Art and architecture accompanied the development of human civilization. At the same time often, art and architecture was closely intertwined with the religious development of human civilization. In this respect, it is possible to presuppose that the close relationship between religion and art and architecture is determined by their orientation on spirituality. In other words, both religion and art, which includes architecture, imply the spiritual richness of an individual, a creative potential of an individual, which he realizes either through his art or his worshiping or both. In this respect, Islam also played an important role in the development of art and architecture in the Muslim civilization, though its role was not as significant as the role of Christianity in the western art and architecture. Nevertheless, it is, to a significant extent, due to Islam art and architecture emerged in the Arab world.
In this respect, it is possible to refer to the documentary film “Islam: Empire of Faith”ť, which explores the raise of Islam and Islamic civilization from the epoch of the prophet Mohammad to the epoch of the Ottomans. In actuality, the film is mainly focused on the history of the development of the Islamic civilization, in the context of which the development of art and architecture is revealed. At the same time, the film stands on the ground that the emergence of art and architecture was closely intertwined with the emergence of Islam. However, at this point, it is important to underline the fact that the interrelationship between Islam and art and architecture was rather indirect than direct.
What is meant here is the fact that the emergence of Islam stimulated the unification of the Arab world since Islam became a powerful ideology which contributed and stimulated the extension of the Islamic world. The latter contributed to the rapid economic growth of the Islamic world, which started to play the role of the bridge between Europe and Asia and which actively developed economic cooperation with oriental civilizations, including India and China. At the same time, the economic growth laid the foundation for the development of art and architecture. As Muslims grew richer and invaded new territories, as their contacts with other civilizations widened, their art and architecture progress respectively. In such a way, the film shows that Islam was not only the ideological basis of art and architecture, but it mainly created favorable conditions for the enrichment and rapid development of art in the Islamic world.
In this respect, the position of S.S. Blair and J.M. Bloom is particularly noteworthy since they underline the lack of religious impact on the art and architecture in the Islamic world (215). In a way, the film “Islam: Empire of Faith”ť indirectly supports this idea because it focuses the attention of the audience on the conditions which led to the development of art and architecture in the Islamic world, but it also clearly shows the relative freedom of artists from religious pressure. This characteristic of Islamic art and architecture is a distinguishable feature which differentiates Islamic art and architecture from European art and architecture. In addition, it proves the fact that Islam was not a kind of authoritarian religion which totally controlled creativity and spiritual of artists.
Thus, it is obvious that Islam contributed to the emergence of art and architecture in the Islamic world. On the other hand, it let artist free to create works of art, which were not influenced by religious motifs.