Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cards - 'The Garden'

I think I have mentioned that The Garden is one of the key concepts I have been working on within my art. In the last 3.5 years the meanings in my work have changed so much that even I raise my eyebrows when I look back and read what I had said in 2004 and 2005 about tranquilart. I guess my art is a response to my circumstances: it was so back then and is so now too.

In the last few days I have been reviving my relationship with media to have a physical manifestation of the mighty thoughts which are being processed within me.

Here is the result: this is a floral motif which represents man's yearning for Paradise. Stitched by hand, it reflects the centrality of deeds which play a vital role in attaining that celestial abode. Some of you may recall the Circles of Knowledge theme when seeing this.. yes.. there is a link between the two.

Blank Cards @ £1 each.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Some Essential Reads

It has been a while 'this side' ..

Here are what you should all have read by now:





Saturday, November 11, 2006

Finding God

Tranquilart uses the concept of a butterfly as it’s logo: the universal metaphor for change.

I attempt to demonstrate ‘change’ in my work by use of dark and light shades of colour. It represents the transition from chaos to clarity: in thought and action. In my new work I have began to incorporate the butterfly design into the actual work.

Change involves time, and thus becomes a Journey. It has a starting point and a destination.

The destinations are many and the final one in our ‘living phase’ is when we close our eyes to the Angel of Death. For surely as one who believes in an afterlife; I know for certain that my destination has another aspect to it.

In this manner change is not seen as a random incident but rather as a process. A process trapped in time, events, feelings, thought, emotion and action or even inaction. Certainly the scenarios we come across anticipate a response from us. And our response fluctuates all the while. We embark upon an amazingly distinct journey, or process of change through these events.

‘Finding God’ quite plainly demonstrates this journey towards harmony. For fundamentally harmony comes from God Almighty; the Source of Harmony. Here I’d like to re-remind readers that none of these write-ups are conclusive of the work or the concepts behind them. The process of looking for God Almighty occurs when episodes of disharmony cloud ones’ vision: veiling away that fact: that God Almighty is “closer to you than your jugular vein”.

The thinking behind this work goes back to Winter 2004 when a friend brought me a little book called “The Spiritual Master” from her trip to Chicago.

There is a saying at the front cover of the book [and inside too] which took both our attention:

“God is at home,

It’s we who have gone out.”


I didn’t think much at the time.

Then I got ill, and this saying came to mind. As the months progressed and my sicknotes increased in their duration, I felt my life being vacuumed away bit by bit. Everything was changing around me quicker than I could bear to adjust. My prayers became difficult with a sling initially, and the pain continued to drain my energy reserves. I felt I was fighting something; there was something provoking me to battle, but it had more power than me.

I was baffled.

I was also cut off from making artwork which was extremely frustrating as I didn’t know how to channel what I was feeling into active motion. At times though, I gave in to my frustrations and physical limitations: it was simply too difficult for me to cut myself away from making art altogether. It was then that I realised that I could not forego long periods of time without some practical absorption into a creative activity. I had re-started my reading at this time after many years of not having read anything non-academic, and this kept my mind engaged to an extent – but I really needed to immerse myself into the work, and that was something I only felt comfort from, doing with the art. Reading required a lot of concentration, something I didn’t always have.

Towards the end of April 2005 I produced the first version of ‘Finding God: Through Heavan And Hell’ and this was gifted to a Teacher whom I love dearly with a request for prayers and guidance. I found this piece extremely difficult to do: and for many reasons too. It contained within it many feelings, I felt angry, disappointed, sad, hopeless, in physical pain, uncertain, confused, lost, hurt, trapped, numb and fearful.

The orange surrounding the painting represents the flames of hell; they also represent the yellowish sun-rays from my Hajj; the sun shining on our faces as we travelled Mecca, Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Medina. This two-fold meaning is synonymous with life events: the good and the bad it appears are hidden within one another. The sadness and the happiness are intertwined. The square canvas represents the Kabah – or essentially a visit which was a turning point in my life. On the one hand this depicts what I thought I had achieved: my answers after years of beseeching God Almighty. On the other hand it showed the parallels of our life with the next.

