Book about Muhammad blends poetry and art

Author Zaahied Sallie, 44, from Parow-North, and illustrator Saaid Rahbeeni, 52, from Kensington, of “The Beloved Prophet – An Illustrated Biography in Rhyme” launched their book at the Al-Iklaas Academia Library and Resource Centre, in Lansdowne, on Saturday November 27.

An author from Parow-North and an illustrator from Kensington have produced an illustrated book of verse about the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.

The Beloved Prophet: An illustrated biography in rhyme was launched at the Al-Iklaas Academia Library and Resource Centre, in Lansdowne, on Saturday.

Written by Zaahied Sallie, 44, and illustrated by Saaid Rahbeeni, 52, it is about the life of Muhammad, who was born in Mecca around 570 AD.

Mr Sallie says he worked on the book for four years.

“It is terrible when your muse goes silent; when that happens, writing becomes hard work. But when he shows up, he can produce stardust.”

He tried to give new form to an old story, he says, telling how in the early days of Islam, Bedouin tribes would have poetry battles, just like rappers and the Twitter of today.

His aim was to merge art and poetry to allow readers to reflect and meditate on Muhammad’s life.

“Why not create beauty using revelation, art, poetry, texture, meaning and love to tell the story of the most brilliant life?

“The prophet Muhammed lived at a time when the Arabic language reached its zenith in poetry. It was an art form that drew the listener in, moving and inspiring, stirring the soul to greater heights. The setting was perfect for the noble Qur’an to win over hearts.

“Not only does Islam rest on a book, but the life of the prophet of Islam is the living embodiment of a book.

“Using poetry allowed me to create a brief story but with depth,” says Mr Sallie.

The book is published by UK publisher Claritas Books.

Mr Rahbeeni says he had to work around the Islamic tradition that prohibits the depiction of Muhammad and his closest companions.

“It is not waajib (obligatory) to succeed. It is waajib to try,” he says.

“We tried to give as much detail as possible despite the omissions that we have to maintain.”

The book can be bought online via www.claritasbooks.com or directly from Nurah Tape-Sallie on 083 671 9354. For more information visit www.thebelovedprophetbook.com