Sara S. & Wali Ahmad
This Eid al-Adha, Muslim is celebrating through art. One of the goals of this publication is to create a community of Muslims no matter how you practice. One of the beauties of Islam is that each person has their own path to strengthening their deen. Faith isn’t linear and everyone experiences being muslim differently, so we asked our Graphics team what being Muslim means to them. This showcase is a taste of our loving community – we hope that you enjoy!
My name is Merna Ahmed. I am 20 years old, and a Photography and Design student. In my free time, I like making jewelry and rewatching sitcoms like Parks and Recreation or New Girl!
When I think of being Muslim, I think of the community aspect and how I bond with other Muslims because of our shared experiences. In those moments of bonding, the community feels like a safe and comfortable place, although I think it is important to acknowledge the experiences of my brothers and sisters who experience colorism and racism within our own community. In a religion that is already marginalised and subjected to hate by the masses, we in the Muslim community should not add to that by discriminating and hating amongst ourselves. The main beauty of Islam is that it is not exclusive to one race. Islam does not equal race, which is why it is important we have these conversations about colorism and racism, to be reminded that our community should be a safe and comfortable place for everyone.
I’m Tasneem Sarkez and I’m 18. I’m a multimedia artist who will be an incoming student at New York University.
When thinking about what it means to be Muslim, the first thing I thought about were the family values I was raised with. I think there are ancestral, cultural understandings that are unique to each family, yet all share themes of nurturing a collectivist community in and outside of our family. In this piece I used symbols of strength, weakness, and family photos, to demonstrate how coming to terms with what it means to be family is an up and down process – but eventually you learn the importance of treating everyone, family or not, with respect.
My name is Hamza Shahid and I am an incoming Life Sciences student at McMaster University. I love doing calligraphy and taking photos in my spare time!
For this piece, I turned to Islamic art and poetry for inspiration. Islamic art from South Asia frequently employs nature as symbols of paradise. Islamic poetry, in the same way, makes reference to flowers and gardens in connection to Jannat. I chose two lines from the Urdu poem Jawab-e-Shikwa, written by the acclaimed Allama Iqbal (RA), which complements his earlier poem named Shikwa. Jawab-e-Shikwa is written as Allah’s reply in response to the complaints of a disheartened, angry believer (from Shikwa). The lines I chose translate to the following: “The gardener should not be upset seeing the garden’s state. Branches will shine through from amongst the bunches of buds.” I likened the strokes of calligraphy to the branches Iqbal speaks of, the flowers eventually coming into bloom. As a Muslim, Iqbal’s words show me how the beauty and importance of our Imaan make themselves apparent in ways we may not see ourselves. While your proverbial tree may not be laden with flowers yet, there is no tree – nor its flowers, or buds – without its simple, barren branches.
My name is Noor Ali and I’m a Design Engineering student at Imperial College London.
The beauty of being Muslim is being part of something bigger than yourself. It’s a note passed down from our Creator to our beloved Prophet (saw) that we now pass to each other. The Shahadah is a unifying oath; a perfect fit for every hand that reaches for it, no matter how uniquely formed they may be. When we truly believe this message, sent by Allah (swt), it is not only His warmth and love that surrounds us, but that of the entire Muslim ummah too.
My name is Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman and I’m from Malaysia!! I am a Graphic Communication student at the University of Plymouth, with a lot of love for typography and editorial design.
There are over 1.7 billion Muslims in the world. One cannot simply pin point what being a Muslim is, and I find that beautiful and interesting. I wanted to focus on the fact that being a Muslim isn’t just one thing and it can be defined in many ways, depending on your perspective. I took the prompt literally, and illustrated in a way which defines the word ‘Mmuslim’. At the end of the day, all of us Muslims believe that there is only one god and Muhammad (SAW) is his messenger.
My name is Umaima Haseeb. I am 20 years old and am currently a senior at the University of Central Florida, studying to attend medical school, InshAllah.
The biggest inspirations for this drawing were simple: yellow, my favorite color, and sunflowers, my favorite flower. But, under the surface, the color yellow reminds me of happiness and tranquility, just as Islam does. It’s also a self portrait and represents my relationship with Islam and the hijab. Although I don’t wear it anymore, I always cherish that time in my life as it brought me closer to my religion.
Art – Shayma Al-Shiri
My name is Shayma and I am a 22 year old digital artist based in New York City. I enjoy film and TV as much as I do illustrating and I hope to continue creating art in Muslim spaces.
My piece is a visual representation of my relationship with my hijab. I’ve worn the hijab for more than a decade and it’s grown with me and taught me many lessons, like how not be afraid to show what I believe in, what loyalty is, and how to protect myself and my spirit. Over the years, I’ve been asked about a million times, “Why do you wear that?” and I always give the same answer: “When was the last time you loved something so much you dedicated yourself to it every day?”
Salaam! My name is Tirzah Khan and I’m a senior at University of Maryland, Baltimore County studying information systems and psychology. I’m passionate about activism and passion fruit bubble tea.
This piece, titled “فقير / Beggar,” is an illustration of the room in my family’s house where we pray, and I wanted to portray my deep sense of comfort when entering that room and prostrating on the prayer rug, asking for Allah to grant me whatever will fill my life with good. That’s what being Muslim means to me – trusting that Allah knows what is best for me before I can even begin to ask for it myself, and trusting that whatever is good for me will reach me when He wills it to. And if you’re picking up some Animal Crossing vibes, it was unintentional but absolutely not unwelcome!
Art – Ameena Muhammad
Hi! My name is Ameena Muhammad, and I am a Texan graphic design student/wannabe illustrator studying in Toronto.
Surface level, being Muslim means community, comfort, and faith. But for my personal meaning, I’m still trying to get a grasp who I am, and my religion comes with that. This piece includes me in three styles of dress; each projecting different ideas of who I may be. Physical change is my most tangible route of making some sense of myself, but oftentimes to others is the sole piece of evidence to evaluate how “Muslim” I really am. To me, being Muslim means that regardless of how I grow and change, there is a part of my inner weaving that will always remain the same. Each person’s experience with Islam is distinct and internal, and not something that can be grasped through biased, external judgement.