The centre begins to become lighter and brighter: depicting the understanding that our earthly experiences have a heavenly dimension too. That our life events contain reflections of the next world; the work on the concept of the Garden that I was so keen in introducing into the art. That there is a Paradise where clarity exists. And that paradise is translated into this world also; where we enter a state where we find clarity. We see the orange as chaos and the white as the clarity where one arrives after the turmoil is over. After the settling of the dust, one finds peace. The green depicts Paradise. And thereby in the centre itself is the Name of the Divine stitched in chain stitches and within those chains I sewed 28 white beads representing my 28 earthly years. The chains ‘link’ one another to form the Divine Name; representing how our Teachers link us with the Prophet Alaislam and through him to God Almighty. I actually perfumed the centre of the piece to comply with the heavenly ethos.

7-8 months later… during the Autumn of 2005 and my meeting with the two lady physicians in the south of England who instigated me to question whether I had ‘Submitted’ to my condition; I figured out that nope I hadn’t and no wonder my energies were being drained; no wonder I was fighting the battle of losers. And I decided to develop my work further. This coincided with the work on Circles of Knowledge.

In much of this work we see the whirls: representing our journey, but also representing the cosmos; creation; the universe. These A5 pieces try to show a search through travelling; spiritual and physical.

Finding God is somewhat a misnomer – really it is. What this work is actually about is accepting that everything is happening in accordance with a Divine Plan: accepting that there is a Force looking after us: accepting that we have limitations. For God Almighty is Ever-Lasting; The First; The Last; The Owner of the Heavans and the earth and all that exists in between; The Creator of all… It is man who but, forgets this.

In this manner we are all Finding God – for we are essentially finding the confidence to move forward in life; with the knowledge that we are in Safe Hands. Walking knowing that we move by His leave and permission; recognising that at times the ground beneath our feet will become shaky – but that there is someone helping us and who will ensure we never trip or fall no matter what obstacles lay on the path. To have the confidence to do this and believe it with certainty: to have conviction in His Care when things are going so so wrong: to believe that it’s all happening how it should. When faced with suffering; to want to believe that it is all momentary – is all about Finding God.

Finally for myself, to be able to write the Divine Name again and again in so many ways in reality dipped my being into the process of Finding God. [I think I painted over a hundred of the A5 boards which you can see here; from December 2005 to September 2006]. And amongst the many blessings I have had over this period of illness is that there were always so many people to buy my work; which meant I kept on immersing myself into an activity which was giving me answers; which restored my energy and at the same time helped me cope with this internal urge to output my creative thought. It is my belief that we are all finding Him in all that we do in our own ways.


“God is at home,

It’s we who have gone out.”

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Happy Ramadhan 2006!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Circles Of Knowledge

This is something I have started working on since my illness. It refers to the importance of having a Teacher in ones’ spiritual journey and refers to knowledge which leads to self-awareness. Beads are representative of people and learning.

I think I have said before that there is no conclusive translation of tranquilart; both the hidden philosophy aswell as the not-so-hidden manifestation of that philosophy ie the work itself. Whatever I attempt to present here in these write-ups is merely for folk to appreciate that tranquilart does have themes in the work. Also it is an opportunity to share, and inspire one another :-)

I want folk to remember that my work is reflective of me. My belief remains that we cannot truly understand the meanings behind the work as observors. The work is trapped in time; in circumstantial epochs; in an emotive state of mind. These are realms which have "no entry" signboards that do not allow access. I hope that doesn't sound cruel but I have always maintained that tranquilart is a personal arts project.

I believe that we are all artists and continuously making art in our life, without knowing it. With this definition in mind: it becomes easy for us all to accept that we won't always fully understand one anothers work: and that's all OK - because that is how it is meant to be.

Before I start on the Circles of Knowledge write-up: another thing to bear in mind: Our work reflects us.. and nobody really knows us conclusively - except the Creator of you and I :-)

Circles of Knowledge

I came across this around the same time as my Great Reading Revolution of Spring/Summer 2005! The concept of knowledge.

As a teacher I have spent a handful of years in the field of knowledge: learning and delivering it. And I realised many years ago that whenever man plunges into darkness, it is only knowledge that can bring him back into the world of light. This phase is essentially an act of enlightenment: he has been thrown into the dark and cold tunnel so that he can appreciate illumination that will follow thereafter.

There are 3 meanings reflected in the Circles:

1. Learning:

that the Teacher [or Shaykh] sits in the centre of ones awareness of the world: with students gathered around.

2. Priorities:

that God Almighty is the one who deserves to be in the centre of ones life affairs and consciousness of existence: all other things (self, family, others etc) are around the Divine.

