Islam and Image-Making: Effects of Learning Visual Art on the Muslim Child in Tamale

Mohammed M. Hussein, Peligah, Y. Seidu


The idea of prohibition of Image-Making in Islam has become a source of worry to the Muslim Ummah worldwide and Tamale is no exception. The term Ummah refers to the Community of Muslims, used both for local and wider groups at national and international levels. In this paper it refers to the Ummah of the Tamale Metropolitan area. The premise of this study stems from the researcher’s personal experience and observation where Muslim children are influenced to avoid expressing their artistic skills and talents especially in the Image-Making aspect of Arts and Culture. Thus, the researcher sought to dig into the reasons that account for this by looking at the existing views from the Quran, the Hadith, Islamic Scholars, Islamic education and the history of Islamic Arts and Culture. The study mainly used questionnaires, interview and observation in eliciting the data regarding the views of Islamic Scholars, Teachers, and Students based on the existing views from the Quran and Hadith. Out of hundred and forty-two (142) respondents for the questionnaires, hundred (100) were Students, twenty were Teachers (20) and twenty-two (22) were Islamic Scholars. Form the twenty-two Scholars who answered the Questionnaire, eleven (11) were interviewed and their environments were observed. Data from the questionnaire were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20 and Excel. The data collected helped the researcher to map out the patterns among conceptions and perceptions of the Muslim Ummah in Tamale regarding the said prohibition of Image-Making in Islam. The cross-sectional survey design was employed in the collection and analysis stages. Tamale Metropolis has no single structured Islamic Administration presiding over issues regarding the Ummah. The data suggest that the Ummah is divided into three sections, each holding a different view and position regarding the prohibition of Image-Making. The study also shows the weaknesses of Islamic Scholars, in their varying interpretations of the Quran and Hadith, regarding issues of Culture and Arts among the Ummah. The study reveals that none of the Islamic Senior High Schools within the Tamale Metropolis offers Visual Art programmes. Only three other secondary schools in Tamale offered Visual Art in their curricular. It also revealed that most Muslim Students gave up Visual arts for other courses due to the gravity of fear Islamic Scholars instilled in them concerning the divine punishment for violating the said prohibition of Image-Making. There are a few Muslim Artists, Students and Teachers of the Image-Making related disciplines in Tamale and even beyond, and it is therefore important for the stakeholders of Art and Culture in the Educational and Training Institutions in Ghana to constructively engage with, and encourage the Muslim Ummah to develop these aspects of Knowledge and skill among their children and adherents for holistic individual and collective developments.

Keywords: Islam, Image-making, Ummah, Quran, Hadith, Visual Arts

DOI: 10.7176/JPCR/47-03

Publication date: December 31st 2019

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