Gabon · social justice

pUN: a Thought-Provoking-Exhibit

Peace~ I was honored to be a delegate for Gabon at the pUN (the people’s United Nations), an exhibit by artist Pedro Reyes at the Queens Museum.ImageIt was one of the most thought-provoking artistic event I ever attended. There were cultural figures and activists from the 195 countries that are members of the United Nations so we all participated to the private conference/public performance… a very creative and all-inclusive way to tackle the world’s problems. I walked away from this experience convinced that if artists governed the world, there would be more peace and harmony on our blue planet!

Oil Painting · social justice · Spiritual Art · Visual Arts

Sabia the Arabian Mystic

Sabia-TheArabian_Mystic_3
Sabia the Arabian Mystic © 2013 Aida Toure

Peace~ I worked on this 40″x30″ oil & acrylic painting for about two years and a half, I immensely enjoyed the process. “Sabia the Arabian Mystic” is part of the series “Luminous Dark Matter” which I consider as a lifetime project.

What I enjoy the most about creativity is that for the subject of it, everything seems to stop: the notions of time, space and even physicality vanish… All that matters is being empty, listening and executing what comes through…

“Sabia the Arabian Mystic” celebrates the exalted ancestry of the Black Arabs who have been discriminated against and oppressed on their own land for centuries so my intention in working on this painting was to honor the native Arabs whose grandiose past has been concealed by conventional history. You may read more about and see the whole piece here. May the low paradigm of racism cease so that we can truly evolve to embrace our primeval unity~

Oil Painting · social justice · Spiritual Art · Spirituality · Visual Arts

The Milky Way’s Savants

Peace your Way~ I just released “The Milky Way’s Savants” a 40″x30″ oil and acrylic painting that I worked on for quite a while as it’s very detailed. This piece essentially captures the manifestation of high culture on earth which is realized through advanced souls as their life always leads to a certain spiritual affluence in the region that they grace… To read more about the entire painting and the poem that inspired it, please click here. MilkyWaySavants_Toure

social justice · Spiritual Art · Visual Arts

Martyred Children Laments

For the children of Gabon who have been slaughtered in ritual crimes.

Martyred Children Laments © 2005 Aida Toure'

I painted “Martyred Children Laments” in 2005 to protest against the atrocious practice of human sacrifices in Gabon. Dedicated to all the precious children who have been slaughtered in these horrendous ritual crimes.

~Martyred Children Lament~

Child, O child,
you are a gift
from the Divine!

They coveted your light
with their ambition
for obscure ascension.

Atrociously, they preyed
on you: there is no power
to gain in such sacrifice,

One who unjustly takes a life
kills all of humankind.
Child, O child,

now bodiless, weightless,
you circle around
the sublime Throne;

soul singing His praises
as Djibreel wipes
your tears away.

©2005-2012 Aida Toure’
http://visualsufipoetry.com/martyred-children-lament/

social justice

Ego & Greed Confronted

OccupyWallStreet art

Tonight I took a walk through Zuccotti Park where the occupywallst protest is taking place. I saw young people in sleeping bags laying on the floor, artists painting, people in a circle meditating in the obscurity of the night, I got goosebumps seeing all this because these youths represent the majority of the planet who is demanding more equality, more justice, more peace, more integrity, more compassion and service from the institutions… it was an eery experience for me to read their signs and see them laying there, surrounded by the powerful energy of sacrifice, it truly is something that I’ve never seen before yet it renders tangible a phenomenon I have addressed in recent interviews: when people feel excluded and not listened to it leads to serious crisis so it would be wiser for the elitists to lend an ear and pay attention to what’s happening now.

Gabon · Islam · social justice · Spiritual Art · Spirituality · Sufism · Visual Arts

Amina Mag Interviews Aïda Touré

photo by Tony Campbell

Aïda Touré, a Gabonese artist presents her creations to the American public.

She moved to New York in order to study music, a multidimensional artist, she published three collections of poetry. She recently had an exhibit at the Rio Penthouse Gallery in New York which was appreciated by the American public.

You moved to New York in 1995 to study music, how come you have opted to pursue painting?

my first passion was music, but I discovered that art concealed a vast universe. It is in this context that Sufi poetry and then painting suddenly were revealed to me, without having received any formal training. One day, in silence I was reading one of my poems and something happened: the verses of this poem turned into images of indescribable beauty; I got moved by their sublimity so this is how I started painting these images and that I labeled this art “Visual Sufi Poetry”. Later on I met Steve Adams, an artist from California, who observed my work and helped me understand precisely which equipment and materials to select in order to crystallize my art works. I had never planned to become a painter nor a poet, it just happened unexpectedly. I also am a music composer, my album will be released soon. I experience these arts as one reality that unfolds on different octaves and which reflects this incandescence that is present in us all.

