On the 18th of February 2007 we participated in the ‘Edinburgh Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace’. We presented a talk by Imam Luqman Ali entitled ‘The Feminine Principle in Islam’. In this talk what we attempted to do was help people come to a better understanding of the very sensitive subject of the status of women in Islam and gender relationship within the Islamic faith. It was an example of how TEMCA addresses topical issues which effect society at large. The synopsis is as follows:
“The fundamental principle of Islam is that of divine oneness (tawhid). While this oneness is essentially the attribute of God, it permeates the universe and is reflected therein as countless complimentary and interdependent pairings that reveal the love-dynamics of union and the mysteries of The One. The feminine and the masculine represent the archetypal polar principles upon which all worldly pairings are based and through which the many dual principles within God’s attributes are made manifest.”
In this talk Luqman Ali explored the relationship between masculine and feminine principles through Qur’anic symbolism and metaphor and in so doing illustrated how knowledge of Divine Oneness represents the sole resolution to age old problems of gender comparison and discrimination and more specifically issues around women in Muslim societies.
Listen to this talk:
Luqman initially trained in the sciences of Islam and the languages (Arabic, Persian and Urdu) and cultures of the and the Indian Sub-continent and spent a decade working as a linguist, writer and translator for various publishing houses in both the USA and the UK. Having spent most of his life exposed to the culture and arts of the Muslim world, he has a deep understanding of its ethos and literature.
In 1997, Luqman co-founded Khayaal, the first professional theatre company of its kind offering audiences a fascinating experience of classic Muslim world culture through contemporary art forms. He adapted, co-directed and produced Khayaal’s award-winning debut production, Conference of the Birds, in 1998 which was described by Time Out as ’a pleasure’ and ’a refreshing burst of visual creativity’. He has since pioneered the theatrical interpretation of the tales of Jalaluddin Rumi and Fariduddin Attar. He continues to serve as Khayaal’s chief conceptualist, artistic director and advocate.
Although African American, Luqman has been based in the UK since 1986 and through his work as a community worker, teacher and lecturer has become intimately aware and involved in the affairs of the British Muslim community. He belongs to a multi-faith and culturally diverse family.
For more information about the Khayaal Theatre Company see: http://www.khayaal.co.uk/