Sacred Geometry in Islam

Space K invites us to consider our own existence in various beautiful artforms that influence the way we think and act today. Today, we look at the oneness of Islamic Geometry.

Islamic palaces, madrasas, and mosques are graced by stunning geometric patterns, showing natural and cosmic structures in unison. During the Islamic Golden Age, artists and craftsmen were prohibited from making representations of people in their holy sites. Instead, they envisioned seemingly unending patterns based in Arabic mathematics, art, and history. The result was gorgeously decorative shapes and colours, emanating from a center (this symbolises the Koran itself) and depicting flowers, stars, or other aspects of our universe in repetition.

These shapes have a spiritual backbone, which transcends art and enters the realm of inter-connectivity. At its core, Islamic geometry has three principal forms. The first is calligraphy, or the word of God – artistic forms of the written word which assume the shape of teardrops, fruit, or more. They symbolise God’s word at the heart of all ‘beautiful things’. The second is known as the ‘Arabesque’. This is more decorative, an expression of the artist’s affection for nature (this form became widely popular in Europe during the 19th century for furniture!). Lastly, are the Geometric mathematical shapes – examples of hypnotic repetition that suggest an infinite progression of spiritual knowledge. As Plato himself said regarding such repetition: ‘knowledge is eternally existent’.

However, within Islamic geometry is woven human and godly knowledge with unity. The centre of the pattern is always a star – the symbol of the Koran – and the patterns or shapes are interconnected to imply that all is ‘one’ – but with their origins in a higher form of power. Even in a scientific sense, this is a valid point. Patterns in life, from the largest star systems to the smallest atoms, include geometric patterns. The patterns of our everyday lives are sacred. It is important that we pay attention, and seek the ways we and other humans make up this earthly unity.

That the craftsmen of the Islamic Golden Age understood this so many centuries ago is incredible. Their vision was one of unity and ‘oneness’ – reminding visitors to Mosques in both 15th century Morocco, and today, that we are all connected in the geometry of existence; to the repetition of a universe which is sacred.