Were you encouraged on this artistic career by your family?

It is thanks to the unconditional love of my parents, my brothers and sister that I was able to pursue my artistic aspirations. Without their presence, their sacrifices and support, I don’t think that I would have followed my inner voice in this way. Creative and spiritual activity can only manifest in stillness and peace, my parents did everything to create this peaceful environment in their household. Also the cultivation of wisdom, integrity, individuality and perseverance instilled by my father has played a decisive role along my journey. We all have innate capabilities that await to manifest yet it’s important that our environment nurtures this process instead of interfering with it. Encouraging the youth to express their full capabilities would contribute to the thriving of our continent.

How old were you when you painted your first piece, what did it represent?

I painted my first piece at 32, it was entitled “The Flamboyant”, it represented the cosmos, in its center was a divine attribute that exuded luminous rays. This painting is dear to me because it constantly reminds me of the unconventional aspect of my journey.

How does inspiration come to you?

my inspiration comes from Islam which is an inner state of being where the self humbly surrenders to its Divine Source. My paintings capture the movements inherent to the Sufi poetry I compose.

What is the particularity of your paintings?

my paintings celebrate the Sufi tradition, their themes revolve around the quest for the Divine, bliss as well as the total blossoming of the individual; they also are colored with my Malian and Gabonese cultures. Each painting is unique and possesses a universal sacred message to decipher. Actually my paintings are like mirrors that reflect who we are deep within. On my website visualsufipoetry.com, I explain the meaning each piece so that viewers may have a sense of the symbolism behind their conception.

You recently had an exhibit in New York, how did the public react to your paintings?

my exhibit “Inner Treasures” curated by Jose Reyes was an enriching experience for me. The audience was intrigued and very moved by this art and its origin. I got the chance to interact with people of all ages who could relate to the spiritual themes of the artwork and this beyond the differences in languages, religions and cultures. I marveled at the level of understanding art can create, it is a phenomenal experience!

You also are a poet and in your poem “Art in Islam” you refer to the virtues of prayer, what do you think of the medias who project Islam as a negative religion?

When it comes to the appreciation of religions, everything is a matter of perception, intelligence, interpretation, sensibility as well as research. I think that any form of information can be tainted, falsified, or misinterpreted so that the majority is conditioned to have an erroneous perception of specific phenomena. The stigmatization of Islam has been ongoing for centuries, it aims at maintaining an elite’s monopoly over the resources which normally belong to the planetary collectivity. Whereas Islam in its authentic form has always denounced elitism, exclusion, oppression, exploitation, it has always encouraged equality of all people, love, peace, justice, knowledge, respect for diversity and freedom of all. It is important to do research in as many fields as possible because knowledge illuminates, it allows us to make better choices based on what we truly know and not based on what is reported to us by the medias and other.

You paint women with graceful gestures, sumptuously dressed; does woman illuminate man?

I used to mostly paint abstract pieces and then two years ago I did the album cover for a jazz musician which was a painting with five African women holding instruments. During the conception of this painting, I saw my art evolve toward the celebration of the feminine principle through its original manifestation on earth, thus African. I then decided to conceive a series of paintings entitled “Luminous Dark Matter” that depicts graceful women sometimes in an ancient historical context. It was a way for me to celebrate, through my pen and brushes, the majestic octave of Africa which is oftentimes omitted from history. I also must stress that on my paintings, women symbolize the soul, therefore their sumptuousness evokes their spiritual essence that is transmitted through their progeny. It is the consciousness of this essence which illuminates not only men but all humanity as well.

Isn’t it difficult for an African artist to make it in the US where there are so many other talented artists?

I think it depends on the artist’s expectations as well as the specificity of her/his art. I believe that there is enough room for all artists wherever they are, with their different inspirations and forms of expression. We’ve been used to the culture of competition yet in a field like art whose true purpose is to uplift people, there shouldn’t be any competition. With the internet, the promotion of arts has become more accessible especially for independent artists whose innovative works defy conventional norm. I always encourage artists to have a web site/blog. African art is appreciated here, it is renown to have inspired movements like cubism for instance which actually comes from Gabon. Artists should dare to innovate and be fearless in honoring their own individual paths because when an artist has something truly unique and rare to express s/he must cease opportunities to share it with their fellow beings.