3. Garden Connection:

that we are the residents of Paradise and the Earth reflects our celestial attachments. I started work on the cencept of the Garden a while ago, and it continues to give me strength and motivation. Here in a visual manner the circles attribute themselves in floral imitations.

There may be more meanings of these Circles which may or may not emerge with time.

I believe we are limited in our understandings: we don't know what will come tomorrow as a result of our work - or lack of it.

The Circles of Knowledge first appeared in my work in the bookmarks in Summer 2005.

They moved onto cards in Autumn, and by Winter they found themselves in the work around the 'Finding God' theme.

Coincidences don't exist.

It takes time for something to develop.. even Circles. These Circles reflect that humans are similar. We are constantly being prepared through the various experiences in our life.

That man may come to realise that whatever is happening is so, to complete the canvas of his life and not to deprive it off meaning and completion. It takes time for final products to reveal themselves. The Path to Knowledge involves many veilings.

Many things that we can't see are not meant to be seen just then.

The fact that I and many others with health problems cannot put labels on our conditions; the fact that some people will feel insecure, isolated and sad by lifes' troubling acts; the fact that some will have failed marriages; the fact that some will lose their parents before they are 30; the fact that some women will be abused by their partners; the fact that some people will be involved in accidents caused by human error or machines; the fact that some humans will be under the thrust of natures' force be it via earthquakes or droughts; the fact that some people will live in extreme poverty; the fact that many will not be fortunate to bear children; the fact remains that we don't see the lifting of the veils until fate determines the correct point for us all.

And we must also remember that it may be that we never see the unveilings in this life. That is what it means to put God Almighty in the centre of ones' life.

That is why one of the greatest of supplications to request whilst you're a resident in the untranquil zone is to ask God Almighty to show you things the way they truly are.

19 July

Good news -
The Rihla experience was a boon for the further development of this work; on a metaphysical aswell as an earthly level :-)
Prayers this way please so I can share with you all in months to come x x x

Monday, July 24, 2006

Heart Warmer With Man..

"My ship keeps on sailing" English Channel, August 2005 - Pic by Bint-eh Adam.

Original Contributions by myself and 'Little Friend Emma' here.

The responses by 'Man' after the first one are by Emma :-) Thank you sugar plum!

Dear Heart,

Please speak to me.
I've noticed that you go numb on me when I try to do something to change my vision on life. Why can't I and you live in harmony? Why do you fear so much whenever I walk the Path towards God? Why can't we be friends and go together?


Dear Man,

It is not I who turned away; but you.

You were the one who forgot that you were created by the Divine.
You were the one who forgot that the angels were asked to prostrate before you.
You also forgot that you are a resident of Paradise and not this world.
It was you who chose to live in disharmony with me; I was pure until you thought you grew old enough to make your own decisions.
I and you were friends in childhood. But it was you who broke this bond as when I asked you to utilise me to worship my Lord and yours, you ignored me.

So today when I decide to become numb on you, do you really blame me?


Oh, Heart!

You must be merciful with me.

I was arrogant and gave in to my ego-based desires. I ran here and there searching for wants and likes - and I forgot my needs.

I wasn't happy thereafter, I was miserable and I did not know why. So I went searching here and there for happiness; for love; for your Lord and mine...

... and I even searched in the hearts of others, for you had gone numb, and it was still not satisfying.

I ran down several roads, and all came to dead ends.

I knocked on several doors, to find that they were only walls. I climbed all those ladders to slip and fall back down. Why did you go numb?

When I needed you most, oh Heart, when I needed you most, you went numb. Be merciful and let me feel once more..?

Oh Man!

I went numb because I believed you didn't want to know me anymore. Even I missed our great times during childhood. Even I missed us being surrounded by the angelic presence in your days of innocence.

But as you grew, I found it more and more cumbersome to relate to you. I tried - I really did, to warn you how I was feeling. All those times that I would sink right into you; it was my way of telling you that I was not happy. That I was missing the angelic presence which I knew was no longer with us as you wasted so much time avoiding their invitation.

Soon I gave up. I thought to myself: perhaps this is the way things were meant to be. Perhpas I and you were not meant to get on together after a certain stage of our lives? Perhaps this is the state I would be presented on the Day of Gathering?

I became very bitter and upset at this. And vowed to never again to work with you. And so it was that I isolated myself from you and left you to follow the road on your own.

Oh man, please don’t put me in a compromising position with my Lord. I beg thee.


