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`ALI IBN ABI TALIB (c. 597-66o), the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad, the fourth caliph of the Sunni Muslims, and the first imam of all the Shi's. `Ali was ten or eleven years old when he embraced Islam and is considered to be the first Muslim after Khadijah, Muhammad's wife. He grew up in Muhammad's household, and during the night of Muhammad's emigration (the Hijrah) from Mecca to Medina in 622, he occupied the Prophet's bed, facilitating the latter's escape. Following this event ...more


The absence of a body of written aesthetic theory in Islam before the nineteenth century may be attributed in part to the traditional Islamic disapproval of visual arts and music, but primarily to the lack in Islam of a parallel to the artist's role as it emerged in Europe at the time of the Renaissance. With the exception of great calligraphers, traditional Islamic artists were for the most part anonymous, or their reputations existed within very limited circles of the court or local bazaar. Tr ...more


One of the most important structural elements of Islamic society in Southeast Asia is adat (Ar., `adat), which denotes refined culture and more specifically local custom and indigenous law, established through practice and repeated precedent. In the Malay world adat should first of all be viewed as a cultural concept that can be understood only within the context of the historical process of islamization. During this process, largely oral traditions were written down and somewhat reformulated. ...more

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