The Ninety Nine Names

In Islam there is a tradition of reciting the 99 names of Allah or God. These names have certain attributes or qualities whereby the memorization of the names and their prescribed recitation has a spiritual dimension which has a benefit to the reciter. Other Traditions have similar practises when reciting prescribed words or phrases while using a string of beads to count and keep track of the number of times one is reciting a word or phrase. In the Catholic tradition the rosary is recited, similarly in Islam there are many remembrances or invocations that are recited.

My interest in the 99 Names (Qualities) of God and other signs that exist in our material world led me to consider not only the spiritual dimension but how to use signs or symbols to represent the names. I began with researches of the written words whether in Arabic or English. Of course traditional calligrapy has incredible merit and appeal as can be seen in so many examples both ancient and modern. This interest progressed from considering Islamic designs, to basic signs such as directional arrows, to using basic shapes and lines in repetition. In the example of the preliminary drawing below right, the placement of the arrows creates a linear pattern, a basic geometric pattern that is also seen in Islamic compositions.  This composition is the one I decided to use for future art works.

                                                              The detail of the large drawing at the left is an example of a composition using the linear grid of 11 rows and 9 columns to create 99 squares. Each square has a pattern of repeated lines scribed into the paper surface. Over each pattern a light grey value in pencil is applied to the surface which reveals the scribed pattern. The directional arrows are drawn on top of  each scribed pattern. Each scribed pattern is unique as are the 99 Names.

The following image shows the use of  symbols to represent the individual names of God. Each name is numbered in a numerical sequence from 1 to 99 beginning from the top left and proceeding to the right. The first name is The Beneficent and is number one.  The symbol in each square represents that name.

The Ninety Nine Names of Allah with Symbols

The painting below is one of a series using the symbols of 25 of the Names of Allah. The grid of squares is a 5 x 5 format. Each square has a numerical value based on a magic square, a mathematical principle based on a qualitative value. The numerical position on the magic square determines the placement of each symbol/name.

The Twenty Five Names of Allah

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