Recipe – Week 1

Title of Portfolio:


Explanation of Portfolio:

This drawing connects to the book Infidel of Love: Exploring Muslim Understandings of Islam, where Professor Ali Asani outlines an analogy from Barbara Petzen comparing interpretations of Islam like a Chef at a kitchen with ingredients: “The ingredients represent the core ideas, or principles, of a religious tradition, while the chef represents a person interpreting the tradition within her own context”, as “a different chef would cook the same ingredients with an entirely different recipe” (Asani 24). A central theme for Week 1 is the concept of fundamental Islamic concepts and their variety. This drawing seeks to illustrate the concept of the diversity in interpretations of Islam.

I noticed in readings that Central to the “Recipe 4 Islam” are three commonly agreed upon things:

  1. The existence of Allah
  2. The vital role of Prophet Muhammad as a Messenger
  3. The Quran as God’s Message

However, there are many other aspects that followers of Islam may have alternative perspectives. For example, between different sects of Islam there are different opinions on the validity of certain reported Hadiths, Sunnah, or even the role of Imams. For this reason, I labeled a section as “optional” and labeled these aforementioned concepts with question marks after them. The rest of the elements of this drawing seek to describe the different proportions of the same ingredients that “chefs”—interpretations—that exist within Islam.

The two Spice “Shahadah” Shakers continue this theme of alternative, often clashing perspectives on Islam, with two common versions of the Shahadah. The first is filled with the “spice” of typical Sunni Shahadah of there is “no God but Allah and Muhammad is his last prophet”. The other is filled with the “spice” of typical Shia Shahadah that contains an additional phrase that “Ali is the friend of God”.

The tray adjacent to these Spice “Shahadah” Shakers, only emphasize this divide. On a plate located on the tray, there is the text of “5 Pillars or 7 Pillars” in reference to alternative points on how many core tenants of Islam there are, as referenced from the Introduction of Infidel of Love: Exploring Muslim Understandings of Islam (Asani 11).

There is a chef’s knife to the write of the clipboard with the “recipe” that is inscribed with the text of “Esoteric Interpretation” in reference to Sufi Ideology of the mystic interpretations of Islam, as referred in John Renard’s book Seven Doors to Islam (Renard 6). There is a sticky note with questions of which definition of Muslim is true. Each of the following potential definitions are derived from Chapter 1 of Infidel of Love, in an attempt to describe who is a Muslim.

Is it that a Muslim is one who:

  1. “follows the religion of Islam” (Asani 1)
  2. “submits to the will of God” (Asani 7)
  3. “is grateful to God” (Asani 11)
  4. “adheres to the 5 pillars” (Asani 4)

This illustration seeks to highlight the conflicting interpretations, combined with the emphasis of the same core ingredients (outlined in the “recipe”), yet alternating analyses a result from different proportions of such “ingredients”.

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