Artist: Mariam Magsi
Medium: 120 film scan mounted on acrylic
Dimensions: 24 x 36 inches
Excerpt from “Ocean in a Drop” written by Celene Ibrahim
The motions and intentions of the ṣalāt (prayer) focus consciousness on the movement of celestial bodies, on the interpenetration of light and darkness, of sleep and waking. The small self is made to prostrate in a physical gesture of humility. The ṣalāt forces a reflective, meditative pause; it entails a physical purification whose waters call us to the primal state that we share with all beings who are alive, as the omniscient divine voice in the Qur’an reminds: “We made from water every living thing…” (Q al-Anbiyāʾ 21:30). Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi, a contemporary female Iraqi-Austrian teacher in the Shādhiliyya Sufi tradition, describes the driving impulse to perform ṣalāt as taking over when “the eye of their heart has seen divine truth in its majesty, its beauty, and its perfection” and “hearts have drowned in the ocean of love, their striving dissolved in divine contentment.” Prayer is the engine of the soul.
When the small self finds stillness, a more abiding self allows for spaciousness, allows for expansiveness in the mind, the emotions, the body. Then, the self becomes as the drop of ocean that Rumi describes: “You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the ocean in a drop.