Making 40 experiments : Arabic – part 1 and 2

So finally, I chose the following text for my paragraph project. It is a hadith of the Prophet(PBUH) about leading a simple and austere life in this world. For the word project, I used the word “Ornate/ مزخرف” and so I chose a paragraph on the opposite meaning.

عن أبي العباس سهل بن سعد الساعدي – رضي الله عنه – قالجاء رجل إلى النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم –، فقاليا رسول الله، دلني على عمل إذا عملته أحبني الله وأحبني الناس، فقال: «ازهد في الدنيا يحبك الله، وازهد فيما عند الناس يحبك الناس» . حديث حسن رواه ابن ماجه وغيره بأسانيد حسنة.


Sahl bin Sa’d As-Sa’idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, guide me to such an action which, if I do Allah will love me and the people will also love me.” He (PBUH) said, “Have no desire for this world, Allah will love you; and have no desire for what people possess, and the people will love you.

For the first critique, I worked on the placement of the text, and the layout. It was a weird experience because I felt that I finished quite quickly and that I did not have to work as much as the sentence. I also realized things worked quite differently with Arabic. For instance, rivers are not formed when fully justifying Arabic text, instead it is adjusted by kashidas.


Also, some of the options did not work the same with Arabic and slowly, I learnt different tools I could use when working Arabic and the class with Professor Basma was really helpful for my understanding.

After the critique, I realized I had not worked at all on the leading, getting the rags right, character length and so on and this was central focus for the next class.

For the next class, I worked on the type using the ‘systems method and I found this a lot effective and useful. I was struggling with getting the rags right, understanding ‘medium gray’ and getting the right type size on paper.

Also, I felt like my paragraph of 52 words was really small so I included an explanation/commentary of the hadith that I found on the website. Actually, I found the commentary and hadith was from a book “Riyad-As-Saliheen”, which is a collection of all Hadith.

عن أبي العباس سهل بن سعد الساعديرضي الله عنهقال: جاء رجل إلى النبيصلى الله عليه وسلم، فقال: يا رسول الله، دلني على عمل إذا عملته أحبني الله وأحبني الناس، فقال: «ازهد في الدنيا يحبك الله، وازهد فيما عند الناس يحبك الناس» . حديث حسن رواه ابن ماجه وغيره بأسانيد حسنة.

اشتمل هذا الحديث على وصيتين عظيمتين فإذا عمل بهما أحبه الله وأحبه الناس . والزهد : هو القناعة بما أعطاك الله ، والتعفف عن أموال الناس ، وكان عمر يقول على المنبر : إنَّ الطمع فقر وإنَّ اليأس غنى . وقال أيوب السختياني : لا يقبل الرجل حتى تكون فيه خصلتان ، العفة عما في أي الناس ، والتجاوز عما يكون منهم . وفي الحديث المرفوع : « حب الدنيا رأس كل خطيئة » . وقال الشافعي رحمه الله تعالى :وما هي إلا جيفة مستحيلة عليها كلاب هَمُّهُن اجتذابها فإن تجتنبها كنت سلمًا لأهلها وإن تجتذبها نازعتك كلابها

Commentary: “Zuhd” (ascetism) does not mean renunciation of the world and obligations of life. What it really means is that one should be contented with what he possess and rid himself of greed. Islam neither permits renunciation of the world nor does it condemn genuine struggle to acquire wealth and riches. Therefore, involvement in worldly affairs and struggle for lawful means of livelihood are not against Zuhd. A person who is contented with the lawful means of income is a distinguished person as all his activities are exalted to the level of worship. Similarly, unconcern with the wealth and riches of others and ignoring them is a part of Zuhd and contentment. One additional advantage of it is that such a person wins the love and respect of the people because he who begs people, rather than Allah, has to suffer disgrace and is disliked by the people. The case of begging from Allah is just the opposite. The more a person begs Him, the more pleased He will be with him. In fact, He is displeased if someone does not beg Him. This has been exquisitely stated in an Arabic verse, the meaning of which is:

“Do not stretch your hands before anyone for your needs, but beg from Him (Allah) whose door is always open”.

“If a person does not beg Him (Allah), He is displeased, while if one begs someone He becomes furious”.

For this critique, I first started by making a system that focuses on different areas that I was struggling with; for instance I printed a series of 5 papers with different leading(really tight to loose) to understand what is medium grey. I also made a system of different fonts, character length, type size to understand them more clearly.

After this critique, an important lesson I learnt was that good design is always subtle, and that “less” is really “more” when working with body paragraph. Critiquing my peers work also helped to understand what I really had to keep in mind while working on mine.

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