Can people express themselves in Islam?

How can people express themselves fully or explore their creativity in Islam when there seems to be only very specific things that are allowed? For example, in music, I heard that rap music is haram (forbidden)? I also heard that it is not allowed to write love letters to the opposite sex. Not to mention prohibitions regarding taking pictures, painting/drawing objects and regulations regarding what sort of clothes to wear. Islam seems to enclose its followers to certain emotions they should/ could only feel. I don’t know.

If Muslims could not express their creativity, there wouldn’t have been the Blue Mosque, Taj Mahal, Arabesque, abstract art, calligraphy, etc.

Not all Muslims agree that all music is forbidden. Music that invites lewdness or violence is. Furthermore, it’s the lyrics that need to be watched. In Islam, expression and speech are allowed but within limits of decency. Lewdness, lies, profanity, insults and blasphemy are not allowed in order to protect society from those ills.

Love letters are allowed between couples who have been formally engaged or are married, not before that because they can quickly get out of hand. Again, the principle is to protect people from sin without constricting them.

Painting is allowed but not of lewd images or of living creatures. The prohibition against painting or sculpting living creatures is to protect people from developing pagan tendencies. Even in this modern day of ours, people bow down before statues as if these statues can actually benefit them in the least. In Islam, you only bow before God.

Clothes can easily be a source of seduction. Fashion designers actually depend on it! Seduction leads to sin and that’s why Islam controls dress. It’s not to limit freedom, it’s to protect people from sin.

The word Islam means surrender to God. When you accept Islam, you willingly and lovingly agree to comply by God’s rules not by man’s. Why? Because you can trust that God knows what’s best for you and man doesn’t. Man is only guessing and he has been wrong more often than he has been right and when he was wrong horrendous things happened.

I do not know why I’m still not satisfied. If I were Muslim I’d be a disobedient little sinner. Perhaps that’s why I’m not?

It’s not easy.  Just like relationships need work and patience, your relationship with God, the one who loves you the most, needs work and patience.

However I think we as humans should be able to express or explore themselves fully, or explore the extent of our  creative prowess.

If people explore the effects of drugs fully, they can be addicted. If they explore sex fully, they may catch a fatal disease. If they speed up on the highway to experience the thrill, they may kill themselves and others! Full exploration is not necessarily a good thing. The right limits have been set by the only one who has the full picture: God.

How would we be able to fully know outselves?

There is no reason you can’t. But you don’t have to kill yourself or others to find out! When you raise your child, you prevent him or her from full exploration if it’s going to hurt them, don’t you? That’s how God, the Beneficent, the Merciful, guides us to what is good and forbids us what is bad. Only He knows which is which.

With regards to music, and clothing, I think in general if people have a good idea of themselves, or have good internal control, external sources, which could cause them to sin shouldn’t be a problem?

That’s a big if! Do people have a good idea of themselves, or internal control? If that were true then how come they ruin their lives and the lives of millions? It’s precisely because they don’t have sufficient controls that the world is in such a mess. Only by following God’s guidance can the world come back to balance. God says in the holy Quran,
“And do not corrupt in the earth after it has been put in order!” (7:56) and,
“And if they are told: Do not corrupt in the earth, they reply: But we are doing good!” (2:11)

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