Do you have the sentiment that you are contributing to the promotion of African culture in the US?

yes I have this humble sentiment and even more so because Africa generates a particular interest in the fields of arts, fashion, history, natural medicine, spirituality. There is a real fascination for the immense potential that Africa possesses. As far as creativity is concerned, it is a universal experience where frontiers between people seem to dissolve; everybody just unites beyond the superficial considerations that can separate us. But considering that Africa is the cradle of mankind, isn’t it natural that it’s through her that we gather to reminisce over our common origin? It is in this paradigm that art created from an African perspective is essential.

What is your greatest wish?

in this world that is currently undergoing great upheavals, with the masses’ aspirations for more freedom, more equality, my greatest wish would be to see the institutions that govern the world finally align themselves with the authentic and urgent needs of humanity who is in constant evolution. It would be a great advent if the masses were more included in the shares of planetary resources. We already see that the old exploitative structures that interfere with the development of Africa are collapsing, these disharmonious systems must either vanish or adapt to the current reality that demands inclusion of the majority in the prosperity of nations.

Interview conducted by Ahmed Touré for Amina Magazine issue 495/July 2011.

Gabon · Oil Painting · social justice · Spiritual Art · Spirituality · Sufi Poetry · Sufism · Tasawwuf · the prophets (as) · Visual Arts

Aïda Touré: “the richness and advancement of civilizations always manifest through inspiration …”

I was recently interviewed by Tribune2lartiste, which is a web magazine about African cultures and arts. Below is the English translation of the interview.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jean-Jacques Dikongué | Tribune2lartiste.com
When you have thoroughly uncovered her artistic world, heard her or read her words, there is the question of whether there is an area or topic that Aïda Touré would address without displaying such ease, lucidity, serenity and above all with so much humility as when she speaks of her activities for which I wanted to learn a little more. Discover and be seduced by this young woman whose depth is about the size of her talent.
Fine artist Aïda Touré
Who is Aïda Touré?

 

I am a Gabonese-Malian artist who lives in New York, I work in the field of sacred arts. I am the author of three books of Sufi poetry entitled “Unmanifest Poems”, “The Sublime Sphere” and “Nocturnal Light”. These books are studied in schools in the United States and Canada. I also am a painter, music composer and I conceived a jewelry line that actually carries miniature versions of my paintings. My works have been published on four continents.
When does the origin of creation was a matter of questioning for you?

 

From an early age, I wondered from whence came this immensity around us: the sky, oceans, stars, mountains, nature in general, all this spectacle fascinated and intrigued me.

Is it this intrigue of the creation that led you to paint?

 

This intrigue first led me to an introspection that was imperative because I had a certain detachment from worldly expectations, I did not experience them as priorities, they seemed totally alien and even oppressive to me. It is when I aligned myself with this contemplative disposition I have that I discovered my voice under different artistic activities based on spirituality.
“Visual Sufi Poetry”: Can you explain it?

 

“Visual Sufi Poetry” is the term I attribute to my art because it took form from the Sufi poetry I write. I was reading one of my poems one day and it inspired me imagery of indescribable beauty, so it is in this context that I started to paint without having received any formal training. So it is this Sufi poetry that my paintings portray. Sufism is the spiritual dimension of Islam, it calls for the quest of the Divine within self. This tradition of light, which is the essence of all religions, manifested initially in Kemet Africa and over the centuries, it spread in different cultures and nations through the message of the prophets (peace be upon them) and sages. Sufism is known for the sublime beauty of its expressions that celebrate love for the Divine. Sufi poetry to date is the most widely read poetry in the world, by its depth, it transcends all differences erected between men, it gathers us all in its essence, in unity.

 

Is there a link between your religion (Islam) and your work as a painter? If so, how does it translate?

 

My work as a painter blends with my experience of Islam which is an inner state where the self surrenders to its Divine Source. Creativity itself is an extension of this state because to fully live it out, you must know how to self-efface.

 

You are a singer, painter and poet? How do you manage to make live all three activities?

 

I am a composer of instrumental meditative music. Poetry, painting and music came to me naturally, so they breathe on their own, they are an expression of the same reality. They also reflect my love for harmony, beauty and wisdom.

 

Is it the same idea behind your work in the three arts you practice?

 

Yes these three arts unravel to express the same idea of rapture that is continuous, timeless; through my artistic activities, I aspire to honor it and to share it with my fellow beings because it emanates from this luminescence in us all that unites us in the same Source.

Do you think we can have the path that is yours by staying in Gabon, Mali, or even in Cameroon? Or should we necessarily get out of Africa and even leave France to grow artistically.

