet (saws) said he still feared hidden shirk even more than the Dajjaal, which is being attracted, inthralled or infatuated by similar things because they distort a persons view of the world and enough of it destroys a person from the inside out without their notice.

When you use drawings or Cartoons to teach wisdom, which is the case with Islamic cartoons, it hinders the light of that knowledge from taking the proper shape in a person self so they get a distorted image of the wisdom, it does the opposite of what you want, when you characterise humans in a semi comedic tone that further distorts the wisdom almost negating it because at the time a person is considering the wisdom behind the words he can’t be considering humour as well they work contrary to each other, the prophet (saws) said laughter deadens the heart while you want people to open their hearts to consider knowledge and wisdom.

These are the psychological mechanism of what is wrong with this effort, clearly artist are talented people so i am not saying saying abandon this format but their are better images that can be used to pass on a message. Look at arabesque art in Islamic architecture for example they used abstract images to focus the mind because abstract art removes much of the distraction and gives clarity allowing the feeling of peace to shine in the atmosphere of the room. Had they gone for realism this would not have been the case and worked against their aims. If we are to use this format to teach children then we should be using abstract images that are more stylised and closer to nature in their imagery.

My book “Art and Islamic Architecture” explains in some ways the method behind classical islamic art, which artists may like to consider using, islamic art is beautiful and most people would appreciate it, it may be surprising to learn but in fantasy movies Elves and their culture are modelled after classical islamic society seen most clearly in the architecture envisioned for their cities, their long ears symbolise that they are high listeners meaning they pay attention to wisdom and arabesque is the hall mark of the society J.RR Tolkien envisioned for them, my other book “Art Islam and Wisdom” shows some good example of Islamic weaponry which their weapons are similarly modelled after.

Khair insha allah wa assalamu alaikum.


Art and Islamic Architecture

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Art and Islamic Architecture  99-2014-11-10 17-39-55

Art and Islamic Architecture (Pdf)

This work presents the unique art designed and developed by the Islamic culture over it’s history, it was created feesabilillah and is also available on iBooks. Any comments and suggestions can be sent to, kindly make dua for us, Jazak Allah Khair.

The Essence of Islamic Art

From the first thousand years of Islam, since the first the revelations to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to the great Islamic empires of the eighteenth century, Islamic civilization flourished, Muslims made remarkable advances in philosophy, science, medicine, literature, and art. The uniting of so many diverse cultures under one religion allowed for the quick dissemination of the latest discoveries to all parts of the Islamic realm. Paper making from China, “Arabic” numerals from India, classical science and philosophy, along with significant contributions in chemistry, physics and mathematics were all quickly shared via the trade routes the Islamic international civilization had established from Western Africa and Europe to Asia.

Islam fostered the development of a distinctive culture with its own unique artistic language that is reflected in art and architecture throughout the Muslim world.

Gradually, under the impact of the Muslim faith a uniquely Islamic art began to emerge. The rule of the Umayyad caliphate (661–750) is often considered to be the formative period in Islamic art. One method of classifying Islamic art, is according to the dynasty reigning when the work of art was produced. This type of periodization follows the general precepts of Islamic history, which is divided into the rule of various dynasties, beginning with the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties that governed a vast and unified Islamic state from Africa to the borders of India and China, and concluding with the more regional, though powerful, dynasties such as the Safavids, Ottomans, and Mughals. Continue reading