A R C H I V E S
Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|For the Love of the Arts...|
|12/05/05 at 14:42:13|
| [slm] [color=navy]|
[i] I know this is an article type..but since it has to do with the arts, i thought it might be suitable in this forum...enjoy. [/i]
For the Love of the Arts...
A drop of water to a physicist encapsulates mysteries waiting to be deciphered. From a single drop, he/she can deduce how much force is needed to keep it together, what the surface tension is, and other properties needed to enhance our understanding of the nature of water.
To an engineer, all the theories a physicist comes up with can result in practical manifestations of bridges, pipes, dams etc.
A poet reflects on that single cascading drop of water and sees a tear drop on the cheek of an innocent child or gathers it in rainy mists on summer nights...it may gush out memories of sadness, pain, or inexpressible joy. All from a single drop of water.
There isn't a single "right" or "wrong" way to analyze this particular phenomenon (which is a miniscule example of a universe bursting forth to be 'read'). And mirroring the diversity in creation is the minds and dispositions God endowed humans to study with. To some, the world is full of exciting symmetry and parallels, equations just waiting to be uncovered. Others (male or female) are endowed with sensitive souls, intuitive minds and expressive hearts. Others still, are more cognizant of the need to understand history and study the nature of humans...many are fascinated with geology, astronomy, anatomy, and so on.
There isn't a single field that is "lesser" than the others or a single soul that has no contribution to make. For every bit of creation was created for a purpose, so are all of us. This gets a little tricky for Muslims to day. Because to some of us, if it doesn't have something to do with religion directly (study of Jursiprudence, Hadith, etc) then it must necessarily be trite and worthless at best, and leading to Hell fire at worst.
Then we have to wonder, what happened to the curiosity that made us inventors of Chemistry, Algebra, Astronomy etc. Where is the zeal that made Al Ghazali argue with the best of Philosophers and Jurists alike? Where do we even draw the line between what is overtly "religious" and what is not, for isn't all of life simply a manifesation of the Creator? And who dares to draw the line between the study of His creation, on what is worthy to be studied and what is not?
But this post is not about the "state" of Muslims, or our skewed sense of self, or even our misplaced ethics. This post is about something we have lost along the way...
The love of arts for me is deep and personal. For while I can read a line in history texts that talks dryly of "slavery (insert dates)" or "Colonization (insert dates)"; only from the rich literary sources do I hear the struggling voices, do I perceive the devastation of souls, do I swallow the bitterness of the trauma hidden in those lines. I have learned much of humanity's past,
battles, and triumphs, not from "objective" sources but estranged voices seeking for a space to be heard.
While there are very few people that control what goes in the official his-story books; the avenues for dissent are numerous. Poets, novelists,painters, and others have spawned centuries of resistance, mourning all that has been lost and fanning the fires of the idealist heart. Perhaps, what I admire most in this works, is the intrinsic knowledge that in such a complex universe nothing is simply black and white; there are many shades of grey...that no evil portrayed is absolute as is the myth of unadulterated righteousness debunked.
Are these mediums corruptible? If the widespread print of useless, trashy, superficially entertaining books has anything to say; is that writing like any other form of media can be either of value or not. It is up to the reader, the "consumer" per se, of these books/media to choose what is worth their time.
I think it is really sad that as Muslims we don't have a wealth of literature; at least in the English language. The lack of our participation in the arts, is affecting us on deep levels. To understand that something as seemingly benign as a poem, or a well crafted novel, can be a powerful weapon in the "war of ideas" is really essential. That perhaps somewhere in the darkest corners, a candle is lit, and a heart awakened to the existence of such beauty as willing submission to the Most Compassionate and Most Merciful.
We have at our disposal a venue to counter the dehumanization of Muslims and the well plotted desecration of Islam. That perhaps armed resistance may be called for in certain contexts, but the proverbial power of the pen (and intellect) remains far more effective in others. To be able to resist with beauty and poise adds that much integrity to our cause.
All the richness and beauty of creation is rendered eloquence in the Quran. I learned my first feel for poetry, timeless rhythm,and a sense of sublime appeal to all my senses at a tender age through its pages. I was awed then, as I am often, by how the Most Powerful, Most Magnificent Creator can speak to us in such soft heart rending tones. Each line of the Quran, and even the ones that challenge, scare, and beseech us, is wrapped in Mercy. It is this attribute of God, the Most Merciful, that brings me to my hands and knees in prostration; i have no defenses left in the face of such incredible Compassion.
Even with the tides turned against Muslims, there is a subtle awakening in the masses. People are learning about Islam (whether because of or inspite of us) and "born" Muslims are slowly reviving their interest in the deen. No renaissance would be complete however, without a restoration of the arts.
Go do something awesome today...write, draw, or paint something; creative,beautiful, soulful and share your humanity with the world.
|12/05/05 at 14:44:55|
Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board