Scripted in Perso-Arabic nastaliq calligraphy, the following artwork is a reproduction of a 20th-century composition containing verse 10 from Surah al-Kahf (Chapter of The Cave). The verse is a Quranic supplication commonly invoked by Muslims for protection against calamities and hardship, and for groundedness through God's Mercy:
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا
Our Lord! Grant us mercy from Thy Presence, and make us incline to sound judgment concerning our affair.
Surrounding the beautiful calligraphy of the verse is floral imagery, predominantly in gold.
Surah al-Kahf tells the story of young companions who took refuge in a cave while fleeing from a king named Daqyūs who wanted to destroy them for their faith and religion. The companions prayed for a mercy from God's Presence — that is, from God’s storehouse of Mercy - and sound judgment concerning their affair, expressing their hope that God would grant them guidance and knowledge, provision, patience in their trial, security from their enemies, and eventual deliverance. They prayed that the end of their affair would be sound and rightly guided, as in the prayer of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ reported in a hadith, “O God, make virtuous the ends of all our affairs”. The cave is the place where the youths withdrew from the world, having despaired of its kindness, and sought the protection of God alone.
From a mystical perspective, the cave represents the heart. According to reports, the youths spent their time in the cave praying and praising God and devoting themselves fully to Him. Thus for some, their plea for mercy was a plea for God to preserve them in or through the remembrance of Him. Insofar as one who is fully engaged in the remembrance or invocation of God can be said to be outside the experience of ordinary time, the extended life of the youths of the cave can be seen as symbolic of this experience.
Details of Panel with Surah al-Kahf Dua
۩ Country of Origin: Iran