The paper analyzes the relationship between Occidental-Westernized understanding of art and a possible status of art within an integrated discourse – al-thawābit al-islāmiyyah, as well as the aesthetic-metaphysical experience of the traditional Islamic systematization of knowledge – ṣināʿat al-kitābah, and the action of making a visual form beautiful – ṣināʿat al-taṣwīr. Particular attention attention is attached to the concept of qadar/ṣināʿat, where it is possible to distinguish between homo islamicus’s ornamental activity of recognitive type and the cognitive productive-reflective representation of collaborative disposition.
Due to the simultaneous existence of unity and difference within the aestheticized activity/ṣināʿat of recognitive type (ornamental form) – al-ṣināʿat al-zukhrufiyyah, the paper strives to show that the traditional systematization of knowledge provides the most complete expression to the aesthetic meaning of the unity-difference dialectic, which is in turn manifested in the qadar/ṣināʿat discourse under the umbrella of ṣināʿat al-taḥsīn – the issue of the modalities of discourse in the context of pictorial activity/ṣināʿat rather than fann al-taḥsīn. Still, a particular emphasis is placed on the parallel existence of a kind of informative initiation of applied form – al-ṣināʿat al-taṭbīqiyah aimed at achieving a distinctive content-related goal of aestheticized activity/ṣināʿat of homo islamicus, where he is not involved in imitation or figural representation with a special importance of the pure figural phantasm (miniature visual representation/books of Arabic and Persian manuscript). The paper also analyzes and substantiates meanings of the Arabic word al-fann, and raises the question as to why the word al-fann has been selected to refer to the phenomenon of art in modern Arabic, rather than the word al-ṣināʿah (skill, practical knowledge). To articulate the answer, the paper studies the words in Arabic lexicographic, non-lexical, i.e. semantic tradition, and substantiates and defines the reason for the established use of the word al-ṣināʿah within qadar/ṣināʿat, i.e. the science of the pictorial – ʿilm al-taṣāwīr.
Key words:qadar/ṣināʿat, homo islamicus, ornamental activity of recognitive type, cognitive productivereflective representation, science of visual representation, art, philosophy, Muslim aesthetics – al-jamāl, tradition, issue of beautiful