Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World is set to premiere tomorrow, Friday, July 6 at 9 P.M. EST on PBS. I received an email about it earlier this week and made a mental note to mark my calendar. I realized later that I had a family gathering to attend, in celebration of my cousin’s daughter completing her first reading of the Qur’an, MashAllah. So, I planned to record the documentary, and watch it at a later date. But, SubhanAllah, Allah is truly the best of planners.
Khalto Ponn emailed me, requesting that if I had some time to preview the documentary early (a serious perk of having a job like this that I didn’t even know existed, Alhamdulillah!) and write up a post with my first impressions.
I excitedly agreed, and sat myself in front of my laptop ready to watch Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World.
As the documentary began, I saw flashbacks from my Intro to Art History lectures in college almost two years ago. The breathtaking shots of the horseshoe arches in the Cordoba Masjid in Spain and the golden inscriptions of the Holy Qur’an emphasizing the oneness of Allah subhanahu wa Ta’ala inside the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem were my favorites.
This film organizes the unique aspects of Islamic art and architecture very well. It is divided into parts such as space, color, and water–just to name a few. Within each part of the documentary, prime examples of the element are presented, along with a summarized history of where the influence and inspiration for such a design came from–in depth context. For example, under “Space,” viewers learn of the Great Mosque in Damascus and how its design influenced Abd ar-Rahman I in his construction of the Cordoba Mosque in Spain. The masajid were constructed in a way to accomodate the growing Muslim ummah, and therefore were incredibly spacious.
My expectations for this documentary were high and after viewing it, mostly met. However, it would be more appealing to me, as a non-music listener, if the constant background music wasn’t overplayed. This is one of the things that bothers me most about movies and shows on television (and even shopping)–just constant background music. Perhaps something less present, or more in line with the Islamic scholarly opinions of permissible music, would be better for a viewer like myself.
This documentary takes viewers around the Islamic world. We visit Mali, Iran, Spain, Jerusalem, India–so many cities and countries in which buildings rich in history and art stand. Hundreds and hundreds of years old, and yet as one of the professors in the film pointed out, the mosaic tiles still sparkle just as bright, the arches stand just as magnificent, and the calligraphic inscriptions read just as powerful as they did when they were first created.
Want to Get Involved? Here’s How!
- Tune into PBS on July 6th. Check out the IslamicArt.tv website for more information, and see your local listings for exact time of broadcast on your PBS station to be sure you don’t miss the broadcast.
- Join the conversation. Tweet about the film during the broadcast using the hashtag #IslamicArt and follow @islamicartfilm. Leave us a comment below if you’re planning to tune in.
- Become a fan on Facebook, and share news of the film with your friends and family.
- Send this post to your friends to spread the news.
- Share the Broadcast button on your website and in emails.
Now that you read my review, are you planning to watch Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World? Record it? Is this the first time you heard of it?
If you do decide to tune in, please continue the dialogue in the comments section below. Share your opinions, thoughts, concerns, as you’ve read and know of ours. (Remember these Eid cards with the beautiful Islamic architecture theme and our 1001 Inventions post?) We’d love to hear from you, Insha’Allah.
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About Habeeba Husain: I'm a student. A journalism student, a religion student, a student of knowledge. I absolutely love my job of being a student. It's not paid in cash, check, or direct-deposit to my bank account, but I'm getting a lot of experience, Alhamdulillah. =) View author profile.