Fanaa- When the Dervish Whirls

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Fanaa - When the Dervish Whirls


Nadia Zeeshan


20 x16 x 0.5 inches (H x W x D).

Painted on gallery wrapped canvas using acrylic paint and ink and textured using gel mediums and texture paste.


"Fanaa - When the Dervish Whirls" is inspired by the poetry of Bulleh Shah , a famous mystic during Indian Mughal Empire. "Whirling" is a form of meditation practiced by mystics in which they try to connect to God. Fanaa (self annihilation) is one of the stages that a mystic needs to go through to connect spiritually with God (Baqaa).

The idea behind this piece is based on the Sufi concept of Fanaa , The annihilation of ego (nafs) till what remains is spiritual union with the Creator. The journey demands an unmaking before there can be a re-making. I have been fascinated by this concept for the past decade more so since I read Bulleh Shahs poetry on the topic of self reflection.

"You read so many books to know it all,

Yet fail to ever read your own heart at all.

You rush to your holy shrines to play a part,

Would you dare enter the shrine of your own heart?

You are quick to attack the evil one,

Yet you’ve never fought your own ego/self Stop it my friend.

Just follow the wandering dervish!

We are lost in this river of self,

No boat or streams are of any help.

Stop it my friend God is All we need.

God is All."


- Bulleh Shah


This art will remind you that life is a spiritual journey and that the nature of this world is superficial and materialistic. 


Fanaa- When the Dervish Whirls

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