“At the basis of the Muslim religion was the fundamental concept of nature’s unity and the absolute oneness of God. The learning of mathematics was therefore linked to the Muslim religion and developing an understanding of the world, which was helped by knowledge of the Qur’an and vice-versa. The objective was to make students capable of formulating and understanding abstractions and master symbols. Moving from concrete to the abstract, from experience to formulation of ideas and images, and from reality to symbolisation; this preparation was considered essential for improving the understanding of the Universe and its Creator.”
Knowledge, Intellect, Creation, Science and Religion
Alex Bellos: Muslim rule and compass: the magic of Islamic geometric design
Islamic craftsmen turned geometry into an art form because pictures of people were not allowed in holy places. Dutchman Eric Broug – who lives in the north of England – has become a global ambassador for this design style. Here he explains why it fascinates him, and gives a step-by-step guide for a tiling of stars
To paraphrase Monty Python, what has Islam ever done for us? You know, apart from the algebra, the trigonometry, the optics, the astronomy and the many other scientific advances and inventions of the Islamic Golden Age.
Well, if you like art and interiors, there’s always the stunning patterns that grace mosques, madrasas and palaces around the world.
Islamic craftsmen and artists – who were prohibited from making representations of people in holy sites – developed an instantly recognizable aesthetic based on repeated geometrical shapes.
The mathematical elegance of these designs is that no matter how elaborate they are, they are always based on grids constructed using only a ruler and a pair of compasses.
Islamic design is based on Greek geometry, which teaches us that starting with very basic assumptions, we can build up a remarkable number of proofs about shapes. Islamic patterns provide a visual confirmation of the complexity that can be achieved with such simple tools.
Dust off your old geometry set, and let’s see how.