A blog by Sara Surani

FullSizeRender (2)

This piece was inspired by Fazlur Rahman’s “Muslim Modernism in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent.” The reading grappled with the dichotomy between old political and social structures that promoted Muslim hegemony and new structures based on Western and British rule. This also coincides with Ahmad Khan’s argument concerning how the work of good cannot conflict with the word of God. When I first read these works, I instantly felt a connection with them. Like the authors, I am also trying to find a balance between older theology and a more Western philosophy. Hence, this painting depicts finding a balance between the two. On the right side, the Earth is depicted. The Earth symbolizes all things wordly—it represents modern science and Western education. On the other side, the moon and the star are illustrated. These symbols for Islam represent the importance of faith and the influence of spirituality on both spiritual and secular communities. In between the earth and the moon is a grey schism that divides the two. This schism represents how the two are often viewed as juxtapositions. However, just because they are viewed as conflicting identities, this doesn’t mean that one cannot find the balance between the two. Hence, in the middle of the painting, a balance beam is depicted. This balance was created as a response to Rahman’s metaphor of “a man who would have the Qur’an in one hand and modern science in the other, and on his head the crown of ‘there is no God but Allah.” In his work, Rahman describes the vision of uniting science and religion. Similarly, I try to depict finding the perfect balance between the two as well. Overall, this painting embodies the theme of identity and trying to balance two opposing ideals and seek to find equilibrium. This theme is ever-present in the course, as our spiritual and secular identities often shape our personal philosophies and way of approaching different situations—whether these situations are personal relationships or political views. But, can equilibrium truly be found? Or will at one point man lose his faith in the name of modern science?

December 9th, 2015 at 11:57 pm