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By ANDREW KOSOROK In Western media there is a consistently badgering narrative reminding us that Islam is a vast monolith of secret, closely knit terrorist cells, just aching for the go-ahead to make their dastardly move. Except for the serious subject matter, this absurdity is almost comically profound — but when mere moments are given […]

via Building God’s Kingdom – Prince Karim Aga Khan, the Atomic Imam, on patriotism and community — Barakah

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IARS 2017 Juried Exhibition

Watchful Ar Raqib

In 1957, when the Aga Khan was elevated to his role, he became a powerful and influential figure in a scary post-colonial world. Known to the media as the “Atomic Aga Khan” this young student and Olympic athlete became a beacon of strength and thoughtfulness as millions of people moved towards an uncertain future. So how did Prince Karim Aga Khan cope? Thrust suddenly into a world of international responsibility and intrigue, arguably much different than anything with which his grandfather had to cope? Read this analytical piece by Andrew Kosorok

via Larnin’ in the Post-Colonial world: The Atomic Imam speaks on education — Barakah

A walk for unity

In a Washington synagogue, Susan Katz Miller sat beside an atheist, a Muslim and a Christian on Sunday. No joke. After listening to a Zoroastrian prayer, Miller – a Jew from an interfaith family – and two friends (an atheist and a Muslim), walked down leafy and elegant Embassy Row in Washington. They paid their […]

via Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus Walk for Unity — A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice: News and Views

 

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The last knot was tied on Watchful (Ar-Raqib).  A lot of string was used on the last couple pieces because I had to make big loops to give room for my hands, then slowly “cinch” the string until the last pieces were seated correctly.  And I jabbed the back of my hands on the points a few times – whine, whine.

This is the greater stellated dodecahedron.  The sculptures for the Names of this second set, 26-50, have been emerging as reflections of pollen and stars, and this seems fitting.  Pollen spores help propagate life and stars guide and provide light, both nourishing growth.  This Name refers to the concept that the Creator is constantly viewing His creations, steadily vigilant, and supremely aware.  When I first remember hearing this in Sunday School I was in Kindergarten, and was so horrified that God was busy watching me all the time I refused to take a bath for a week, and even threw fits about changing my clothes!  My parents finally were able to pry from me why I was so mortified, and were able to explain that God is keeping His “eye” on me because He loves me, and this eternal awareness is not “spying”.

Viewing is normally felt to be a passive vocation, but the implication for this Name is that God’s sight is somehow an active awareness of all we do and are, not seeing individual actions out of context but seeing all we are as a complete creature.  This sight is expansive and penetrating.

On the human side, this Name reminds me of astrolabes and sailing.  Muslims are taught to metaphorically keep their hearts towards Mecca and Christians are taught to keep their faces towards the place of worship – not so each of us sidle around oddly as we try to do our daily activities, but to keep a place in our heart for our awareness of God’s place in our lives.  Keeping watch, so to speak, over the direction of our thoughts and all we do.

Moroccan Astrolabe From Wikimedia

Moroccan Astrolabe
From Wikimedia Commons

Ancient sailors and travelers used the stars to navigate their way across the world, and for early pioneers in North America the Big Dipper and Polaris were particularly important.  For some American religions this constellation became a beloved symbol for Christ and His teachings (one of my favorite songs, “Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd”, is a reference to this same constellation in respect to the Underground Railroad).

Big Dipper and Polaris on the LDS Christian Salt Lake Temple Image from Simerg.com

Big Dipper and Polaris on the LDS Christian Salt Lake Temple
Image from Simerg.com

Sailors and travelers kept constant watch of the stars to steady their direction and navigate through life.  The metaphor applies to our lives as an overarching, steady and subtle awareness that success in life comes through watchfulness, responsibility, of our own actions and how they coincide/support Divine Will for our own well-being.  We are, all of us, created to be magnificent creatures; our watchfulness of our own actions can help us as we listen to the “still small voice”, ever present in the background but so very quiet, which guides and directs us to fulfill our intended purpose.

Hope for restored peace

Along the western banks of the Jordan River, the place of Christ’s baptism and today known as Qasr al-Yahud, numerous churches and monasteries of different religions sit vacant and silenced due to the dangerous landmines that lie beneath them. For almost 50 years, Qasr al-Yahud has been empty due to the landmines installed during the […]

via Holy Land Festival unites Muslims, Christians in hope for restored peace — A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice: News and Views

Healing our modern age

When the Aga Khan addresses the idea of building a healthy family relationship, he has clarified its expression to a simple aphorism -– “Only the faith of your fathers will enable you to live in peace.”

via On faith: The Aga Khan shares the secret to healing our modern age — Barakah

Infinitely Elastic

BREAKING up is hard to do especially when it comes to ingrained scientific worldviews. Even after they have betrayed us, dogmatic style beliefs still cling like burrs to our psyche, and our brains, despite all logic. Recall the insistent flat earth and geocentric crowd, and creationist belief that the Earth is only ten thousand years […]

via This is Your Brain, Infinitely Elastic — Theosophy Watch

MARRAKECH, Morocco — To an outsider, nothing seemed normal about this night, as Muslims were welcomed by the Jewish community to celebrate Ramadan at their synagogue, the members of the two faiths meeting in stark contrast when set against the religious conflicts that plague the region. But to the Jews and Muslims of Marrakech, this […]

via For Jews and Muslims of Morocco, a Supportive Relationship Built on a Complex History — A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice: News and Views

Some photos of the process for building Watchful (Ar-Raqib):

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The designs are from Work in the Garden.

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