 

We are part of the same Universe, borders disappear when it comes to creativity. So it is not in itself the location of the artist that matters, but more so the awareness of his intrinsic identity that shines through his art. If the artist works on himself, cultivates love and masters his ego, this wonderful experience will be palpable through his art that will be unique, alive and incandescent. It is this inner work that is most important because in this context, opportunities to share one’s work come naturally to the artist wherever he is for beauty is universal, everyone recognizes it, appreciates it and invites it. I always advise artists to have a website or blog on the net and to exhibit their art, to share it despite the difficult conditions in which they might work, regardless of the indifference of the institutions that should support culture, do not be discouraged, rather these obstacles must be used to grow, to overcome and to transcend these structures that fail to respond to the real needs of the people. It is through creative expression that authentic value is created; the richness and advancement of civilizations always manifest through inspiration, through high ideas, therefore we must create, innovate and celebrate this process which has always had a particular intensity in Africa. Despite the systemic confiscation of its resources and the lack of development it causes, the Motherland still carries the spark of ingenuity; natural resources are not just material, they are also spiritual yet we must vehicle them so that that which has been taken from us by force returns to us through love; this is imperative for the future generations so they can freely benefit from these resources. This is one of the important purposes of artistic expression, so we must support and promote our culture for the empowerment of our progeny.

 

What is your view on the interest that is given to culture in some French-speaking African countries?

 

I think there is a sort of awakening, people are getting more and more interested in the richness of their ancestral culture that was demeaned by colonization, they fervently reclaim their rights to be free, to prosper, to be respected, they do not want to be treated as excluded citizens on their own land so they demand that the representatives of institutions harmonize with this momentum instead of attempting to suppress it. People are revolted by the confiscation of their resources, and even culturally this sentiment is increasingly expressed by African artists and it will intensify until there is real change.

 

What do you think of the attitude of the Senegalese authorities who continue to sequester the works of African artists who participated to Fesman 2010? (http://www.tribune2lartiste.com/?p=5689 )

 

I wasn’t aware of this situation but if it turns out that the works of artists who participated in the festival are really sequestered, I hope that they will be returned otherwise this could tarnish the prestige of the festival and the reputation of those who organize it. It would be a shame because this kind of initiative that celebrates the Black Arts should be encouraged.
What is your definition of success? Do you have it considering the recognition your work has received so far?

 

My perspective on success is somewhat unconventional because I evaluate it according to standards of timelessness. I am grateful for the attention my work has received but I will have a real sense of success only if over time these creations help to instill reverence for the divine spark in my fellow beings, this reverence which is denied to them by an inharmonious and unequal global system.

 

What is the formula to have in this business?

 

It takes a lot of patience, perseverance, devotion, no fear to innovate and to be oneself. It is equally important for an artist to learn about his rights and to enforce them by demanding fairer contracts that would allow him to benefit from future sales of any original artwork he ever sold. Over time the value of the artistic work increases therefore it generates greater revenues, the creator should also benefit from the increased value of his work in time.

 

Will you choose two of your paintings and comment them?

 

1-Amina-Disamu
This painting is part of a series entitled “Luminous Dark Matter” which celebrates the attributes of the feminine principle in its original manifestation on Earth, therefore African. “Amina~ Disamu” evokes the sacred role of the feminine principle in developed societies. In my work, the woman is a metaphor for the soul, so its lavish ornaments and clothes reflect the innate richness that we all possess as human beings that descend from the highest sphere of existence. On this painting, the grace of the subject shows that life is a natural resource with the capabilities that lie dormant in us, it is upon reverence for this life and encouragement of these capabilities that society blossoms. The subject on this painting exudes all the subtlety and gentle force that woman can hold, as physical manifestation of the soul, she is thus a vessel for divine attributes. Her Harp in this context symbolizes life that restores truth, love and justice on Earth.
2. On the Edge of the Union
 This painting shows the interaction between the feminine and the masculine principles, which when enlivened by Divine Love leads to unity and complete balance. On this piece, the right side reflects the male principle which looks after the sacred activity of the feminine principle to its left. When balance between the two principles is manifested, harmony triumphs and thus radiates in our environment as well. You see, all the chaos on Earth is due to the imbalance between these two principles that are present within ourselves and in all that exists. Only the complementarity of these two principles triggers the development of our innate capabilities.
We leave you the last word, and wish you to carry even higher the colors of Africa.
Thank you to Tribune2lartiste for giving a voice to artists from the continent, it is very important to support art and artists because through artistic creation, we converge with our fellow beings toward a reality which elevates us, which magnifies what we have been, what we are and what we will become through the total emancipation of future generations.
Website: http://visualsufipoetry.com
Contact: info@visualsufipoetry.com
Poesie Soufie · Prophet Muhammad (saw) · Saints · social justice · Spiritual Art · Spirituality · Sufi Poetry · Sufi Prose

