Images of Muhammed

When the controversy broke out last year over the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammed, I read a lot about how depictions of Muhammed were strictly forbidden in Islam.

I remember thinking at the time that this didn't seem quite right. I specifically remembered seeing an image a few years ago of Muhammed riding a horse, with his face left blank.

Recently I stumbled across a website that contains a lot of images of Muhammed, some Islamic, others not. It's quite interesting. There is page with a number of images of Muhammed with a blank face, including the one I remember seeing before. There are also some Christian images, which are predictably very negative. One is a fresco from a church in Bologna, which shows Muhammed being tortured in hell. There are several depictions of a scene in Dante's Inferno in which Muhammed's torso is sliced down the front, and his entrails are hanging out.

Needless to say, it makes those Danish cartoons look really tame.

Here is a link to the site.


Blogger Jeff said...

Have you ever been to Spain? Some of the castles and cathedrals have paintings and statues of conquistadores trampling Moors on horseback, Muslim atrocities being perpetrated on Christians, and kings humbling caliphs in one way or another.

Interesting - those images of Muhammed... They look like they come from the Far East or from Persia. I wonder if the Arabs were more strict about this than they were in the East, where the Mongols had recently been converted.

It appears to me as if the Shi'ites are much more amenable to the use of images overall than the Sunnis are. In their pilgrimages, I've seen them carrying images of the martyr Ali and his son Hussein that are very reminiscent of the type of art you see in Catholic holy cards.

6:11 p.m.  
Blogger PrickliestPear said...


No, I haven't been to Spain, but I find that very interesting.

It has been my impression as well that Shi'ites are less strict about representational art than Sunnis.

4:50 a.m.  

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