Oh Heart!

How can you leave me unless I went completely cold?

But even then, the most chilled of men have warmed their eyes with your divine glance - how is this different? Are you playing with me your delightful game, for I know you would never abandon?

Oh heart!

My heart!

So close to me, you are my conscience!

If I forget you tucked up safe and sound, is it that when I return you will have disappeared?

If I fall fast alseep and dream of nonsense, is it that when I wake up I would be blind?

Oh heart! Silence doesn't scare away my tongue or batter my ears, so what is this you kidd me with?

Even a terrible child is not abandoned by their mother - is your love any different? Are you not my guardian to guide at Divine Will? And when a child reaches out to their mother, they only expect to be greeted with a free flow of blessed milk. If it is denied, won't they cry? And when the child grows, their milk cannot be abrubtly taken away - won't they fuss? They have to be weaned off carefully, and gently - do you think I am different?

Can you say you left me?

Aren't you here right now?
You have never left me and won't you stay?

Oh Man,

You are right I have never left you and never will, as I am present within you even through times when you have caused me much suffering that I may as well think myself dead.

And indeed I died a thousand deaths and you are the one who killed me so ruthlessly.

Every time you entered into a situation that went against my nature I was wounded and bled in pain.

Every time you sat in the company of those who spoke against my Lord and yours,’ an arrow pierced through me.

Every time you heard words which invoked the praise of vice I felt myself incapable of listening and deafened myself from your cries.

Every time your eyes repressed virtue, you blinded my sight.

Every time your tongue tasted the forbidden, my thirst to taste the sweetness of faith grew.

Every time you touched what you were asked not to, I started becoming numb.

So that one day I became so hard that when you cried I felt no wetness from your tears; I heard not your pleading nor did I see the sincerity in your eyes.

I became as distant from you as the stars from the earth; though visible from the land – you cannot reach out to hold them.

Tell me why I should allow you to reach and hold me once more when you caused so much damage? Why can’t you carry on in your Path alone? Why suddenly do you need me?

How, how could I ever trust you again?


Oh my faithful Heart!

You are always with me and if you were to die and my blood ceased to flow, I would die as well. And at the times that I have hurt you it was I who was better off dead than alive, and it was I who committed a thousand suicides. Those arrows went through my chest before they ever reached you. And those wounds spat blood away from you and onto me - a gruesome mess!

And when your thirst for faith grew, was it not my thirst as well? Then didn't I cry? But my tears could not quench your thirst, and I did not know what you desired! My tears, they are nothing but salt - and that will not heal a wound! Yet I cry, and I cry more, won't you stop this crying? Won't you reach back and wipe a thousand tears from my eyes so that I may let heal a thousand wounds? Won't you bandage this bleeding slit, or will you leave it in the water to drain, to wither up and die?

If you are truely as distant as the stars, then I will carry you down to me. I will gather up these salty tears and you will shine in their reflection; then I will capture you! I will conquer you once more - and can you resist?

Then I will dive into my puddle of tears, but since they are too shallow to be proper for diving I will hit my head! And won't then, oh heart, won't then will I see even more stars! When I bang my head, won't I see those stars within my self, even deeper than my eyes? That is when I will have you!

Then I will hold on to you, my heart - you will not escape! And you can trust me not to let go. But if I do, then you do not have to reach out to catch me, for I will fall and land on my head - and behold! There you will be with those glittering stars!

How can a tripping fool like me carry on a path alone? I will always fall and hit my head, and you will always have to be there. To see you in a puddle I shall weep a thousand tears, and to see you in my self I shall fall a thousand feet.

My heart! To die a thousand deaths, you have to live a thousand lives. So I wonder, my heart, if I have hurt you so badly, so may times, why do you keep coming back? Why would you come to back to life if you were better off dead?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Until July 16th!

Myself and a band of merry people visited the glorious capital of Wales: Cardiff.

Some Muslim seamen folk arrived from Yemen to this port city in the late 1800s.. and in 1860 the first Muslim Mosque was built in Cardiff. Some Histoire here :-)

My camera is very unwell at the moment and before it finally crashed out on me - here are some images from the Expressions Of Faith show.

I must admit I was more than impressed with the work of Emma Ismaiel who has a little website in production called Nur Illuminations.
One piece of her glass-work is on the left-hand side in this shot:

I need to email her very soon and congratulate her - we were all very much taken aback with her work. Very different, thoughtful and inspiring.