Closing One’s Eyes to the World

Have a blessed Ramadan~ for a month, eyes will close so the self grows more aware of the breath’s nourishment. The material dimension loses its grip on the soul that seeks to be with the Presence~ to be beyond all that is not, la ilaha illa Allah!  Colors, scents, suras will be nutrients to the selfless self that dances with the prophets (as). We embrace the suffering of all children who starve just because some adults stole from them, we are with them, immersed with the humility that crowns innocent sufferers. The sweetness of Returning supersedes the one of not owning anything~ We are Poor for the sake of True Wealth: bismillah, my love, the Moon is out, come sit at our table, the feast of Light is starting tonight!

© 2011 Aïda Touré

“Allah ta‘ala, Almighty God, created the food for each being 70,000 years before it was created. There is no one other than Allah who can feed His creations. This truth was told by Allah to His prophets, and thus to all people. Any man who has the faith to absolutely accept this truth will not covet or plunder the wealth or nourishment allotted to another, either in this world or the next. Why? Because he will understand that each creation has already been given his own share of the treasure of all three worlds: the world of the souls, this world, and the next world. There are some men, however, who will steal the wealth, home, and food allotted to others. This quality of stealing exists only in man and not in animals. In the qalb, or inner heart, of man are craving, avarice, selfishness, pride, conceit, and countless such evil and base desires.” ~Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (ra)

Inner Reality · Save Africa · social justice

Rarely

Rarely will we find humans who are kind just for the sake of being kind, for the sake of service to Beauty and all the nobility such dedication entails. The chaos on the globe is a reflection of this lack of kindness, it’s sad and disconcerting because it is more widespread than Love energy in spite of its glory being imbued in each phenomenon there is in the Universe yet humans’ lack of embrace of it causes such disharmony. Sometimes I sit here, pondering ways to make things better but beyond the responsibility of the individual to refine herself/himself into a gem what can be done if it doesn’t come from her/his innermost being itself? I’m writing this during a break I took from painting one of my most significant pieces ever… Tilting between the pure beauty of creative conception and the chaos of the world is painful. Right now, my thoughts are with the children of Ivory Coast, I know that it is only in the abundance of Light inside our hearts that Peace could prevail and spread outwardly wherever it is missing.

Holy Qur'an · Islam · Music · Saints · Save Africa · social justice · Spiritual Art · Spirituality · Sufi Poetry · Sufism · Tasawwuf · Visual Arts

Sahelian Luminaries | music by Aïda Touré

~ Sahelian Luminaries ~

Lit with a billion ecstasies
we speak with no words,
being one another’s lanterns

we build hidden empires
coveted for their excellence.
Look, the Moon fills with sobs

as our hearts turn to Love, lo!
The truth slips in and we taste
the nectar of Union; it is this

vertiginous sweetness Askia Touré’s
lips kissed, communities in circles
contagiously journeyed by to endure

the grace of Islam too!
Lights in human form in prostration
for centuries between worlds,

alternately from the seen to the unseen,
caravans of gold get returned
to the poor; Justice knocks

at every door! No one I know
would shy away such reality!
Tonight we stay awake to reap

the benefit of this Longing
slowly fed to us with gigantic
golden spoons: no interruption please!

Love is always unfurling like
the Creation’s ongoing recitation
of the Holy Qur’an.

Bismillah, hear the pulling in and
you succumb to the purity of Ruh (as).
We die just like this, before dying.

music & poetry (c) 2007-2009 Aida Touré

more about “Sahelian Luminaries” here.

(This video was made for cultural purpose only.)

Inner Reality · Islam · Prophet Muhammad (saw) · Saints · social justice · Spiritual Art · Spirituality · Sufi Prose · Sufism · Tasawwuf · the prophets (as)

Pearl of Religion: Spirituality

“Whoever knows oneself knows one’s Lord” ~Prophet Muhammad (saw)

For millenniums there have been deliberate efforts to corrupt the teachings of the Messengers (as) who embodied on Earth to help in the spiritual evolution of mankind. Such souls have appeared and continue to appear in all nations and cultures. Their very existence always seems to threaten the representatives of falsehood that seek to exploit mankind as their systems’ expansion depends on the plundering of humanity’s energy and resources. This anti-evolution phenomenon occurs on multidimensional levels and it has been ongoing throughout history. It is precisely this scheme that the Messengers (as) came to help us defeat, by making us aware of: our direct connection with the Divine Reality, our embodiment of all the richness derived from it which is what the usurping systems’ representatives target and covet. Every mechanism necessary is put in place to distract mankind from fully experiencing this timeless connection which leads to Enlightenment and thus independence from institutions of falsehood and exploitation.

