Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Surat al-'Alaq

  • Description

    Dominating the main field of this composition is the Arabic word iqra' (‘Read!’), followed by one of the most frequently quoted Qur’anic passages: ‘In the name of your Lord who created. He created man from a clot of blood. Read! And your Lord is the most Generous. Who taught by the pen, taught man that which he knew not’ (Qur’an, 96:1-5).

    As the first revelation received by Muhammad, the surat al-'Alaq (‘The Clot’) represents a turning point in the history of Islam, marking the transition from a time of darkness and ignorance, to an age of enlightenment and truth. By adopting a colour scheme inspired by these ideas – red for the clot of blood from which mankind was created, black for the darkness of pre-Islamic times, and gold for the radiance brought by Islam – Hussain’s composition goes beyond the traditional act of copying the Qur’an to provide a range of additional meanings.

  • Details

    Associated place
    EuropeUnited Kingdom England (place of creation)
    Syed Tajammul Hussain (active c. 1999 - c. 2001) (artist)
    Material and technique
    colour, and gold or gold paint, on paper
    mount 103 x 74 cm (height x width)
    print 89 x 61.6 cm sight size (height x width)
    Material index
    Technique index
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    No. of items
    Credit line
    Presented by Syed Tajammul Hussain, 1999.
    Accession no.

Past Exhibition

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    • currently in research collection

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