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Week 7: The Beggar, the Ruler, and the Lord

I chose to focus on the Senegalese story “The Beggar’s Strike” and create an image depicting the beggar, the ruler, and the lord. In the tale of Aminata Sow Fall the town officials struggle with eliminating the Beggar’s on the streets in order to create a positive experience for tourists. Throughout the tale the town leader is solely focused on eliminating the “Beggars” by any means necessary. At times he follows the guidance of the towns holy man, but for worldly instead spiritual benefit. The tale also presents Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam, in a new light showing that Zakat has not only a positive affect on the poor, but also on the one giving. Similar to the monthly fast, the giving of Zakat cleanses one’s soul as they give away hard earned money to those in need. Yet intention is the defining factor in this actions, and as we see in the tale of the “Beggars” your intention to perform this act should be about pleasing your lord and not gaining worldly benefit.

Instead of caring for the poor and needy, the bureaucrats chose to abuse, punish, and physically remove the beggars from the streets. The prospect of worldly desires lead the officials to dehumanize the beggars instead of caring for them and working to give them opportunity to remove themselves from the streets. The tale then shows the adverse effects of this type of treatment as the beggars go on strike, ultimately going against the bureaucrats intentions. My picture takes a different take on the situation depicting the ruler throwing down money in charity to the poor and needy as they strike. But is this really what they are asking for? Perhaps these individuals want respect and opportunity from the ruler similar to the mercy shown by God to his servants. The picture depicts Ar-Rahman, the most merciful, in Arabic reigning supreme over the Beggars and the Ruler stating that despite a rulers power God maintains supreme rule and mercy over all. The beggars have their hands raised towards the ruler, but also towards the heavens in supplication for opportunity and compassion from their Lord. Despite the cruel circumstances the needy still have faith in their lord and continue to pray for his mercy, whereas the ruler feels as if he has already attained success and does not need any type of help from his Lord. This parable is similar to the Quranic story in Surat Al Kahf, where one man has a huge garden and another has a meager plot of land. The man with the huge garden feels as if the garden is a result of all his hard work and he ignores God instead being thankful for his blessings. The man with a meager garden continues to supplicate each day to God and be thankful for what he has. At the end of the tale the greedy man’s garden is destroyed by God and the peasant attains a beautiful garden, showing that one must always be thankful no matter what he is given.

~ by zaossey on .

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