“O Lord, help Thou Thy loved ones to acquire knowledge and the sciences and arts, and to unravel the secrets that are treasured up in the inmost reality of all created beings. Make them to hear the hidden truths that are written and embedded in the heart of all that is. Make them to be ensigns of guidance amongst all creatures, and piercing rays of the mind shedding forth their light in this, the “first life”. Make them to be leaders unto Thee, guides unto Thy path, runners urging men on to Thy Kingdom.”
“Praise be to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast aided me to remember Thee and to praise Thee, and hast made known unto me Him Who is the Day-Spring of Thy signs…”
leili towfigh/left (medford, u.s.a.): It was so cold this morning. I “fled from sleep” in order to say my prayers in that rarified, midnight-blue silence and peace. Then I ventured out into the chill to collect images. This evening, before breaking Fast, I sang my heart out in the chapel at MIT. Both images—the rhythmic waves and the glinting gold prayers that rise heavenward in the chapel—are about my supplications during this Fast, which have centered on learning to see into the essence and spirit of things, rather than the form and material, through prayer. I have also been keeping friends who recently passed away, and the solace of their loved ones, close to my heart during this period.
na’im samimi-moore/right (beijing, china): i’ve been lucky to be a part of this project for four years now, and it has developed in me a new ritual. without nineteendays, i would find little reason to walk around my 小区 hawk-eyed at dawn. octogenarians populate the streets, swinging arms and slapping thighs, following their own ancient routes to purification and balance. i take deep breaths and try to be as inconspicuous as possible. then follows the blur of a workday punctuated by reminders of this special period – the smell of coffee, a photo of some absurdly extravagant pasta on nytimes, opportunities for growth and gratitude. as the day passes, i slowly slide into a hyper-alert and nearly meditative state. i snake my way home underground, spotting it easily from among the dim blocks. for me, the sweetest moments of the fast are those just before the first sip at the end of the day, those lucid moments of clarity, prayer, and peace where the spirit has conquered the body and holds it in patient abeyance.