Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Seek Knowledge Even Onto China" (1)

The famous classical, 11th century Muslim philosopher and theologian, Al-Ghazali, spoke about the necessity of travel in seeking knowledge. Travel he said allowed one to gain knowledge both of the world and of oneself and one's relation to the cosmos and the greater Self. Travel allowed one to "distinguish between truth and falsehood."(2)

Perhaps it is in the spirit of Al-Ghazali and after a visit to the dargah of 12th century Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisty (affectionately known as Gharib Nawaz) that I have come to understand two key aspects of my personality that I must work to balance out as they hinder my development as an artist. They are my lack of mental focus and my strive for perfection. As a result, so many of my creative ideas never see light of day as I routinely fall of track or feel like they are not good enough for an audience. My goal now is to push through these and through self-doubt.

It was also Al-Ghazali who said "No one believes, until he has doubted."(3) I have been doubting myself all my life, now, I believe, it is time to believe.

Btw, the photo above is of an illustration on a plastic bag I saw in Ludhiana, Punjab. It is indeed a peculiar form of knowledge that I seek ;)

(1)"Seek Knowledge Even Onto China" is a saying of Prophet Muhammed that I came to learn of from an art installation by the same name by artist Jamelie Hassan.
(2) Taken from "Desperately Seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Skeptical Muslim" by Ziauddin Sardar, Granta Books: London, 2004.
(3) ibid.


Anonymous said...

I cant say anything you havnt read or not made sense of, but i've fallen through the same 2 stances as you've said...overthinking the idea also makes you become a victim of it . sometimes you gotta just do the damn thing. whether its lack of materials, mathmematics, time etc...the PROCESS itself of doing it, becomes your best vehicle.

process can be THE driver.

keep yer damn head down & stay marchin forward meera, your ideas are much needed!

Sahar Rizvi said...

Thank you for inspiring me today hon, and reminding me that I am not along. I repeat this quote very often when the conservatives tell me about rishtidari 'garls gone vild!' after they've left home in the quest for knowledge .... If it were not for the 'vild garls' we'd still be walking backwards I feel.

Much love,

'Mother of 1000 sons' - Sahar

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