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In the narrowest sense, the arts of the Islamic peoples might be said to include only those arising directly from the practice of Islam.More commonly, however, the term is extended to include all of the arts produced by Muslim peoples, whether connected with their religion or not.
For the most part, however, have no goal in themselves shows his understanding of the character of Arabic belles lettres, contrasting them with the Islamic religion, which aims at “collecting and uniting people in order to achieve one high goal.” Poets, on the other hand, rove around without any ethical purpose, according to the Qurʾān.
Especially in Iran and the countries under its cultural influence, this kind of poetry formed the most important part of literature.
Epic poetry of all kinds developed exclusively outside the Arabic-speaking countries; Western readers look in vain for an epical structure in such long poems (as in the case of the prose-romances of the Arabs) and find instead a rather aimless representation of facts and fictions.
The accumulation of large amounts of material, which is carefully organized up to the present, seems typical of all branches of Islamic scholarship, from theology to natural sciences.
There are many minute observations and descriptions but rarely a full view of the whole process.
For many pious Muslims, poetry was something suspect, opposed to the divine law, especially since it sang mostly of forbidden wine and of free love.
The combination of music and poetry, as practiced in court circles and among the mystics, has always aroused the wrath of the lawyer divines who wield so much authority in Islamic communities.
After the 13th century a highly refined art of miniature developed, primarily in the non-Arab countries; it dwells, however, only rarely upon religious subjects.
The typical expression of Muslim art is the arabesque, both in its geometric and in its organic form—one leaf, one flower growing out of the other, without beginning and end and capable of almost innumerable variations, only gradually detected by the eye, which never lose their charm.
There are, of course, period and regional differences—large, wide court mosques of early times; the court mosques with big halls of Iran and adjacent countries; central buildings with the wonderfully shaped domes of the Ottoman Empire.
The implements, however, are the same: a niche called a ) for the Friday sermon; minarets, locally differently shaped but always rising like the call to prayer that is uttered from their tops; the wooden carved stands for the Qurʾān, which is to be written in the most perfect form; sometimes highly artistic lamps (made in Syria and proverbially mentioned throughout the Muslim world); perhaps bronze candlesticks, with inlaid ornaments; and rich variations of the prayer mats.
Like most prophetic religions, Islam is not conducive to fine arts.