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One of the things that stood out to me while I read “Saint’s Lamp” is the idea of looking at different things through different lenses and different perspectives, something I discussed in my blog post about Persepolis. For example, in “Saint’s Lamp” there seems to be largely two camps on how to treat Fatima’s blindness and eye condition–that of the village who believe in the power of the oil in the Saint’s lamp to heal Fatima’s eye and that of Ismail Effendi who has just come back from studying abroad in the Western civilization and who believes in Western medical treatments and the like. At first, I thought that I could split up the camps between “Western, scientific” and “Islamic, nonscientific” but I then realized upon discussing with Professor Asani that the story is much more complicated and much more interrelated than the simplified conclusion I jumped to. In fact, the fact of the fact is that the basis of western scientific tradition is largely based on Islamic science (from the medieval ages and from the historical past). In fact, for example, Arabic people were responsible for the names of many of the stars as they were excellent observes of astrology. Moreover, they contributed to science through the fields of optics and medicines and algebra (“al” usually is an Arabic root), and much much more! Often Arabic people practiced the Muslim faith. Therefore, it would be inaccurate to describe “Islam” as devoid of or against science. In fact, many Muslims were most likely the first observers and practicers of science. Then, how do we explain the phenomenon occurring in “Saint’s Lamp?” One thing I want to bring up is that the two divided camps here are not necessarily reflective of the values of “Islam” only or even specifically. Rather, the beliefs of the villagers in the power of the “Saint’s Lamp” is arguably a very regional thing. Science is not discouraged but rather science is seen as something that cannot replace religion and faith.


In my art piece made on the computer, I wanted to emphasize the fact that there are two different lenses often to view a particular thing or text or situation. The “western magnifying glass” uses contemporary authors and artists such as Tennessee Williams, Woolf, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Shakespeare to understand the world around them. Similarly, the “Islamic magnifying glass” has Marjane Satrapi, Iqbal, Hanif Kureishi, and Yahya Haqqi as major influential figures in contemporary literature.


Obviously there is a degree of overlap between the two magnifying glasses. Muslim Americans obviously have a large degree of overlap between the two magnifying glasses. People in this freshman seminar now have more of an ability to see through some overlapping portion of this magnifying glass. Moreover, I believe if you truly overlap the two magnifying glass as seen in my second pencil sketch with various items, you get science! Science and math is a common denominator for both western civilization and Islamic civilizations. As part of historical backgrounds, Islam has had science and math as a huge part of their growing civilizations! In the drawing, I have included the red lines that was also in my “The Suns of Independence” post in order to have continuity in this idea that different civilizations and supposed “others” are actually interconnected, integrated, and incredibly similar. In the drawing, I’ve included different scientific and math concepts, primarily algebra as seen by the algebraic expressions, functions, and the coordinate plane representing the parabola. I’ve included free body diagrams to represent physics. I’ve also represented the sun and the stars to represent astrologies (bonus: the stars glow in the dark). I’ve also represented biology through the drawing of the DNA double helix and chemistry through the drawing of the test tube, the H20 molecule and the chemistry way of looking at DNA through drawing its structure.