By her, I departed to her
from me, never to return;
one like me never speaks
of coming back.
Kindly I secluded my soul
away from my departure;
never again did I allow it
to be my companion.
Then I was made to disappear
from where my soul stood apart,
that no attribute could appear
to crowd me in my presence,
And I was made to witness
my absence when she appeared,
so I found me, her there,
in the bridal chamber of my seclusion.
In my witnessing, my existence
was cast off, and I was far
from the existence of my witnessing,
effacing, not transfixing.
I embraced what I witnessed
by bearing witness to it
in the effacement of my witness,
now sober after my drunkenness.
In the sobriety after effacement,
I was none other than her,
my essence adorned my essence
when she removed her veil.
(Umar ibn al-Farid; Excerpt from 'The Poem of the Sufi Way')
'Mecca the Blessed, Medina the Radiant: The Holiest Cities of Islam'
By Seyyed Hossein Nasr Ph.D. (Author), Ali Kazuyoshi Nomachi (Photographer)
Mecca the Blessed, Medina the Radiant is an unprecedented photographic exploration of the most holy cities of Islam and the hajj, or annual pilgrimage during Ramadan, when more than a million faithful journey to Mecca's Great Mosque to commemorate the first revelation of the Qur'an (Koran).
This book allows both Muslims and those unfamiliar with the Islamic faith complete access to the holiest sites of one of the world's major religions, practiced by a quarter of the world's population but often misunderstood in the west.
Photographer Ali Kazuyoshi Namachi, a Muslim convert from Japan, garnered the full support of Saudi Arabian authorities—rarely given—to shoot in cities where photography is strictly controlled and non-Muslims are not allowed.
An expansive work of photojournalism, Mecca the Blessed, Medina the Radiant includes:
140 full-color, never-before-seen photographs
Mystical places and scenes of Islam
Breathtaking aerial photographs of the Arabian terrain
Vistas of teeming crowds of worshippers surrounding the Kacbah, Mecca's sacred center
Intense portraits of faithful Muslims in prayer
Magnificent architecture reflecting the faith of the believers
Text by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, one of the most highly regarded scholars of Islam, enhances the stunning Islamic holy city photographs to illuminate many aspects of Islamic belief that have remained enigma to non-Muslims—until now.