Colour Therapy through the 99 Names of Allah

Adult colouring books are a popular find on the shelves right now. Far from being childish, their designs are usually quite intricate and they make for a therapeutic stress reliever. One can happily while away the hours with a box of colour pencils or markers and come away with an truly beautiful piece of art.

Artist and illustrator Shameema Dharsey is re-inventing the concept just a little. She is a doing another therapy of sorts – The Remembrance of God. Last Ramadan, she launched The Asmaul Husna, the first of a five volume series of Adult Colouring Books featuring the 99 Names of Allah. Each volume has 20 names inside featuring beautiful geometric shapes and designs. And once your masterpiece is complete each page can be cut out and framed.

I was able to attend the launch of her second volume which took place in the newly opened Al-Ikhlaas Academia Library and Resource Centre at the Islamia College complex in Lansdowne. Chairperson of the library, Dr Elias Parker opened the occasion with an introduction to the library. Facilities at the library include an interactive audio-visual room, conference room, researchers hub, and computer workstations with high-speed Internet connectivity. There is also a dedicated children’s reading corner with the latest in Early-Childhood Development tools to assist the young reader.

Shameema Dharsey Hungry for Halaal Al Ikhlaas Library

Shameema Dharsey Hungry for Halaal Al Ikhlaas Library

Shameema Dharsey Hungry for Halaal Al Ikhlaas Library

Shameema Dharsey Hungry for Halaal Al Ikhlaas Library

The library will house a comprehensive Islamic literature catalogue that will be made available through a digital online research system, a first of its kind for the Athlone and surrounding communities. Their aim is to provide the community with access to a specialist library that will house Islamic literature and information in various forms, with a view to empower the local community and society in general. Dr Parker said the library will be open to all and encouraged schools and tertiary institutions in the surrounding areas to make use of the facility.

Shameema Dharsey’s second volume of the Asmaul Husna was introduced by her obviously proud father who is a medical doctor. He gave an interesting talk about the history of art especially within the Islamic context. I found it surprising and refreshing that in spite of a medical background he recognised Shameema’s talent and encouraged her pursuit of a career in art. It’s not often in our community that art is encouraged. Like Shameema, I myself am a Graphic Designer by profession. It took some convincing of my parents back then to allow me to pursue this path as a career. Since then it has become less mysterious and many other offshoots of graphic design and visual communication is being explored within our communities.

Shameema has with her books managed to successfully marry one of the most distinguishing aspects of Islam with a modern and mainstream concept. The idea of creating art while inadvertently meditating on the 99 Names of Allah is an act that will deeply resonate with most Muslims. I find these books to be an inspired idea. Whether you have an artistic bone in your body or not, makes no difference. The designs may be intricate but all you’re doing is filling in the colour and creating a unique and personal piece of art. The books also make great gifts and are available in 3 sizes, A5, A4 and A3. You can contact Shameema on her website www.shameema.co.za for more details on how to get a copy.



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