Mohamed Zakariya wrote about this piece when it appeared in the Spring 1993 issue of TAM:
The text for the centrefold of this edition is a Hadith Qudsi, that is, a report from the Prophet that is inspired by God. These are not regular hadiths about the Prophet’s words and actions, nor are they pure revelation of the Qur’an. In the Hadith Qudsi, God speaks in the first person. They are full of meaning and light, and are inexpressibly beautiful. This text is appropriate to our season, and our duty and privilege of observing the fast of Ramadan. We observe this plain and simple act of worship for God alone, not for any alleged benefits that may or may not accrue.
To me, it seems to translate as: “The Prophet of God (May God bless him and grant him salvation) reporting from his Lord, Mighty and Magnificent, said: ‘Every deed of a son of Adam is for himself, except fasting - it is for Me, and I reward for it.’”
That is all that is in the calligraphy, but a full version in Bukhari continues: “The faster puts aside his desire, his food and his drink for My sake, and fasting is a sheild (against disobedience and hellfire). A faster has two joys, a joy when he breaks the fast, and a joy when he meets his Lord, and the faster’s bad breath is more fragrant to God than the scent of musk”.
Some Imams have indicated that this hadith is metaphorical. God is emphasizing the importance of fasting. There is another Hadith Qudsi which in part states: “God says:‘I have divided the prayer (salat/namaz) between Me and My slave into two halves - half for Me and half for My slave.’””
There are many differences in interpretation, but all agree that all true deeds of worship are for God Alone.
This piece of calligraphy is executed in the Jeli Mestalik script. The border is of “Ebru” (Turkish type marbeling) which I made specially for this piece.