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
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 meaning.
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
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
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 lives.
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: 43-44)
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
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:
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, and literature.
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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 favorable environment:
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 no harm.15
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
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
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
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:
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 depict Paradise.
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
(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
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 themselves.
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,