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Your hope in my heart is the rarest treasure
Your Name on my tongue is the sweetest word
My choicest hours
Are the hours I spend with You —
O Allah, I can’t live in this world
Without remembering You–
How can I endure the next world
Without seeing Your face?
I am a stranger in Your country
And lonely among Your worshippers:
This is the substance of my complaint.

Rabia Basriya

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The revolutions in the Middle East are on my mind. Some ask if Pakistan too will rise up in a wave? Who do we rise up against? Ourselves- the tyranny of our own corrupt souls. If our hearts are oppressive and no one is safe from our tongues, hands, who will we overthrow?

I want to do something for the our brothers and sisters in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Kashmir, Algeria, all those who are protesting so I translated Faiz’s poem into English. There are similar translations on-line esp here (by Sister Ghazala, it is great), but when they took the name of Allah out of it, the poem was empty of the depth that Faiz put into his words.

Change comes from inside and out- from top to bottom- pray for change blessed by the Divine- and while you are praying for your people pray for Pakistanis, too.

Hum Dekhain Gay, Faiz Ahmed Faiz


We will see
It is certain that we too,will see
that day which is promised

written on His Tablet of Eternity

yes, we will see that day
When the heavy mountains of tyranny
like wisps of cotton will float in the air.
Under our feet- the feet of the oppressed-
the heart of the earth will throb with our passion
and on the heads of our oppressors
lightning will strike and strike and strike.

yes, we will see that day
when from the house of Allah, the Kaaba
all false idols will be removed,
we- the family of Safa’- the believers –

forbidden from Sacred places
will be asked to sit on seats of honor

all crowns thrown away,
all thrones  broken down.

Only The  name of Allah will survive
He who is unseen but present, both
Who is the Seeing  and the Scene, both

the chant will rise, I am the Truth-
Which is me, and You too

rule will then the Creator’s creation
Which is me, and You too
It is certain we will see that day

hum dekhainge
lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhainge
hum dekhainge
woh din ke jis ka wada hai…hum dekhainge
jo loh-e-azal pe likha hai…hum dekhiange

jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-giran,
rooyi ki tarah u\’dh jayenge
hum mehkoomon ke paoon tale,
yeh dharti gha\’dh gha\’dh gha\’dhke gi
aur ahl-e-hakam ke saron per,
jab bijli ka\’dh ka\’dh ka\’dhke gi

hum dekhainge
lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhainge
hum dekhainge

jab arz-e-khuda ke kaabe se,
sab butt uthwaye jayenge
hum ahl-e-safa mardood-e-haram,
masnad pe bithaaye jayenge
sab taaj uchhaale jayenge,
sab takht gira ey jayenge

hum dekhainge
lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhainge
hum dekhainge

bas naam rahe ga Allah ka
jo gayab bhi hai hazir bhi
jo manzar bhi hai nazir bhi
uthe ga anal haq ka na\’ra
jo main bhi hoon aur tum bhi ho
aur raaj kare gi khalq-e-khuda
jo main bhi hoon aur tum bhi ho

hum dekhainge
lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhainge
hum dekhainge
woh din ke jis ka wada hai…hum dekhainge
jo loh-e-azal pe likha hai…hum dekhiange

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My sister showed me this video.  The brother who posted it waxed that “In Switzerland, they have put ban on Masjid Minarets and on public azaan. In 2007, a Christian protestor, showed his love for Adhaan and frustration over these actions by the Swiss government and gave azaan all over Switzerland in a most ingenious way. Mashallah, here you see the entire Operation Azaan –and its amazing effects in Switzerland :). Azaan from church towers and Mountains– the country was stunned!”

As I searched further I realized that more than a protestor- he is an artist, Johannes Gees, who used the salat as he calls the adhaan as art and chronicled the reactions of the Swiss public to the sound of the Adhaan. He mixed in the Pope’s sermons simultaneously with Adhaan calling it Shifting Identities.

