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Muslim Heritage in Culture, Art, and Religion

The Arabs, unlike their neighbors, have never been united by a single state or a single religion. They were fragmented into many independent tribes who were herding sheep and camels. Instead of worshipping one god, Arab Bedouins were polytheists until Muhammad entered the city of Mecca. The unique features of the cultural heritage were determined by the characteristics of Islam itself, which had a huge impact on all aspects of the development of society, including law, philosophy, art and science. The main features of Islamic culture include theocentrism, regulations by Sharia law, which led to the restriction of freedom of creative expression.

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Muslim heritage can also be considered conservative since there was a ban for artists to depict humans and animals, which led to the development of the art of ornament and the predominance of plant motifs. There was also the lack of a unified artistic style and the development of national art schools in countries that were part of the Islamic world. The Islamic art was luxurious, heavily decorated and with elaborative details. For almost six centuries (IX – XIV centuries), the level of Islamic culture remained invariably high. At that particular historical moment it surpassed the culture of European countries by many criteria.

Islam is the most important element of life in Muslim countries. Success in the spread of Islam was largely due to the fact that the teachings of Muhammad condemned inequality between people. In addition, Islamic doctrine encouraged justice and development, as well as developed a thesis about connection between religion and ordinary life. Its meaning lies in the fact that Islam is both a religion and a state. In this case, the state is seen as the entire non-religious side of people’s life.

It means that Islam is not only about religion, but also about worldly life. This is not only the life that a believer lives, a Muslim as a believer, but this is the type of relationship that a Muslim has as an ordinary human, as a buyer or seller, as a parent or child, as a husband or wife. For this reason, Islam is not only considered a religion among Muslims, but also as a way of life, including politics, economy, family and many different areas. The emergence of this belief radically changed the entire civilizations from Spain to the coast of Indonesia.

However, the question of Muslim’s treatment to non-believers still remains a controversial question. The answer to this question follows directly from the Quran itself. First of all, the Quran indicates that there is one common religion that all the prophets preached. On the other hand, the history of the first Muslim state dictates that there were many Christians who were endowed with the same rights as Muslims, including the right to practice their religion. The creation of people with different languages and skin colors is one of the signs of Allah’s work and a testament to His power. A person can be superior not because of his origin, but because of his behavior.

Nevertheless, Muslims were encouraged to spread the word of Allah to other people since this religion was considered to be the only true form of wisdom. As for the way how women were treated in Islam, they were given a different role. Women were considered vulnerable and for this reason they should be under protection of men.

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