An “artist” of faith. What does this mean? Artists are those who put out their ideas for the world to see. They come up with new ways of thinking and of perceiving what has already been perceived. They shine light on that which is hidden, and hide the flaws which no one wants to see. And what is art? Art is the perfections made to the ideas of these creators, these makers, these thinkers; their ideas that have been molded into beauty from skill. It is the results of their endless effort and time, taken to produce something that appeals to more eyes than just mine. So what are we as Muslims? Striving to shape ourselves into the mold of our Prophet (SAW), striving to perfect our imperfections and increase our knowledge of our religion, smooth over the cracks in our foundation, and let the world see all that we’ve become from what we used to be. And after all is said and done, what does that make you and me? Are we the artists or the art? Or are we both, in reality?
In order to ensure that the image of Islam is a positive one we can consider it as a piece of art that we are making. Just like you would do with a painting or sculpture, we should try to present Islam and ourselves as Muslims as appealing and eye-catching as we can without overstepping our boundaries. This means that we should take care of ourselves and strive to perfect our outer and inner appearances. Which includes our personalities, such as being kind and patient instead of stingy and arrogant, and being generally presentable, rather than looking like a bum whenever you go out. When someone looks at artwork they see in it what they want to see. When looking at abstract art different people see different things. In one painting a cat lover might see whiskers in the corner, while a Korean person could be seeing a letter of their alphabet looking at the same spot. Another person might think that that painting is garbage, while someone else sees it as a treasure. As Muslims we should work hard to make ourselves into pieces of art that everyone can look at and see something good in, something they like. We should be those paintings that no one can point out a flaw in, those paintings that are treasured. We should also represent Islam and our beliefs in all of this. Dressing modestly is more beautiful than dressing in showy clothes, and also puts up a trustworthy image for the wearer. Another important thing is being yourself. If we all dressed the same and acted the same, people would think we were oppressed and would look down on Islam and feel bad for us. I feel that keeping up our individual image is the biggest part of keeping up Islam’s image as a whole, and the best way for each of us to contribute to the global perception of Islam being a positive one.