40 Conversations With the Prophet ﷺ on Art and the Creative Process
Author: Ali Hussain
The word hadith is a rich homonym in Arabic, for there are at least two Arabic variations that are pronounced exactly the same, with drastically different meanings. The first of these is ‘conversation’, while the second is ‘recent’ or ‘new’.
Aside from my intention for Divine Pleasure, I specifically compiled, translated and offered my own commentary in this book as a gift for my own community of Muslim artists. I present this not only as a token of meaningful content, but more importantly as a statement that we, Muslim artists, matter.
As the storytellers in our community, those who carry the burden of marking memories and making memoirs, we deserve to have sacred discourses written specifically with us in mind. It is not an arrogant expectation, but rather irrigating a future of a community, forgotten in body, yet engraved in the spirit of words, colors and sounds.
This book is a collection of Qur'anic verses, prophetic narrations and statements by Muslim scholars and saints that are catered for Muslim artists to grow in their craft and creative process.
It should not be lost on anyone in the Muslim community, especially artists, that Muslim creatives are not fully appreciated in the West by their community, neither spiritually, financially nor institutionally.
Art is often perceived as frivolous entertainment that should be approached as a hobby in favor of more 'serious' vocations that bring six-digit salaries and financial stability in a world that our scripture ironically reminds constantly is a fleeting apparition.
With this in mind, I present you with this book, 40 Conversations with the Prophet: On Art and the Creative Process. The organization of this work is very simple. It consists of four chapters, the first of which focuses on key verses from the Qur'an that are tethered to art and the creative process.
The second is the book's highlight of 40 conversations from the hadith collection, while the third focuses on teachings from the 12th century Andalusian mystic Ibn al-'Arabi. As some might recount from my previous publication, A Nostalgic Remembrance: Sufism and the Breath of Creativity, Ibn al-'Arabi is my spiritual guide in appreciating the sacred dimensions of the creative process.
The fourth and last section focuses on stories and statements by other Muslim scholars and saints throughout history, even some contemporary figures.
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