Knowledge — Week 11

Title of Portfolio:

“Knowledge”

Description of Portfolio:

I chose to use a graphic design as my media for this portfolio for Week 11. Depicted are two separate paths. The one on the right depicts typical “nation states” (with Islam) and their stagnant search for knowledge on a plateau. The one on the left depicts true islam with individuals being on the frontier of knowledge, constantly fighting to reach the top of this mountain.

Explanation of Portfolio:

A central theme found in Week 11 is Islam cannot be used as an all inclusive form of identity, and that religion is just one part of people’s identity. Correspondingly, Week 11 focusses on Sir Muhammad Iqbal with the creation of Pakistan, a nation-state. Controversially in Complaint and Answer (Shikwa and Jawab-i-Shikwa)Sir Muhammad Iqbal writes, “Infidels who live like Muslims surely merit faith’s reward” (Iqbal 48). Iqbal, a man who was influenced by European thinkers, envisaged a new intellectually centered Muslim Individual. His work demonstrates a perplexing issue: perhaps “infidels”, typically thought of in his time to be the very European thinkers he grew up learning from, are more “Muslim” than those who practice Islam in Indian Subcontinent. Iqbal bases this reasoning largely on the idea of the pursuit of knowledge, demonstrating that his interpretation of Islam is to be on the frontier of knowledge, as opposed to plateauing in the establishment of nation-states to justify his rule. This is why, in my opinion, Iqbal goes on to later write in The Answer: “Are true Muslims to be found in any place?” (Iqbal 53).

I sought to incorporate this jarring ideology that Islam is centered around the pursuit of happiness in my graphic design by describing two different paths. The one on the left is a difficult, but tantalizing path whose emphasis is on the “Frontier of KNOWLEDGE” as written in red text on the mountain. This is the path that likely Iqbal found Islam to be, one where individuals are seeking more intellectually-enriching lives, without the premises or limitations subject to justify a countries jurisprudence. I sought to emphasize that this is not the easy path, but rather one where people must take great strides, as represented by the two mountain climbers working together.

Meanwhile, the second path on the right, is my take on what Iqbal’s perspective would be on the establishment of nation-states. Here, written in red text is the idea of the “Stagnant Search for Knowledge” as written along the plateau of this mountain. Depicted is also a flag of several world countries, in the proclamation that many nation-states make in asserting their dominance. A fun nuance is also the mentions of islam (with a lowercase i) for the path on the left, as opposed to Islam (with an uppercase I) on the right to symbolize the course theme of silenced vs. mainstream Islam, where I seek to show that Iqbal’s path is a definite deviation from the norm. This is my interpretation on the paths demonstrated by Iqbal in The Complaint and Answer, as highlighted for Week 11.

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