Lotus of the Limit © 2008 Aida Toure

Description: 22″x28″ acrylic on canvas. In the Islamic tradition, The Lotus of The Limit is a gigantic celestial Tree that represents the point beyond which no one passes but the beloved (saw) of The Divine. This painting was inspired from a reality that is beyond the seven heavens and which was experienced by Prophet Muhammad (saw) during his nocturnal Miraj’ or Ascension. The poem that offered this painting was Sidrat Al Muntaha, The Lotus of The Limit.

~ Sidrat-al-Muntaha: Lotus of The Limit ~

Everywhere I look
it circles and circles!
My heart curves

to the calligraphy
of your Love.
Muted by Sound

and shapelessness,
ego falls off itself
and bows with joy,

all of being now
surrendered as if the letters
printed of the Scriptures.

Each page, an immaculate cloak
around the gentle soul
who whirls to the tone

of the Return.
Bewildered by the Book
of the Universe,

your inner being leaps
from worlds to worlds
wild yet wise, it reads Nature

Jesus (as) appears upon the Word
Moses (as) nearby
and Muhammad (saw) passes

the Lotus of the Limit
to unite with the Light
that made him.

There is some universal prayer
which the prophets (as) lead,
all in unity; lo! Sura Al Kahf

strolls by the eye
and right then Aida’s
brush dries out!

2007 copyrights Aida Toure.

Emerald Verses

Description: “Emerald Verses” was inspired from this poem. Working on it felt like an unending calligraphic promenade that relates of our collective journeying from and toward The Creator of the Worlds.

Love is the fragrance that invites mankind to The Divine One’s apostles (as), their Revelations awaken us to the Way all human souls innately know.

~ Emerald Verses ~

Illuminated is the Heart
that chants the glories

of The Sublime’s throne.
Blessed be the soul

who embraces Injil
through the Holy Qur’an

like earth embraces truths
through the galaxies’ currents.

The Word commands “read!”
Lo! The inner eye opens:

Djibril (as) on his emerald seat,
Jesus (as) walking upon the sea,

Noah (as) gathers the light of humanity
and prophet Muhammad (saw)

crowns the collective being
with the altitudes of humility.

You see, Love is this gentleness
that governs the Muslim Universe,

while the moon transcribes to us:
“… unto Him is the journeying!”

© 2007 Aida Toure

Description: 18″x14″ acrylic on canvas panel. This painting celebrates the lovers’ aspirations to follow the prophets (as) in their unity. The center of the piece here represents the inner/outer Kabba/Center where the prophets (as) of The Divine converged, leaving their luminous footprints for us to trace and follow with grace and love. “The Prophets Footprints” started from this poem.


~ The Prophets’ Footprints ~

Look at what you started!
Love has knocked again…
A kiss on your hand’s scent
and the soul collapses, every time
with the wish to no longer be.

Who will attenuate this tender
teasing that only you can do?
You drop red gold nuggets
on the believers’ prayer mat,
Love nurses their fragments

and the royally wretched
ego walks out but to follow
the prophets (as) footprints.
We delight in not-being
and in laying at your feet,

There is the flirtation
we wanted: continuous,
lingering long enough
to silence the bells

of grief, of temporality.
Your kindness has left
our shy hearts confounded
wondering how we are
worthy of all this Mercy.

2007 copyrights Aida Toure.



Description: “Sama” is encompassed by the notion of Sound that propels the soul toward The Beloved. This piece represents the innermost fulfillment of Longing, it also demonstrates the cosmic whirling we all participate to, consciously or not, it is in our nature to revolve. One of the most beautiful visions of Surrender is the whirling dervishes who are mirrors of the spheres and divine praising. The poem that conveyed “Sama” visuals can be found here.

~ Sama ~

Chords, loves and signs
there is some sound
in the soul’s eye

silent yet loud
blue tambourines then
floating red harps now;

all as one, circularly
enchanted as the globes’ Zikr
our prophets (as) repeated.

Hands and lips smacked
by Tenderness itself,
we play invisible violins

and cosmic Neys
by the lovers’ ear
and lo! they sob of all

their emotions’ grace,
following the course
of longing and depth,

they shed themselves
to wear the subtle Cloth;
cloaked in its glow,

they dance and chant
in the language Djibril (as)
taught the saints (as).

© 2007 Aida Toure.

Hidden Treasure

Description: 20″x24″ acrylic on canvas. This painting was inspired from a divine Islamic tradition that always lingers with me: “I was a Hidden Treasure and I longed to be known therefore I created the spheres so that I may be know.” (Hadith Qudsi). This piece’s creative process took me in so many directions, it seemed to bewilder me every time I picked up the brush… I must say with all the surprise dances it stirred, this painting taught me much about the different stations of Islam/Surrender.

~ Hidden Treasure ~

Eye in eye,
intermingling loud
and clear with the Key
you exist in,
your being is a cry for
the excellence of Sound;
you long to harmonize
with the divine praises
chanted by the Night,
you seek the Love of Love,
the lover’s heart knows
it’s not the form
but its songs’ Song
that it wants,
its constant flirtation
with Suras so that
eventually, it becomes
particles of such scent
just like the prophet (as)
was the Qur’an itself.

A pause,
a tear,

“Allah (swt) is The Light
of the unseen and the seen,
the Light of Isa (as)
and Muhammad (as),
the Light of the worlds
unfurling on the prayer
mat of gravity.
Allah (swt) is the Unmanifest
of the manifest, Nature praises Him
in ways we may ignore
yet He is The Beloved all
prophets (as) spoke of,
The globes’ Sustainer,
The tender force that enrobes us
The Healer of grieving hearts,
The Hidden Treasure
The Hidden Treasure
The Hidden Treasure…”

© 2006 Aida Toure.

