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Islamic culture is a term primarily used in secular academia to describe all cultural practices common to historically Islamic peoples. As the religion of Islam originated in 6th century Arabia, the early forms of Muslim culture were predominantly Arab. With the rapid expansion of the Islamic empires, Muslims contacted and assimilated much from the Persianmarker, Turkic, Mongol, Indianmarker, Malay, Berber and Indonesianmarker cultures.

Terminological disagreement

Muslim culture is itself a contentious term. Muslims live in many different countries and communities, and it can be difficult to isolate much that unifies them other than the religion of Islam. However, secular academia does not acknowledge this distinction, since it views religion as one aspect of cultural anthropology and history.

The noted historian of Islam, Marshall Hodgson, noted the above difficulty of religious versus secular academic usage of the words "Islamic" and "Muslim" in his three-volume work, The Venture Of Islam. He proposed to resolve it by only using these terms for purely religious phenomena, and invented the term "Islamicate" to denote all cultural aspects of historically Muslim peoples. However, his distinction has not been widely used, and confusion remains in common usage of these words. Which is about Islam people. Islam originated in the 7th century CE, Muhammad was born in 570 CE also known as the 6th century.

Religious practices and beliefs

CJ Whites culture generally includes all the practices which have developed around the religion of Islam, including Qu'ranic ones such as salah and non-Qu'ranic such as divisions of the world in Islam. It includes as the Baul tradition of Bengalmarker, and facilitated the peaceful conversion of most of Bengal.

Language and literature


Early Muslim literature is in Arabic, as that was the language of Muhammad's communities in Meccamarker and Medinamarker. As the early history of the Muslim community was focused on establishing the religion of Islam, its literary output was religious in character. See the articles on Qur'an, Hadith, and Sirah, which formed the earliest literature of the Muslim community.

With the establishment of the Umayyad empire, secular Muslim literature developed. See The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. While having no religious content, this secular literature was spread by the Arabs all over their empires, and so became part of a widespread culture.


By the time of the Abbasid empire, Persian had become one of the main languages of Muslim civilization, and much of the most famous Muslim literature is thus Persian literature. See The Conference of the Birds and the poetry of Rumi.

South Asian

In Bengalmarker, the Baul tradition of folk music produced a syncretist poetry which merged Sufism with many local images. The most prominent poets were Hason Raja and Lalon.


In modern times, classification of writers by language is increasingly irrelevant. The Egyptianmarker Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz has been translated into English and read across the world. Other writers, such as Orhan Pamuk, write directly in English for a wider international audience.


See articles on Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Ashurah (see also Hosay and Tabuik), Mawlid, Lailat al Miraj and Shab-e-baraat.


Marriage in Islam is considered to be of the utmost importance. The final prophet of Islam, Muhammad, stated that "marriage is half of religion"; there are numerous hadiths lauding the importance of marriage and family.

In Islam, marriage is a legal bond and social contract between a man and a woman as prompted by the Shari'a.


Islamic art, a part of the Islamic studies, has throughout history been mainly abstract and decorative, portraying geometric, floral, Arabesque, and calligraphic designs. Unlike the strong tradition of portraying the human figure in Christian art, Islamic art does not include depictions of living things, including human beings. The lack of portraiture is due to the fact that early Islam forbade the painting of human beings, including Muhammad, as Muslims believe this tempts them to engage in idolatry. This prohibition against human beings or icons is called aniconism. Over the past two centuries, especially given increased contact with Western civilization, this prohibition has relaxed to the point where only the most orthodox Muslims strongly oppose portraiture.

Islamic art is centered usually around Allah, and since Allah cannot be represented by imagery ["All you believe him to be, he is not"], geometric patterns are used. The patterns are similar to the Arabesque style, which also involves repeating geometric designs, but is not necessarily used to express ideals of order and nature.


Forbidden to paint living things and taught to revere the Qur'an, Islamic artists developed Arabic calligraphy into an art form. Calligraphers have long drawn from the Qur'an or proverbs as art, using the flowing Arabic language to express the beauty they perceive in the verses of Qur'an.

Martial arts


Elements of Islamic style

Islamic architecture may be identified with the following design elements, which were inherited from the first mosque built by Muhammad in Medinamarker, as well as from other pre-Islamic features adapted from churches and synagogues.
  • Large courtyards often merged with a central prayer hall (originally a feature of the Masjid al-Nabawimarker).
  • Minarets or towers (which were originally used as torch-lit watchtowers for example in the Great Mosque of Damascusmarker; hence the derivation of the word from the Arabic nur, meaning "light").
  • a mihrab or niche on an inside wall indicating the direction to Meccamarker. This may have been derived from previous uses of niches for the setting of the torah scrolls in Jewish synagogues or the haikal of Coptic churches.
  • Domes (the earliest Islamic use of which was in the eighth century mosque of Medina).
  • Use of iwans to intermediate between different sections.
  • Use of geometric shapes and repetitive art (arabesque).
  • Use of decorative Arabic calligraphy.
  • Use of symmetry.
  • Ablution fountains.
  • use of bright color.
  • focus on the interior space of a building rather than the exterior.


Common interpretations of Islamic architecture include the following:
  • The concept of Allah's infinite power is evoked by designs with repeating themes which suggest infinity.
  • Human and animal forms are rarely depicted in decorative art as Allah's work is matchless. Foliage is a frequent motif but typically stylized or simplified for the same reason.
  • Calligraphy is used to enhance the interior of a building by providing quotations from the Qur'an.
  • Islamic architecture has been called the "architecture of the veil" because the beauty lies in the inner spaces (courtyards and rooms) which are not visible from the outside (street view).
  • Use of impressive forms such as large domes, towering minarets, and large courtyards are intended to convey power.


Islamic music is Muslim religious music, as sung or played in public services or private devotions. The classic heartland of Islam is Arabia and the Middle East, North Africa and Egyptmarker, Iranmarker, Central Asia, and northern Indiamarker and Pakistanmarker. Because Islam is a multicultural religion, the musical expression of its adherents is diverse.The indigenous musical styles of these areas have shaped the devotional music enjoyed by contemporary Muslims:

The Seljuk Turks, a nomadic tribe that converted to Islam, conquered Anatoliamarker (now Turkeymarker), and held the Caliphate as the Ottoman Empire, also had a strong influence on Islamic music. See:

Sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesiamarker, Malaysiamarker, and the southern Philippinesmarker also have large Muslim populations, but these areas have had less influence than the heartland on the various traditions of Islamic music.

South India: Mappila Songs, Duff Muttu

All these regions were connected by trade long before the Islamic conquests of the 600s and later, and it is likely that musical styles traveled the same routes as trade goods. However, lacking recordings, we can only speculate as to the pre-Islamic music of these areas. Islam must have had a great influence on music, as it united vast areas under the first caliphs, and facilitated trade between distant lands. Certainly the Sufis, brotherhoods of Muslim mystics, spread their music far and wide.

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