AI 54: For the Love of God and His Prophet

Two as One

Filed under: Uncategorized May 3, 2014 @ 12:09 am

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I chose to make a blog post in response to our readings of the ghazal poems in “The Green Sea of Heaven”. The discussions of these poems really stood out to me because I believe their themes are relatable to everyday life. The concept of a strong love that is unrequited is a powerful subject that most people can relate to, to some degree. As described in the ghazal, love is an emotion that takes over one’s being, and to view this in the context of religion opened my eyes to the multiple dimensions that love has.

Since pre-Islamic Arabia, poetry has served an important function for Islam. At the time the poet “sha’ir’ honored his tribe through the use of poetry and used this medium to communicate with others. Since then, there has been an emphasis on the power of the spoken word, but it is interesting to note how different factions of Islam have upheld poetry in different ways.

The Sufi mystics view poetry as the product and source of mystical experience (Prof. Asani Lecture on Ghazal). They compose ghazal verses to speak of a beloved. As a result, the ghazal, or love lyric emerged, and through these poems Sufis expressed their love towards the beloved, which is popularly interpreted as a love for God.

My sculpture is of a heart to represent the central theme of love. This can also be viewed as the silhouettes of two people coming together as is spoken of in the ghazals. It is made of metal because the material is meant to symbolize the pain of love. In the ghazals the author yearns for a beloved, who doesn’t return love, and that feeling is much like metal piercing your heart. The two silhouettes coming together hold my heart together, but they come together through the binding of metal, almost if love triumphs through pain. Love is not easy, love is not always good, love is painful, it requires sacrifices, and these are often alluded to in Sufi ghazals through the love of Allah.

The color is red which is meant to symbolize the color of love but also the color of blood. This represents the notion of living through the love of the beloved. Just like one cannot live without blood, the author of the ghazals express inability to be able to persist without their beloved. The love towards their beloved is like the blood that keeps them alive. Thus, the individual ceases to live for himself, and instead lives for himself, and one other being.

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