The Metaphysics of Aesthetics in the Islamic Tradition
A lecture arranged by the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts as part of their Open Programme Lecture Series.
We cannot love God without acquiring knowledge of Him, and conversely, we cannot know God without, as it were, falling in love with Him.
In the Islamic ethical tradition, good and evil are simply described in terms of the polarity beauty and ugliness, husn wa-qubh. It could be said that aesthetics is actually at the heart of ethics in Islam; and aesthetics in turn is both a key to understanding metaphysics, while being itself a fundamental expression of the principle of tawhid.
Questions & answers: on the theurgical power of the Qur’an, on “the sadness of love that washes away the tears from the face of the eternal beauty of the bride”, and on rahma as divine Love.