Exclusive Interview with LionofAllah: Islamic Visual Artist and Typographer

I’ve known LionofAllah for a while now, I’ve come to realize that as paradoxical as it may sound many people know and don’t know them at the same time. Their story is one that is not only incredible and adventurous but also very inspirational. So I bring to you for the first time ever, an interview with the CEO of LionofAllah and his journey from being average ‘Abdullah’ with no skill or interest in graphic design to a well known established visual artist and typographer.

I hope this interview to be a source of inspiration to everyone who reads it and evidence to show you that all you need is a lot of sincerity, a bit of sacrifice and tons of blessing from Allah SWT to change your life for the better. LionofAllah are the perfect embodiment of this notion. So let’s get started insha’Allah.

Tell us a little bit about your life, your background, and where you grew up?

Alhamdulillah all guidance comes from Allah SWT alone and He guides whom He wills. I was born and raised in the Middle East. Before being a practicing Muslim , it’s not like I rejected the faith of Islam. Rather, Islam was something in the back of my mind, but not a priority. Which ,unfortunately, is the case for most Muslims nowadays.

I grew up just like any other teenage kid in the Middle East, those who enjoyed playing football, talking about the latest and baddest cars in town, the best play-station game of the year, the coolest and funniest movies and TV shows of the month. In school, I was slightly towards the naughty /cheeky side of the class. I would cause a little bit of trouble here and there, but never managed to get caught. I also did really well in sports. These elements of entertainment were nice and fun for a little while but never gave me any true happiness or sense of fulfillment.

A few years before I became practicing, I started to pray my Salah, but I wasn’t so serious in my Ibadah (worship). It was more of  routine and empty physical movements. May Allah forgive me for that.

You mentioned that you were not always practicing Islam in the best way, so what made you change?

I gave up on a lot of  things that weren’t helping me become a better person in life. At the same time, I started making good and beneficial friends who enjoin good, make you do good, or at least they have the ability to distinguish good from bad. Not the type of friends, who were just doing whatever they saw people do around them. The kind of people who would do good, even if everyone was doing bad. And if evil was being done in front of them, they’d have the courage to stop it.

Having good friends, with any doubt whatsoever, is the key aspect in a person’s life today. You know that one “religious friend” that is a nice guy and you’d be comfortable hanging out with in the presence of your parents? But, you sort of get annoyed at him because he’s not as ‘fun’ as your other friends? Go find him, befriend him, and help each other in doing good. An easy way to spot this religious friend is he has a beard.

So, Alhumdulilah Allah SWT willed it such that my friends and I decided to make an Umrah.

kabah_loa

He recalls seeing the Ka’bah in real life for the first time and how it instantaneously gave him a feeling of tranquility and peace.

 

Not only was this my first Umrah ever, but I was the first person from my family to perform ‘Umrah. May Allah SWT accept our Umrah and make way for us to go again and again. insha’Allah.

What is “LionofAllah” about and why did you choose this title? What are some of the greatest challenges that you’ve faced? What are your greatest accomplishments so far?

What is LOA? Well, let me give you a little bit of a background on how we started instead.

In the summer of 2012, when we were sitting at home and socializing with people over the internet, we realized that a lot of people on the internet and ourselves included aren’t doing anything beneficial. So why not share with them our newly found beauty in Islam. And so we created a small Facebook page in June 2012 called  “No matter wherever you are, Whatever you do, Never forget your salah”.

Our aim back then was exactly the same as it is to this day, which is:

“And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.” – [Quran 51:55]

With a few likes on our page, we kept looking images of Hadith, ayahs of the Quran, and inspiring Islamic quotes on the famous Islamic Facebook pages. With the greatest of respect to the designers, we quickly realized that the design of these reminders were quite poor as opposed to the design of other famous western brands.

Islam is a beautiful religion with an even more beautiful message, and this message isn’t just for Arabs, for a specific group of people but rather God tells us that it’s for the entire universe. so we formed a closely knit team comprising of a few brothers and we started designing our own reminders for the sake of Allah ﷻ with this beautiful message of Islam.

Slowly but steadily the reminders got recognition and we kept getting better at our work. On the 22nd of September 2012, we officially gave ourselves the title “LionofAllah” for no particular reason and we purchased a website soon after.

How often do you make your reminders? And what do you use to make them? What’s the process usually like?

The reminders are generally made on a daily basis but sometimes due to other commitments things do get delayed. Regardless, from the day LionofAllah began the website it has been updated EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is all due to Allah SWT alone first, and then to the brothers helping us behind the scenes.

We’re human beings for which the Arabic word is “Insaan“, it comes from the root word that means ‘to forget’. Hence, we human beings are creatures that forget our purpose sometimes, and the reason why we are here in this world. At times. we share the same reminder again and we do this because we realize that human beings forget. Believe it or not, sometimes the second or third time we share a particular reminder is when it really hits home. Because, everyone’s going through a particular situation or phase on their life and sometimes we share the reminder at the exact time when it resonates with the person. That’s when when we receive dozens of messages from people telling us how much our reminders have helped them.

LionofAllah’s reminders have impacted tons of people around the world as evident below.

Thanks to the necessary evil of our current time called ‘technology’. We have achieved most of what we have today. Our reminders are made on Macs, PCs, and other handheld devices. Sometimes, I am away from the my desktop for a long time, and that’s when handheld devices come to the rescue.

What inspires you to keep working hard? What is the best part of your job as the CEO of LionofAllah?

The only inspiration I can genuinely think of  is doing the very little bit to please Allah SWT in hope that He may accept it from us as as a good deed and protect us from the punishment of the hell fire.

Another inspiration is that we’ve made it a commitment of our company that we work every single day on our reminders to  make them reach the millions out there. So we don’t want to fall short on our commitment, this helps us  push ourselves to  keep going when this get hard.

What advice do you have for non-Muslims? Non-practicing Muslims?

My advice to both parties is to just pick up the Quran, and read. Read. Read. READ!

If someone wanted to do exactly what you are doing right now. Describe the steps they need to go through to achieve it? Where do they get started? Photoshop? Go to design school?

To do exactly what we are doing, wouldn’t make much sense. Would it? To do something better is always welcome and appreciated. Regardless, whatever you want to do, in whatever way you want to help Islam. This is what you have to do: 

  1. Set the right intention: purely to seek the pleasure of Allah SWT. 
  2. Increase your Ibadah (worship), so read Quran more, pray more, increase the length of your Sujood.
  3. Sincerely raise your hands up, and  ask Allah SWT to use you for this Deen (way of life) and to make you a means to benefit the Ummah.

The reason I say this is because it may very possibly happen that Allah SWT will use you and your contribution to benefit the Ummah but in return you are not being rewarded for it at all. Do you know why? Because you didn’t have the right intention in the first place. Perhaps, the intention was the pleasure of people and not the pleasure of Allah SWT. 

LionofAllah ventured with Zohayma Montañer in producing a series called “From the lips of Muhammad” – a unique visual representation of the hadeeth of the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh).

What are your future plans for LionofAllah? Where can we learn more about your projects? Please share with us your Facebook page and website.

Team LOA has meetings once in a while to discuss future plans or a series of reminders that we wish to design and share with the public. However, we don’t necessarily speak about all our projects openly. To keep in touch with us, visit our website, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Behance, Tumblr and much more. 

Also, feel free to send us a Salam, give us feedback, comments, or tell us about any future projects that you want to see us get involved with.

Our complete social profile can be accessed at the bottom of our website. May Allah SWT forgive me if I’ve have mentioned anything wrong and continue to make Du’a for us. 

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