Allah calls to the Abode of
Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path. Those who do
good will have the best and more! Neither dust nor debasement will darken
They are the Companions of Paradise, remaining in it timelessly, forever. (Surah Yunus: 25-26)
The Arts in the Golden Age
In the Golden Age, the bounty, abundance, wealth,
beauty, arts, and improvements will mark every instant of life.
People will always meet beauty and, like the moral excellence
they display, the places in which they live, as well as their
gardens, home decorations, clothes, music, entertainment, artworks,
paintings, and conversations, will become more beautiful. Consequently,
people will experience all of the beauties that Allah mentions
in the Qur'an. In one verse, Allah states that the faithful
believers will be given a beautiful life in this world:
What is with you runs out, but what is
with Allah goes on forever. Those who were steadfast will be
recompensed according to the best of what they did. Anyone who
acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give
them a good life and recompense them according to the best of
what they did. (Surat al-Nahl: 96-97)
The Qur'an calls attention to the fact that the
environment of those who abide by Allah's commands will be transformed
into a kind of "Abode of Peace." Allah also gives the good news
that He will reward people for their fine morality, and give
a better life in this world and an infinite life in the Hereafter.
Allah calls to the Abode of Peace and guides
whom He wills to a straight path. Those who do good will have
the best and more! Neither dust nor debasement will darken their
faces. They are the Companions of Paradise, remaining in it timelessly,
forever. (Surah Yunus: 25-26)
The Arts in an Environment Permeated
by Qur'anic Morality
We can imagine the daily life, arts, economy, and
social life that will exist in the Golden Age, for the Qur'an
prescribes an understanding that comprises every instant of
life. This understanding is based on doing good works that will
find favor in Allah's sight, and adopting the best, most accurate,
and rational conduct. This Qur'anic understanding and the wisdom
it offers will cause a heretofore unprecedented and superior
understanding of arts to flourish.
In our day, the majority of people involved in
different branches of the arts consider art as a materialistic
profession that will earn them fame and a high standard of living.
Most of the time, they make art not for art's sake but for money.
Their sense of art is driven by a concern for profit or fame
rather than following their own inspiration. For this reason,
they undertake no serious effort and feel no need to expand
their horizons to produce novel works of art, for they only
desire immediate material returns. However, the telling attribute
of an artist is his or her ability to think freely and deeply,
and thereby produce unique works.
Meanwhile, even if an artist is committed to produce
quality works and succeeds in doing so, those responsible for
the business part of this undertaking fail to support his or
her endeavor, for such works may not be profitable in the prevailing
market conditions. In our day, instead of appreciating a work's
artistry, meaning, aesthetics, and quality, many art galleries
present productions that lack taste, artistry, quality, and
The Golden Age will eliminate such views, for material
concerns that corrupt artistic values will disappear when everyone
receives their share from the prevailing abundance and welfare.
This free state of mind will allow artists to devote all their
attention to displaying their talents in a peaceful atmosphere.
People will realize that art is a divine beauty, and finally
will give all types of art their due attention. Inspired by
the beauties that they see in Allah's creation, artists will
produce remarkable works. The Qur'an's values and the wealth
of senses that these values bring will generate in people the
will to produce ingenious works.
Another reason for this flourishing of the arts
will be the abandonment of any tendency to portray hideousness,
which is a popular tendency today. The penetration of nihilist
and pessimistic beliefs into society, along with the prevalence
of materialist philosophy, accounts for this tendency. Hideousness
is valued, and productions introduced under the guise of art
cause people to drift toward pessimism, tension, and depression.
The themes of such art is often death, pain, hate, loneliness,
purposelessness, and meaninglessness. This situation is a natural
consequence of the chaos and destruction inflicted by unbelief
on the human soul. In the End Times, all of these psychological
disorders will disappear, and humanity will experience the joy,
happiness, and security brought about by the Qur'an's values.
This will, in turn, transform the arts into an endeavor that
depict beauty rather than hideousness.
