2. Allah and Salaam; PLEASE NOTE: The drawing will not fully display; please drag it to your desktop and view it from there. Thank you!

I really liked the calligraphy project we did earlier in this class, and I enjoyed learning a little Arabic, so I wanted to expand on that for at least one project in my creative portfolio. I especially liked the calligraphy we saw that had double meanings, such as the words Allah and God written in the same word. This project shows the word Allah in Arabic (in light characters) nestled in the word salaam (in dark characters). I chose these two words to be physically connected because the connection between God and peace is an important one in Islam, and an especially key one to understand given the misconceptions of Islam in the world today, as Prof. Asani’s Infidel of Love explains in Chapter Two. 

As Prof. Asani notes in his book, As-Salaam (“The Peace”) is one of God’s main attributes in the Qu’ran, as shown in the prayer “O God You are the Peace; from You is Peace; to You returns Peace; O Lord grant us lives of Peace and usher us into the House of Peace”, which I wrote encircling the calligraphy in my project. This course reading was particularly meaningful to me because Prof. Asani wrote it; it’s great to find a reading I respect so much and be able to interact with its author.

Additionally, in 5:16, as Prof. Asani notes, the Qu’ran says that “God guides those with whom He is pleased to the ways of peace, guiding them along the straight path from darkness into light.” I drew this straight path, known as the sirat al-mustaqim, in the picture, containing the calligraphy. Like the Arabic language, it goes from right to left, as evidenced by the decrease in dark shading, or transition from darkness into light. Using pencil as the medium for this drawing allows me to incorporate this shading.
I thought this was an important topic given the many 21st-century perceptions of Islam as violent, due to the actions of a few extremists that have committed their actions in the name of Islam. Because the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful human beings, and submission to Allah is the literal definition of Islam, I thought that it was important for my art to unify the ideas of Allah and peace. Also, because some non-Wahhabi Fundamentalist Muslims use calligraphy and even see it as mystical, I thought this piece counteracts fundamentalism by using a beautiful, arguably anti-fundamentalist art from.

 

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