“Our Lady of the Underpass” A Sighting
In swift fashion, men and women crowded before the water stain, to stare, light candles, weep, supplicate, thumb their rosaries, take pictures with their cell phones, and drop flowers before fractured concrete and some interesting graffiti.
It is true that religion does not fare well when confined to an abstraction. We are charged to believe in the Unseen, not the unfelt. Whenever religion alights someplace, religious culture and art usually follow. In the Islamic tradition, however, this art shies away from depictions of humans, relying on what is arguably a more powerful and authentic spiritual effulgence: the voice, architecture, calligraphy, intricate patterns (with symmetry and without), poetry, interior design, gardening, and the like. Islam, in general, has a problem with human depictions and the customs that lead people to find solace in them. One suspects that the issue exceeds concern about idolatry. Rather, Islam attaches greater importance to the inner habiliment of spirituality, often referred to as the "inner eye," that is meant to engender degrees of certitude that stand like oaks. Images of humans (even spontaneous ones) and their role in spirituality have presented problems in the past because people ultimately depend on them and their ephemeral natures, thus impairing the more rewarding and durable qualities hidden within us all.
To read more, you may go to altmuslim.com.