Hyderabad: The greatest certainty in life is death. And the greatest uncertainty is its time. Did he have a premonition of his imminent end? It appears so if the mortal hurry he was in to display his art is any indication. Renowned artist, Syed Nasiruddin Viqar, who passed away recently, was keen to display his latest Islamic paintings in Hyderabad at the earliest. He decided the venue, date, time and even distributed the invitations. But he never thought that he wouldn’t be around when his exhibits are unveiled. Inauguration of his latest art work at Abul Kalam Azad Oriental Research Institute here on Sunday had a touch of nostalgia. For art lovers, friends and fans it turned out to be an occasion to pay tributes to the eminent city artist and also to see the last of his great works on display. Visitors were seen taking their time appreciating each and every canvass and clicking away photos. In all 136 exhibits on various Islamic themes are put up. There are also a few paintings highlighting the works of Muslims scientists like Al-Biruni (geologist), Ahmad ibn Abdallah Habash Hasib Marwazi (astronomer), Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufiyan (Umayyad Caliph who founded the first Arab library), Tipu Sultan (world’s first missile man). While the Azad Institute management was in two minds on holding the exhibition given the recent death of the artist, his sons wanted the exhibition to go on as planned by their father. Viqar’s artwork is simply breathtaking. His paintings give expression to the word of God contained in the Quran. All the exhibits have a Quranic verse and its English translation in a corner. The accompanying picture captures the spirit of the verse. For instance the verse wallahu khairur raziqin (And Allah is the best of providers) is explained beautifully with a mother bird feeding its featherless nestlings. Similarly a hand hovering over the chessboard expounds the verse wallahu khairul makirin – And Allah is the best of planners. Through other paintings Viqar shows how there is no compulsion in religion, how it is Allah who makes one laugh and weep and how the Lord will gather mankind on the Day of Judgment. Looking at the accompanying images one immediately grasps the Quranic concept. The 75-year old Viqar worked as a librarian at the King Faisal Foundation, Riyadh and also served as a documentarian in the UN Development Program in Kenya. All through his passion for painting continued. After returning to India in 2005 he plunged full time into his hobby. Viqar mastered the art of inlay wood craft and came up with stunning images of the grand mosques at Makkah and Madinah and other such holy sites. His works fetched him the prestigious M.F Hussain Award, Rajiv Gandhi Shiromani Award and the Siasat Art award. Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, general secretary, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, who inaugurated the exhibition, appreciated the efforts made by Viqar to explain the Quranic verses through his art. This was his contribution to Islam, he said. Maulana Rahmani said Islam doesn’t forbid art provided there is no nudity in it. Muslims rulers were patrons of art and gave vent to their Islamic sentiments through construction of beautiful mosques and buildings. He recalled how the Prophet of Islam appreciated the poetry of Hazrath Sabit bin Qays. Prof. S.M. Rahmatullah, Pro Vice-Chancellor, MANUU, Prof. Ashraf Rafi, president, Prof. S.A. Shukoor, vice president, Abul Kalam Azad Oriental Research Institute, senior advocate, Ghulam Yezdani and Moulana Muzaffar Ali Sufi and Dr. Javid Kamal threw light on the works of the veteran artist. The painting exhibition is on for a week at Abul Kalam Azad Oriental Research Institute, Public Gardens. Viqar is no more but what he has created will surely survive for generations to come.