Tell us about yourself (background, Education/certifications, interests/hobbies)
My name is Dostum Khan. I have been living in Surrey, BC, since my family and I immigrated here in 2005 from Karachi, Pakistan. My educational background is in history and, to some degree, Islamic studies, both of which are my primary areas of interest. One of the courses I am finishing up is the philosophy of science at Al-Balagh Academy by Dr. Shoaib Ahmed Malik. My interest in this specific subject developed after studying some texts on ‘ilm-ul-kalam. Aside from watching movies and tv shows, the things that keep me busy outside my school hours is reading up on defence/security-related issues, international affairs, and journal articles on the subject areas I mentioned previously.
What was your journey like in creating an Instagram art/history account and utilizing Midjourney?
My personal observation is that there is a lack of art content that goes beyond calligraphic art or Islam-inspired geometrical patterns. That is the primary reason I decided to make an Instagram page for the art content I “make” using Midjourney.
Why did you choose Islamic History and Muslim culture as your content for “Dostum & Amal?
Amal, my wife, is the one who encouraged me to make an Instagram page and just put it out there to see the response. I would say the response isn’t bad.
While the description states that the content is primarily focused on Islamic history and Muslim culture imagined by Midjourney, the name of the page is meant to be more encompassing – “imaginginghistory.aiart”. The reason why we chose not to include “Islamic” in the name is because a) the art content doesn’t just cover Islamic history. In fact, it doesn’t even cover only history either; b) most importantly, I think the history of Muslims and Islam should be narrated and presented as a global history, not as a history of a specific race or group of people. When we spatialize our history, we otherize ourselves from the others. Our history is global history. We are everywhere, not just in the Middle East or South Asia or even Asia.
You also develop Islamic History content outside of your Instagram page. Could you elaborate on that project?
I will say that there is a curriculum content-related project that I am working on for students aged between 10-14 (Grades 5-8).
The overarching objective is to create Islam-related and Islam-oriented content that is more sophisticated and critically engaging, to push the mental limits of young students as normally done in subjects like social studies, mathematics, science, etc. It is also hoped that after the completion of the project, other educators, far more qualified than I am, take similar approaches to curriculum development in Islamic education. Curriculum development in Islamic education is an area that needs significant uplifting - building educational institutions that focus on curriculum development, such as Pearson and Nelson. It is an area that needs experts with a well-rounded education in Islamic intellectual tradition as well as in social and natural sciences. It is an area that needs much financing, to begin with.
Along with being a content creator, you are also a teacher; why did you choose this as a profession, and what do you enjoy the most about it?
Being a teacher in a small community can be highly impactful. That is the primary reason why I wanted to become a teacher. Of course, while being a teacher, especially in a small community, is highly rewarding (given that you have good intentions), the job also comes with big responsibilities. Years or decades from now, if my students’ positive memories outweigh the negative ones, that will be very satisfying for me.
Go over to Dostum’s Instagram page @imagininghistory.aiart to see his wonderful and creative images designed by the use of midjourney!