Why is reasonably priced good Islamic Art so hard to find??

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Posted: 08-27-2016 07:24 PM

Eid's around the corner again and you need to get something nice for your family and friends. What are some of your options?

As salamu alaikum folks!

So we've reached that time again: Eid. You want to get something nice for your family or friends to share the happiness of the day with. It would be cool if you got a nice and memorable Islamic-themed gift for your family or friends, but you're probably just going to end up giving the same 'card & money in envelope' like you always do so why bother the effort? Heck, that's all your aunt and uncle gave you when you were growing up, so why should you bother?
My (your) typical go to gift for Eid...










If you're like me, you probably feel a little guilty for not doing much more than this Eid time in terms of creative gift giving. All of your non-Muslim friends spend a ton of time shopping at the mall looking for really nice gifts for each other around Christmas time that are relevant to the season and the religious occasion. Why can't I do something similar for those I care about during Eid? Sure I can gift someone a nice looking prayer rug or a book, but is that really all that's out there? To be honest though, it's not like I'm really at fault here. Eid isn't a nationally celebrated holiday and so expectedly the stores aren't full of a variety of Islamic gifts to choose from here. Also, let's be honest: these days Muslims don't know how to make very nice looking stuff. Sure we had a culture of great Islamic architecture, art, design, etc., but that all happened a long time ago. Most of what you find out there in the Islamic gift item scene these days looks pretty tacky. I was going to post some pictures here of what I'm talking about but I don't want to show anyone's work disrespect… but if you've seen those framed art pieces in your uncle's home with the glowing Ka'ba featuring neon green rays shooting out from behind with "ALLAH" written in bold on top, you know what I'm talking about. And oh boy, Islamic toys and items for kids these days are the best! You might get lucky and get something like this online (try not to laugh!):

Youtube Link

Once in a while you will find a really nice piece of art or a beautiful Islamic gift item like an engraved piece of wood or something. In fact, we're starting to see a lot more of this crop up on the internet, with sites dedicated to Islamic wall decor, people selling personal works of art on Etsy, nice Islamic-themed greeting cards and calendars, etc.

But truth be told, most of these items are ridiculously priced. Who's going to pay $100+ for a small 8in by 8in framed art piece? That's ridiculous. Some sites are charging an arm and a leg for wall stickers featuring Quranic verses. Stickers! There is no reason why a sticker should cost more than a couple bucks, let alone hundreds of dollars! And then personal hand made stuff on sites like Etsy understandably sell for loads, and if you find something there that's decently priced it turns out it's really small. All of this makes sense based on supply and demand. There are a lot of people looking for Islamic themed items, and so the few individuals selling can charge exorbitant prices.

So if you're like me and you don't have a bunch of money to throw around, nor do you care to buy an 80s looking neon green decoration piece that would look nice everywhere except in your home, you decide it's best to just give your special someone a card with money. We can let them decide what they want after all, right? Maybe if we write something witty on the card it'll make up for our lack of creativity?

And while I will agree that this is the smart choice to make, why can't we change things? Why can't Muslims produce high quality Islamic themed art, decor and the like like we used to back in our 'Golden Age' - while selling them for reasonable prices so everyone can enjoy and not just the desi doctors? It's not like a printed canvas should cost hundreds of dollars to make, right? And with our globalized economy, it's not that hard to get stuff produced for less while maintaining pretty high standards, right? And as inheritors of a great Islamic civilization of past that produced some of the most beautiful structures and artistic works in the world, shouldn't this be in our reach?

Yes!! That's why we want to make some really affordable Islamic gift items that are high quality. We want every Muslim to have this stuff in their homes. It's not just about selling a nice piece of art and making money. It's about promoting an Islamic cultural legacy through the development of our arts and crafts - something we can be proud of and can all enjoy! We need more Islamic art these days, and less fighting from Muslims!

Right now we are working with a couple different Islamic artists overseas that are extremely talented at what they do. Unfortunately, not many people really care about this kind of stuff so they're more often than not left struggling to pay ends meet. We take their designs, digitally perfect them, and then produce them on high quality material for people to enjoy at low prices. Right now we have a line of Islamic Art designed from artists in Lahore and Karachi, Pakistan, in addition to some other unique designs that have been digitally created. We produce them on high quality cotton canvas. Some of the sites selling Islamic art prints for an arm and a leg sell these things on cheap polyester because it's not like you have any other option, right? We also use eco-friendly inks for an environmentally friendly product. And most importantly, we give our artists a commission of the sales profits so that we can support the artistic tradition that they are trying to preserve.

Islamic Art piece from Farid Durrani featuring a verse from Surat al-Mujadila

I hope you'll take the chance to take a look at our art collection (here). We're trying really hard to keep our costs low. Unfortunately shipping takes a big cut (which we've included in the item price so as not to frighten you with shipping costs during checkout). However, we're trying to cut down on our expenses as much as we can, by constantly looking for new vendors who can offer better quality at more affordable pricing, or different shipping containers that might cut down your shipping costs. And if you meet us at one of the conventions we're going out to this year (ICNA-MAS, ISNA, etc.), you'll get some of the best prices we can offer because we don't have to ship anything. Come check us out! We're the only booth with a sweat shop on site: we assemble the art in front of you right there with our hammers, staple guns and everything.


Eid Mubarak to you and your family and sorry for the rant!

A Muslim Bookmark Staff Member

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Muslim Bookmark

Muslim Bookmark aims to be the leading online Islamic store for affordable and high quality Islamic art, calligraphy and gift items. We also sell a number of other products at some of the best prices on the web, including a large number of Kufi hats and Islamic books for children and adults.