Light of Muhammad (Week 4)

March 18th, 2014

For week 4, we discussed the role of the Prophet Muhammad in the lives of those who believe. In our readings of “In Praise of Muhammad: Sindhi and Urdu Poems” and “Miracles of Muhammad”, we saw how Muhammad was revered as a lover, a bridegroom, and a friend.

First and foremost, the Prophet was a Messenger of God, having gone on a mystical night journey both in body and in spirit from Mecca to Jerusalem in the isra and ascending into heaven to speak with God in the miraj. From that point on, Muhammad was an intercessor between Man and God, exalted above the common, but not yet as Divine as the Creator. He relayed the Qur’an, the pure word of God as told to him by the Angel Gabriel, and even translations of that word were seen as mere interpretations. He was seen as the embodiment of the Qur’an, having his life recorded in stories known as the hadiths, that recounted his sayings and actions. These are often interpreted and through tafsir exegesis became the basis of Islamic sharia law. What he said was important, as sometimes he would speak in the first person as God in hadith qudsi, delivering the word of God. His actions were also important, creating a set of sunnah, or his customs, that would dictate the way in which Muslim live.

Another important aspect of the life of the Prophet was the Nur Muhammad  or the light of Muhammad that presented itself not only in the means of connecting all of the Prophets with Divine light and spirit, but also as Muhammad shone light along the proper path for those who submitted to the Will of God. For this reason, Muhammad is often described and depicted as a Lamp both in the stories as well as the artworks. It is from this idea that I draw my inspiration.

The piece I have created using black paper and colored chalk showcases Muhammad as a lamp out of which is seen a flame, or the light of God. In the background there is the witnesses, the believers, whose eyes reflect the light of God as well as reflect the light of God within their own soul. This plays upon the idea that God is both around us as well as within us, and we are able to see him because of the guidance of Muhammad. The fact that there are only a few colors, shows that all is interconnected. The yellow of the lamp represents Muhammad, but there is also yellow in the orange fire, as both God and Muhammad shine forth. However, in it all, there are also hints of white, which show that humans are also a part of this Divine communication as well.

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