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Islamic Culture (20 Jul 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Those Who Are Aware Of the Rich History of Arts In Islamic Societies Maintained That Faith And Art Could Coexist Firmly


By Shweta Sengar

Jul 18, 2019

When Zaira Wasim made headlines a couple of weeks ago for deciding to bid adieu to her acting profession, citing faith as a reason, she raised many eyebrows.

It resulted into a public meltdown on social media. While on the one hand, her decision was dubbed as regressive, others supported her freedom to make any choice for herself. 

The unfolding of events led to an eventual question - Can Islam be linked to art?

Zaira said she “continued to work in an environment that consistently interfered with my 'Imaan', my relationship with my religion was threatened.”

She belongs to Jammu and Kashmir - India’s only Muslim-majority state. Social media debates mainly revolved around the permission of performing arts in Islamic law called Sharia.

There was a clear divide on this issue. People who approach this purely through theological perspective were arguing that leaving performing arts for faith is a good choice. Meanwhile, those who were aware of the rich history of arts in Islamic societies maintained that faith and art could coexist firmly.

Islam and art have had a long and exquisite relationship. Calligraphy, poetry, painting, Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, all find their roots in Islam.

Finding Balance amidst Conflict

The best advice one can give in the times of conflict is to find a balance in everything that we do.

Ruhani Syed did the same.

Growing up in a conflict zone and being a witness to deaths on one hand and on the other hand, absorbing the beauty of nature, Sufi culture and kindness, Ruhani, who now lives in Mumbai, found her calling in art.

How Ruhani Syed, A Kashmiri Model & Artist, Found Balance In Islam And Art

She has been a subject of targeted abuse during her time in madrasa in Gujarat. When she raised her voice against the oppression of women, she was beaten up and forced to eat worms. Eventually she landed up in the ICU at a hospital.

However, the biggest battle Ruhani faced was the one within family.

“I field of work that I chose was frowned upon in my family and the region where I come from. I was rejected by my family and all my friends boycotted me. The journey to establish myself as an artist has always been full of struggle and hardships. When my family shunned me, I felt lost and confused. That was the time when I started to strive for balance.

“One has to look within to find balance. That’s what I did,” she says.

She says she likes to paint faces and dark “stuff”. “None of that is accepted back home. Over the years my family pressured me to an extent that they made me burn my entire work.

How Ruhani Syed, A Kashmiri Model & Artist, Found Balance In Islam And Art

“I was convinced that whatever I was doing was haram in Islam. My relationship also fell apart and everything failed all of a sudden. All of this made me believe that my work was against Islam and this was the very reason why I was suffering.”

After this incident, Ruhani left art and modelling.

Faith, Art and Future

Being on the path to recovery for years, Ruhani emerged stronger and determined as ever.

Ruhani’s photos have appeared in magazines and newspapers, and she’s a model for top designers like Rohit Bal and Satya Paul. She recently received international radio exposure for her song “moorakh duniya” that she wrote against sexual harassment and abuse that she had to face in the course of her life. The song was released on one of Tel Aviv’s radio channel.

How Ruhani Syed, A Kashmiri Model & Artist, Found Balance In Islam And Art

“I have faced extreme harassment and the only way I believed to give it back was gracefully through my poetry. ‘Moorakh Duniya’ is a satire on our society. It is dual-faced. The poetry is hard-hitting, yet the treatment has been kept peppy and funny,” she adds.

Releasing it in Tel Aviv was a matter of sheer chance. I plan to release it in India soon.

Ruhani says her belief in spirituality and connection with Islam always kept her grounded. “I was torn internally for years. Out there, there was an ocean full of information, yet little wisdom. I had everything to find answers and I found them in moderation and balance.

 “I only dress-up in moderation and what I believe is ‘decent’, in all of my modelling assignments. I am now unshakeable in my beliefs. I have once fallen off edge due to societal pressure, friends and family, but I have vowed to never destroy myself for any blind belief system.”

She says she has learnt her lessons and in a way as to never forget them. “I have grown a lot as a model but learning never ends.”

Source: India Times.com

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-culture/shweta-sengar/those-who-are-aware-of-the-rich-history-of-arts-in-islamic-societies-maintained-that-faith-and-art-could-coexist-firmly/d/119247

https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/how-ruhani-syed-a-kashmiri-model-artist-found-balance-in-islam-and-art-371479.html




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