As you know, I’m currently in the east coast which means I’ve made quite a few trips to Washington D.C. Until recently, I didn’t realize that D.C. is such an easy city to get in and out of, even in a car. I think I went to the city probably 3 or 4 times in one week. I had the opportunity to eat at many different restaurants, look at beautiful architecture that I had never seen before and go to some art galleries!
One of the main reasons I went was to check out The Art of the Qur’an Exhibition; Treasures from the Museums of Turkish and Islamic Arts. It’s being displayed in the Freer and Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian until February 20, 2017. And it’s FREE. That’s one thing that I love about the Smithsonian, there are so many museums to see at no cost! There’s literally no excuse for anyone living in this area to not check them out!
This exhibition is a collection of the holy scriptures that range from the eighth to the seventeenth century. Some of them were even the prized possessions of the sultans of the Ottoman empire. It was fascinating to see so many different and beautiful versions of a book that I’ve been taught to read since I was a little girl.
Let me tell you a little bit of the history of the Qur’an. First of all The Holy Quran is the holy scripture of the Muslims. It was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) by God over a period of 23 years. For us Muslims, it’s the word of God which lays out the laws in which we should live our life. But in addition, it also tells stories of the past prophets and people. It is divided into 114 chapters and contains a total of 6,348 verses, none of which have ever been changed in the last 1400 years since it’s revelation. Which means that all the copies that are displayed at the exhibition, say the same exact thing! While reading through some of the captions of the scriptures, I felt they did an exceptional job in explaining some of the verses that were on display.
The following is a diagram of that shows some of the scripts used in the Qur’an.A fun little addition they had was Islamic inspired coloring pages for people to stop and work on. My friend and I really enjoyed this bit too! (I, too, now offer coloring pages on my blog!)There was also another interesting exhibition in this gallery called the Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan (open until January 29, 2017). Which was all about the artisans of Afghanistan. Things like jewelry, pottery, hand carved wood pieces were all in display. And the best part of this exhibit was that you could touch everything. I repeat, YOU COULD TOUCH EVERYTHING! I literally made it a point to do exactly that! haha
So much beauty in this post right? But it’s not over yet. There was still another gorgeous exhibit that we went to on this same day called the Peacock Room! I’ve been to this one before and I still was fascinated by it!It’s a display of a living room that was once in the home of a very wealthy shipowner in Liverpool, England. It was designed by Thomas Jeckyll and painted by James Whistler in 1876. Apparently, the painting was done in the absence of the home owner, who after seeing it, did not like it! In order to seek revenge, Whistler painted a mural of two peacocks fighting (which represented the two of them) on one end of the room. This mural was called Art and Money and the room was quickly recognized as a masterpiece of aesthetic decoration.
I wish I could show you the true beauty of this room. The peacock blue and gold is truly magnificent!You guys, go out there and check out all this cool stuff. There is so much to see and learn!
And going back to the Qur’an Exhibition, a worker at the gallery told us he overheard a couple saying that they couldn’t believe that the explanations and the stories they read about here were similar to the views of Christians. How awesome is it that they came out to see the exhibit and left with this realization?
It just goes to show you that we shouldn’t fall to the mercy of social media. If people would actually go out and seek knowledge, they would see that Islam is a lot like Christianity, Judaism and a lot of other religions that all talk about peace! There is no version of Islam that teaches terrorism.