Saturday, May 21, 2016

About Islam and Peace

By Lana Albaik

My name is Lana AlBaik. I am a media student, who enjoys art, whether it’s political, stylistic or existential related, and I enjoy photography, writing and drawing. I like to tell stories through pictures, which is why I found film as a major or a career a good outlet for me to express myself.
My Piece is a collection of portrait photographs taken by me to view the grey zone of Islam and its relation with other religions or beliefs in a peaceful manner. They are around 4578 × 3275 pixels per image, and are digital photographs, taken using a Canon, 70Da. I took those pictures in a studio provided for us as MBRSC students at Aud, with a green backdrop, then edited the background into grey for a symbolic reason. My sister, Mays AlBeik who is an artist who promotes peace, and discusses contemporary political issues, heavily influenced me. A good friend of mine who is a photographer, Ibrahim Hasan, who is a deist but admires Islam and the other religions, also influenced me, and helped me brainstorm for the concept.

The main color noted in my piece is grey, which is the most important factor in the setting of the pictures. Grey symbolized a zone where one does not have to take sides on things. Grey is the area where one could take something “white” or “black” and read it their own way. Most importantly, what I meant by grey is the area in which people can be religious or nonreligious in their own personal way, their own way of loving god, and still coexisting with the rest of the people, who choose to love god in their other different way. When I was working on the pictures I talked with each and every subject, who liked my concept and encouraged me. What was interesting is that I ended up talking about it to them, about the concept of what represents each religion, or atheism. The most interesting conversation was, expectedly enough, the conversation I had with the atheist, which was about the symbol I chose to use to represent his belief. While I was planning out the symbols, I was in a dilemma between using a flower, or a science book for the atheist subject. Then I settled for the flower because I figured, in the true essence of a religion, mostly Islam since it’s our main topic and the one I am exposed to the most, reading is highly encouraged, and learning about the world is highly urged. So I figured a flower would represent evolution, the concept of life most atheists believe in; you live, and you die human, with no other dimensional purpose or consequences, they believed in your purpose and true contribution to life as it is. When I asked him, he said a book would be good too, without me suggesting the book. When I explained to him what I thought about the book, and how Islam encourages reading. His response was that this is what it says, but not what people do. And I already considered that, but yet I wanted to stick with the essence and true nature of the religion, so I decided that as long as he fully agreed with the flower, I would keep it. That’s when I realized that this piece is, obviously enough, from my point of view on Islam, and coexistence. So I’m trying to share my idea of peace with Islam, and how people may look something, but are something else entirely, which is why I included myself in the pieces. I get a lot of criticism, or simply baffled expressions when I say that I pray five times a day or read the Qura’an, considering the way I dress.

The most important golden rule in Islam, is treating others as well as you wish to be treated. An examples or these verses would be:
“Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good – to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess [the slave]: For God loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious” (Q:4:36)

The prophet said many things about that such as:
“Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you; and reject for others what you would reject for yourselves.” (Abu Dawud)

“There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” (Ibn- Majah)

“None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself” (Forty Hadith-Nawawi)

“Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and to enter Paradise…should treat the people as he wishes to be treated.” (Sahih Muslim)

My main objective is to make people feel that even thought someone might look like something in particular, that doesn’t represent them, and stereotypes do not define them. And most importantly, no matter what someone represents, one should treat them as equally as anyone else, because they are a human like everyone else, who form ways of understanding religion, and practicing it, and that doesn’t represent the other person. Therefore, the concept of peace relies on respect and coexistence with everyone.

Some of the pictures could carry a subliminal difference between the subjects, which is the point, to emphasize the very little actual humanistic difference between people.

Islam is in itself in this word means Peace, and therefore that’s what it advocates, and that does not mean all Muslims are peace advocates, because they identify with the vindictive aspects that can be misinterpreted from Qura’anic scripture and the prophet’s sayings, and Hadiths. This is why such messages as advocating peace among Muslims and non-Muslims are very important.


"Qur'aan Today: Golden Rule in Islam - Treat Others as You Wanted to Be Treated." Qura'an Today. N.p., 14 Jan. 2014. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.

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