Being Inspired by the Surrounding Beauties
Recognizing the subtleties, taking pleasure in
them, and presenting them to others in a form that causes delight
underlies the essence of the arts. These features owe their
existence to the Qur'an's values. In the Qur'an, Allah commands
people to examine every thing, ponder over it, and see the divine
purposes behind all events. One of the verses by which Allah
summons people to ponder is as follows:
Have they not looked at the sky above them:
how We structured it and made it beautiful and how there are no
fissures in it? And the land: how We stretched it out and cast
firmly embedded mountains onto it and caused luxuriant plants
of every kind to grow in it, an instruction and a reminder for
every devotee turning to Allah. And We sent down blessed water
from the sky and made gardens grow by it and grain for harvesting
and soaring date-palms with layered spathes. (Surah Qaf: 6-10)
Everything stated in this verse is encountered
frequently by people in their daily lives. However, only the
believers who strive to see the divine purposes in these things
can see the beauty in them. A strawberry's color, a rose's odor,
a banana's flawless packaging, the heavens adorned with stars-all
of these mean a lot to the faithful. Art is one way to express
these beauties and then interpret and incorporate them effectively
into our daily lives. Various branches of art, such as painting,
music, or decoration, convey the joy inspired by such beauties
to the human soul.
In the Golden Age, every living thing and each incident
will stir great joy in people's hearts and, accordingly, manifest
itself in artworks, city planning, construction, landscaping,
and so on. Artists who see the world through the outlook endowed
by the Qur'an's teachings will amaze the world with their masterpieces.
Their innovative works will be unique and invigorate people's
The Example of Prophet Sulayman (as)
The Qur'an provides a detailed account about aesthetics.
Prophet Sulayman (as), who had a superior understanding of art,
is a good example of the Muslims' aesthetic understanding. From
the Qur'anic accounts, we understand that art, aesthetics, and
beauty pervaded Prophet Sulayman (as)'s palace. Its floor, which
was the first thing to catch people's attention, gave the impression
of water, for it was made of glass. The sight of such a transparent
floor appeals to the human soul and gives relief. It is also
exciting, since it is unique. Indeed, the impact of the palace's
splendor on the Queen of Saba is related in the Qur'an as follows:
But what she worshipped besides Allah impeded
her. She was from an unbelieving people. She was told: "Enter
the courtyard." But when she saw it, she supposed it to be a pool
and bared her legs. He said: "It is a courtyard paved with glass."
She said: "My Lord, I have wronged myself, but I have submitted
with Sulayman to the Lord of all the worlds." (Surat an-Naml:
The Qur'an provides further details about Prophet
Sulayman (as)'s life. One verse calls our attention to why he
enjoyed wealth, power, and magnificence, which are blessings
And he said: "Truly do I love the love
of good, with a view to the glory of my Lord." (Surah Sad: 32)
Another verse informs us that he made his people
produce various works of art:
They made for him anything that he wished:
high arches and statues, huge dishes like cisterns, great built-in
cooking vats. "Work, family of Dawud, in thankfulness!" But very
few of My servants are thankful. (Surah Saba: 13)
These works of art convey his elegant understanding
of art. Today, only one wall of this temple known as Solomon'sTemple
in Jerusalem remains, but as the Qur'an and historical documents
and accounts reveal, it was once a magnificent palace. In the
Qur'an, Allah commands Muslims to take lessons from the Prophets'
lives and moral excellence. In this sense, what the Qur'an tells
us about Prophet Sulayman (as) is very precious, for it exemplifies
the kind of innovations Muslims can make in art and aesthetics,
and how they can embellish Earth with superb works of art. In
the Golden Age, there will be people who adhere to the Qur'an
and, in compliance with Allah's commands, take lessons from
its accounts of the Prophets' lives. In this sense also, the
Golden Age will have parallels with Prophet Sulayman's (as)
Advances in the Arts
The Qur'an gives a detailed account of such a society's
life. Those who comply with the Qur'an's commands can readily
recognize the right and beautiful and eliminate what is undesirable,
since they are guided by their conscience and reason. Consequently,
those who have based their morality on the Qur'an's teachings
will render invaluable services in the arts, music, theatre,
As the above examples suggest, Allah provides all
believers with the understanding of aesthetics, art, and beauty,
both in Paradise and in daily life. In the Qur'anic sense, art
cannot be confined to music, literature, and painting, for art
fills every field of life with its own vigor. Believers display
their understanding of the arts in a number of ways; speaking
beautifully, being witty and humorous, being able to use the
tone of voice in a fine manner, having a taste for clothes,
home decoration, landscaping, cooking tasteful dishes that also
look pleasing to the eye, preparing aesthetic tables, showing
affection and love, sincerely expressing the affection felt
for children, for instance, or likewise, displaying respect
and love to an elderly person or hosting visitors.
