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Using comics to explain Islam

Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed
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powerful medium:The idea of the authors is to share commonly known tales with non-Muslims so as to help improve the perspective that people have on Islam.
powerful medium:The idea of the authors is to share commonly known tales with non-Muslims so as to help improve the perspective that people have on Islam.

Bangalore-based brothers, Arif and Ali Vakil, have compiled a book of comic strips called40 Sufi Comics.

Written over two years, the 95-page book is divided into four sections: ethics, spirituality, philosophy and existence of god.

Each comic strip has an accompanying page with verses from the Koran and the sayings of the Prophet and Muslim scholars.

Moral lessons

There are 40 comic strips in the book providing moral lessons. The idea of the authors is to share commonly known tales with non-Muslims so as to help improve the perspective that people have on Islam.

The titles of the comic strips are pedantic and hark back to a moral science lesson in school — ‘Justifying wrong actions', ‘Good manners melt a hard heart' and ‘Positive thinking', etc. Instances from the lives of early Muslim Imams (the direct descendants of the Prophet) are used to explain how principles of good and godly living should be imbibed among human beings. A brief note on how the authors relate to a story also adds to the understanding of the work.

Mr. Arif (32) and Mr. Ali (29) have a real estate development firm in Bangalore and are active bloggers. Mr. Arif is also an active member of the group India Against Corruption, and has been supporting Anna Hazare's efforts. The brothers have been uploading each comic strip on their blog and on Facebook. Encouraged by the response they have published a compilation of their work.

“Comics are a very powerful medium and are also easy to understand. While all these stories are well known among Muslims, we wanted to bring them to a non-Muslim audience,” said Mr. Ali.

On being asked why the series is called ‘Sufi' comics, he said: “Sufism is about the spiritual aspects of religion. It is timeless and all people can relate to it.” Going by this definition, he and his brother were also Sufis, Mr. Ali added.

Comics are a much easier medium to communicate ideas and by bringing out many of these stories in comic form, the Vakil brothers have helped in providing a more accessible way to understand Islam.

The book can be purchased onwww.flipkart.com.

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