Ever since 9/11, I have been thoroughly annoyed by the abuse of religion as a battlefround in international relations and national political-conflicts. In 2007, a grou of nationalist politicians initiated a referendum to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland (of which only three existed). One of the planned new minarets was supposed to be built in a small city called Langenthal. Its height 5 meters 25 centimeters.  I feel that spreading fear among people can only be understood as a lack of trust in the liberal values that matter to me. So I decided to make a statement against those who abuse religion to fight against some of the most important values of our society, such as generosity, tolerance and freedom of religion. Being an artist, I chose the classic artist´s strategy: provocation.-Johannes Gees.

I respect that- to be  a true liberal you should be  accepting of a whole spectrum of  views. The Swiss ban on minarets reeks of prejudice in a country known as ‘bastion of tolerance’.  Out of the 6 total minarets which are basically towers on a mosque akin to steeples on a church, NONE had the capacity to actually call out the adhaan, the call to prayer. They are just token architectural elements.

Put this alongside the reversion of  a member of the Swiss People’s Party ( the main backers of the ban),

Daniel Streich, who holds an elected local office and was a long time member of the Swiss People’s Party, announced his resignation from his party. He had been a devout, Bible-reading and church-going Christian. Two years ago, however, he converted to Islam. He kept his conversion under wraps. The Swiss People’s Party’s recent campaign against minarets, however, became too much for Streich. He made his conversion public, and denounced the campaign as a “witch hunt”. OpedNews

and it only intensifies my belief that we are nothing unless Allah choses to use us. These are not coincidences these are signs for those who believe. Whatever Gees’ intentions were; the sight and sound of the Adhaan resonating over the Alps made my heart sing for joy. He has done what we as Muslims can not or did not do. Let me say that again- whatever Allah  (SWT) wants he just says ‘Be’ and it is….

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As the end of the year approaches our kids often have class parties, where they exchange gifts with their friends. Sometimes I send in toys or books. This craft was an Eid/holidays gift for my daughter’s preschool class. I painted one on canvas for each child in her class, inscribing their names in English and Arabic. MashaAllah the kids were fascinated, seeing their name in another language and hopefully will carry happy memories of a Muslim girl and her mommy for many years to come. Many of the parents appreciated the time and said they would display these in their kids rooms. All praise belongs to Allah.

This kid was half Indian Half African American

You will need ready made canvas available at Micheals or Aaron Brothers

I used acrylics and distressed glitter glue

First paint the background and let it dry before doing the calligraphy. Be as creative as you want. For some I shaded the background.


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Third Annual South Asian Art Festival

No 1 by Kinda Hibrawl

The Festival will include fine art exhibit, art, fiction and non-fiction book launches by South Asian/ American writers, Poetry Readings, Comedy Show, Art Work Shops for Adults and Children.

May 1, 2010: 1- 7 pm Interactive Gallery tours with artists.

This is what I am really excited about -the Islamic Art workshops especially for kids.

Art workshops (registration upon arrival): Exploring Islamic Patterns and Designs, Endangered species in Sindh and Rajasthan Deserts.

Poetry Reading: 1:30 PM by Beo Zafar, 2:30 PM by Mehnaz Turner

Reception: 4-7 pm Refreshments will be served

Comedy Show May 1, 7-8 pm, May 2, 4-5 pm by Beo Zafar,

All proceeds will benefit

The Citizens Foundation Schools

www.tcfusa.org 501 (c) (3)

Tickets $45.00 online purchase or call 310-459-5826.

www.zanbeelart.com

Trees of Existence_Tree of Light by Halide Salam

Artists participating: Sonia Chaudhary,Pritika Chowdhry, Hayat Gul, Ramesh Gorjala,

Reem Hammad, Abid Hasan, Asad Hussain, Tehniyet Hussain , Wahab Jaffer C.F. John,

Masuma Halai Khwaja, Lubna Lipton,  Bina Malkani, Zahra Malkani,

Amitis Motevalli, Suresh Muthukulam, Murali Nagapuza, Antonio Puri,

Ali Rahamad,  Tara Rashid, Amin Rehman,  Satayakam Saha,

Shakil Saigol, Halide Salam, Natasha Shoro, Azis T.M., Huda Totonji, Farooq Yousufzai.