For eons, the very field that has always been infiltrated first in order to establish the systems of dis-order and falsehood is religion; it is this strategy that has been used to invade and destroy great civilizations that bore light thanks to their high spiritual development. The purpose of this subversive tactic is to remove the spiritual dimension from religion so that the masses are left with a shell, emptied of its precious pearl; this is what has happened in many religious traditions that were corrupt in order to deliberately mislead the masses. The spiritual, feminine aspect within religion propels mankind toward the Truth/Freedom, therefore it has been consistently suppressed by usurping religious authorities. A shell, when emptied of its pearl becomes useless, just like the human body emptied of the soul-the pearl must be buried, it is the same with religion which is the shell of spirituality, the pearl. Without spirituality, religion becomes useless as it leaves mankind completely dependent upon materialistic, power-hungry religious authorities whose dogma for the most part usurped the authentic Message of the prophets (as).

As I revere diversity, I advocate respect for all religious traditions, yet we should not rely solely on the perspectives of scholars or religious authorities as we are well aware of the harm this tendency has caused to mankind. Sadly oftentimes, these scholars and religious authorities we blindly follow are the ones who have misinterpreted the teachings of the Messengers (as) in order to fulfill the agenda of whatever institution they were/are serving at the time. Their claim to be exclusive representatives of The Divine on earth is a scheme to subdue the masses, all of the Creation is representative of The Divine, with incredible innate potential to uncover.

In order to experience the sages’ message in its pure form, we must polish our Heart, the mirror of the Universe’s Harmony, it is this innate Harmony that the messengers (as) came to awaken us to and it is a reality filled with wonders! We must do our own research and seek knowledge as the Qur’an recommends us to do: “You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.” (17:36) Quran

In this sacred process of seeking knowledge, there are two kinds of resources:

– the tangible ones that are historical sources as close as possible to the authentic teachings of the sages (as),

– the intangible ones that constantly flow through the Cosmos and our very being. Having access to this  knowledge ultimately occurs by the Will of The Divine~ this is where the primordial importance of Contemplation/Prayer/Meditation/Remembrance comes in as these rituals still the mind and quiet our inner being enough to allow the individual to hear the currents from her/his spiritual soul, the breath of The Divine.

The state of Islam/Surrender implies harmony with Cosmic Law which is true freedom as there is no intermediary between mankind and The Divine, every one is a representative of Hu on Earth so this makes the quest for knowledge incumbent upon the individual, as there is no clergy, no institutional hierarchy in Islam; the individual is thus responsible for the development of one’s full potential and use of her/his capabilities which is the essence of Jihad/the Struggle. Being a Muslim means “being surrendered to The Divine only” not to any creation, nor any earthly institutions, nor any man-made authorities that have motives to keep human souls bound for their own benefits.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you.” ~Jesus (as) –Gospel of Thomas.

“If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.” ~Jesus (as) –Gospel of Thomas

(c) 2010 Aïda Touré

Inner Reality · Islam · social justice · Spiritual Art · Spirituality · Sufi Prose · Sufism

Fallacy of Competition

The negative energy of competition reflects the culture of materialism. Instilled in us from a young age by educative institutions, this culture serves the elitist system’s agenda whose prosperity depends on exclusion and destruction of fellow beings. This type of functioning based upon fear and covetousness cripples the spirit of abundance and generosity that originally constitutes us, it imposes a false notion that erodes many people’s natural potential because the greatest oppression is the oppression we subject our inner selves to. Competition is a manifestation of the ego’s crudeness and misery, therefore it represents a fierce oppression to the soul of the one who practices it.

In a Universe that comprises more than a hundred billion galaxies, there is no place for competition because everything, every atom has a specific and unique purpose, every inanimate and animate thing has its definite task, its form of expression and way of being; all permitted out of magnanimity, all ordained by The Divine One. So in such a vast reality, why contract and oppress oneself by fearing others’ expansion and attempt to interfere with such a natural process?

Considering the cosmic order of existence helps see the fallacy of competition, there is no such thing as that, it is a materialistic notion… Unfortunately this false notion continues to cause such destruction: I have seen it cause the death of innocent children in families, I have seen it destroy blood ties, friendships and even couples and it is so sad because we perpetuate it with such force it is systemic as it is visible in all fields of life. Like automatons we perpetuate the false standards of unlawful systematization and it causes such harm and regression which eventually come back to those who practice it.

