I have been an avid Sci-Fi fan for as long as I can remember. Star Trek: The Next Generation and Babylon 5 were among my favorite shows. This fascination of all things science fiction led to a deep interest in science, astronomy and to a smaller degree, history, and mythology as well. When I wasn't drawing I would spend my time reading and watching programs about science and the natural world. Absorbing all the information I could.
Back in 1998 when I took my Shahada and accepted Islam as my faith it was the scientific references contained in the Quranic verses that ultimately cemented my decision. I found it incredible that knowledge humanity had only discovered in the last 100 years were contained in a book that is over 1400 years old. It was the verses that spoke about the creation of the heavens and the earth that really grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and pulled me in. The verses of Surah Al Anbiyah. I was enthralled. All that I had read and learned about was there in the pages of the Quran.
It took almost 20 years of contemplation of these verses and development of my artistic style before I felt that I was able to do them justice. After exhibiting my work at the Journey through the World of Islamic art exhibition I felt I was finally ready. I was still interested in fusing Islamic and Celtic styles but wanted to explore these verses through a series of paintings and digital paintings as well. The Heavens and Earth Series was born.
The first piece that I did that forms part of this collection was created back in 2009. At the time I didn't realise that this would one day form part of a larger collection. The Digital Painting was inspired by the second verse of Surah al Fatiha. "Alhamdulilahi Rabbi Al-amiin." This verse translates in English as "All Praise is Due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, Mankind, Jin and all that exists."
My first real work on this series was a Laser Cut Pop Art wall sculpture. Once I had made my mind up to create this Series the first verse that Sprang to my mind was, as far as I was concerned, confirmation of the theory of the Big bang. It talks about the Heavens and the Earth being joined together. Then by Allah's will, they are "cleft asunder".
Surah al Anbiya: Verse 30 "Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation) before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?"
The verse even mentions that living things are made up of water. We now know through modern science that up to 60% of the human adult body is water. There is no way that this could have been known at the time of Prophet Mohamed.
Surah al Anbiya goes on to talk about the fact that the planets move in orbits around the sun. In the 6th Century at the time of Prophet Mohamed people believed that the sun and moon revolved around a flat Earth. It is amazing to me that this scientific truth was revealed in the verses of the Quran at this time.
Surah Al Anbiya – Verse 33. “He is the One who has created the night and the day and the sun and the moon: all of the celestial bodies move swiftly in an orbit of their own.”
This verse is one of the main inspirations for most of the paintings in the series. My digital painting Cosmic Alignment with Surah Al Anbiya painted in 2015 was one of many interpretations of the verse.
The idea of the planets moving swiftly in their orbits stuck in my mind. It created images of the planets dancing around the sun in a carefully choreographed production of Almighty God's design. After all, Allah did refer to himself as Rabbi Al-Ammiin. The Lord of the worlds. So in 2016 I digitally painted Celestial Dance.
In the last 200 years, mankind has come to learn a lot about the atmosphere of the Earth and how it protects us from the harsh, freezing vacuum of space. We have understood that the Ozone layer protects the world and all life from the harmful radiation of the suns rays. Reinforcing this the Earths magnetic field wraps the planet in a protective wrap that shields us from the Sun's Solar wind. Without it, our atmosphere would be blown away and dispersed into space. Destroying life on our planet in the process. In verse 32 of Surah al Anbiya Allah talks about this blessing to us.
Surah al Anbiya in verse 30. "And we have made the heavens as a canopy well guarded: Yet do they turn away from the signs which these things point to?!"
There are a lot more paintings to this collection and this series is still growing. I am finding more treasures contained in the pages of the Quran every time I open its covers. discoveries that spark ideas and images in my imagination. I hope to get them on canvas.
If you have found this peek behind the curtain of my mind fascinating and have enjoyed this look into my Heavens and Earth series please feel free to leave comments below. I love to connect with you guys and read your thoughts on my work.