Muslim Voices in Contemporary World Literatures

My Saint’s Lamp

October 31st, 2014 · No Comments

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In The saint’s lamp by Yahya Haqqi the protagonist, Ismail, grows up in Egypt and then goes to Europe to study medicine. When he returns after his long studies, he has trouble accepting the difference between science and religion in his home. At home, a lot of the healing is derived from faith and religion, after studying to become a doctor, he no longer understands how people can choose religion over science. Throughout the novel, there is an oil lamp, a saint’s lamp, that is used to heal people. Ismail’s wife is losing her sight and Ismail must overcome his new aversion to religion in order to combine science and faith and save his wife’s eyesight.

For my creative response, I molded an oil lamp out of clay and wrote different words in Arabic and Urdu that I believe related to the story. Words such as faith and God are inscribed on the oil lamp to visually represent what the symbolic meaning of the oil lamp in the story was. I thought the idea of making an oil lamp out of clay was interesting because compared to other mediums, shaping things out of clay has less to do with sight and more to do with feel. I feel that the process of making the lamp paralleled the process Ismail went through in healing his wife’s eyes.

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