Original Eid & Shahada Gifts Designed by American Muslim Artist
Kaaba Eid Gift
Give an American original design for your next Islamic holiday gift.
Below is also a gold pendant available from Amazon, but it's not my design. Still, you can compare the two.
The detail photographed here is from the center of my Kaaba Panel, consisting of hand-pressed and carved clay, finished in glazes and mixed-media.
As part of the process of coming to understand how a group of leaders implemented some of the tenents of Islam into a group process, I turned to clay.
My studio was set up for two dimensional work as well as for my play time with clay. The tactile pleasure of hands in wet clay must be experienced to be appreciated. Once introduced to the medium during my graduate studies, I felt an affinity for this plastic material.
It can be shaped at will - intuitively - and at times I close my eyes while manipulating it, to let my fingers asses my progress. Faced with the conundrum, I plopped a good sized hunk of stoneware clay onto my thick worktable and began to wedge it. Having already firmed up the goal, a carved tile panel, the organic images sprung naturally to the surface.
The question concerned three aspects of knowledge:
1) the bare bones factual Truth that cannot be altered
2) the established practices of putting components of that Truth to work in the world
3) utilizing the plasticity inherent in the religion of Islam, to apply the Truth in our contemporary world
Carving the Panel Helped Refine My Understanding of Islam
Have you ever worked your way through a dilemma without using the spoken or written word?
Oftentimes, when facing a significant challenge, whether incorporating new information, or puzzling through sudden calamity, I've internalized my prayer, expressing my faith and questions in art.
Whether painting, drawing, or digging in clay, the silent plea seems to infuse my strokes, color choices, brush or pen size selection, and variations in tile thickness and the impressions my implements and my fingers make in the clay.
During the process thoughts may recede, while emotions gauge the depth of impression, the angles of the cuts, the particular handmade wood tools I select. Meanings coalesce in unexpected images and artworks materialize.
Many westerners are perplexed when they learn that the another educated European or American woman converted to Islam - after maturity, after life experience, after immersion in the faith of their family traditions - still making the conscious decision to reclaim the nature of their birthright.
Muslims consider, as many adherents of other religions do, that we are born as true to our nature as we will ever be, and we consider that to mean since we are all born as a result of the Creator's action, our state was one of submission to God in all our being --- and that is the meaning of the word Muslim, one who submits to God.
Here's a Gold Kaaba Themed Necklace
If you prefer a gold necklace to celebrate Eid or your own Hajj, or that of a family member or friend, here's one to please you.
The Kaaba in Mecca Surrounded by Pilgrims
Hajj Involves the Kaaba in the Mosque in Mecca
An Important One of the Five Pillars of Islam
One prime part of Islam (a pillar) is the Hajj pilgrimage. Each one of us Muslims is obligated to make at least one Hajj in our lifetime. Many Muslims make the Pilgrimage regularly, as their resources allow.
More than once during Hajj pilgrims make Tawaf, moving en masse around the Kaaba, in a direction opposite clockwise. This is required seven times over. It is called circumambulation.
Some persons perform the same Hajj rituals at different times of the year. This is called Umrah (a minor pilgrimage).
In excess of a million pilgrims enter Saudi Arabia to make the Hajj in recent years. I can only imagine what it's like to be in the throngs as they circle the renowned structure as one body, since I have yet to make the Pilgrimmage.
Here's a link to an excellent article that will further explain the Hajj.
It frequently surprises people to learn that the blonde, blue-eyed college grad from down the block became Muslim in adulthood - separating from the family faith, choosing what seems like a foreign religion
Imagine being the convert, having learned much of the world's ways, following a variety of persuasians, extricating herself from what she decides were culturally determined strictures, seeking to return to the grace of God.
As I told my daughter, I honestly believe that any educated woman who can remove herself from her preconceived notions of what it means to be Muslim, and learns what Islam really teaches, is very likely to make a decision in agreement with mine.