Notions Surrounding the Idea of the Prophet

This piece is inspired by the discussions surrounding of the role of the prophet in Islam. 

There are three major themes reflected in these discussions which are referenced in this piece: (1) the imitation of the prophet, (2) the prophet’s miracles and/or unusual gifts, and (3) the mystical paradigm of prophethood and inheritance of prophethood.

This drawing attempts to integrate all four themes. Theme (1) surrounds the prophet as a role model, which is where the idea of the “sunnah,” or habitual practice, is founded: the sunnah-an nabi, the custom of the prophet, emphasizes this idea of the prophet Muhammad as a “walking Quran” such that imitation of him is desireable, and is meant to aid in discernign God’s will. In the piecem, this is represented with calligraphic repetition: the central word, prophet, is surrounded by many more, smaller calligraphic copies of the same word, attempting to illustrate imitation. Theme (2) surrounds the gifts or mystical abilities of the prophet, which are ultimately believed to be the result of divine inspiration, and are thus divine gifts from Allah, while theme (3) deals with the idea of the passing-down of the prophethood. The imagery of the prophet as a “lamp,” thus, represents both the divine “light” often associated with images of a prophet, and also the passing down of this light from generation to generation. 

Additionally, the general nature of the piece as a calligraphic piece rather than an explicit, iconic representation of Muhammad or a prophet, points to the history behind the iconoclasm. The philosophy surrounding this notion emphasized that the depiction of the image supposedly increased the likelihood of worshipping the image. 

 

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