Garden of Knowledge for Future Generation
By Nazri Abdullah
To begin, a quote from Martin Lings’ book, “What is Sufism”, changing the context slightly, we strike an analogy with what we hope to achieve as a result of this exhibition.
We strike an analogy with what we hope to achieve as a result of this exhibition.
“Let us liken this world to a garden, for there is nothing in it that has not been planted there with a view to it eventually being transplanted elsewhere.
The central part of the garden is allotted to trees though relatively small and growing in earthenware pots; but as we look at them our attention is drawn to one that is much finer than any of the others, which it far exceeds in luxuriance and vigor of growth.
The cause is not apparent to the eye, but we know at once what has happened; that tree has somehow been able to strike root deep into the earth through the base of it’s receptical. The trees are souls (people), and that tree of trees is one who, as the Hindus say has been ‘liberated in life’.
We could say that this extra growth, this ‘liberation’ is a result of education and literacy is the key to the door of the garden of ‘knowledge’.
Knowledge acquired through reading, education, has the power to eliminate the barriers that perpetuate the cycle of ignorance and poverty, and the deprivation of opportunity. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “seek knowledge even if it be in China!” this injunction, precipitated the greatest collection of written works the world had ever known — works on Mathematics, Medicine, Astronomy and Philosophy. Architecture and all forms of art flourished. At a time when most of Europe believed that not only was our world flat but was the center of the cosmos, Muslim scholars had already discovered the true nature of our solar system.
Not until the fall of the Moorish caliphate in Spain did the vast reservoir of knowledge contained in the great libraries of Granada and Cordova came into the hands of the Europeans. Thus did the wealth of knowledge of the Muslims become the seed that empowered Europe; creating the first sprouting of scientific and artistic endeavor that eventually blossom into the renaissance. That everyone, regardless of gender or social standing, should be educated is a Quranic injunction. Literacy being essential to the reading and understanding of the sacred book and to the performance of our lives concordant with the message it contains.
Happily, Malaysiasn are the inheritors of not one but several streams of knowledge: East Asiatic, Muslim and European. This unique heritage has made us a nation that puts great store by literacy. As purveyors of creative visual stimuli we become a force to energize society is intellectual and sensory awareness increasing the sphere of knowledge.
We now have an incredible opportunity, as artists, to participate, if only in a small way, the creation of a ‘Garden of Knowledge’ by exhibiting the fruits of our own knowledge and creative virtuosity and combining that with a good deed. That good deed can provide an avenue of inspiration for underprivileged and orphaned children to foster an appreciation for learning, intellectual curiosity, and the inculcation of a reading habit that can last a lifetime. The orphaned, who have been deprived of the nurturing love of parents face a daunting prospect. For them, the acquisition of knowledge by extracurricular reading can hopefully be a motivating force for them to desire to better their condition.
The objective of establishing libraries at Pusat Jagaan Anak-anak Yatim Ummu Sofiah at Kg.Mas Sungai Nyior at Taiping Perak and at the Church of Saint John the Baptist at Sg.Siput is the most laudable intention and we are in a position to help make it a reality by donating part or entire share of proceeds from the sale of our works to this charitable cause.
And it no small measure being responsible for the advancement of two valuable facilities that can, for the better, by the grace of Allah, change the lives of a future generation.