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Photo by: Klimaite Klimaite

Holy 204

Sound Installation

Berlin, Germany 2022
A production of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD in cooperation with MaerzMusik - berliner festspiele.

Over the last few years, I have been researching Sufism in an attempt to develop a neutral understanding of Sufi literature. Being a Muslim, I am fully aware of my bias toward a particular framework of faith. I am still nevertheless following my research on the history and philosophy of Sufism and everything that came out of it at the hands of writers, researchers, and philosophers. I think it is endless research taking me from one place to another. Places that are as similar as drops of water in the sea, but as different as the many paths of Sufi orders.

Reflections of Sufism are as many as the different orders of Sufi thinkers, philosophers, writers, and poets. Each has its own way. This is evident in Sufi literature across history. Although there is no such thing as a bottom to the ocean of Sufism, this did not prevent the relentless endeavors across history to develop alternative interpretations of the Holy word. With the help of their light, I am trying to turn Sufi literature into contemporary conceptual digital sounds and images.

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Photo by: Eunice Maurice / Berliner Künstlerprogramm

My research began with questioning my own faith and thoughts which seemed different from the common beliefs of the Muslim community in Egypt where I grew up. Apart from my political, economic and social background, my passion took me to delve into Sufi philosophy and read ancient literature written in my mother tongue, which I also found difficult to grasp at once.

In this plethora of tales, narratives, sacred manifestations, secret rites, and practices, some permitted, some others forbidden, I was unable to figure out my way. Yet every time I thought I was drowning I am met with a helping hand.

On my research journey, I studied Avicenna’s personal character (Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusain
ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā). He is a physician, scientist, and Sufi thinker born in the village of Afshna near Bukhara (in present-day Uzbeki- stan) in the year 370 AH 980 AD, renowned for his works in medicine and philosophy.

As enlightening as his scientific career was, his philosophical views on love, both divine and earthly, were equally insightful. For Avicenna, perfect love is the love of absolute goodness or divine love.