By Loulwa Alireza
Many ideas circled through my head on how to convey peace in Islam, but my final decision was to settle on a simplistic portrayal of it. I called my art piece “The Simplistic Serenity of Islam.” The art piece is divided into three little canvas boards painted in different colors, to show diversity in Islam, and how there is more than one side to it. The colors in a way also represent specific things, for example, the blue is peaceful and is used in Islamic art. The greens are mostly used in Islamic art, and it has been said to be the color of the heavens. Last but not least, the red color represents passion and love for Islam. All of the backgrounds were colored with several shades of the same color to further emphasize diversity amongst Muslims.
After each background was painted a hand was drawn, but each one with a different action, and in each hand a verse from the Qur’an was added in an anthropomorphic way because calligraphy adds to the Islamic aspect of the artwork. After the background dried, and the hands were drawn, I traced over them with gold. Gold is a color frequently used in Islamic art, but I used it for the most part because it is the color on the Kaaba other than black.
The first hand on the red background depicts a hand reaching out to shake another hand, and it is done in this way to give the audience a sense of interaction with the piece. It shows how Islam is welcoming, and in Islam when you first walk into a room, or meet someone the first thing you say is “السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته” which literally translates to “the peace be upon you.” However to keep with the theme of the rest of the pieces, another verse was written in the hand. “والله يدعو إلا دار السلام” which means that god wishes and asks us to pursue until we find peace. The hand on the blue background isn’t doing much of an Islamic pose, but it is a universal gesture for peace. Everywhere you go people would understand the peace sign, and this is relevant because Islam has become a widespread religion. To show that it is not any ordinary peace sign, I added the prayer beads (Sobha), to make it more Islamic. In this hand “سلام هي حتى مطلع الفجر” that is the verse written in it. It means “Peace!...This until the rise of morn!” It has been done in blue because that is another Islamic color, and it adds more dimension than just having it all gold.
Last but not least, The hand on the green background is being raised to the sky in prayer to Allah with these words written in it “وسلام عليا يوم ولدت ويوم مت ويوم ابعث حية” This translates to "So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again).” This hand has both gold and blue outlines to show how things just come together in Islam and how peaceful it can truly be.
Despite the many extremists we have nowadays, I believe that Islam is truly a peaceful religion. It is one that wants to wish no harm upon anything else. I am a Saudi, and I was raised there my entire life, and everyone always asks me how I could live under extreme conditions, and how they take Islam to extremes. That is not necessarily the truth; I wasn’t taught Islam with a stick, where every time I did something wrong I got hit. On the contrary, they sat me down and explained it to me in stories or just conversation.
We heard stories of the prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) and how he acted towards his enemies, how is that anything but peaceful? Islam to me condones peace and all to do with it, I’ve heard it in stories and I’ve read it in the Qur’an.