An expression of divine light

Light is of central importance to Islam. It is written in the Koran that “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth” showing how Divine light illuminates both the terrestrial and spiritual worlds. For Shias, light has special significance in recognition of the idea of nur Muhammed (light of Muhammed). This Divine light is an emanation from God that is passed through prophets and finally reached Muhammed making him most perfect person and final prophet.


I choose use the medium of black and white photography because light is of central importance to that art form. With no color to distract the eye, the essence of B&W photography is to capture the spectrum of light that is reflected from the object and how those shades of light are interpreted by the viewer. In this picture, there is a great contrast between the light and the darkness on the leaf, emphasising the importance of light and expressing the duality between goodness and evil.


A leaf was chosen for the object of the photo due to the importance of the floral motive in Islamic art. To avoid idolatry (taghut) which is haram depictions of people was forbidden and many believe that for this reason Islamic artists perfected the use of the floral motive and geometrical shapes (G Necipoglu). Just like in Islamic art where the vegetable motif is stylised to such a degree that all resemblance to nature is lost, the focus of the picture is the the contrast in light and not the leaf per se. There is also mystical, Sufi dimension whereby art is a depiction of transcendental greatness of Allah reflected in the beauty of nature. This culminates in the expression of the oneness of God (Tawhid); as Rumi poetry describes perfectly:


What was said to the rose that made it open,
Was said to me, here in my heart.

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