The Golden Age will be a period when people will
strive to engage in art and present beauty to other people with
their works of art, looks, conversations, and conduct.
Advances in Cinema, Theater and Music
People need to broaden their horizons in order
to understand the Golden Age's superior and unique arts. Most
contemporary works of art either lack creative power or are
imitations, for most people make no effort to think and produce
new ideas. Meanwhile, any novelty is imitated and thus quickly
loses its originality.
Monotony also manifests itself in music-making.
For instance, a song's performance is limited to certain instruments,
while a musical work may have many variations. Being resistant
to true innovation, narrow-mindedness and competition underlie
this lack of ingenuity. People tend to imitate popular works,
since they prefer fame and material gain over aesthetic values.
For this reason, despite belonging to different genres, the
identical rhythms, melodies, and lyrics are repeated.
This is also why innovative theater plays are not
produced. For centuries, the same plays are repeated with minor
alterations. The characters' conversations, answers and behaviors
become so similar that a regular theater-goer almost knows them
by heart. The actors' actions, voices of tone, style, and way
of addressing are far from natural.
However, in the Golden Age, everyone will learn
how to take pleasure from the surrounding beauties and will
strive for perfection. Its welfare will enable artists to produce
amazing works of art. In music and other branches of art, various
and unique works will be produced. Perfectly original video
clips and forms of entertainment will make every instant of
life more enjoyable and vivid.
Some contemporary artists produce fine works of
art. But due to the reasons mentioned above, they are few in
number and thus their works are accessible to only a mere handful
of people. In the Golden Age, however, these works will be available
to the public.
These are only a few of the Golden Age's unique
advances. In an environment where people comply strictly with
the Qur'an's commands, the believers' lives will become perfect.
In the following verse, Allah informs us that the only reason
why people remain deprived of blessings is unbelief:
Were it not that mankind might all become
one community, We would have given those who reject the All-Merciful
silver roofs to their houses, silver stairways to ascend, silver
doors to their houses, silver couches on which to recline, and
gold ornaments. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 33-35)
Each sample of Allah's unique
creation is an inspiration for all branches of art.
The beauty of a grape, the matchless color and harmony
of a butterfly's wings, the elegance of a swan, the
beauty of color and texture of a flower, or the perfect
harmony of a zebra's skin or leopard's fur are only
a few of these. Art is one of the ways to express, interpret,
and incorporate these beauties into our daily lives.
Various branches of art, such as painting, music, or
decoration, convey the joy that these beauties inspire
in the human soul.
will enter Gardens of Eden, where they will be
adorned with gold bracelets and pearls, and where
their clothing will be of silk.
(Surah Fatir: 33)
was told: "Enter the courtyard." But
when she saw it, she supposed it to be a pool
and bared her legs. He said: "It is a courtyard
paved with glass." She said: "My Lord,
I have wronged myself, but I have submitted with
Sulayman to the Lord
of all the worlds."
(Surat an-Naml: 44)
Illustrations of Prophet Sulayman's
(as) magnificent palace.
The Golden Age's Paradise-like Environment
In the Qur'an, Allah informs us that the believers'
real abode is Paradise. Consequently, the aesthetic understanding
of a person who lives by the Qur'an's morality is also shaped
according to Paradise's standards. As their real home is Paradise,
the way for the believers to beautify this world is to turn
it into a place that reminds them of Paradise.
The believers' longing for Paradise urges them
to transform their surroundings into Paradise-like places. Paradise,
no doubt, abounds with works of art beyond our imagination.
It is a place of images and beauties of such perfection that
they are unlikely to be attained in this world. Still, the Qur'an's
outlook urges us to use all of Earth's available resources to
turn our planet into an image of Paradise.
First of all, the believers manifest the Qur'anic
understanding of cleanliness in their immediate surroundings.
In the Golden Age, all places (e.g., highways, places of worship,
recreational places, workplaces, and houses) will be very clean.
In one verse, Allah commands them to "purify your clothes.
Shun all filth." (Surat al-Muddathtir: 4-5) In compliance
with this verse, their clothes will be perfectly clean and the
necessary cleansers will be available to everyone so that cleaning
one's clothes will become an easy task.
