Spiritual Artists, Social Media and Third Spaces: An Interview with Mustafa Davis

In this wide-ranging conversation, acclaimed photographer, filmmaker and media consultant Mustafa Davis joins the podcast to discuss the arts, the marketing of Muslim organizations, his own cautionary tale in social media and the third space movement.

Our thanks to ImanWire for this beneficial recording. 

Are Culture and Religion Mutually Exclusive? Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (3-part series)

What is the connection between religion and culture? What does Islam say about the place of culture in our lives? Do cultural norms conflict with religion, or do they have some sort of authority? And what do art, science, and history have to do with it all?

In this illuminating three-part series, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah debunks some of the most commonly perpetuated myths on the supposed clash of culture vs. religion.

We are experiencing a crisis of knowledge, he says. The Muslims historically all sought knowledge with vigour, and that was what solidified their identities. This led to the wealth of culture and civilization that they became famous for.

But how do we translate that identity into modern life? Watch now and find out!

Interested in learning more about Islamic thought and civilization? Sign up for Ustadh Ali Ataie’s course The Bible Through a Muslim Lens, offered completely free as per our commitment to Knowledge Without Barriers.

Resources for seekers on culture verses religion

Photo by Daniel Mennerich

Qur’an Illumination: artist Unaiza Karim in conversation

Qur’anic illumination specialist Unaiza Karim conducted a series of SeekersHub workshops in July 2015. They proved to be an absolutely hit with kids and parents alike.


The Toronto-based British artist specialises in the traditional Islamic art of manuscript illumination. You know the stunning and intricate decoration around the opening chapter of your Qur’an? That’s done by artists like Unaiza, who train under traditional masters in countries like Turkey and Iran to keep this ancient skill alive.

Listen to this compelling radio documentary on how she trained to become who she is.

Upcoming courses

On January 10th 2016, Unaiza will offering the first in a three part series of kids workshops on the theme of Paints and Patterns in Islamic Art.

The programme is aimed at children between the ages of 7 and 11 yrs. It will run on three consecutive Sundays from 1.30-3.30 pm.

If you are interested in registering your child for one, two or all three sessions please contact Unaiza through her page.

Unaiza is also running a course in the mornings for young people (age 12-18yrs). There are three remaining sessions. The first centres on the Arts of Andalucia, the second, on Ottoman Art and the third, on the Art of the Mamluks. Please contact Unaiza for details on how to reserve a place.

The Sunnah as Primordiality – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

The Sunnah as Primordiality

Source:, one of the best Internet sites on Islam

The Sunna as Primordiality

©Abdal Hakim Murad(April 1999)

Twentieth-century Western art is not a subject for which we Muslims have much time. The alert among us are conscious that it neatly represents the decline of the Western Christian worldview and its replacement first with the titanic fantasies of the Renaissance, those absurd nude figures urging us to consider the human creature as sufficient unto himself; and then, when two world wars convinced the Western elite that the human creature left to his own devices was unlikely to create his own paradise on earth, the grotesqueries of the modern period. Today, one of the best-known of British artists is Damien Hurst, famous for exhibiting a sheep floating in formaldehyde. Hardly less famous are Gilbert and George, two middle-aged homosexuals in grey Marks and Spencers suits, who paint vast canvases using their own body fluids. The winner of the 1998 Turner Prize, the most prestigious gong in the British art world, was painted with the excrement of an elephant. Perhaps this is why we Muslims find modern Western art particularly disagreeable and resistant to our contemplation: if art is the crystallisation of a civilisation, then to amble along the corridors of the Tate Gallery is to be confronted with a disturbing realisation. Christianity, when it was taken seriously by the cultural elite, produced significant works, which Muslims can recognise as beautiful, despite the inherent dangers of its love of the graven image. Christianity was sapped by the so-called enlightenment; and now that the enlightenment itself has run its course, the Western soul, as articulated by its most intelligent and most respected artistic representatives, has shifted its concerns to the human entrails. From the spirit, to the mind, to the body – and now to its waste products: a depressing trajectory, and one from which we avert our gaze. But it is immensely instructive, nonetheless, to visit art galleries just to observe the consistency of the decline. It serves as a reminder not only that we dislike the modern world, but also that we don’t like disliking it. We would rather feel that there existed some authentic connection between our worldview and that of the Western elite: but such a link appears no longer to exist. It is not that we are extreme. It is not we who destroyed the bridge. We are simply holding to the norms generally recognised by our species for 99% of its history. It is the West that is extreme, that has grown strange, that seems to have gone mad.

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