We do have the capability to transform this oppressive energy and to find our fullness, once we do, we stop functioning based on fear because that’s what competition is, it is fear of others’ expansion, fear of others’ prosperity, how toxic this can be! Isn’t it wiser to focus on one’s own development, that way, instead of coveting others’ richness we rather learn to discover our own,  we learn to uncover more of our innate treasures; everyone has some! We do benefit from the Universe’s perpetual expansion, so why fear our fellow creatures’ one? It’s backward to observe such unfruitful patterns as they clearly lead to self-destruction.

(c) 2009 Aïda Touré

Inner Reality · Islam · Music · Saints · Save Africa · social justice · Spiritual Art · Spirituality · Sufi Poetry · Sufi Prose · Sufism · Tasawwuf · the prophets (as) · World Music

Tehuti’s Gems to Dinga

Greetings of Peace, I composed “Tehuti’s Gems to Dinga” in two phases, it was one of the most pleasant creative processes… the song is an homage to the human souls who reclaim the Tradition of Light, their treasure: the spirituality that has always been the reality of all Creation; this spirituality which gave birth to excellence in all advanced civilizations and which has been coveted by dark forces for eons, this spirituality that clothes all living things, that spark without which nothing could evolve, that elusive yet powerful spark without which no one could exist, whether consciously or unconsciously…

“Tehuti’s Gems to Dinga” evokes the spiritual transmission of this most precious spark which is ongoing since our precosmic condition, the prophets (as) gracefully spoke of it… la  ilaha illa Allah…  This luminous tradition cannot be extinct and is an heritage to all as it is sustained by The Almighty (purity be on Him/Her)… it’s only natural that we return to this tradition through the cycle of life and the greater Life which is commonly known as “death”…

In Soninké, my paternal culture/dialect, “Dinga” can be translated as “King”. Dinga is the ancestor of the Soninké people, he migrated from the Nile Valley to West Africa. In the context of this musical composition “Dinga” is an allegory for the innate state of spiritual royalty of mankind… Toward such a state of humble highness, let all of humankind converge; especially those who encourage the usurping unlawful system and the harm it has caused to Nature, Children and Mankind…

(c) 2008 Aïda Touré

Gabon · Inner Reality · Islam · Poesie Soufie · poesie visuelle · social justice · Spiritual Art · Spirituality · Sufi Prose · Sufism · Tasawwuf

Academia Folly

innapearls3.jpgI take great pleasure in dwelling on words that carry the scents of the Word. I must confess that I sometimes can re~read one word for a long time, basking in the Love energy it conveys. I easily am amazed when it comes to the manifestations of Love. “…Forget the rigid structures of academia and intellectual pride! Real Knowledge does not alienate one from his/her light!” This still resounds in my mind…

Fifteen years ago, one September morning, I abruptly broke away from formal education to revel in Stillness; the impulse to be in Silence finally overcame me! Lo, there were now impetuous teachers in the humility that came with “not belonging” and not abiding by established standards and their false sense of security/identity. I then learned to repose, to study specific subjects, to live in patience; since it was finally alright to honor my nature, thus to be quiet, I learned to listen to the movements of Love… There had been some Majesty there behind each event; the sorrowful with the joyful, now gigantic loops of Sound and Beauty… I just fell from existence as I knew it …

In hindsight, secular irrelevant curriculum stifled and bombarded me with so much noise and restlessness; pure reflection of an unnatural spiritually oppressive world system, obstinate in its “dismissal” of the all-pervading Spirit; a fierce system always on some quest to repress, to usurp, to dissimulate the truth, to disturb the natural Order of things… but only The Divine reigns supreme, indeed! La ilaha illa Allah.

Solely in Silence and Love does the Truth interweave with the heart, how threatening the sublime treasures it threads in and around it! As it was intended by universal mathematics, Love unfurls constantly, it runs through our fingertips and ends up as efflorescent imprints inside the minds of other lovers who in turn whisper: “let us just whirl like surrendered pearls and make this Intimacy a cosmic one!”

You see why academia seems so futile?

copyright 2007 Aida Toure.

Had I been to school, I would have been an educated fool.”

~Bob Marley

“Read in the name of your Lord who created, created man from a clot. Read, for your Lord is most Generous, Who teaches by means of the pen, teaches man what he does not know.

(~96: 1-5 Qur’an)

Confound not truth with falsehood, nor knowingly conceal the truth.

