We had the good fortune of connecting with Inayet Sahin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Inayet, what do you attribute your success to?
At Deen Arts Foundation, we create authentic learning experiences by replicating traditional pedagogy of the Islamic arts, in an online setting. This allows for the transmission of a “way of being” from teacher to student, along with the technical aspects of the art. This epistemological understanding of education as an experiential and existential process is foundational to the preservation of the Islamic fine arts. For 1000 years Islamic calligraphy has been preserved by the transmission of knowledge from teacher to student through the Ijaza system. Ijaza is a license authorizing its holder to transmit a certain text or subject, which is issued by someone already possessing such authority. It is particularly associated with transmission of Islamic religious knowledge, The license usually implies that the student has acquired this knowledge from the issuer of the Ijaza through first-hand oral instruction. Moving this to an online format and fostering the teacher-student relationship as well as community with other students is an ongoing, intentional task. We only work with master artists who have an Ijaza in their respective fields.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Beauty speaks to directly to the heart and the Islamic arts are revered as some of the most beautiful examples of art in the world. The Islamic fine arts also encompase important discoveries in mathematics, architecture, chemistry and other sciences. I founded Deen Arts Foundation to help connect individuals to the tradition and practice of Ihsan, excellence, in the arts and to share its beauty. Ihsan, one of the three foundations of our faith, is an Islamic term that means beautification, perfection and benefiting others, in addition to excellence. We work with international practitioners of the Islamic fine arts in China, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa, Morocco, United Kingdom and the United States; we teach students globally online. Deen Arts Foundation is recognized for providing authentically traditional learning experiences in the Islamic fine arts on an online platform. We also present to and conduct workshops with universities, museums, K12 schools and interfaith organizations. In two years we have become the go to organization for the Islamic fine arts. We are in the process of launching our gallery to support our artists and their students. The hardest part of the process is scheduling classes on a global scale. The various time zones from Dallas to Sydney complicate this process and we have had to cater class times for different areas in the world.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The halal food scene in Dallas is one of the most vibrant and diverse ones in the country, so grabbing some ethnic Muslim food as well as some halal local fare is essential. You’ve got a variety of cuisines from the Turkey and the Middle East to Pakistan, but you also have outstanding halal Thai, Chinese, Texas BBQ, Tex-mex, as well as outstanding halal steak, burgers and chicken all over the DFW area. The Dallas Museum of Art has an impressive collection of Islamic art on long-term loan from the Keir collection, and is a must-see for art lovers. The Crowe museum also has an Asian art collection which is much more narrow and limited in its scope, but is still worth a glance if you have time. The Perot museum and Dallas World Aquarium are in the same area and definitely a great way to spend an afternoon. Dallas has a beautiful skyline and a night view from Chase Tower is particularly spectacular. Its a great way to cap off the visit!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The Deen Arts Foundation idea and name was inspired by the world renowned Chinese Muslim Calligrapher, Mi Guangjiang Haji Noor Deen. Through his example of traveling the world to teach calligraphy and increase appreciation of the Islamic fine arts, the Deen Arts Foundation was founded to foster personal relationships between artists, students and lovers of art. He continues to advise us and teach students globally through our online platform.
Youtube: Deen Arts Foundation
Haji Noor Deen Shahryanshah Sirajuddin Fatma Ulusoy Kashif Irfan Murad Irfan Luqman Irfan