Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on display through September 3, 2017, features masterpieces of Islamic art spanning centuries, media, and Islamic tradition. The exhibition features more than 50 items and panels of text, giving the viewer an engrossing background on Islamic history. This is part of a series of blogs that will give you context to the items in the exhibition.
Islam is a major world religion that dates back to the 7th century B.C.E. Muslim tradition believes that the Prophet Muhammad was God’s messenger and was the final prophet in the lineage of Abrahamic religions. Muslims believe that God’s will was verbally revealed to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. These verbal revelations are preserved as written word within the pages of the Qur’an, the book of Islam.
Muhammad gained followers as he spoke of his divine revelations and left the spiritual center of Islamic faith, Mecca, for the city of Medina in 622. This migration was known as the hijra and marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
When Muhammad died in 632, two-thirds of Arabia was considered Muslim territory. Islam is both a religion and a state, which at one pointed spanned from North Africa to South Asia. Today, Islam is practiced by more then a billion and a half people across the world.