An image of her work is on this link - you'll know what I mean when you see it!

A total of 6 Tranquilarty pieces were displayed.

Here are a few shots of my work.

Aha - Change!

Yes - these were the first two pieces which I started - another two have since been produced and I will show em to you guys here very soon! .. Or as soon as I have a camera to act as a medium!

A big thanks to my super-duper models :-) I love you all!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


There are things we find difficult; all of us.

It is worth asking ourselves though why do we find them difficult?
What is the obstacle, the barrier or the hurdle in front of us?

Is it really something that is irremovable?
Or is it actually our lack of will, lack of confidence and lack of belief in ourselves which leads us to think that certain things are beyond our grasp?

As I have blogged before: I am not from an arts background academically. And there are many things I have found difficult to do as an artist. The fact that I am not from an arty past may contribute to it – but I think it’s because I, like many others, have an awkward personality and often find it very hard to believe that getting to the other side is easy or even possible. This is also perhaps why I get many strangers sent my way by God Almighty: to reassure the goon that she hasn’t made a complete boo-boo quite yet.

There are two colours I find very difficult to work with. Black and Green.

Amazing isn’t it?

Think of the two Holy Cities and the Sanctuaries: one is black, the other green.
A cube and a dome!

What is more amazing is that when I told a well-wisher this, I was reminded that “every colour has an accompanying level of adhab (respect)”. Wow I thought.

So what am I conveying through my black and green pieces? Simply – Change.

I am also conveying where I am at the moment as a human being; as an entity on Planet Earth; as a child of Adam Alaislam. For I believe that our expression in whatever format is trapped within a certain timeframe. We are humans who live in the present; not in the past nor in the future but in the moment of now. Though our expression is built from our experiences from the past; and has an aim to send fruits into our future world. Just as the Quran teaches us to live in the present world but to remember that there is another world to come.

The Black square represents the Kabah. And from a distance we see nothing but black. However as one comes closer to the piece, a prayer niche appears with a trail of butterflies flying upwards.

Here lies a two-fold metaphor:

On the one hand this is symbolic to the Kabah. We see a black cube, a structure built by the hands of man as his gratitude to His Creator. But as one comes to know the Kabah at-closeness, one realises it is more than a black structure.

On the other hand the canvas represents man. It is only when one comes to examine man from closeness that one realises how different he is to what his appearance suggested. We are all like this in many respects.

What surrounds the centre is chaos. It is madness, sadness and a lack of control on ones affairs. A point we all reach, or come to acknowledge. But one that most times we are ignorant to. The roughness on the outside represents mans’ life events; those trying times when man falls flat on his face. Times when man is forced to examine or re-examine his stance on life. However, beneath this chaos are floral depictions which tell man that what he is finding a struggle is really the key to his bliss. What surrounds us maybe veiled in the cloak of chaos but it is essentially this which will lead one to clarity.

The Prayer Niche demonstrates the heart of man. In the centre.

A trail of butterflies from the heart of man depicts the place wherefrom change emanates. For it would be all too easy for man to assume that change is merely external. A trip to Mecca; wearing certain clothing; praying in specific ways and staying hungry from dawn to dusk are merely actions if they are not connected to the heart. It is the connection of these actions with the heart which allows for a meaningful discourse to establish: so that the action is not just a superficial behaviour – but a link connecting the created with the Creator of all.

I haven’t got to the level of knowledge and understanding required to fully work with and appreciate the beauty and status of these colours. And until I do, I guess I must persevere as change doesn’t come overnight, neither does understanding.

Change / May 2006

60cm X 60cm

Currently being exhibited in The Makers Guild in Wales, until July 16th

SOLD: £270

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Expression Of Faith

Until 16th July 2006

Contemporary Islamic Art made by artists working and living in the UK. This is an exhibition of highly modern work based on traditional Islamic patterns and styles.


Akhter Hussain, Taslim Rashid, Emma Ismaiel, Asian Gateway, Syeda Suraya Khalique, Mohammed Ali & Nuzhat Khanim

The Makers Guild in Wales

Craft in the Bay,
The Flourish,
Lloyd George Avenue,
Cardiff - CF10 4QH

Tel: 029 2048 4611

Gallery Open:

10.30am - 5.30pm Mon-Sun

Free Admission

Tranquilart is exhibiting all of the above pieces and 2 more. All artwork is for sale from £75 - £500. Please contact me for further details.