Islamic Art a visit to the museum
Photo: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

A visit to the Museum of Islamic Art in Malaysia

Malaysia is known for its modern and impressive mosque buildings. Here, mosques are not only used for worship, but are also symbolic buildings in Malaysia. They are meant to show that Islam and modernity, Islam and progress, Islam and prosperity are not opposites, and that Islam is the religion of the Malay Federation. Apart from high-impact mosque buildings, Malaysia uses other means to represent the importance of Islam in Malaysia and globally.

With a healthy self-confidence, Malaysia represents Islamic culture and tradition locally and globally. The Museum of Islamic Art in Kuala Lumpur is an important institution through which Malaysia actively supports this endeavour. Established in 1998, the Museum of Islamic Art reflects Malaysia’s dedication to preserving its global and local Muslim heritage. Malaysia, blessed with political and economic stability and peace, is an ideal place to showcase the treasures of Islamic civilisations to a wide audience.

Twelve galleries display models of world-renowned mosques, beautiful antique copies of the Quran, ceramics with Islamic calligraphy, fabrics, jewellery and much more. Particularly impressive is the collection of ancient Qur’anic specimens from different parts of the Islamic world, from Spain, North and West Africa, to the Persian Empire, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

The visitor is amazed by the beauty, the ornamentation and the soul-touching mysteries of the pages described. Some of the manuscripts are dated to the 7th and 8th centuries AD. This means they are some of the first manuscripts with verses from the Qur’an. Seeing these manuscripts touches the heart tremendously, as it is clear and tangible evidence of the historical roots of Islamic civilisation. The handwritten and decorated pages make a very clear connection to the Muslims of previous generations and their love and devotion to Islam penetrates to the visitor and weaves around his heart.

The various ceramics with Islamic calligraphy from different geographical regions and eras are also impressive. They illustrate the importance of beauty in Islam. They are a wonderful manifestation of the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who said: Allah is beautiful, and He loves beauty. A special highlight is a part of the curtain, Kiswa, which decorated the Kaaba in 1964. Although far from Mekkah and already over fifty years old, you can feel the aura of the centre of the Muslims. It is a very special moment and the soul travels to the place that is dearest to us of all places.

The architecture of the Museum of Islamic Art is impressive, a fitting shell for the treasures within. Modernity meets tradition. Bright, light-filled rooms with ornate domes rich in detail reflect the spiritual heights of Islamic civilisation. The five interior domes reflect the rich tradition of Uzbekistan in soft pastel shades. Iranian mosaic craftsmen have richly decorated not only the domes but also other areas of the museum. The turquoise-blue exterior dome also reflects the Central Asian tradition.

Changing special exhibitions provide further insights into the historical and contemporary development of Islamic civilisation. On the museum’s website, one can also take a virtual tour of the museum from a distance. Anyone visiting Malaysia should plan a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art.


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