Assalaamu alaykum ("peace be upon you"/hello) - it's lovely to have you here.
Most of my time is taken up with working on customer orders and commissions, which gives me great joy. This is in part because the special requests for commissions give me a challenge and get me thinking, but mainly it's simply because so many customers come back time and again that I gradually get to know them and play a tiny part as they celebrate special moments in their lives. What a privilege.
However, while I'm busy working on all these things, there's always an idea for something else bubbling away. Suddenly it gets to a point where I just HAVE to drop everything and get to work on it, it's like an itch that needs to be scratched.
On top of that my darling mum recently passed away (إِنَّا لِلَّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ) after a short period of illness: painting and calligraphy and the contemplation that is a natural part of it, have been crucial in helping me process the grief.
So yesterday was one of those days. I NEEDED to work on a calligraphy painting of Surat Al-Ikhlas that has been gradually becoming clear in my head. My mind's eye knew exactly what it was going to look like.
Surat Al-Ikhlas is the final chapter (112) of the Qur'an and it sums up the essence of Allah in a nutshell: Say: He is Allah the One, Allah the Eternal Absolute, He neither begets not is begotten, and there is none like Him.
It's especially close to my heart because it's one of the first that I learned off by heart in Arabic many moons ago when I was studying Arabic in Fez from our wonderful teacher Professor and Shaykh Abdel Hadi Honerkamp. He was one of those rare teachers that leaves a beautiful mark on your life - an American revert full of wisdom, incredible knowledge and fluent in Arabic, who couldn't but help going off track and telling a story in every lesson. Whenever we went back to the UK for a visit he always asked if we could bring him back some earl grey tea. Here he is:
Anyway, here are some pictures of the end result, which you can find in my shop here if you're interested.