Light of Allah (Week 4)

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.”  [Qur’an 24:35]

“It is believed my many faithful followers of the Holy Prophet … that the Almighty created the seed of the prophets out of a handful of His light.  There is lay sparkling in His hand: God decided that He would send one of these sparks to earth from time to time, and with it He would reveal the Light of His Wisdom, or at least part of its unending brilliance.  The largest and brightest of these fiery sparks He picked out first and set it apart.  That would become the essence of Mohammad’s soul.  It would be incarnate last, though it was created first.”  [J. Knappert, Myths and Legends of the Swahili, 66]

The two above passages about the Light of Allah inspired my design.  In composing this image, I sought to depict the moment immediately following Allah’s creation of the 25 prophets.   And in a bit of a nod to the anachronism present in some ta’ziyeh performances, I chose a contemporary setting (an architecturally modern living room) for the scene.  The purpose of this setting is to illustrate the following: (1) I liken Allah’s creation of the prophets by taking embers from His divine light to his creating sons biologically, and the living room is symbolic of family, and (2) the legacy and importance of Allah and the prophets is still very much alive today and by selecting a contemporary setting, I can convey that message.

In addressing specific details of the image, I will draw your attention to a few things:

(1) Allah is represented by the intense light in the glass-enclosed, pearly, white lamp in the niche on the left side of the image, all in line with scripture.

(2) There are 25 small candles, each representing one of the 25 prophets.

(3) Muhammad is represented by the sole candle on the left side of the image.  Muhammad’s candle is slightly bigger than the others (signifying his importance), and he is placed high on a shelf because Allah chose to wait on sending him to Earth.


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