“The Breath of Compassion, Expansion of a Sacred Square”
Digital image and text, Christchurch, 15 March 2019
Flash Frontier April 2019: LOVE Issue
This digital graphic has also been licensed to a documentary I have edited available at TVNZ On-demand: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/we-are-one-the-mosque-attacks-one-year-on
This is the symbol known as the Breath of The Compassionate – “Nafas ar-rahmān”. Of the ninety-nine knowable names of God in Islamic tradition, ‘The All Compassionate’ is the highest pronounceable name. It is a form built upon a four-fold motif, a square. The four elements of matter, the four points of the compass. Upon this square, an eight pointed star emanates, sometimes known as Khātim Sulaymān – the Seal of Solomon. As the khātim (seal) is replicated, a four-fold star appears in the negative space. Expansion is symbolised by the 8-pointed star. Contraction is symbolised by the 4-pointed star. The two star-shapes together symbolise the cycle of creation – the breath of the merciful and compassionate manifesting principle. The number eight was important among some mystics, including a secret ‘ninth’ point – in the origin center. This sacred symbol serves as a structural device for many beautiful Islamic patterns around the world.
This version of the symbol is resting upon a map of Christchurch (c/o Google Maps). The 3rd and 7th points signify the location of the two mosques, the Masjid al-Noor and the Linwood Islamic Centre. The Cardboard Transitional Cathedral is in the middle. Travelling towards the 6th point is the location of the accused’s chase and final capture. He was prevented from expanding hate and anger.
We may wish to hear Farid Ahmed, a senior leader of the Masjid al-Noor, whose wife was killed in the terror attack. He said at the National Memorial Service “I don’t want to have a heart that is boiling like a volcano. A volcano has anger, fury, rage; it doesn’t have peace. It has hatred, it burns itself within, and it burns the surrounding. I don’t want to have a heart like this and I believe no one does. I want a heart that is full of love and care and full of mercy, and will forgive lavishly, because this heart doesn’t want any more life to be lost. This heart doesn’t like the pain I have gone through, that any human being should go through. That’s why I have chosen peace, love. And I have forgiven.” (29 March 19)
When our spaces are filled with love, there is simply no room for hate. Let us have more love, more compassion, more mercy. Let us only breathe love, together.
This Sacred Square
Here comes form, out of this Sacred Square.
This 8-pointed Star is EXPANSION.
This 4-pointed star is CONTRACTION.
Together it is UNION.
From our fragile heart of cardboard and broken walls.
From this shattered city of small squares.
For those lives surrendered.
Let compassion expand.
Expand through the world.
As the pattern repeats.
Keep repeating the pattern.
I say, repeat compassion.
Let hearts expand.
Unity evolves, it evolves…
© G.Barnes 2019