The Muslim Artist's Conflict: Figurative prohibition in Islam


5th World Conference on Design and Arts (WCDA), Skopje, Macedonia, 26 - 28 May 2016, vol.3, pp.33-39 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 3
  • City: Skopje
  • Country: Macedonia
  • Page Numbers: pp.33-39
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


In most Muslim societies today, artists practice figurative art. However, figurative prohibition in artistic representations has been also debated. Personal choices will differ based on understandings of Koran, Hadiths and Tafsirs. However, some religious scholars argue that figurative representations are prohibited not only in Islamic way of life but also in art based on Hadiths, although there is no direct reference in Koran itself. This view suggested that taking a perspective based on only Koran, and permitting the use of figurative representations is not appropriate in Islamic tradition. Because for a normative Muslim, there are multiple sources, such as Hadiths, Sunnah and Tafsir; one has to follow when taking action based on Islamic belief system. This article investigates conflicted views regarding art especially figurative prohibition based on primary and secondary sources of Islam. The purpose of this paper is neither defending nor refuting figure-prohibition observed in Islamic belief, but articulating various and sometimes conflicting views of the phenomenon in its context.