Artistic Jihad was a competition held by the University of Arts, London, to find the best UK Artist 2011. The 4 judges comprised of Peter Sanders (Photographer), Muhammad Ali (Arabic Aerosol), Ruh Al Alam (Visual Dhikr) & Soreya Syed Sanders (Art of the Pen).

Sometimes an artwork doesn’t take long to do but has the most impact on people. The Artistic Jihad Project took no longer than 3 full days to complete as l didn’t want to miss the deadline for the competition.

The artwork ended up in the final 20 and went to 5 different cities in the UK. It was unanimously chosen by the judges to be the best artwork out of 200 entrants, not to disregard the other artists as there were beautiful pieces of work on show.

Now it hangs lovingly in Peter Sanders office. Alhamdulillah.

“In the competition, Qashif’s work shone out from the rest, truly inspirational” Peter Sanders (photographer)

The Footprint

Woods & Origin: American Black Walnut, European White Ash & West African Padouk

Love is an intoxicating and mesmerising emotion. A lover is grief-stricken when away from his beloved but soothed when in close proximity of it and of something which reminds him of his beloved. So too has the sandal of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) been adorned with love and admiration. It is the sublime sandal which throughout history; poets and scholars have written about.

Even today people attach sandal lapel pins upon the left breast of their garments; above the heart. To signify the Prophet’s (PBUH) footprint is forever upon their heart. Forever remembered. In addition the outline of the sandal is stitched upon Islamic hats. Worn as a testament that the wearer humbles himself even below the sandals of the Prophet (PBUH).

We now have chosen this design in our woodcraft pieces. Like all my other pieces l have chosen to use natural tropical woods from around the world. Three wood types were chosen to emphasise the sunnah (characteristics) of the Prophet (PBUH). Such as when he drank water in three small sips and when we follow his example of performing wudu (ritual purity) in three cycles.

The illuminating white star echoes a meaning about the purity and light of the Prophet (PBUH), the first thing Allah created. It also reminds us to navigate our way to Allah through the example and love of the Prophet (PBUH), just as the traveller seeks the North Star for direction.

“If you do not know him (SAW), seek where his footsteps are.” Jalaluddin Rumi (ra).