by Shahna Lax
The Nafs Ar-Rahmanis the "Breath of the Compassionate" through which the 18,000 universes were created according to Mohammed. In Islamic art and architecture this symbolic language takes on the geometric expression of an octagon star and cross. That geometry finds a place here at the top of the mihrab arch where the creative lifeforce embeds itself into the womb space of the mihrab and elaborates from a simple octagon star and cross into an active, pulsing, eight fold life form.
Calligraphies both within and and beneath the mihrab are variations of the Divine Name
Ar-Rahman. The 3-lettered root of RAHMAN - RA/KHA/MIM means "uterus." Ar-Rahman speaks to the fiercely loving, protective, nurturing, lioness quality of the mother nature of divinity - often mistranslated as "compassion" or "mercy".
This illumination emerged from an inner directive which included the forms and placement of all the elements.