Given Islam’s supposed strict limitations on the use of figurative art, how can modern-day Muslim artists create art that displays their critical views towards their religion, while simultaneously embodying aspects of their faith? Through a linguistic and etymological analysis of the Qur’an and the hadith, a breakdown of the supposed limitations on art will occur. To demonstrate how implicitly religious art can be critiqued in an Islamic context, one must look to the work of modern Islamic female artists, namely Shirin Neshat and Lalla Essaydi, whose art comprises figurative images that comment on women in Islam and the duality of the veil through classic forms of calligraphy. Through the breakdown of the presupposed restrictions on religious art, and–namely– Islamic art, the analysis of such work will be more permissive and result in the demonstration of personalized religious art that coincides with Islamic faith, while simultaneously critiquing other aspects of the religion.
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