Surah 105 – The Elephant سورة الفيل


This piece is part of my recent experiments with color, in this case using just my favorite green, the color of Islam. The elephant is formed entirely using only Arabic calligraphy in the ornamental Diwani Jali script. The text in this piece is the entire 105th book of the Qur’an. It is part of my ongoing project ‘The Quran for Solidarity‘.

هذه القطعة هي جزء من تجربتي مع الألوان،  باستخدام لوني الأخضرالمفضل ، لون الإسلام. تم تشكيل الفيل تماما باستخدام الخط العربي فقط بالتزيين الديواني الجلي,  النص في هذه القطعة هو السورة 105 كاملة  من القرآن الكريم. وهو جزء من مشروعي الحالي القرآن للتضامن

This Surah, entitled ‘Al-Fil,’ meaning ‘The Elephant’ is composed of 5 verses, a translation of which can be seen below, courtesy of Sahih International.

هذه السورة، بعنوان “الفيل”، تتألف من 5 آيات ، يمكن رؤية الترجمة أدناه ، مأخوذة من صحيح انترناشيونال.

105:1 Have you not considered, [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant?

105:2 Did He not make their plan into misguidance?

105:3 And He sent against them birds in flocks,

105:4 Striking them with stones of hard clay,

105:5 And He made them like eaten straw.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
  1. أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصْحَابِ الْفِيلِ
  2. أَلَمْ يَجْعَلْ كَيْدَهُمْ فِي تَضْلِيلٍ
  3. وَأَرْسَلَ عَلَيْهِمْ طَيْرًا أَبَابِيلَ
  4. تَرْمِيهِم بِحِجَارَةٍ مِّن سِجِّيلٍ
  5. فَجَعَلَهُمْ كَعَصْفٍ مَّأْكُولٍ

About Everitte

Beirut-based American Arabic calligrapher.
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2 Responses to Surah 105 – The Elephant سورة الفيل

  1. musart ellaahi says:

    I appreciate your artwork. But I am damn sure you should Not be creating animals using words from the holy quran its a disrespect. This can cause an uproar in the muslim community. Before you do such design of art please consult an Imaam or scholar and please take this down.

    • Everitte says:

      Thank you for your comment. I certainly understand your concern. I have in fact discussed this matter with several Imams and Islamic scholars, who explained that the image is acceptable so long as there are no shadows or an attempt to depict a particular elephant. As this particular discussion of fiqh was explained to me; iconography is banned because images threaten to take precedent over holy texts in the mind of the believer. Therefore images created in a religious context must not be interpreted beyond their mention in the text. For instance, many Christians pray to a Caucasian Jesus, because icons have been used as a reference rather than their holy text which would obviously described Jesus differently. For this reason, the image is only of an elephant in the simplest sense of verbal understanding, as mentioned in the Holy Quran. There are no shadows or descriptive details which would allow the viewer to interpret the image beyond the words themselves. Moreover, there has been a long tradition of calligrams of prayers and ayats being used to create animals and other images. The lion of Ali is a motif that has appeared repeatedly in the Islamic World for a millennium. This piece has also been exhibited in several Islamic countries without any uproar. All of this being said, I am aware that this would be forbidden in some particularly conservative sects of Islam. I am sorry if I have offended you or others. It is not my intention to offend anyone, but rather to create art which would introduce the Quran to other individuals who would otherwise be unfamiliar with its wisdom, so that no matter what our religious background or belief is, we can grow our love and understanding of our fellow man.

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