Ayat by S A Noory

Book Launching: Alive and Well in Pakistan by Ethan Casey

Dust of children by Ali Eteraz

Home Boy by H.M. Naqvi

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Danial Mueenuddin

Kolachi Dreams by Nadya A.R.

Rock and Roll Jihad by Salman Ahmad

The Dreamer Awakes, Poems and Paintings by Beo Zafar and Tabinda Chinoy

Art books by Foundation of Modern Museum Art, Pakistan,

Art books by Marg Publications, India

Art books by Sadequain Foundation, San Diego, California.

Sponsored by Zanbeelart

Arena 1 Gallery

Santa Monica Art Studios

3026 Airport Ave.

Santa Monica, CA. 90405

www.santamonicaartstudios.com

310-397-7449, 310-459-5826

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Three Sisters by Rita Skylar

Nothing compares to the pleasure of bonding with your sisters. Romantic love is not the only joy de vivre, it takes time spent with your sisters to feel  the delight of simple connections. I am replenished, rejuvenated. The spontaneous burst of laughter, finishing each others thoughts and sentences, the ‘not’ needing to explain a phrase. MashaAllah, after 4 whole years my gorgeous sisters and I were in one place.  We bemoaned how much like our mother we had become and then thanked Allah for a mother like her.

Spent lazy mornings in PJs with waffles and Washington blueberry sauce. Exchanged recipes, ours, Ammi’s, our motherinlaws’, our cousins. We ate without abandon through boxes of gourmet cupcakes, pacific salmon with almond asparagus and creamy butter chicken. Laughed, giggled and shopped like teenagers. Missed our brother like crazy. Celebrated one’s achievements, running an institute named after a mother of the believers (RA), the Ayesha School, in a quaint house behind the Abu Baker Masjid.

Thought Aboo would have loved this- “pack up the car! instant picnic.” Marveled at the beauty of the Puget Sound, strolled Pike Place sampling Snoqualmie Valley honey, berries & Le Panier eclairs & of-course coffee. And then there were the tulips at Der Roosengarten. Subhan Allahe wa bi hamdihi was on all our lips, “so we can have gardens like that in Jannah” say LF#2. Ameen my daughter Ameen.

We know each others strengths, faults, weaknesses, positive energies, failures, tragedies, dramas, likes, pet peeves, shortcomings, victories. With each other we have to be real because we know; its amazing not to have to pretend.  We see how much we have grown spiritually and emotionally, because we were there in the beginning.

When our souls were first created, theirs must have rested next to mine, for God to choose them as my sisters. They are my childhood, they remind me of things long forgotten; like an old family video but brighter, more colorful and from different angles. Some times you don’t even need words, a look, a frown, a smile gives away the emotions. She is what I could have been.

She secretly fasted on your roza khushai (first fast celebration) and stole your thunder. She stayed up all night to put henna on your hand for your shaadi (wedding) because you didn’t want it done by an impersonal professional. She urged you to wear abaya, ‘just do it, don’t wait’ she said. She nursed your baby because she was crying and you weren’t there.

She was your first baby, the first diaper you changed, the nose you wiped. She held your dupatta (veil) as you walked up the aisle for your Nikkah. She took your kids to the zoo on Eid while you were away at Hajj. She didn’t need to tell me she loved her gift, I could see the same look of satisfaction as when she got presents at birthdays past.

She sobbed in dua (prayer) for you when you were loosing your baby at the emergency room. She held your hand during your C-section and welcomed your baby with Takbeer.  She has become an amateur matchmaker, in hopes that Allah will help her find the perfect match for you.

