01 Work, The art of War, Badie Jahjah’s The dervish liberated me from war and violence, with Footnotes

Henry Zaidan
3 min readMar 1, 2024
Badie Jahjah
The dervish liberated me from war and violence

Photograph
Private collection

Dervish, Darvesh, or Darwīsh in Islam can refer broadly to members of a Sufi fraternity, or more narrowly to a religious mendicant, who chose or accepted material poverty. The latter usage is found particularly in Persian and Turkish (derviş) as well as in Amazigh (Aderwish), corresponding to the Arabic term faqīr. Their focus is on the universal values of love and service, deserting the illusions of ego (nafs) to reach God. In most Sufi orders, a dervish is known to practice dhikr through physical exertions or religious practices to attain the ecstatic trance to reach God.Their most popular practice is Sama, which is associated with the 13th-century mystic Rumi. In folklore and with adherents of Sufism, dervishes are often credited with the ability to perform miracles and ascribed supernatural powers. Historically, the term Dervish has also been used more loosely, as the designation of various Islamic political movements or military entities. More on the Dervish

Badie Jahjah is a Syrian multi-disciplinary artist and graphic designer whose work explores the spirit of the dervish. He was born on March 8, 1973 in Syria, in the city of Latakia overlooking the sea. He graduated from Fine Art College in Syria in “Visual Communications” in 1995. During the Syrian war, he founded the “Alif Noun” gallery and opened it in 2016. He began his artistic career as a painter, drawing dervishes and Arabic calligraphy, and then he added to his talents the talent of sculpting, which he did not use until 2016.

Badie Jahjah He began sketching the free lines of movement, documenting the rhythmic meditation, an expression of prayer within the Sufi mystic tradition.

Within this Islamic tradition, dervishes also take a vow of material poverty. In Arabic, someone described as “darwish” — or a dervish — is often perceived as humble.

What began as a personal exploration of an artistic symbol gave way to a deeply spiritual expansion of artistic practice. In capturing the essence of the dervish, Jahjah expanded his research into the works of famous poets Rumi, Tabriz, al-Hallaj, Ibn Arabi, Ibn Rushd, Rabia al-Adawiyya and others.

The dervish is now a constant in Jahjah’s life. He wrote a book titled “Dervish of Habak (basil)”, retracing his journey. To Jahjah, the word basil encompasses the love of his mother and grandmother, who would frequently use basil in their cooking. The word Habak in Arabic symbolizes two things for Jahjah: Hobb which is love, and Haqq which is justice.

Jahjah transcends an often constant outside narrative of conflict and corruption by focusing on the invisible. “Love always has its supporters. Inner peace is between you and yourself,” he says. More on Badie Jahjah

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Henry Zaidan

In my Blog is an Online collection of significant paintings from the 1st century to today; complete with art-history and artist bibliographies.