Multisensory Religion


Project #3: Depiction of Muslim life in a Vibrant City
Wednesday October 23rd 2019, 5:06 am
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Project #3: Depiction of Muslim life in a Vibrant City

Through discussion and our Islamic Art video, it came to my attention that people tend to continually mistake the word “islamic” as being synonymous with the word “arab.” To make this claim would be to completely ignore the millions of Muslims that are not Arab and are scattered across the whole globe. These Muslims all have influenced the religion in one way or another (whether that be at a local scale or global) by infusing their culture into the beliefs and impacting their social and physical environments. With this in mind and my own background, I decided to make one of my projects about Muslims living in a typical city in the West.

My drawing demonstrates a city corner where people are going about their day and conducting their business, riding bikes, or even buying lemonade! For the buildings in the back of the picture, I decorated them with geometric patterns in order to create a vision of Islamic art as we read in “The Topkapi Scroll – Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture.” Through the use of mimicking various arabesque tiles and other patterns, a sense of a little “Islamic world” is brought to this Western city, again displaying the impact Muslims have around the world. However, the focal point of the drawing is of a man, who is standing in the middle of the sidewalk and disregarding everything that is going on around him, and is praying. My idea was centralized around our discussions in class and section about the mi’raj, Muhammad’s journey in the night on the buraq creature. In addition to being greeted by angels and other prophets during his ascension to the heavens, this journey signals the day that the Prophet received word that Muslims should pray five times a day. Even years later, Muslims, regardless of where they’re from, still stop what they are doing in order to remember Allah. This picture highlights the importance of this practice to Muslims as they will be pray anywhere in order to complete their prayers on time.



Project #2: Asmaa al-Husna Poem
Wednesday October 23rd 2019, 5:05 am
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Project #2: Asmaa al-Husna Poem

I used to beat

myself up for

bad things I did.

Now, I realize

there is no need;

He is الغفور;

Surely, I will

be forgiven.

I used to walk

with unease and

anxiousness.

Now, I walk with

strength and power.

He is الولي;

Surely, I will

be protected.

I used to feel

confused and unsure

of what to do.

Now, I am relieved

and worry-free.

He is الهادي;

Surely, I will

be guided.

I used to cry

and was greeted

by loneliness.

Now, I understand what

is in my heart is known.

He is السميع;

Surely, I will

be heard.

Today, I am

wise, independent,

strong, grateful,

safe and loved.

And these are

all lessons

from my Lord,

الحكيم, الرشيد,

القوي, الشكور,

المتين,and الودود.

 

In Islam, there is a strong emphasis about the “unknown” of God, or Allah. During lectures, we have learned that Muslims believe He is the creator of all life and yet He does not procreate. He is the ruler of all words and yet has no physical stance on this Earth. He is our one and only and yet He is able to listen to and watch all. With these statements come great confusion about who exactly this figure is. Nevertheless, Muslims are not encouraged to ponder about God’s physical appearance or attribute human qualities to Him; instead, the 99 Names of Allah, or Asmaa Al-Husna, serve the purpose of being able to describe God and understand more about His power and love for all.

I wrote this poem mentioning 10 of the 99 names. As we discussed in lecture during the week of September 10th, this list includes both awe and fear-inspiring names to represent the dual nature of God- The Most Merciful as well as The Distressor. My poem only included the beautiful names in order to focus in on Muslim’s intimate, loving relationship with their Lord. Without the help of Allah, my poem suggests weakness and loneliness within humans. When they “find” God, they realize they cannot focus on the little things and instead find comfort in the idea of being safe (in all aspects) when in God’s hands. Furthermore, the poem demonstrates that with God, the person feels “wise…grateful…loved.” These terms were used to represent the fact that Muslims are continually fascinated by all that God encompasses- they seek approval from Him both out of fear and out of admiration. This theme was brought up in John Renard’s Seven Doors to Islam as the Prophets experience with God was described as “overwhelmingly an experience of transcendence and power, but also of a divine justice softened with mercy and forgiveness” (3). Moreover, during our September 5th lecture, we highlighted a Hadith “in which Muhammad states, ‘[Ihsan is] to worship God as though you see Him, and if you cannot see Him, then indeed He sees you.’” These ideas were also incorporated in my project in that I stressed the notion of feeling reassured as long as the presence of God is felt. This is an overarching topic that we have looked at countless times in class before; specifically, when we focused on the verse “To God belongs the East and the West; wherever you turn, you will perceive the face of God.” (Qur’an 2:115) during lecture. To Muslims, there is a strong belief that God is always watching. In my poem, this concept is featured in a way that brings relief to Muslim’s minds; surely, they are in good hands.

 



Project #1: People of the Book
Wednesday October 23rd 2019, 5:04 am
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Project #1: People of the Book

People of the Book Movie

Before discussing a topic as broad as Islam, it is important to acknowledge the true definition of the word. “Islam” is the Arabic word for submission and a Muslim, who we tend to think of as a follower of the religion Islam, actually means “one who submits” or “one who commits to God.” When “Muslim” is mentioned in the Qur’an, this is the definition that God  meant by, as there still was no such thing as a separate religion “Islam” and He considered all monotheistic believers “Muslim.” Because of this, there is a strong emphasis on “اهل الكتاب,” or “family of the book,” which groups together all followers of the Abrahamic faiths.

During our lecture about the Prophets (September 24th), we analyzed several different Quranic verses that mention Abraham and Jesus. These quotes all talk about them in a very admiring way and interpretation of the Qur’an stresses that Muslims should look to their Prophets as role models. It is apparent that the Qur’an places high regard for all the Prophets who are seen as different holy figures in the other Abrahamic faiths. The People of the Book are mentioned countless times in the Qur’an and so, I started my video project with the Quranic verse 2:62 that states “Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” (Yusuf Ali translation).

My video is a compilation of pictures of cities all around the world that have mosques right next to other places of worship. My project is meant to highlight the importance of coexistence in Islamic beliefs and the idea that there is no distinction between the Abrahamic faiths in Allah’s views. From areas such as Beirut, Lebanon, all the way to Uroshevac, Kosovo, the Abrahamic followers have proved unity and coexistence. Globally, we are continuing this trend as there is a planned construction of an “Abrahamic Family House” in Abu Dhabi where all followers can practice their religion in peace and aside their counterparts.

 



Hello world!
Wednesday October 23rd 2019, 4:52 am
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