​Shari'a Revoiced is a multi-year collaborative project of the University of California Humanities Research Institute's Religions in Diaspora and Global Affairs (RIDAGA) Initiative. Funding provided by the Henry R. Luce Foundation. All rights reserved.

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ARTISTIC INTERPRETATIONS OF SHARI'A

These works by California-based artists were featured in a Shari'a Revoiced exhibit/event at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles in October 2015.

Exhibit curator: Marium Mohiuddin

'Shari'a In Their Own Words'

By Nadeen Abuhasan

Word Cloud/Graphic Design

 

This piece was commissioned by the research studio to visualize data collected during the interview process. Each interview subject was asked what the word "shari'a" meant to them in three words. Those words were compiled, weighted, and used to create this word cloud image.

 

 
‘The Most Beautiful Names’

By Shireen Alihaji

Film/Video

 

“The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on Him by them.” (Quran 7:180)

 

Hiding oneself bleaches the identity and corrodes the soul. How can shari’a or Islamic Law be practiced in day-to-day life if ones faith/religious identity is subject to concealment? The installation called 'The most beautiful names' examines the transition of Muslim names across immigration and socio-political events within the U.S. through the use of embroidered name badges. This piece is accompanied by a short film which includes personal testimony and documentary footage of the installment's creation.

 

‘Fifty Shades of Shari'a’

By Tarik Trad

Photograph

 

"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (s/he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” (Quran 49:13)

 

Sometimes we see the moon as a crescent, half, or even full. Sometimes it looks white, gray, yellow, red, even eclipsed. Sometimes we see it in the daytime. Sometimes we don't see it at all. But we know it's always there. In reality, these are all shades of the same moon. I see Islam in the same way. We all have different ways of seeing it — it's simple and complex, in various shapes, sizes and colors. In the end, that is part of the plan.

‘Flying Carpet’ & 'Radical Hijabi'

By Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed

Skateboards

 

“Radical Muslim” is a term I’ve spent trying to

dismantle and re-appropriate. As a Muslim punk, a skater, these two pieces are a way for me to use pop radical culture and insert my Muslimah into it. 

 

In 2015, laminated paper declaring anti-Muslim sentiment started appearing on fences above Los Angeles freeways. Though the signs (pictured below) keep getting ripped down, every few weeks, the signs keep popping up. The artist liberated a set of these signs of hate, and has re-appropriated the street art in an effort to disrupt Islamophobia.

‘Hateful Overgrowth,’ ‘Can't Fence Me In,’
& ‘Drones Over Alponas’

By Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed

Mixed Medium on Canvas

‘Dawn At the Prophet'S Mosque’

By Faezeh Fathizadeh

Oil on Canvas

 

Being the messenger of God — the communicator between the divine and humanity — the Prophet was given a shari’a of perfection or “the straight path” to guide humanity in truth of belief and righteousness of conduct.

 

The Prophet and his followers built the mosque in Medina, which to this day is home to his tomb. Known as the second holiest site for Muslims worldwide, the mosque provides a connection for Muslims to their living Prophet. The site contains a place where it is believed that all supplications and prayers are never rejected.

 

The marble floors reflect the perfect heavenly sky with the existence of the Prophet's Mosque in between as the nexus linking the heavens and the earth. The Prophet's Mosque also served as a community center, a place of refuge for the homeless and a school. 

 

May our centers of worship in the United States raise up the challenges of inclusively, become homes to the disenfranchised, grow as schools of knowledge, and deliver us from a world of perpetual anxiety to a place of unrelenting hope. 

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‘Repurposing Shari'a'

By Mustafa Rony Zeno

Photography

This photo essay depicts fragments of shari’a in California, as imagined through some of the objects that have been repurposed as tools to implement shari’a, along with the Qur’an or Hadith which their commandments come from. To represent the objects’ rawness and sanctity, the photographs are not adjusted for white balance or effect. These things – whether hats repurposed as hijabs, up-cycled toolboxes used by mosques for zakat donations, or towels stretched on the floor toward Mecca – symbolize some of the practices of my faith. The materials may be mundane, but they have come to inhabit sacred spaces.

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