(~2: 42 Qur’an)

Inner Reality · Islam · social justice · Spirituality · Sufi Prose · the prophets (as)

Imposition of Authentic Value

When a financial system is based upon usury and speculation, it is bound to collapse because it’s out of phase with the Divine Law. All prophets (as) of The Creator prohibited such irreverent practices as they deplete natural resources, exploit humans/workers and thus cause suffering, chaos, poverty and overall abuse of Nature itself.

I think that with all the conflicts that are currently going on around the world plus the difficulties surprisingly experienced by the illegal system itself, it’s more important than ever for individuals to “create” value as in time the monopoly of the planet’s wealth by an elite always ceases and thus transforms with the potential to finally expand the way it was intended to by the Divine law… In order to welcome this transformation it becomes necessary for all excluded populations to “create” value, but real value not unfair, arbitrary, artificial value that elitists imposed to the world for centuries. Real value relates to the higher scheme of things and therefore is timeless in essence as it comes from the Truth; it naturally exposes it instead of concealing it at the expanse of the collectivity. Authentic value is inherent to all, it is accessible to all, it’s free-flowing, uncontrolled and abundant.

For years, sages have said that mankind is being ushered into a new age where serious systemic crisis will force us to be more independent from so-called leaders (and the unlawful system they preserve), to turn inward and thus to live with more humility, compassion and love. For the first time I think that we are beginning to see signs of this confrontation of the ego culture and its colossal failures.

© 2007 Aida Toure.

“Those who live off the interest on loans will never stand up, except in the way those whom Satan knocks down with a fit rise up again. That is because they say: “Trading is just like taking interest.” Yet God has permitted trading and forbidden taking interest… “ ~ 2:275 Qur’an

Save Africa · social justice

“Save” Africa Campaigns

Wasalamalaikum. I found this interesting article by Uzodinma Iweala that is truly relevant. With all these campaigns to “save Africa” I’m sure they generate a lot of money which fattens the pockets of some elite somewhere but all populations need help, not just Africans. All masses across the globe need assistance because they all are at the mercy of the same exploitative, elitist force and this beyond the notion of borders, color or nationality.

I think that what would truly help the African continent is a more humane system (shaped by our African reality, and not by our self-serving former colonies) that would allow the masses to finally benefit from the revenues of their natural resources. But of course we know that our “former” colonies diligently put in power leaders that do just the opposite… And it seems that when the people are blessed with a leader who implements structures for the welfare of the masses, he gets assassinated so when there is all this talk about “saving” Africa, it really is difficult to take it seriously when that hand that claims to want to “save” is the same one that deliberately causes the starving and suffering of children and humanity. When I see how some of the citizens of developed countries suffer the harsh reality of exclusion, exploitation and oppression, and this at the hands of those same ones who claim to want to “save” Africa, I realize that indeed the masses all are insignificant to the elite’s eyes.

The continent of Africa is still trying to recover from centuries of multidimensional plundering (including slavery, colonization and all the political corruption they imported) so the best way to help African nations would be to free them from the clutches of this fierce exploitative system that has actually supported the expansion of western nations at the expanse of Africans for centuries. I painted a piece about this theme whose title is “The Luminous, The Coveted“.

Sincere help is always appreciated of course, yet at the same time what we’re more in need of is love, honesty, justice, equality, compassion, truth globally and even more so in our institutions and bureaucracies…

Gabon · Inner Reality · Islam · Saints · social justice · Spirituality · Sufism

Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba (1854-1927)

 Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba was a Senegalese Muslim saint who is renowned for his resistance to the imperialism and oppression of the French colonizers. The weapons he used for resistance were his knowledge and piety for which the French authority persecuted him. He was subjected to confinement and all sorts of injustices including exile in Gabon and Mauritania for a total of 32 years. One famous episode of the cruelty he endured at the hands of the oppressors is the one where while imprisoned in a cell, he was thrown a lion so it could devour him. To their great surprise the lion looked at him and gently sat by his side. His devotion to The Divine and his love for prophet Muhammad (saw) are tangible through his writings. I must say that his sayings and poems are of a soothing depth. In 1927, after years of retribution, the French finally recognized him as a holy man and awarded him the cross of “legion d’honneur” which he turned down as he wanted validation from only God.

Some of Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba’s Sayings:

“I have received an order from my Lord to guide the people toward God, The Most High. Those who want to thread this path just have to follow me. For the rest, who are only looking for education, there are enough men of letters who are available throughout the country.”

“They accused me of doing the Jihad (Struggle), which I fully agree with. But the weapons through which I am doing it are science and piety. The Lord by excellence is my witness.”

“The undeserved favors that I have had from Allah (swt) can no longer be counted in this Universe and in this is my happiness.”