Calligraphy Project





One of the rules given by Al-Ghazali regarded weeping during prayer. He maintained that it not only is praiseworthy to weep, but necessary. “If you do not weep naturally, then force yourself to weep.” This part of the text struck me as incredibly odd, because something as uncontrollable as weeping seems strange to force upon a worshipper. Powerful emotions can overtake a person and cause more than just weeping, such as an ecstatic joy at the prospect of being closer to God, yet here are pseudo directions on how to force one’s self to weep. On closer inspection, though, I began to see that no matter how close to God one is (or thinks he is), there is always room for improvement. These imperfections and deviations from God’s expectations are why one should weep during prayer, so that one can acknowledge these imperfections to God and show a desire to improve. During prostration, the time in which one is closest to God and deepest in prayer (from my understanding), this flurry of emotions should be reaching a tempest and cause uncontrollable weeping.

After a bit of searching online, I realized that the inability to weep during prayer is an actual concern of some Muslims, and that it isn’t just an archaic idea. I chose to depict the tears as “Allah” to show that weeping is correlated with (in some people’s eyes) closeness to God, and it is through these tears that a person can “reach the rank of ihsan.” (

I chose to keep the person in prayer in black and white to keep the focus on the tears, which are the only thing with color. Also, I found it interesting that there happened to be Allah written within the person (if you can’t find it, it is darkened from the rest of the drawing).  The yellow construction paper was to lighten up the drawing in general, because it wasn’t meant to be a saddening drawing, and that was the feel I was getting from the picture.  When I had envisioned this drawing, it wasn’t so plain, but when I was done outlining the person, I realized that his identity was irrelevant, and so he shouldn’t have details such as color or designed clothing.

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