Worship through love and mysticism
Confusion about Sufism and its practices is common, even among Muslims. Sufism, also known as tasawwuf, is a form of Islamic mysticism that seeks to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. While it is sometimes misunderstood as a sect of Islam, it is actually a broader style of worship that transcends sects, directing followers’ attention inward. Sufi practice focuses on the renunciation of worldly things, purification of the soul, and the mystical contemplation of God’s nature. Once playing a major role in social, religious, and political life throughout the Muslim world, Sufism influence has drastically declined.
This piece honors Sufi dedication to the universal values of love and service and deserting the illusions of ego to reach God. Followers try to get closer to God by seeking spiritual learning through ritualized dhikr ceremonies that may include recitation, singing, music, dance, costumes, incense, muraqaba (meditation), ecstasy, and trance. The piece illustrates Dervish twirling, a form of physically active meditation with the aim of reaching a source of perfection by abandoning one’s ego and attaining a state of ecstatic trance. It utilizes calligraphy in the form of the word “Hub” meaning love, reinforcing the Sufi manifestation of love. The background is a Islamic geometric pattern commonly found on Sufi mosques.