February 23, 2012
The image of the heart cufflink on the sleeve is a literal rendering of the idiom to wear your heart on your sleeve. The heart represents Allah, in line with the understanding that God is closer to you than your jugular vein, adding the variant analogy of wearing your religion on your sleeve to the common idiom. Islam is a religion that emphasizes a performative aspect to the experience of religiosity. For example, in Islamic countries the call to prayer is heard ringing through the cities and people gather to pray five times a day, which is not a light commitment. The Qur’an also instructs Muslims to weep during their recitation of the Qur’an, physically enacting the feelings of having an intimate moment with Allah. Muslim women also often wear headscarves and Muslim men often grow beards to assert their Islamic identities. The performance however, has a private aspect as well as a public function. The understanding is that behaving in a certain manner allows a person to access the emotional and mental state that would move one to such actions. Vice versa, a Muslim feels the love for Allah and the Prophet so intensely that he cannot help but be moved to express himself.