Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

Temple of Self(or the egocentric nature of blogging)

June 19, 2007

fingerprints2, originally uploaded by asiya2.

My personal observation is that creative people tend to be very egocentric. I don’t mean selfish. Often creativity goes hand in hand with a rich sensitivity that lends towards a kind and gentle nature. The flipside is that it also leads towards introspection and neurotic self-exploration. I have been wondering about the notion of the creative self within the framework of Islam. We are supposed to focus on subduing our egos, not cultivating them. Is there room then for creativity as an expression of self or should it always point to something Bigger?




the beginning of a painting

June 13, 2007

the beginning of a painting, originally uploaded by asiya2.

 My hands feel so clumsy at the moment, I’m so out of practice.  I can feel this drawing rapidly losing itself into a murky mass. The beginning was promising, but then I added too much blue and now it is too dark. I will try and rescue it, but I may just make the mess bigger, in which case, at least I will have a photo to prove to myself that I have begun the making process again!


Ayaatal Kursi

June 6, 2007

Ayaatal Kursi, originally uploaded by asiya2.


Allahu la ilaha illa Huwa, Al-Haiyul-Qaiyum La ta’khudhuhu sinatun wa la nawm, lahu ma fis-samawati wa ma fil-‘ard Man dhal-ladhi yashfa’u ‘indahu illa bi-idhnihi Ya’lamu ma baina aidihim wa ma khalfahum, wa la yuhituna bi shai’im-min ‘ilmihi illa bima sha’a Wasi’a kursiyuhus-samawati wal ard, wa la ya’uduhu hifdhuhuma Wa Huwal ‘Aliyul-Adheem

“Allah! There is no god but He – the Living, The Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him Nor Sleep. His are all things In the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede In His presence except As he permits? He knows What (appears to His creatures As) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass Aught of his knowledge Except as He wills. His throne doth extend Over the heavens And on earth, and He feels No fatigue in guarding And preserving them, For He is the Most High. The Supreme (in glory).”
[Surah al-Baqarah 2: 255]

The first time I read this verse, what struck me was the sense of Allah being outside time. I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of His knowledge and I suddenly ‘knew’ that He existed. I wasn’t just reading words, for want of a better expression, the Qu’ran came alive. Ayaatul Kursi (The Verse of the Throne), is special to me for this reason. And so it is a truly sacred blessing to draw it. I say ‘draw’, because I haven’t yet learned calligraphy 🙂


Studio Space

June 6, 2007

Self Portrait challenge, originally uploaded by asiya2.


  I have joined Self Portrait Challenge as a means of trying to challenge myself to start doing creative things once more. Yesterday I made myself a studio space in the corner of my bedroom. I am so thrilled with it that I keep just going and sitting there! June’s SPC is to take a photo of yourself in surroundings that express something about yourself. There really could be no better place for me to start than with a photo of myself in my new space.


It is a private, peaceful corner where I can dream and start the process of making again. I have missed drawing. Making this space is almost like finding myself again after motherhood. It sounds corny I know!


Must stop writing and go sit!



Language enables us to know and kill one another

May 18, 2007

I this in an article about the impermissibility of killing civilians in Islamic warfare.

‘Pay heed to the words of Mawlana Rumi (may Allah sanctify his secrets!):

Go beyond names and look at the qualities,
so that they may show you the way to the essence.

The disagreement of people takes place because of names.
Peace occurs when they go to the real meaning.

Every war and every conflict between human beings
has happened because of some disagreement about names.

It’s such an unnecessary foolishness, because just beyond the arguing
there’s a long table of companionship, set and waiting for us to sit down.

Thank God, there is some sense in the world.

Did war begin when Allah swt taught Adam (peace be upon him) the names?

And He taught Adam the names of all things

Qu’ran 2.31

I have often wondered whether “names” means language itself or simply the ability to understand the world through symbols. Language enables us to interpret and learn, but it provides an outlet for miscommunication. We forget the essence of things and become focused on objects and definitions, we forget that some things cannot be defined.

May 17, 2007

As part of the Muslimahs Speak Up carnival, Baraka has written a beautiful post titled Circles of Women.


May 3, 2007

The keyword when talking about life is always balance. To feel at peace we need to find an equilibrium between the different facets of our selves and our numerous roles and aspirations. This is something that I have always struggled with, never being an all-rounder. I have excelled in some areas and neglected others. Being a perfectionist, I have often only attempted things that I know I can do well. I don’t just have a fear of failure, I have a fear of being average and yet I can only be what I am, fairly competent and (hopefully!) kind and imaginative, but certainly not a genius!

Motherhood, when approached by such a personality is particularly challenging. I want everything to be fantastic and nurturing. I know that it is primarily myself who will guide these little beings and help them blossom to their full potential and sometimes I am daunted by the responsibility.  How do I manage everything, the basic drudgery of household life (yes, I do feel that way sometimes!) but at the same time creating a vibrant and inspirational space for my children to learn and grow? How do I maintain a sense of self in the process?

In Islamic spirituality known as tasawwuf, the ego (nafs, base self) is supposed to be subdued in order to foster a closeness with God, but there is also a saying that “H/she who knows him/herself knows God“. In other words, we must understand our self before we can conquer it. Sometimes, as mothers, we completely lose our selves in the process of looking after everyone else. I have recently passed through a phase of wanting to read and write a lot about “issues”, stimulate myself intellectually because this was an aspect of my life that had been sorely neglected. I wanted to rediscover who I am in that sense. And whilst I feel a little revived, I can honestly say that I don’t necessarily feel uplifted by it…energized perhaps but not motivated spiritually.

Nurturing my family, however, does motivate me spiritually. Responding to my children, thinking about how to encourage them to love learning, imagining creating a dense jungle for them in the backyard (yes, it’s still just in the imaginary stage!), all of this stirs something deep in my being. And so this is the deciding factor for me whilst I try to re-orient and keep hold of myself in the process of motherhood. Because, I’ve found that within the process itself, there is so much room for personal growth and it feeds my soul in a way that academic pursuits don’t. And so I know for myself that at times, although I may question my choice and wonder what I might have/could have been, I am fundamentally happy with what I am and I know that staying at home is the right choice for me (and hopefully, inshaAllah, my family also!).