Clouds and Oceans: Creativity & Islam
Class Dates: February 23rd, 2011 - May 4th, 2011
Timings: Wednesdays, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Class Description: “Speak to people in accordance with their understanding.” - The Prophet Muhammad (s)
To be a truly creative person/artist (whether contemporary, traditional, or a little bit of both) is intrinsically linked to following the straight path. What is the straight path? The straight path is a shared path towards light, with slightly differing routes and slightly differing fuels suited to slightly differing individuals. Al-Ghazali taught very simply that in order to know Allah, we must first truly know ourselves; tapping into our real creative selves is one key, way or method, towards knowing our True Spiritual Selves.
This half-lecture/half-seminar course focuses on clear, fundamental concepts within Islamic spirituality such as sawm (fasting), ihsan (excellence), dhikr (remembrance of God), humility, and links them deeply with practical concepts and elements found along the road of the creative process, like hunger, passion, inspiration and, again, humility. We will also offer occasional historical and sociological views of what an artist actually is, can be, has been and will be, by looking at the successes and pitfalls of great (and sometimes not so great) artists from both past and present, both in the West and around the world.
The ultimate purpose is to begin manifesting each individuals creative instincts in a way consistent with Islam and its highest spiritual principles, and to polish both these creative instincts and our selves by creating pathways that link them back to the ultimate Source. Work will be done during class (writing or drawing predominantly, although digital art or other forms are by no means excluded) and an atmosphere of creative freedom and sharing, encouraged (sharing isn't absolutely mandatory!) If you've had an idea that you've never been able to start, a book that you've always wanted to write, or even just vague feelings of wanting to express yourselves better creatively, then you are most welcome, come along. As well as paper and a good pen, students may bring a candle to the class.
Instructor: Yusuf ‘Yoshi’ Misdaq is a multi-media artist from England whose work in music, poetry, fiction and film-making have been featured internationally (BBC, NPR, The Wire, Hip-Hop Connection etc.). His last documentary was shown at the recent World Islamic Economic Forum in Malaysia, and he previously taught Creative Writing at the University of Brighton, UK. In 2010, he completed an entire novel online during the month of Ramadhan.