In the Sufi tradition we hold that the universe was created out of love. This comes from the Hadith saying that God so loved to be known that he created the creation in order that he would be known. And, as Dr. Chittick reminds us in this piece, “God is beautiful and loves beauty” so each and every one of us, being part of God’s creation is also beautiful and loves beauty. This means that we can appreciate the beauty of God’s creation around us and also create works of beauty to be loved by ourselves and others. In that way we gain a glimpse into the true meaning of God and of creation.
Another important concept here is the beauty of our behavior towards others and the world around us. The concepts of adab and akhlak are founded on this. Much to my delight I have also found the traces of this in some Native American traditions as well, the beauty road – seeing beauty before one, behind one, above and below one is a practice that we can all learn and do in our daily lives. Practicing beauty in our daily dealings with people and the world around us is a form of art!
A very nice post from Dr. Chittick on the Huffington Post –
Anyone with the vaguest knowledge of Islamic culture knows that it has produced extraordinary works of art and architecture — Persian miniatures, the Taj Mahal, the Alhambra. Few are aware, however, that this rich artistic heritage is firmly rooted in a worldview that highlights love and beauty.
Read more via William C. Chittick, Ph.D.: The Islamic Notion of Beauty.