Entry 3

This sketch attempts to illustrate the controversy surrounding music as an aesthetic in Islam. This controversy has many dimensions. One surrounds the idea of Qur’an recitation and how it is meant to be interpreted as separate from music; it serves a different purpose; although it is also inherently beautiful, Qur’an recitation as music is not a widely accepted idea amongst Muslims. This controversy, then, begs questions surrounding where lines should be drawn in terms of what should be interpreted as “music,” and what should not, and what constitutes “music,” and what does not. Additionally, a controversy surrounding music in Islam involves its denouncement althogether by certain groups who claim that music is inherently wrong. We saw idea most recently in the reading Sufi Music and Dance, which explored the attack of the qawwali music of the Chishtis by Muslim reformers, resulting in the need of Chishti spokesmen to “defend the legitimacy of listening to music in terms of Islamic law.” The reading counters the argument against the legitimacy of music by citing that it ignores the “established role of music in Sufism” and that it “runs against the grain of Sufi texts.” The overall controversy surrounding this argument in general is thus illustrated by the red question mark which is central to the piece, and otherwise clashes with the calligraphic flow of the arabic word for music: موسيقى. Although controversy surrounds this mode of Islamic aesthetics, the inherent beauty of the art itself still prevails. Thus, the clarity of the word, despite the presence of the red question mark illustrates the prevalence of the inherent beauty of music despite the controversy that may surround it.

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