The Umbrellas of Madinah

For this post, allow me to share with my blogging community glimpses of an unlikely world that you, dear reader, may not normally find yourself in: the Masjid an-Nabawi (or Prophet’s Mosque) of Madinah al-Munawwarah (the Enlightened City) in Saudi Arabia.


the Masjid an-Nabawi surrounded by its wide piazza, its giant umbrellas still folded in the early morning. photography by ssj

It is my sincere hope that with these photos and the linked videos, I could convey to you the peace of this place and its people, a peace that is as graceful and nurturing as these umbrellas in the piazza and courtyards of the Masjid an-Nabawi.


guarding the lines and waiting for the sun. photography by ssj


the umbrellas in full bloom. photography by ssj

photo gallery: The Prophet’s Mosque.  photography by Said Sadain, Jr.

SL Rasch GmbH: Unfurling the umbrellas, and other projects (2:29 mins)

The Making and Installation of the Umbrellas (6:15 mins)


  • An unlikely post for the WP Photo Challenge.
  • YouTube videos are courtesy of SL Rasch GmbH.

With this post, I bid you hail and Godspeed! I shall be taking leave from blogging for a while, especially during the fasting month of Ramadhan (which falls from mid-May to mid-June this year), to retreat to a calmer and more modest life, immersed in the peace of worship and prayers, and a heightened consciousness of the invisible lines connecting us to an Almighty Source that is Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

— SSJ, 4 May 2018 

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a tense life


 a Cordyline species red-fruited palm lily. photography by ssj, 2013

a tense life
against a calm sky,
a clear day,
but only for a while.

© said sadain, jr. 2013


a Cycas species (sago palm cycad). photography by ssj, 2013 


  • A Tense Life: Past tense. Present tense. Future tense?
  • Both Cordyline and Cycas plants were found thriving abundantly on the soils of Pulau Kapas in the State of Terengganu, Malaysia (as of 2013)
  • WordPress Photo Challenge: Lines
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Peculiar Speed of the 5-7-5s

In a parallel universe, I would have been a prolific writer, churning out, day and night, streams of  prose and poetry, and kilometric reams of novels and essays, you would wonder if I ever stop for anything, if I ever sleep a blink (assuming you would also be in that parallel universe). But no, I am in this universe, where I stop for red lights and sleep like a log, and blog in a most laconic way. And you, probably amused by now about what, if ever, may have happened to that book project I wrote about here a few times last year.

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this is water




image by Comfreak at

this is water

this is water we must learn to love
while it embraces us beneath our skins
and with our best to keep it pure
lest we forget to swim and drown in sins.

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The Tempest


image by photo-graphe at

The Tempest

It looms on the horizon riding the back of waves
raising sails in ashen canvas that can only burst
to spread fury and fire rains and dancing dervishes.
It draws in breath to still the air
so that palm fronds will cock their ears
and sand crabs will freeze their eyes
while rocks and roots will beat like bulls
a rhythm for an ancient ritual dance.

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a sun song


sunrise from beneath the wings, photography by ssj

a sun song

sun lifts from beneath
steel wings of anxiety,
pensile promises.

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The Hard Lane


image by Comfreak at

the hard lane

there are fast lanes that do not wait,
we either get crushed,
or get there sooner,
or we can stand by to see the rush,
and think of falling,
and rising water.

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