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If These Walls Could Talk

23 Dec

As I read about the construction behind the MET’s  Alhambra palace courtyard, I’m fascinated by the precision and creativity behind tile designs of historic Islamic architecture.

Stemming from its birth, Islamic art has revolved around geometric & calligraphy patterns.  Geometric patterns signify a deep and reflective form of art; one that makes us ponder the meaning of our connectivity.  Instead of exploiting the human body, the essence of Islamic art revolves around lines, algorithms, and thought-provoking abstract forms. The same can be said about the use of classical Arabic used in sacred scripture.

I am forever inspired by the skill, patience, and creativity of tile patterns & Islamic/Eastern Art. The walls of these historic sites symbolize the length of our human potential; an endless potential that has always existed since the beginning of time.  Enjoy the following work that can be found in Spain, Uzbekistan, Pakistan & Iran (Photography from: http://www.islamic-arts.org).

Defining Good & Bad- It’s Not as Simple as You Think.

18 Oct
Big Bang

Big Bang

A topic that I have always been really fascinated by has been the nature of good and bad… “You can’t taste the sweet without the bitter” “There is no good without evil”, these famous quotes provoke us to question our judgements in a particular situation. At a fundamental level, I personally believe everything is relative. Unless we speak of  God or an infallible saint, there is no pure good or bad in the universe. Everything is simply “just is”. Good or bad is based on the outcome and the one perceiving it. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is good and bad.

Through Good Comes Bad; Through Bad Comes Good:
At times, what we may consider bad, can bring good results. At times, a great good can bring bad results. For example, when a person commits a good deed (charity, selfless deed) but boasts about it, their ego inflates, as a result, a bad outcome has resulted from the good deed. A terrible break in relationship, a tragedy, or a bad choice could lead someone to achieve greater wisdom, enlightenment and strength, thus, through the bad came good.

Good & Evil- It’s All Relative:
Another situation to consider, what can be considered good or evil in the universe is whether it satisfies the needs of all or not. Sometimes one must satisfy the needs of themselves before satisfying the need of others.
Therefore caring for oneself and caring for others is ultimately the same. We are all one being. In essence, we and others are the same. The evil we do to others is the evil we do to ourselves and the good we do to ourselves is the good we do to others. In essence, the good we do to ourselves, will inevitably bring out the best of our environment.

After much thought, I have found peace in the idea of embracing a broader outlook in life. Goodness and evil are measurements that require a broader lens. Happenstance can not be taken for granted. Our choices  require sincere thought, because for every action there is a  greater reaction.

The point and question we should ask ourselves is- has the “good” in you brought out the “best” or “worst” in others?

The Story Behind the Paintings

7 Sep

If you’ve followed dab on instagram, then you’d know that there’s always a painting or design in progress.  The story behind all these designs have less to do with business and more to do with experiences.  I started investing in art at an early age.  For me, art has always been about self-expression.

One of my favorite feelings that I enjoy illustrating would be love. In it’s essence, love goes beyond the physical.  Love has no prejudice or restriction . One of my recent abstracts illustrate two people embracing.  These two people could be lovers, friends, a parent, sibling, or relative.  Through shapes and colours, I tried to illustrate the vulnerability love instigates amongst people.

Love

Love & Vulnerability

The Search for Authenticity

13 May

I spend a good portion of my internet time browsing news, fashion & interior design blogs.  Art, fashion, design, are elements of expression. And it’s through expression that I find truth.  On that note, although I’ve been thoroughly entertained by the overload of style, art, and design, I can’t help but also be concerned by another truth: the rise of extreme narcism, isolation, and imitation.  I have  been guilty of it, but try to understand and catch it before I’m  in too deep.

The screen in itself cradles a projection; and many use that projection to create a new self, a self that they wish they were. The projection itself holds empty value.  That image soon gets lost amidst a clutter of viral images.  When used in moderation, what we “project” can help connect, inspire, and challenge people intuitively and practically.  On the flip side, we all  hold equal potential to create an authentic  and spiritual connection outside our cell phones, laptops, and computers.  When we  look, feel, and engage with one another in the real, it is then that we experience a more authentic, everlasting and spiritual connection.

When we become vulnerable to our own reality, our true emotions can encourage stronger connections and engagement.  Each one of us are defined with a unique purpose, strength, and beauty. And It’s a shame when people reject their true selves, just to fit the shoes of an imaginary self, confined by insecurity. Our willingness to be vulnerable to our individuality  will allow us to unshackle our insecurities and inspire the human potential.   We aren’t defined by what others see, but by the unspoken impact that we create.  Our ability to change the World and ourselves does not revolve around imitating the latest trend, but by creating a new one from “deep within”. With that said, by respecting our own authenticity we can embrace the unique life which surrounds us.

