A celebration of Muslim art

Bayt al-Fann showcases everything from ancient scriptures to modern architecture

Nadeine Asbali

The 19th-century Shah Mosque in Tehran, Iran, features striking detail on its ceiling. Photograph courtesy of Nastaran Taghipour/Bayt al-Fann

The Muslim world is often depicted as rife with conflict and violence. On television and mobile screens, Muslim lands are all too often cast as sites of battle and invasion, coups and famines, dictators and warlords. 

Bayt al-Fann (“House of Art” in Arabic) redefines that perception. Barely half a year old, the UK-based, artist-led social media initiative has already amassed more than 40,000 followers on Instagram and almost 30,000 on Twitter

An illustration of the Masjid-Nasir al-Mulk, Shiraz Iran, by Naseeba Khader. Photograph courtesy of artist/Bayt al-Fann
The Holy Qur’an written in Konstantiniyye (Istanbul), 1744-45. Photograph courtesy of Sabanci University Museum/Bayt a-Fann

From the kaleidoscopic mosque ceilings of Uzbekistan to the technicolour houses of Muslim neighbourhoods in Ethiopia and South Africa, its feeds showcase expressions of art and culture, architecture and history that defy every stereotype and preconception of the Muslim world.

A 19th-century Turkish qibla finder, designed to help Muslims locate the direction of Mecca for prayers. Photograph courtesy of Christies/Bayt al-Fann
Modern Mughal Miniature, by Pakistani artist S.M Khayyam. Photograph courtesy of the artist/Bayt al-Fann
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