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[Interview] Founder of RainDrop on what inspired him to transform Al-Ghazali’s works into animated videos

 

RainDrop transforms Al- Ghazali’s key works to engaging animated videos.
RainDrop transforms Al- Ghazali’s key works to engaging animated videos.

Most if not all of us strive to attain meaning and contentment in our lives.

Yet in the fast paced society we live in, we can find ourselves faced with many distractions in our pursuit of spiritual fulfilment. Do you ever find yourself wanting to acquire some knowledge or inspiration, but the books and texts you dig into are too complex or confusing to understand? If like me, you are an avid seeker of knowledge, but have had this dilemma, let me tell you about RainDrop.

RainDrop creates short, simple, animated videos of Imam Al Ghazali’s key works. The founder of RainDrop aims to inspire others to seek useful knowledge and increase their closeness to God. He says that is what Al Ghazali calls the path to spiritual happiness emphasized by the title of his book “The Alchemy of Happiness”.

He aims to do this through easy-to-understand media that appeals to people of all faiths and walks of life. What’s more, Al Ghazali’s work personally transformed his view on religion, spiritual happiness, and knowing God, and this inspired him to start RainDrop.

I talk with its founder on the importance of a project like this, why Ghazali’s works are relevant today, and how he overcomes the challenge of turning complex texts into simple animated videos.

Why did you choose to turn Imam Al Ghazali’s works into animated videos? What is it about him you find important or inspirational?

I have been a seeker of knowledge every since my late teenage years when I started learning about God. I only discovered Ghazali’s work many years after starting down the path and I was struck by the powerful simplicity in his writings.

However, when I learned of his masterpiece, the Revival of Religious Sciences, I was intimidated by its over 1,000 pages. Ghazali’s works are very relevant in today’s environment where sectarianism is on the rise. I wanted to find a way to share his message of spiritual happiness with the world and knowing how short the average attention span is lead to the idea of short, animated videos.

What is the process of creating an animated video?

The process is quite simple: read the book, summarize the book, turn the summary into a script, build a storyboard from the script, share the script/storyboard with people who have no knowledge of the topic, incorporate their feedback, send to the animator and voiceover artist, and voila.

“As a disciple myself, I had to first understand the work anew, then explain it to people who are unfamiliar with it.”

Tell us about your educational/professional background. How has this helped you in starting Raindrop Academy?

I believe my weakness and deficiency in traditional Islamic education was turned into a strength through RainDrop. In reality, the purpose of RainDrop is to introduce such powerful and inspirational works to the layperson – those without formal training. As a disciple myself, I had to first understand the work anew, then explain it to people who are unfamiliar with it.

In reflection, I believe my educational background in engineering helped me create structure and my MBA and professional experience gave me the visualization and verbal skills needed to create the short, simple videos.

'Marvels of the Heart' video
‘Marvels of the Heart’ video

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What Rumi Can Teach Us About Inner Peace (Even If Your World Is Crashing Down)

Rumi Inner Peace

You look at it with pride.

Your first car.

A shiny, new Renault Duster.

You love everything about it. The shimmering silver colour. The smell of newness. Even the lights inside seem special.

You take your car out on your first drive. You cruise down the neighbourhood. A big smile on your face. Life is sooo good. But, all of a sudden you hear the sound of friction against the side of your new car.

OMG! Your new car just got horribly scratched.

Before you can stop the driver of the other car, it zooms away.

You feel wrecked inside. Almost violated.

How could this have happened?

You’re depressed the whole day. Instead of celebrating your new car, you feel rage. How could that person scratch your new car?

You think to yourself, “Why me? Why is the world against me?”

Have you ever felt like this? Read more

5 Thought-Provoking Reasons Why Rumi is the Best Selling Poet in America

Rumi

Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.
~Rumi

You may have come across Rumi’s quotes like the one above.

Perhaps in books. Or quite likely on your Facebook feed, Twitter account or on Buzz feed.

If you enjoy poetry you might have even read some of his poems.

Rumi was a 13th Century poet who lived in different parts of the Persian Empire which included present day Afghanistan, Iran & Turkey. He was a mystic, a philosopher and top Islamic Scholar of his time.

But he’s most popularly known for his timeless Poetry that sprang from his yearning for the Divine.

What is astonishing is that he’s the best selling poet in America. Even outselling giants of English literature like Shakespeare.

How is it that the works of a 13th Century Persian Poet becomes one of the most widely read in the Western world?

What is it about Rumi, that makes him so popular?

While working on our upcoming book Sufi Comics Rumi, we researched more about this great mystic.

This led us to these 5 reasons why Rumi is so popular.