Have you found your authentic self?

 

Lost in translation

Lost in translation

 

 

“There are hundreds of way to kneel And kiss the Earth.” -Rumi

24 Oct

 

 

Fear Vs. Respect

8 Sep

Amidst all the challenges of everyday life, the trivial brunt of work, family, personal, social life, it’s always refreshing to shift perspective towards a greater picture.

Some of the many things I appreciate about studying faith is the emphasis placed on life, purpose, self-improvement, beauty, compassion, and appreciation of a greater Entity.  As of late, I’ve made it a point to study some of the Quran and read up on sermons from Najul Balagha, a book of sermons from Imam Ali.  He was known not just as the cousin and son-in law of Prophet Muhammed, but also as a character of strong spirituality, conduct in society,  education, and understanding of the universe.   After reading a chapter and sermon, I literally felt my mind broaden…

As I was experiencing the subtle ecstasy in reading through sermons,  something peculiar stood out,  I noticed that the English word, “fear” is often used in translations with regards to our relationship to God.   Do we ever question what this kind of fear means?  In my opinion, I feel as though “fear” has been the wrong choice of word to use in our relationship with God.  For how compassionate and merciful God is, our relationship shouldn’t have a negative connotation.   We should live in constant awareness of a greater Entity, Allah, God, the Creator, the Ultimate Energy.  There is a life after this life, and in order to peacefully follow through, we need to follow guidelines built to save our soul from internal destruction.  Positive habits, gestures, and routine prayers provide people with a sense of purpose, generosity, love, and a sound state of mind.  Instead of fear, we should live in constant “respect” and “awareness” of our Creator.

Here are some additional inspirational and wise excerpts I have come across:

He who busies himself with things other than improvement of his own self becomes
perplexed in darkness and entangled in ruination. His evil spirits immerse him deep in vices
and make his bad actions appear handsome. – Najul Balagha, Imam Ali

During civil disturbance adopt such an attitude that people do not attach any importance to you – they neither burden you with complicated affairs, nor try to derive any advantage out of you. -Najul Balagha, Imam Ali

… patience is a kind of bravery; to sever attachments with the wicked world is the greatest wealth; piety is the best weapon of defense.- Najul Balagha, Imam Ali

Submission to Allah’s will is the best companion; wisdom is the noblest heritage; theoretical and practical knowledge are the best signs of distinction; deep thinking will present the clearest picture of every problem. -Najul Balagha, Imam Ali

The mind of a wise man is the safest custody of secrets; cheerfulness is the key to friendship; patience and forbearance will conceal many defects. -Najul Balagha, Imam Ali

Man is a wonderful creature; he sees through the layers of fat (eyes), hears through a bone (ears) and speaks through a lump of flesh (tongue). -Najul Balagha, Imam Ali

Live amongst people in such a manner that if you die they weep over you and if you are alive they crave for your company. – Najul Balagha,

If you overpower your enemy, then pardon him by way of thankfulness to Allah, for being able to subdue him. – Najul Balagha

Ramadan’s Food For Thought

19 Jul

Muslim-Woman-Praying-Malaysia

 

Every year, I put together a post for Ramadan.  I’m going to keep this year’s post as brief as possible.  So here it is!

Every Ramadan, I look forward to the time where I can drain out all excess noise & drama from life.  This month serves as a spiritual and physical detox.

Another thing I enjoy- during the late night, with dim lights, listening to a beautiful recitation of the Quran. Oh, and another thing, congregating with family and friends while enjoying food and each other’s presence.

This year, I’m trying something new.  I’ve asked a dear friend of mine to encourage me to read a surah’s  (chapters of the Quran) translation every night, and draw up a personal interpretation.  So far, so good.  Although, I’m beginning to finally realize how complicated the Quran is.  It’s sort of like putting together a puzzle and analyzing why certain stories and points are placed in the chapters that they are in, or why a number of surahs begin with the Arabic letters “alif, laam, meem”. As a result,  I find myself being spiritually challenged, being charged with curiosity and interest.   Amidst all the questions, I find myself impressed by the amount of wisdom found in just a couple of ayahs (lines). If anything, this has definitely encouraged me to learn more about World Religions… There is endless wisdom and knowledge around us!  That’s another take-away point of Ramadan :D.

On that note, I hope everyone’s enjoying there Ramadan!