Dispelling Shaytan (Wétiko) – Part 1

A'udhu billahi minash shaitan ir rajim
أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم
I seek shelter in Allah from the accursed Satan

"Ultimately, humility is the basis for democracy, just as arrogance is the basis for authoritarianism." ~ Jack D Forbes

What is Wétiko? What are the Shaytan? Who is Iblis?

Wétiko is a word from North American Native – Cree – origin. To the Cree, and most Native North Americans, greed was a serious psychological malfunction. The Cree called this malfunction Wétiko. The phrase and collective sickening spirit it describes was first brought to wider public attention by Jack D. Forbes, a Native American healer, scholar and political activist.

Continue reading

Flowers & Bees

Be like the Bees – On the Natural Care of Bees

“The believer is like a bee, feeds upon the goodness, relieves a burden of goodness (honey), lands upon a branch softly so as not to break it and when falling into the water does not pollute it.” ~ Saying by Mohammed (as)

"The Messenger of Allah said: “By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the believer is like a bee which eats that which is pure and wholesome and lays that which is pure and wholesome. When it lands on something it does not break or ruin it.”

The bee only eats from flowers which are tayyib (pure and wholesome). It is not attracted to repulsive things, unlike other insects. Likewise the believer only eats that which is pure and wholesome.

Continue reading

Birds in the Sun, by Roya Azal

Esoteric Quarterly & Art Work for Hoger Institut, Belgium

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” ~
Dschalāl ad-Dīn ar-Rūmī

Autumn (2017) – I feel honored to be the featured artist for Esoteric Quarterly, an independent, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the trans-disciplinary investigation of the esoteric spiritual tradition.Continue reading

Islamic Garden, Emma Clark

Emma Clark: The Art of the Islamic Garden, Book Review

"Books are the gardens of scholars." ~ Ali ibn Talib (as)

It is Autumn, 2017. This past summer I exhibited some art work in a garden in Berlin as part of an art festival and studied the culture and history of the Islamic garden. The Berlin garden was pretty yet somewhat chaotic (so Berlin!) and I longed for the calm composition, clarity and artistic refinement of the real thing.

Continue reading

Art to Go, Art for your Street

The Daughter of the Moment ~ Bint al-Waqt, لوقت‎

“(S)he is the (wo)man who, having found Allah’s Self-disclosure in each and every indivisible moment, worships and surrenders to the One Who IS the moment.” ~ Sufi Wisdom, after Ali El-Senossi

“Neen, which by coincidence in old Greek means “exactly now, not a second later” was a controversial name (in a moment in art history, it was invented in 2002). Only a few people, felt that it was proper to call themselves Neenstars and what they do Neen, and this was because most of us, myself included, we are doing still a lot of TELIC. Our times, are Telic. But we want to see more Neen happening. Lets define Telic: (…) Telic is our relationship with the tools which help us design the World and see things in a perspective. (…) Neen however is miracles. ~ Miltos Manetas on Telic & Neen

To sum it up, Neen means “exactly now, not a second later”  and describes the ad-hoc and flux ways of creative expression and production the internet brought onto us. Telic however means one does things in a static, complex, academic, planned and methodical manner.Continue reading

The Celestial Garden, Berlin, 2017

Sacred Dwellings: Celestial Gardens and Garden Artistry in Islam

"O Marvel! A garden amidst the flames." ~Ibn Arabi, Tarjuman al-Ashwaq

"We are unaware of our own manifestation in this garden, the narcissus does not see it's own spring with it's own eyes.” ~ Mir Dard

When do we really see and take in the delicate beauty of a flower, the majesty and care of trees, the ever changing colors, forms and appearances of a bloom?

Continue reading

Christrose

The Christmas Rose: Cancer-Treatments & Antidote Medicine in Islamic Healing

“The word “Toxin” (…) has a Persian Shamanic root (“taxsa” means “poisoned arrow”). The art and science of “the anti-dote against the poison” has a highly honored, special place in the Islamic healing arts.

The Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger, Black hellebore or Snow Flower, in Asia: Helleborus orientalis) is an evergreen perennial flowering plant that blooms in winter. It is considered a special plant with high mystical powers. According to European folk tales, the Christmas rose protects love, and is a symbol for a long and happy live. It was used as an aid against various illnesses since antiquity in Europe. It was also used since then as a repellent against malice and envy, and planted before door steps and stables. Like many protective talismanic plants it is very poisonous and highly ambigious. Continue reading

Certain Feminists, Islam and the Far-Right

“The Head Scarf is the flag of the Islamic Crusade.” ~ Alice Schwarzer

The other day I read an article in the New York Times about Alice Schwarzer, a prominent German feminist, known since the 1970s for her acitivties. The New York Times even called her “pioneering”. Pioneering? Alice Schwarzer was very much present during my childhood in Germany. She represents my mother’s generation – she appeared on various media and is still a major figure in German feminism. Continue reading

Crocus Carpet

The Infinite, Algorithms and The Disorderly Arabesque

“The Arabesque (…) transfigures the object of nature it decorates (…) into a weightless, transparent, floating pattern extending infinitely in all directions (…) the object of nature has become under the Arabesque treatment a window onto the infinite.”

During my work on this blog, while researching, reading and writing about Islamic philosophy and arts I have come of course very early unto the Arabesque. The Arabesque pattern – sometimes foliate but commonly geometrically structured patterns of different shapes and coloring, known from Islamic decorative arts but also from music – has captured my interest.Continue reading