AI 54: For the Love of God and His Prophet

Reflection of Light

Filed under: Uncategorized May 7, 2014 @ 2:18 am


My fifth blog post is a response to the “Conference of the Birds” reading.

This reading stood out to me because I believe its central theme is that Allah is within you.

The famous Persian epic narrates the story of a group of birds that are on the search for the Simorgh, a mythical Persian bird, who they have selected to be their king. Throughout the narration, the hoopoe, which is the wisest of the birds, identifies different human faults in each of the birds, and in the end only thirty birds make the journey to the Simorgh. When they reach their destination, all they see is a lake and in this lake they see their reflection.

As I interpreted this epic, the Simorgh is Allah, and the birds who don’t address their faults are believers whose judgment and faith is clouded by earthly desires. For those who carry faults, the inner self does not allow them to become one with God. In order to become one with God one must prepare oneself, as we learned in one of the first lectures, that the Prophet Muhammad prepared himself to receive the revelation of Allah by ridding himself of faults. The novel ends with those birds who do reach the end of the journey, because they have overcome their faults, and they find their reflection, also interpreted as God within themselves. The journey was never intended to find an external God, but to find Allah within you, and this is Attar’s central theme that I have chosen to depict in my sketch.

My photograph is that of ducks walking near a pond. I took this photograph when I was visiting my family in Orlando, FL, and noted its similarity to Conference of the Birds. Three ducks are walking in line, as the birds in the epic are travelling together on a search for the Simorgh. The light that shines in the background serves as a guide to bring the ducks in the right direction. The light is that of Allah. More than just coming from the back, the light appears to come from the ducks themselves; therefore it is a a light that the ducks have within. The darkness of the ducks contrasts with the light that shines, representing Allah as overcoming human faults and earthly desires, represented through the dark. Each of these ducks has chosen to step apart from the dark by ridding themselves of faults to find God within themselves.

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