By Taslim Rashid
This work shows how when one begins to deepen their spirituality they are made aware of the great character and status of the Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him. Hence an individual begins to work towards an understanding and appreciation of this great man that once walked this earth. Contained within the work are some symbolic references to this high esteem that he is held in:
The piece presents itself as a ‘cloud’ almost. This is a reference to how the clouds shaded the Prophet Alaisalam.
The centre name ‘Muhammad’ is covered in mesh known to artists as ‘angel hair’. Here, one of the references is to the fact that the name of the Prophet is written on the eyes of angels.
The name of the piece itself ‘The Beloved’ is a reference to how there were titles associated with the Messengers of God; for instance Prophet Ibrahim Alaisalam is known as ‘The Friend of God’. This title shows the unique status of the final Messenger as the Beloved of God Himself.
In line with most Tranquilart work, the theme of change is reflected in the piece through colour. The shades of light and dark paint depict our spiritual transcendances in this world. The darker shades represent the chaotic life of a spirit in search for peace, meaning and depth. The lighter shades represent the goals acheived once the being sets out looking for change. I have always affirmed that Tranquilart is about change. Here, the name of the Prophet indicates that he is the light guiding the spirit towards the harmony it desires.
An Urdu poem surrounds the piece. This poem is about the Prophet of Islam. A translation is given here:
Tere Hoteh By Dr Tahir-al Qadri
Tere hoteh janam liyaa hota
Phir kabi toh tujhe milah hota
Kaash mein sung -e dar tera hota
Tere kadmon ko chuma hota
Lartah pir tah tere adhuon se
Tere hatir mein marr gaya hota
Tu chala karta mere palkhon par
Kaash mein tera rasta hota
Tu kabhi toh mujeh bhi tak leta
Tere takne pe biq gaya hota
Katra hota mein tere aasoon ka
Ghameh-ummat mein behh gaya hota
Tu joh aata mere janazeh par
Tere hoteh mein marr gaya hota
Hota Tahir tere fakiron mein
Tere dehleez par kara hota.
Being born in your presence
Would that, I have ever met you
Had been the floor of your house
Would that, I had been kissed by your feet
I would have fought any one of your enemies
For your sake, I would have died
You would have walked on my brow
Had I been your path
Would, that sometimes you’d laid an eye on me
Upon your gaze, I would have been sold
A drop of your tear if were I
Would have flown in the nations’ sorrow
Had you come to my funeral
In your presence would I have died
If were Tahir from your sages
On your doorstep, would he have stood .
The reason for using an Urdu poem is reflective of Identity as a Muslim woman born and living in England. Neither myself, nor most of my siblings learnt to read or write Urdu as a child. I never really thought I would need it. As an adult I learnt to speak Urdu in the various environs I found myself in. My use of the Urdu poem in the piece reflects my own search for identity; my mother-tongue is a dialect of Punjabi and thus not a ‘recorded’ language – this makes Urdu the closest written language to my roots.
Fusing the Arabic, English and Pakistani allowed me to demonstrate that the Message of the Prophet was not limited to one nation or time.
Finally, the piece was one of the first pieces which I did mostly without the aid of a paintbrush. The main process has been painting with my fingers directly and this was then aided with the beadwork. Each bead has been taken individually by my fingers and stitched into the canvas. The entire process was extremely peaceful and encouraged me to ponder deeply into the title: The Beloved.
© Taslim Rashid has contributed this beautiful article to the Light Reflections series on Healing Hearts. The article was originally published on her awesome blog back in 2004.