I agree with most of Grabar’s statement, “This point is important in defining an essential aspect of early Islamic culture, the conscious attempt to relate meaningfully to the conquered world, by Islamizing forms and ideas of old” (68-69). There are multiple examples of Islamic art that uses different characteristics, styles and artistic motifs that were borrowed fro other cultures. Grabar uses the examples of Qusayr Amrah’s fresco, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and Baghdad, as great Islamic monuments that have features that could suggest these monuments were created to relate to the other cultures around them. For example the mosaics decorating the inside of the Dome of the Rock are of different crowns and jewels that could possibly be used as symbols of holiness, power, wealth, and sovereignty, much like how similar decoration were used in Byzantine and Persian art. These decorations were “Islamized” with the incorporation of Arabic phrases from the Koran. Grabar suggests that the presences of these phrases could have been used to prove to Christians and Jews in the area that Islam was there to stay and that it was a new but powerful faith.
The other examples Grabar gave showed how the Muslims created monuments that were not new ideas; the Greek inscriptions in the fresco, the Sassanian crown, and the martyrium shape in the Dome of the Rock, and the circular plan of Baghdad. I think some of Grabar’s ideas were interesting and I relatively agreed with what he said knowing that many of the artistic styles of the Umayyads were borrowed from other cultures. I think that it would only make sense that a newly prominent culture and religion would want to make itself stand out amongst groups have been there for centuries. By taking things from the “conquered world” and Islamizing them helped the Muslims relate to the people around them by showing that their faith is just as great if not greater.