Sufi Comics – The Headache
Have you ever found yourself taking for granted the simple blessings in life? Sufficient food, clean water, education, or even a roof over our heads. The month of Ramadan was a month to rethink, revalue and reflect on one’s blessings. As we bid farewell to the month of Ramadan for another year, Eman Eid reflects on these blessings in life and what we can learn from the challenges we face.
This Sufi Comic: The Headache, made me realize how great our life really is. It describes how a man has a bad headache and how he questions why God has done this to him. But what he doesn’t take into consideration is how God has kept him well for 30 years, still he hasn’t thanked Him for doing so. Instead the man complains rather than thanking God for all He does for him.
In today’s society we are often blinded by other peoples luxuries that we cannot see and be thankful for what we have. We complain over small things when others would kill to live the way we do. We complain because we don’t have the best clothes, yummiest food, or even that we might have the most homework. What we don’t realize is that some people are less fortunate than we are and might not even have clothes on their back, or food to eat, or even a book to read. We are showered with treasures and only crave more.
How foolish we are that we complain and never even stop to think that we have it all and should be thankful for all we have. God has given us so much and if only we can realize that He does what He does for the benefit of us. We might go through situations that seem unfair and we ask God why has He done this to us but it is actually to cure us. (more…)
Talented artist Absar Kazmi
Equipped with a life-long passion for drawing, and an advocate for faith, moral and ethical issues, Absar Kazmi is founder and illustrator of a clever comic series: Life with the Ahmad Family. In the series he explores a variety of issues evident in Muslim societies, as well as stories and messages that appeal to people of all faiths, ages and backgrounds.
All this wrapped in an often times humorous package, Absar says he wanted to create something different with the Ahmad family: “I wanted to show that practicing Muslim families live real lives; no doubt prayer, fasting, reading Qur’an are all extremely important, but Muslims families also joke with one another, we play football, we go on picnics and we like reading regular books too!”
Absar was born in Pakistan, but spent lot of his youth traveling (and sketching) from country to country, from the animals in the wilderness safaris of Kenya to drawings of superheroes. However he soon gave this up, only to renew this passion in later years of university and married life. He then found a way he could sketch that was Islamically permissible and wanted to pursue both his passion for drawing and passion for his faith, “With the popularity of conventional comics and cartoons amongst the Muslim youth – it seemed that there was a real need for Islamically acceptable comics and other media for the youth” he says.
After a few creative pursuits, in late 2011 Absar was given a platform from Hiba Magazine to develop a cartoon for them to attract a wider audience, and thus Life with the Ahmad Family was born. Read my exclusive interview with Absar as he shares his interesting journey, his take on issues surrounding social media and technology, and even tips for the upcoming month of Ramadan.
How did ‘Life with the Ahmad Family’ come about? What led you to create this series, and why?
That’s an interesting story… About seven to eight years years ago while lying in bed trying to go to sleep I had an idea for a story about a boy who has a really bad day. Since I couldn’t go to sleep anyway, I began to type it out. His day starts out bad, gets worse; soon becomes awful, then horrible, and finally downright abominable! I called the story ‘A Bad Time Tale’ and I named the boy Jamal.
A short while later I heard about an international story writing competition to be held by a well-known Islamic books publishing company. I thought this is the perfect opportunity to see how my story does, so I fixed it up a bit and sent it in to the competition. Alhumdulillah, it won first place!
“I wanted to show that Muslim families also joke with one another, we play football, we go on picnics and we like reading regular books too!”
Now I really wanted to have my ‘book’ published; however, I thought to myself, ‘Why in the world would anyone want to read a children’s book by a completely unknown author?!’ So, I just sat on the idea for a few years… not really knowing how to take it further.
A few years later, in late 2011, Hiba Magazine approached me asking me to develop a character or cartoon for them in order to help them attract a younger audience. I agreed to help them, but didn’t really know where to begin. Then it dawned on me… This could be THE opportunity to introduce Jamal to the world. So I developed a comic about Jamal and his family and called it ‘Life with the Ahmad Family’. I was hoping that this comic would allow me to get people accustomed to the Ahmad Family and then soon I could also introduce ‘A Bad-Time Tale’ to this new audience.
Image from Jamal’s Bad-Time Tale
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.”
- Soufeina Hamed (Tuffix)
Ever since she could hold a pen, talented artist Soufeina Hamed (Tuffix) has been drawing and experimenting with her creative ideas. As her love for art developed, from oil painting, manga, to realistic sketches, Soufeina finally adopted comic art after discovering that this would be the ideal medium for her.
Since then, she has produced an interesting collection of art and comics about everyday Muslim life, culture, religion and identity, with an authentic and humorous twist.
I talk to Soufeina about who her biggest inspirations are, how she smashes through “Artists block”, and how comics can be used as a medium for social and political causes.
Tell us a bit about yourself. When did you start drawing?
I’m Soufeina, I’m half German half Tunisian. I’m working on my master’s thesis in the field of Intercultural Psychology and I began drawing ever since I hold a pen. I enjoyed trying out different art styles and techniques: oil painting, manga, realistic sketches etc. Finally I found comic art to be the most suitable medium for me.
Who/what are your biggest inspirations?
My biggest inspirations in the field of comic art are Scott McCloud and Craig Thompson. The former, because he managed to present the comic as a serious art genre, and the latter, because he is mastering the medium better then anyone else in my opinion.
You have amazing talent. How do you create your art/comics? And what are the processes involved?
Thank you! I would say that getting an idea that I’m really convinced of, is the most important step. Once I found it, it’s pretty simple: sketching, outlining, colouring and finally texting.
This is our first comic after publishing 40 Sufi Comics (Volume 1). Inshallah this comic will be part of 40 Sufi Comics (Volume 2) 🙂
The comic above is one of my favourite parables, and has had a profound effect on me. We often complain that why doesn’t God do something about the poor in the world (ie the beggar), or the oppressed, eg the Palestinans (ie the beaten) or the crippled. Well He did do something. He created me and you. All of us put together have sufficient resources to make a significant difference in the world. We should now talk the talk less and walk the walk more.
“Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition” – Quran (13:11)
Have We not given him two eyes,
And a tongue and two lips,
And pointed out to him the two conspicuous ways?
But he would not attempt the uphill road,
And what will make you comprehend what the uphill road is?
(It is) the setting free of a slave,
Or the giving of food in a day of hunger
To an orphan, having relationship,
Or to the poor man lying in the dust.
Then he is of those who believe and charge one another to show patience, and charge one another to show compassion. – Quran (90:8-17)
“We are the luckiest people that ever lived; we have abundantly and manifestly the capacity to address human problems if we care. It is a matter of vision and courage and compassion.” -RAMSEY CLARK