The Three Sisters

You keep your past by having sisters. As you get older, they’re the only ones who don’t get bored if you talk about your memories.
– Deborah Moggach

Cousins bickering over toys, over who loves each other more. We find each other in our children. A lift of an eyebrow, a throaty laugh, same toddler gibberish. My children need to see us loving each other so unconditionally, a model for what their future relationship should be like, God Willing. A day after we land back, my two year old says,’Mama remember when we went to Khala jaani’s house, can we go there again ..TODAY.’ I wish, sweetie, I wish.

Der Roosengarten-Sisters are like flowers from the same garden-author unknown

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Apparently I live in a city with one of the  most significant collections of Islamic art in the world.  Where have I been?

Silver ornament from Turkish soldier's cap


“These widely diverse arts, from an area extending from southern Spain to Central Asia, trace the distinctive visual imagination of Islamic artists over a period of fourteen hundred years. The collection comprises more than 1,700 works, of which some 150 examples are on view; these include glazed ceramics, inlaid metalwork, enameled glass, carved wood and stone, and manuscript illustration, illumination, and calligraphy. Particular strengths of the collection are glazed pottery and tiles from Iran and Turkey ; glass, especially from the late seventh to the mid-thirteenth century; and Persian and Turkish arts of the book.”

LACMA Acquires Islamic Art – Los Angeles Times

AND guess what I have for you a printable 2 for price of 1 admission coupon to visit the Museum but it expires in April, 2010 so make the trip.  LACMA COUPON

I am planning mine as I write this. Maybe I will have LF#1 do some research before we go there- she is an ‘artist’ Mama.

Geometric Pattern Bowl

Tile

What I am most excited to see is the Aradebil

The lessor known secret Ardabil rug

This is the second “secret” carpet of the pair. Sacrificed to repair its magnificent twin at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Smaller, now borderless, and made up from the remaining usable sections, was sold to American businessmen Clarence Mackay and was exchanged by wealthy buyers for years. “Passing through the Mackay, Yerkes, and De la Mare art collections, it was eventually revealed and shown in 1931 at an exposition in London. American industrialist J. Paul Getty saw it, and bought it from Lord Duveen for approximately $70,000 several years later. Getty was approached by agents on behalf of King Farouk of Egypt who offered $250,000 so that it could be given as a wedding present.

This couplet grace the carpets above the signature-

I have no refuge in this world other than thy threshold
My head has no resting place other than this doorway

-Hafiz


The Ardabil Carpet

“The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is fortunate to possess one of   renowned Persian carpets, the so-called Ardabil Carpet, whose better-known mate hangs in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.”

I remember visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum as a child, holding my Aboo’s hand as he made sure we understood the history each mystical artifact.  The ‘Arabdil’ was the magic carpet in my 8-year-old eyes.

“Brought to England sometime in the late nineteenth century, the carpets were
reported to have come from the Safavid shrine at Ardabil. There is still a good deal
of speculation about where and for whom such sumptuous court carpets were
commissioned. The outer borders and a section of the lower field were believed to
have been removed from the carpet now in Los Angeles in order to repair the one
now in London. The Los Angeles carpet was subsequently given a new outer
border. Apart from these differences, the two carpets are virtually identical.

According to their dated signatures, this matched pair of carpets were made in1539–40, by a certain Maqsud of Kashan, who may have been the designer who prepared the patterns and oversaw the project; or he may have been the  commissioned the carpets. Predominantly blue, red, and yellow, the overall composition of the carpets—based on a central medallion with  radiating pendants,with quarter medallions repeated in the corners—is ultimately derived from contemporary and earlier bookbinding and manuscript illumination, as is typical of many so-called medallion carpets. The Ardabils, however, include a unique design element in that lamps are depicted projecting from the top and bottom of the central medallion. Medallions and lamps are set against a dense field of flowers that grow from scrolling leafy vines.”
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