Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No. 0804 Sayeda Zeinab Mosque

Ceiling in the ladies section of Sayeda Zeinab

The following quote is from Naguib Mahfouz's book "The Mirage", describing a sublime experience experienced by the protagonist within the Sayeda Zeinab Mosque:
"My nostrils were penetrated by a sweet aroma that may have been some perfumes being sprayed by a magzub, while the sounds of the supplications being made by those circumambulating the shrine filled its corners with melodic echoes. A sheikh passed near me chanting verses from the Holy Qur'an in a hushed voice, and I remembered how I'd fallen away from the religion's obligatory rites to the point where the only thing I did regularly anymore was to fast during Ramadan. I thought to myself: If I returned to the right guidance found in the prescribed prayers, might not my heart find serenity and assurance, and might I not experience relief from the burden of anxiety and fear? Despite the pain it had endured, my heart had continued to find refuge in the prophets and the guidance they brought, and to drink deeply from a wellspring of cool, pure waters. I was flooded with a tranquility so profound, I wanted to soak up all I could of the wholesome, untainted serenity that I was experiencing in those moments. In that peace-induced rapture, my sufferings appeared to me as nothing but a fine threat in the fabric of destiny's invincible sway over all that is, and I was drawn into a state of contentment and surrender. A cloudlessness of the spirit set my soul in an upward spiral until I reached a pinnacle of bliss beyond anything I'd ever hoped for."