Soninké Symphony

Description: 28″x22″ acrylic on canvas. This painting is a celebration of my Soninké roots. The poem Soninké Symphony inspired the piece; transcribing its verses upon canvas was an awesome experience filled with pleasant sounds and scents. The colors selected are intimately linked to Kayes, my beloved father’s birthplace.

~ Soninké Symphony ~

Bewildered by the beauties
scattered on the spheres
I lost speech for weeks,

lips sealed by Sound itself,
I dissolved on the curves
of Love, abandoned in Sajdah

as if the quiet lovers gathered
in those dancy lines,
soul wrapped around the other

they lay on each verse,
beds for my tired eye.
Now colors are slipping through:

“We do this in the name of Hu,
all as one revolving like stars do
when the heart recites Suras.

We unfold with Kalima,
notice all saints evolve
upon their prayermats,

so they revolve with the skies,
existence screaming with grace;
no one we know could help it!

We are wild canals for Ruh,
intertwined in tenderness
to shower you with the

divine sense again.
We are the music between
the pages of the Glorious Qur’an,

we are the scent on Joseph’s (as) shirt
we wander your chest to reintroduce you
to The Rabb of the worlds.”

At this melodious mercy,
the ego sobbs, reclines
and suddenly longs for prostration!

2007 copyrights Aida Toure.

Al Khidr, the Green One

Description: 10″x10″ acrylic on canvas panel. This painting was created from the poem below entitled “Al Khidr, the Green One” which I think is the best explanation for the piece. In the Islamic tradition, Al Khidr (as) is an invisible messenger who imparts sublime Knowledge (by the Will of The Divine), he is the manifestation by excellence of Wisdom. Al Khidr (as) appeared to prophet Moses (as) for this purpose. The intent in painting this piece was to encourage those who think themselves isolated, without any teacher or presence to help them on the Way.

~ Al Khidr, the Green One ~

In our obscurity you are
wearing your tone,

subtle yet vibrant,
a teacher to the soul,

you walked in
Ibn Arabi’s chest

and lo! he spoke
of mysteries and secrets;

the unknown variations
that gentle souls befriend.

You blow within the flute
each believer becomes

when you flood
their hearts with

melodies from the Throne,
wandering by the edge

of the universal state,
you guard the pure

and then you initiate,
defying the visible

and the conform way,
you impart Knowledge.

You are the master
that leads the way

of earthly masters
and you whirl of

all your leaflike color
in cyclones of peace

and tenderness,
you awakened Moses (as);

rewarded and comforted
but when there was silence,

speechless yet you speak
colorful yet Green,

you exist unseen
to flirt with the hearts

that sob in entreaty
of Allah (swt) Most High,

you are the scented tambourine,
the revolving beads within,

the inner planets in orbit,
the hidden one shy poets

insanely run to in order to flirt
with your sumptuous,

fresh, continuous wilderness.
And you lay on the lips

of the sages with secrets
kept throughout the ages,

transcending religious
institutions and hierarchy!

O Al Khidr, the saints’
Cheikh no physical eye sees,

knock on this pulse’s door
and strike it with the sword

of Love until all forms
dissolve into The Humiliator.

© 2007  Aida Toure


Pearly Tears

8′ x 18″ acrylic on canvas

Description: This painting evokes the soul’s nostalgia for The Divine as it journeys in a chaotic world. The poem incorporated in this piece is below.

~ Pearly Tears ~

Your scent lingers
with each curve

tracing the Universe.
Reduced to physicality,

the soul wanders beauties
for the sake of Love

until it beholds
your face again,

between each space,
there are insane lovers

whose vocabulary flirts
with the light scattered

like pearls to adorn
your precious hiddenness.

© 2007 Aida Toure.

Description: 22″x28″ acrylic on canvas. “Upon the Spheres’ Lips” relates to the spiritual Proximity the soul journeys through when we allow it to evolve in Surrender. Here, the movements of the Spheres are considered as the ultimate reflection of Surrender/Islam; therefore striving to mirror their harmony with the Divine Law introduces the human soul to great beauty. This painting took form from this poem below of the same title. I immensely enjoyed painting this piece, its language energy was motherly and gentle. I must say that it is one of my favorite pieces!

~ Upon the Spheres’ Lips ~

I am at my best
when I lay at your feet,
rolling and rolling within
in the way no one sees
but you.

Lost in this state,
language makes no sense
and the soul’s nakedness
glides by to deepen us
at the thought of staying
right there,
of all our being,
below you.

Then a voice says:
this is love knocking
from inside, open up
and stay wide open until
the prophets (as) walk
by, ecstatically chanting
la ilaha illa Allah!

At this, joyful sobbs
inundate the atmosphere
and I become a kiss
laid upon the Spheres’ lips.

© 2007 Aida Toure.

Description: 18″x14″ acrylic on canvas panel. This painting represents the quintessential Africa, from ancient times until now. It’s a celebration of the Motherland’s monumental contributions to civilization that have deliberately been omitted from history books. This piece defeats the label of “dark continent” given to Africa, a continent whose spiritual and material resources continue to support the prosperity of western societies around the globe. “Africa: the Luminous, the Coveted” symbolizes the uncelebrated evolutionary flux that has molded the spiritual, mathematical, artistic, scientific genius for centuries and that has spread all over the planet.