Islamic art is one of the richest and most widespread of oriental arts, and is still being discovered. Mysterious and full of symbols, Islamic art is profoundly attractive and meaningful, devoted to understanding the Creator and His greatness through every material and immaterial connection across the entire Universe. Although there are different paths (madhabs and tariqas) of understanding the Almighty in Islam, all lead to one source—the Holy Quran. The understanding of the Quran came to Muslims through the messenger Muhammad Mustafa (peace be upon him, henceforth abbreviated to ﷺ) who was the role model for all Muslims. Hence, Islam can be understood by reciting and learning the Quran—the holy book integrating whole canons of Islam—and Sunnah, the way of prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Thousands of scholars rigorously studied the Prophet’s life (ﷺ) and his teachings. The most well-known among them is Imam Al Bukhari, a renowned Islamic scholar, traveller and polymath. His collection of true hadiths (words and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) accepted as a major source of religious law and moral guidance) called “Sahih ul-Bukhari” is the second most important book for Muslims after the Quran. Imam al-Bukhari collected over 600,000 hadiths from thousands of Islamic scholars (Sheikhs) and selected only 7,397 verified ones for inclusion in “Al-Jami as Sahih”, which became a guidebook for Muslims.
Reflecting on the studies and journey of Imam al Bukhari in collecting only sahih (authentic) hadiths, this exhibition is organised to allow some highly creative artists to share the message of noble Islam as a peaceful, wise and tolerant religion founded on universal values that are relevant for everyone. All the art pieces were produced specially for this exhibition and were inspired by one or several hadiths from Sahih Bukhari.
Imam Al Bukhari’s birthplace Bukhara, a city located in present-day Uzbekistan in Central Asia, was part of a magnificent land which gave the world thousands of scholars who contributed a lot to Islamic studies and explained its core principles through peace and enlightenment. Bukhara was also a centre of Islamic civilisation and the hub ofthe Islamic Renaissance (the period spanning the 9th and 10th centuries). The majority of its art forms known today originated in Bukhara and were transmitted to the rest of the world via the Silk Road. To this day, the secrets of all these art forms are kept by masters and handed down from one generation to the next. Thus, this exhibition provides a rare opportunity to gain insight into that period and to learn about the treasures of this magical land both historically and contemporarily, rediscovering these truly inspirational art forms through the contemporary presentation of traditional arts.
Explore the Exhibits and Hadith
As Islamic teaching is comprehensive, it is impossible to convey it fully in a single exhibition. Nonetheless, with purity and cleanliness as one of the most important pillars on which both the outward and inward state of a person rest, the creative works on display invite us to reflect on the five themes mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari—mind, spirit, body, soul, and life.
All of this is represented by some of Uzbekistan’s brightest and most internationally recognised artists, who are devoted professionally and spiritually to Islamic Art. As with any artwork that has a story behind it, a message to be translated, these artists are telling the story of every Muslim, based on the narratives of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), focusing on one selected topic: mind, spirit, body, soul, life and God.
Have a look at the items by visiting each artist’s room!
Discover Imam Al-Bukhari
Imam Muhammad Al-Bukhari, the grandson of Abu Abdullah and the Master of the science of hadith (sayings and teachings of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ), is sometimes known as Imam al-Muhaddithin (Leader of all hadith scholars). Imam Al-Bukhari’s father, Ismael, was one of the great scholars of his time and was a disciple and companion of Imam Malik. Imam Al-Bukhari’s mother was a devout woman blessed by various miracles. She was known as a pure woman who earnestly prayed to Allah.
At an early age, Imam Al-Bukhari was injured in the eye and lost his vision, and doctors could not cure him. One day, Al-Bukhari’s mother saw Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) in her dream who told her, “Because of your prayers, Allah has restored the sight of your son”. Then she said, “When I woke up from sleep, sight returned to Muhammad’s eyes.”