1. Al-Ghazali’s Qu’ran external recitation rules; PLEASE NOTE: The drawing will not fully display; please drag it to your desktop and view it from there. Thank you!

This drawing was inspired by Al-Ghazali’s ten guidelines for Qu’ran recitation and interpretation. I display his most ideal reading of the Qu’ran by showing a man following all of his guidelines. In addition to being art, this piece can also serve as a visual guide to Al-Ghazali’s work. The Arabic numbers for 1-10 are written throughout the piece, each corresponding to how the man displayed is following that guideline. To me, it makes sense to display these guidelines through visual art, since they are external guidelines. I think it is important that this drawing is ink, because using ink imitates the Qu’ran itself and connects it to it.

The first guideline instructs that it is best to face the Ka’ba in Mecca, which is displayed through a small window in the direction the man is facing. It also instructs that one should stand. This is also displayed by a quote to the left of the man, which implies that he is a “person of understanding” because he is standing as he recites. Thirdly, the guideline specifies that recitation is excellent when it happens at night, which is implied by the darkness and the moon in the window to the left.

The second rule, which specifies that the Qu’ran should not be read too often or too rarely, specifies that the Qu’ran should be read two or three times per week. It is shown that the man in the drawing is following this rule because of the calendar, which has 2-3 days per week marked, implying Qu’ran recitation on those days.

The third rule indicates a preference for dividing the Qu’ran into seven parts, which is shown by the chart to the immediate right of the man, which has one-seventh filled in.

The fourth rule states that it is acceptable to mark the Qu’ran to specify recitation, as shown by the marked letters next to the man.

The fifth rule indicates a preference for tartil, or slow, clear reading. The man is thinking about the Arabic word for slow, which indicates that he is taking his time to recite the Qu’ran.

The sixth rule is that one should weep while reading the Qu’ran.

The seventh rule states that a reciter of the Qu’ran should prostrate himself when the sura he is reading calls for it. However, as shown by the man’s thoughts about the Sura of Sad, he is reading that sura, which does not call for prostration, so the man is not prostrated.

The eighth guideline indicates statements that should be made before, during, and after reading the Qu’ran. The man is making the appropriate statement for commencing recitation in a bubble to his left.

The ninth guideline states the Qu’ran should be read aloud, as shown by the sound waves to this man’s right.

The tenth guideline is that the Qu’ran should be read beautifully, as shown by the musical notes next to the man, although of course some Qu’ran scholars would not call Qu’ran recitation music.


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