The Secret Islamic Devotional Art That Does Depict Mohammed

By Sarah Coscone
This 2008 Tehran mural depicting Mohammed's ascension into heaven was commissioned by the government. Photo: via the University of Michigan.
IRAN---Though the Islamic faith is widely understood to prohibit any representation of Mohammed, calling it idolatry, no such proscription appears in the Koran. While the so-called ban is in widespread effect in Arab countries, Persian and Turkish Muslims have a tradition of artwork depicting Mohammed that dates back to at least the mid-13th century. “It's really important for audiences that have never seen the pietistic images of Mohammad to make a radical distinction between the mystical and beautiful images that have been produced over the last 1,000 years by Muslims and for Muslims, and the offensive and sometimes pornographic images" published in Charlie Hebdo, Omid Safi, director of the Islamic Studies Centre at Duke University in North Carolina, warned the Guardian.[link]