Sufi Comics: Rumi
Sufi Comics: Rumi is a graphic representation of the 13th-century Persian poet’s life and 11 stories based on his work. Each story is followed by sacred verses from the Quran and hadiths, inscribed in Arabic by the leading Indian calligraphy artist Muqtar Ahmed.
Sufi Comics-RUMI was the most magnificent visual treat I’ve had in a very long time. I loved the colors, the style and most of all the authenticity with which Rumi’s wisdom has been given life in this book. I LOVE the book and am going to enjoy introducing Rumi to my little girl just as my dad introduced Rumi to me. I’m glad I have a tool in the form of this Rumi comic book to do so.
I was curious to know how the creators of this beautiful masterpiece came to create it. So below is an interview with Mohammed Arif Vakil and Mohammed Ali Vakil the creators and geniuses behind Sufi Comics RUMI :
Q) What sparked the thought of creating this insightful book?
A)Somewhere in the back of our minds we wanted to do a book on Rumi. The thought crystalized when we were hearing a lecture by Seyyed Hossein Nasr in which he was talking about Rumi.
Knowing that Rumi’s poems are often stories that have a spiritual message, we felt it would be perfect for doing a Sufi Comics book; as it easily lends it self in presenting the comics using illlustrations.
Arif talks more about why we took up this project. (http://www.suficomics.com/rumi/new-book-rumi-poems/)
Q) While writing your book, what was the most challenging part? Was there a time you wanted to just give up?
A) When starting a project like this, in the beginning it feels very daunting. There’s so much to do, the research work, sketching the thumbnails, inking & coloring, proof reading & production. At times it feels it’ll never get done. But a few of things helped us get through:
*Setting a hard deadline. We wanted to launch the book at Comic Con Bangalore, which is in September 2014. We had to have the book out by then, no matter what. With a clear end date, we automatically gave priority to the book over other commitments.
*Focus on your strengths. Luckily I had a great team to work with on this project, each person had their own strengths. Instead of one person doing everything, we divided the work based on individual strength of each team member.
*Do one thing at a time. Instead of thinking of ‘big tasks’ like “color the book”, think of simple next actions like ‘select colors for one page’. Big tasks paralyzes the doer, but small tasks makes it easier.
Our original plan was to have a 400+ page book containing 40 poems of Rumi in graphic format.
Then we realized the obvious, that this was too big a goal to begin with! We cut it down to 20, and then again cut it down to 11.
So we didn’t give up, but we did trim it down 🙂
Q) How much research went into writing the book?
A)The translation of Rumi’s poems were selected from Andrew Harvey’s “Teachings of Rumi”. But we needed the original Farsi for two reasons:
1. To include the original Farsi along with the English text
2. To understand the poem in it’s original language, so that we can best represent it in illustrations.
Tanzlur Rahman from our team was the expert who knew Farsi. He pulled out the original text and explained the poem to the rest of the team.
Our book begins with the origins of Rumi, so Tanzil had done some research in the life of Rumi. There were 2 different versions of Rumi’s meeting with Shams Tabrizi. In our book we’ve blended both versions in one story.
For more insights we referred to works by Rumi Scholars, Seyyed Hossein Nasr & William Chittick.
Q) Which is your most favorite chapter from your book and Why?
A) It’s difficult to chose a favorite, but the poem “Keep your Dragon in the Snow” stands out. It’s a poem that reminds us to be always watchful of our lower self.
I really like the analogy used in the poem, ie the lower self is like a dragon. If we are unaware if it, it will take control of us and our decisions, leading to wrong actions & regret.
Rumi explains that self discipline is the key to keep our dragon in the snow.
Q) Who would benefit from this amazing book?
A) People who’ve read and enjoyed Rumi’s poem will probably enjoy this book the most. They’ll get to experience Rumi’s poems in a new way.
This book in some ways is different from our previous books. We had an audience in mind who were familiar with spiritual teachings. So anyone interested to study spiritual teachings visually will benefit from this book.
Q) Do you have a message for the readers of your book?
A) Well I’d like share two quotes that I came across recently that have helped me face challenging situations. I hope it helps your readers too.
“Every person you interact with, pretend they’re an angel whose sole purpose is to teach you a lesson to grow and reach your maximum potential.”
“Life consists of two days, one for you and one against you. So when it’s for you don’t be proud or reckless, and when it’s against you be patient, for both days are a test for you.” Imam Ali (as)
Thank you Arif and Ali for this insightful interview.
This book is not just any book…its a masterpiece! I urge each and everyone of you to grab your copy and enjoy Rumi’s wisdom is this spiritually enhancing and visually enriching form.
♥♥”Thank you SO much for reading! Please, share this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach more people who need a positive healing nudge in their lives. I truly appreciate you!”♥♥
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