Keeping the environment clean also will be a very
important issue. Environmental and air pollution will no longer
be a threat to city dwellers. Public places will provide all
forms of comfort to people. For example, both hot and cold water
will be available in places of worship and everyone will have
easy access to public transportation. People will no longer
have unpleasant experiences in crowded, airless public places,
for innovative systems and technology will make such places
only a distant memory.
People will have vivid social lives. Recreational
places will be designed to provide comfort and will be very
clean. Places where young people gather will be free of harmful
foods and drinks, and human health will be the primary concern.
People will be encouraged to love animals, there
will be parks in which people can see all sorts of animals.
Furthermore, such wild animals as cheetahs, lions, and leopards
will be domesticated. Dangerous animals, such as scorpions or
snakes, will no longer pose a threat to humanity, for their
poisons will be eliminated through biological methods. In one
of his sayings, our Prophet (saas) called attention to this
A person will let his sheep and animals
out to pasture. They will go and, being in the midst of crops,
will not bite a single ear of corn. Snakes and scorpions will
harm no one, and wild animals will be on the doorway, causing
People will long for Paradise and hope for Allah's
good pleasure, which will enable them to enter Paradise. Consequently,
they will do their best to produce works of art similar to those
in Paradise or to imitate the beauty and aesthetics of Paradise.
Allah depicts Paradise's environment as follows:
And [He] will reward them
for their steadfastness with a garden [in Paradise] and with silk.
Reclining in it on couches, they will experience there neither burning
sun nor bitter cold. Its shading branches will droop down over them,
its ripe fruit hanging ready to be picked. Vessels of silver and
goblets of pure crystal will be passed round among them, crystalline
silver-they have measured them very exactly. They will be given
there a cup to drink mixed with the warmth of ginger. In it there
is a flowing spring called Salsabil. Ageless youths will circulate
among them, serving them. Seeing them, you would think them scattered
pearls. And when you look, it is there that you will see a Bliss
and a Realm Magnificent. (Surat al-Insan: 12-20)
Allah will present countless blessings and beauties
to the believers in Paradise. In return for their moral excellence
and efforts to spread the Qur'an's morality, they will be rewarded
with a blissful and glorious life. With the verse, "And
when you look, it is that there you will see a Bliss and a Realm
Magnificent" (Surat al-Insan: 20), Allah informs Muslims
about the magnificence of Paradise.
Allah provides a detailed account of Paradise's
blessings, such as mansions built in gardens, food, shade, clothes
of striking colors, jewels, and thousands of other things of
which the believers are unaware. This world's blessings are
only imitations of those in Paradise. However, in this world
Allah may well present blessings beyond one's imagination. Indeed,
Allah informs us that Paradise's blessings are similar to those
in this world:
Give the good news to those who believe
and do right actions that they will have gardens [in Paradise]
with rivers flowing under them. When they are given fruit there
as provision, they will say: "This is what we were given before."
But they were only given a simulation of it. They will have there
spouses of perfect purity and will remain there timelessly, forever.
(Surat al-Baqara: 25)
The Golden Age will be the time when Allah will
grant the most glorious beauties and blessings to people. To
form an accurate image of this period, look at the verses that
In the Golden Age, a superior
elegance and subtlety will dominate home decoration
as in all domains of art. High columns and arches, couches,
and the use of marble are only a few of these refinements.
Allah has promised male and female
believers gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining
in them timelessly, forever, and fine dwellings in the
Gardens of Eden. And Allah's good pleasure is even greater.
That is the great victory.
(Surat at-Tawba: 72)
Using adorned and carved columns
reflects a superior taste of decoration.
And gold ornaments. All that is merely
the trappings of the life of the world. But the Hereafter
with your Lord is for those who are righteous.
(Surat az-Zukhruf: 35)
The believers' longing for Paradise
urges them to transform their surroundings into Paradise-like
places. Paradise, no doubt, abounds with works of art
that are beyond our imagination. It is a place of images
and beauties that are so perfect that they are unlikely
to be attained in this world. Still, the Qur'anic outlook
calls for using Earth's available resources to turn
this world into an image of Paradise.
In the Golden Age, decorations will
convey a superior understanding of aesthetics. Be it a
mansion, a garden, or a city, any place will carry the
features of Paradise.
We place in it gardens
of dates and grapes, and cause springs to gush out in
it, so they may eat its fruits—they did not do it
So will they not be thankful?
(Surah Ya Sin: 34-35)
15. Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rasul Barzanji
, Al-Isha‘ah li-ashrat al-sa‘ah, p. 245.