Here they are:

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[Interview] Nur Fadhilah shares her top tips on staying productive, overcoming writer’s block, and stories of inspiration

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Sometimes when I’m set to begin a task my mind races with other things and it can be hard to focus. What’s more with the distractions from technology to social media, it can be quite challenging to ensure and maintain the most productive, focussed and even spiritual state of mind.

So when I was introduced to the talented sister Nur Fadhilah Wahid and came across all her creative projects, not only was I impressed with her passion for life and learning, but also her great ability to consistently strive to stay focused, productive and inspired!

Nur is currently at university studying a bachelors degree in Communications (with a minor in Islamic knowledge). From articles on staying productive and focussed, to interesting stories and theories, she finds writing to be the most effective way of expressing her faith: “I read a lot, I think a lot, and I reflect a lot, and I guess writing just becomes a natural way for me to express my faith.”

Her passion for inspiring and helping others reach their potential in all aspects of life led her to conduct a ‘Deans List Podcast’ “to inspire students to achieve As in both Dean and Deen (faith).”  These consist of  interviews with top dean’s list students from various schools in the International Islamic University of Malaysia. In these interviews she digs out their stories, finds out what inspires them, what failures they have gone through, and more. Nur says: “One of my best interviews is with a sister from Kyrgyzstan, sis Bermet, who made me cry on air!” To find out why be sure to keep reading.

In my interview with the talented sister Nur she shares her useful tips, everything from overcoming writers block to finding inspiration. You don’t just have to be an (aspiring) writer, blogger, or radio producer to find this interview useful. Continue reading for inspiration on living a productive, healthy and spiritual lifestyle and more!

How do you stay productive & motivated during the day? What tips can you share?

“I live and breathe the simplest and yet most overlooked productivity tip: begin your day with a great morning routine.

The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said in a hadith that the blessings are in the mornings, and nothing can be further from the truth. By beginning your morning a certain way, you are essentially setting the tone of your entire day.

If you are finding it hard to wake up early, in this article, I share 5 tips I implement in my life so that I can begin my day right and be productive and motivated throughout the entire day.”

What’s the secret to balancing your time with your projects?

“I’ve only recently discovered that the secret to balancing time with my different projects is to say “no” to projects that matter less.

By saying “yes” to all the projects that came my way, I drove myself to exhaustion, took longer to complete my daily responsibilities, and lost my heart for each project somewhere along the way. My time for work slowly devoured my time for spiritual activities, relationships, and my personal time to indulge in creative pursuits.

 “My smart phone is silent throughout the day, enabling me to concentrate on the task at hand or situation I am in without any disruptions to my focus – to be in flow and to be mindful.”

So how do I know which projects to say no to? I ask myself these questions, in order:

(i) How many projects do I have on my plate right now? Do I have enough time to take on another project without sacrificing my spiritual/relationships/creative pursuits?

(ii) Will doing the project benefit others, and thus make me happy?

(iii) How do I stand to benefit and grow by taking on this project? Will the experience / knowledge / financial gains be worth investing the time?

If my answer to any of the above question is a “no”, then I say “no” to the project. This way, I get to eliminate lots of projects that come my way, and focus only on those that matter. Balancing my time between projects thus becomes easy when I have only the important, most beneficial projects, to dedicate my time to.”
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[Interview] Soner Coruhlu on what makes Prophecy Comics unique and build bridges between faiths and cultures

Soner Coruhlu (right) is the founder of Prophecy Comics
Soner Coruhlu (right) is the founder of Prophecy Comics

Inspired by his faith, stimulated by powerful narratives, and experienced in cross-cultural products, Soner Coruhlu is the founder of Prophecy Comics – an exciting narrative exploring the ultimate battle between the forces of good and evil.

In an aim to bedazzle his audience on a visual level with illustrations of spiritual beings, Soner believes that Prophecy Comics can inspire others to be conscious of their spirituality.

But can tradition and spirituality be explored in an entertaining and universal way?

I talk to Soner about the powerful concepts in Prophecy Comics, the challenges of illustrating Angels and Demons, and how he hopes to build bridges between faiths and cultures.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who/what inspires you?

“I’ve always been a fan of both theology and comic culture. Having read my mother’s edition of Texas comics when I was 5 years old, I was a fan of the genre for life. In latter years, I became more and more interested in theology.

Eventually, I took it upon myself to start a degree, part time, in Islamic Studies and also undertook a separate graduate diploma in Christian Theology at Charles Sturt University.

In addition to theological qualifications I hold multiple post graduate degrees in business including: an MBA from the University of Technology Sydney , currently enrolled in a DBA (Doctorate of Business Administration), and plan to finish a Masters in Islamic Theology as well.

A combination of all these qualifications and experience in the realm of cross cultural projects has helped in conceptualization and production of these comic books.”

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