Lamps and Lighting
While al-Tawhidi likens beautiful handwriting to wisdom and order, another way to visually represent spiritual and intellectual enlightenment is through functional and metaphorical illumination.
For both practical and spiritual reasons, many objects were made to produce light. Chief among them are oil lamps. Each type of lamp—whether made of glass or ceramic—emits luminescence but also plays with it. While illuminating a space, light would ricochet off the lamps' glazed or gilded surfaces, placing function and beauty in aesthetic concert.
Illumination and Enlightenment
In Islamic thought, light also represents God's incandescent presence in the world. In Islamic religious art, illumination is thus used profusely in the opening pages of the Qur'an in order to visually emphasize the sacred quality of scripture and to cause spiritual awe among readers. Moreover, within Islamic figural arts, gold halos also represent divine light, as can be seen in early modern paintings in which the Prophet Muhammad and members of his family are engulfed in flaming aureoles symbolic of God's creative radiance.