Artifact: Everything Is Not Illuminated

Credit: zombietime.comCredit:

Credit: zombietime.comCredit:

Credit: zombietime.comCredit:

Say hello to the Prophet Muhammad, seen here in a variety of illuminated Persian and Central Asian manuscripts made between the 7th and 16th centuries. These and other Islamic works showing the Prophet’s face appeared at soon after a set of Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper prompted Muslims around the world to riot. The collection raised questions about how serious the prohibition against depicting Muhammad is.

The key, says Florida State University art historian Cynthia Hahn, is in the context. “Almost all these images are from manuscripts,” says Hahn. “That’s a very private, elite, expensive medium, which the average guy would never see. Part of the reaction to the cartoons was that they were in a newspaper, which is such a public forum.”

The public nature of the imagery made it doubly frustrating for rioters whose violence produced an editorial reaction: Cartoons that originally appeared in one paper in a tiny country eventually showed up in publications and Web sites all over the world. This irony has a precedent —though at other times it’s been believers, not skeptics, who skirted the rules. “You see the same thing in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic art, all of which technically forbid images,” says Hahn. “Theologians condemn it and condemn it, but people want it so strongly that they find a way around that.”

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    The above illustration were done by official "Illuminators", I would think. Am I mistaken? In Islam there has long been a practice of artwork only being allowed by a very small group of sanctioned artists.

    I'm not saying I agree with this practice. It is not my religion or culture. What I am saying is that it might be off the mark to argue that since these images exist, it is unreasonable to support the religious argument that no one is depict Mohammed. In Islam there have always been very strong feelings about representing any of God's creation in man-made imagery. And, so, there was an established culture of having a very select, particularly trained, group of artists, who were allowed to illuminate based on established norms. For instance, a horse always had to be drawn the same way. It was very controversial when an artist would depict something differently.

    Given that, it does fit with their history to find it blasphemous that anyone else would depict Mohammed.

  • nfl jerseys||


  • SheepskinUGG boots||

    small as far from any appeal to worsen while in the haystack. There are a number of assets, but access available, but Women Uggs are outside a little bit less abstruse to access the "skinny" about how to access Shorten Chestnut Cheap women Uggs Classic. ?

  • SheepskinUGG boots||

    Ugg Boots Outlet boots are used in useful. The environment has been adapted colder and colder than yesterday. According to the forecast, temperatures fell below Celsius anything.Ugg Classic Boots On Sale , How hateful the advice

  • SheepskinUGG boots||

    for the layer suit, hat, glover alike Uggs Australia Outlet . It showcases the achievement of the organs of loading of articles to absorb heat. These accout accretion power can demand. Therefore, the dose of the sale Ugg Boots On Sale boots .

  • دردشة عراقية||


  • شات عراقنا||



Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.