I have chosen to create a calligraphic interpretation of allah out of photos that I have taken during my (almost) four years at Harvard. I employed a computer program to create this collage of landscapes and portraits.
Every day as I walk back to my house, I come across the following Biblical verse carved into a post: “God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved” (Psalm 46:5). I used to wonder, is this verse a reference to the physical church behind it or else what significance does this verse have? Despite reading this verse every day, it was through Professor Asani’s that I began to have a new appreciation and understanding of what it meant. This collage version of the word allah, illustrates the message in Islam that allah can be found in all that he has created; we just need to see the signs, or the ayat. As we have learned, allah is said to guide humans and to communicate with all of creation in a variety of ways. This collage is also a spatial representation of the creative orderliness of the world Allah created. Although life does not fit into neat photo frames, we are reminded that there is reason behind this hectic world and that the word of god is everywhere.
In my opinion, this Psalm’s verse is reflected in the Surat An-And-Naĥl, particularly in this verse: “[He has subjected] whatever he multiplied for you on the earth of varying colors. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who remember” (16:13). Humankind is at times ungrateful and forgetful according to the Qur’an and so this calligraphic project is my attempt at remembering to look for the signs of allah through the lens of my own experience. In addition, this interpretation of the word allah is my response to Professor Asani’s statement that the beauty of calligraphic words and Quranic verses is seen proof of the writing’s divine origin. In this case, the beauty of allah surrounds and holds within my friends, family, and the beautiful college experience that I have been fortunate to have.
1) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America