Week 4: Prophet Muhammad as Paradigm, the Mi’rāj, and Poetry in Praise of the Prophet

According to Asani, one of the four ways in which Muslims portray the Prophet Muhammad in devotional life is as God’s beloved and mystic. Artists often portray this role of Muhammad through miniature paintings, such as those of Muhammad’s “ascension to the highest heaven and his subsequent meeting with God” or the Mi’rāj (Asani 128). In response to the illustrations of this celestial journey that we have seen during week four of class, I have created my version of such a miniature painting (Lecture 3.1.16). In the Mi’rāj, or his celestial journey, Muhammad meets prophets on different steps of the ladder until he comes face to face with God (Asani 129). Subsequently, in my miniature painting, I have represented the prophet in his ascension by showing a figure beside a ladder. Along the sides of the ladder, there are other prophets, which I have represented through lamps because lamps are associated with prophetic light (Asani 132). At the very top of the ladder, there is a light, or the light of God, to represent God. In the black background, you will find stars that represent the celestial journey. I have thus drawn the prophet as the only individual with a figure in order to distinguish him from the rest of those involved in his celestial journey.

Instead of using canvas and paint, I have made my artwork on a “Scratch Magic Note” because the various colors, or colors of the rainbow, allow me to represent the different communities of interpretations and the various racial, historical, and local contexts of those who practice Islam and may interpret the Mi’rāj in different ways (Daftery 163; Necipoglu 83). Therefore, by including these communities of interpretation in my Mi’rāj, I hope to represent the unity that Islam, and Muhammad, provides for the diversity within the religious tradition.

Week 6 Response

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