February 22, 2012
This work was inspired by Mohhamed’s Ascension in the reading Miracles of Mohammed. I chose to focus on the mythical creature, Buraq, for this project because it signifies the journey in contrast to the destination. While the destination may be beyond the reach of the ordinary person, embarking on the journey towards Allah is the duty of every Muslim.
I chose a black background for this work not only to represent the night sky but to represent the darkness of the world that encroaches on the spiritual path. The buraq is made in collage, representing both the many layers of interpretation that have been made about this hadith and also the many parts of the journey that Muhammad has to go through during the Isra and the Mi’raj. First stopping at the furthest mosque and then going up through the heavens one level at a time.
The yellow hair of the buraq is evocative of the image of a halo, signifying the divine aspect of this mythical creature. The buraq’s eyes are also cast down, looking below to the world of humans and being in service to those who have embarked on their own spiritual journey.
In reading about the buraq, I have had the tendency to associate it with the umma. Gabriel guides Muhammad toward Allah, but it is the buraq that carries him there. It is the community of believers who support each other toward the goal of better knowing Allah. The spirit of fellowship and the bonds of love that transcend social class and financial status were important elements of worship at the birth of Islam, when slaves and owners would pray together, prostrating themselves on the same level. It is my perceived importance of this trope in Islam that made me want to represent the buraq.