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Turkey, Iran, and India, Calligraphers Tools, Storage Chest, and Pen Cases, private collection.

Sacred Poetry and Music in Muslim Cultures

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013
2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Law Building, Lower Level
1001 Bissonnet Map & Directions

Presented by Nargis Virani, PhD, assistant professor of Arabic and Islamic studies and Arabic section coordinator, New School, New York

“God is beautiful and loves beauty.” Muslims take their prophet's saying seriously by striving to reflect goodness and beauty in their daily lives and occupations. Sacred poetry and music are a reflection of this spiritual impulse among an array of other material-culture productions from Muslim lands.

Contrary to the widespread belief that music, dance, and poetry are unlawful or discouraged in Islam, Muslim cultures have produced an enormous amount of poetry in scores of languages and have composed music incorporating several secular and sacred traditions. In this illustrated talk, Nargis Virani highlights examples of mystical poetry in performance, from Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Indonesian, Western European, and North American Muslim mystical traditions.

A reception follows the lecture. Questions? E-mail

Your ticket is free with general admission. Secure your seat in advance! Click the "Get Tickets" button and use your own printer; call 713.639.7771; or visit any MFAH admissions desk.

Cosponsored by
His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for the Southwestern United States.

Education programs receive generous funding from the Kinder Foundation; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; ExxonMobil; the Favrot Fund; Michael C. Linn in memory of his mother Patricia G. Linn; the National Museum of Korea; Mrs. Evelyn Houstoun Chew; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Susanne M. and Melbern G. Glasscock; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; The Americana Foundation; The Boeing Company; An Anonymous Donor; Mr. William J. Hill; Cameron International Corporation; Houston Junior Woman’s Club; the Sterling-Turner Foundation; and The Susan Vaughan Foundation.