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The Golden Section in Islamic Arts and Philosophy

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

The golden ratio is a divine proportion in art that has not just been used by Muslims in arts and architecture. It has been used across indigenous cultures by artists acting as a reflection of the Divine. I cannot speak to the meaning making process that artists from other cultures make of the golden ratio, however I can speak to the meaning that is made of it in Islamic arts to some degree.




In Islamic arts a golden spiral using the PHI ratio may be used to construct the dome of a mosque instead of a circle. “The Golden Ratio has been masterly used in the design of the Taj-al-Mulk dome dated 1088 A.D., in Jami mosque in Isfahan, Iran.” (Hejazi, 2004)

A circle is avoided because a circle is impossible in epistemology and logic. Islamic art is grounded in an Islamic worldview. Logic and reason is integral to the Islamic arts and sciences. It is impossible to define two theoretical terms by each other, for example to define A by B, and B by A, because it entails a vicious circle. Likewise it can be said that the principle of causation is a one way street.


Western philosophers such as David Hume and Immanual Kant claimed that cause and effect could not be established beyond empiricism. Empiricism is the idea that all learning can only come from what is observed through the 5 senses. Empiricism jars with the concept of gnosis held by the ancient Greeks and Islamic polymaths. Gnosis is the intuitive awareness of hidden mysteries through knowledge by presence as opposed to discursive, analytic knowledge.


To Islamic philosophers the mundane world of the 5 senses is the horizontal axis and it is intersected by a vertical axis which is the degree of essence of any given thing in existence. In other words some people manifest more of their essence than other people at any given moment based on where they are on the vertical axis. On the vertical axis humans have the potential to be worse than animals or better than angels.


Islamic psychology is not grounded in a philosophy which clips the wings of reason at the level of empiricism, the level of the material world, as does secular Western psychology grounded in an empiricist philosophy. Reason is given wings to fly beyond empiricism and as a result one may establish that the cause of their psychological states is the purity of their soul and have agency around that through activation of free will. Once the state of the soul is properly diagnosed a lifestyle regime may be prescribed to purify the soul. The soul can always be further perfected and to withstand the pressure of alchemizing the soul, one needs a robust worldview.


People have the dignity to not live life in a vicious circle. They can break cycles of bad habits and grow at any point across the lifespan. People have the dignity to not do the same thing season after season like a slave to the economy who seeks to specialize. People can do their best to live on a golden spiral because cause and effect as it applies to purifying the soul to improve psychological states has a vortational effect. Vortation is the act and power of flying but is demystified with awareness of the vertical axis. Awareness of the vertical axis is how to break free of the algorithms artificial intelligence uses to predict and control people.


Exoterism is living outside of the circle and esoterism is living within the circle. In esoterism everyone tries to get closer to the influencers, the community leaders, and political parties, which is the human leader(s) at the center of the social circle. In esoterism the circle keeps getting tighter and tighter until it finally implodes. Just look at the Left and Right fighting each other. Whereas exoterism is total freedom towards the Divine. You keep expanding (through Ershad, Irfan, and Takamol) towards Divine. Exoterism is Vortational.



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Wishing you success in all stages of life and education.


Dr. Azadeh Weber



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