An evening in Cairo

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Utterly mesmerizing. I remember the first time I heard this, in 2012. I was in Egypt at the time, and I remember one of my room mates showed me this recitation and I can’t even explain how I felt. I felt I just had to go outside and be alone and just listen to it. So I immediately downloaded it on my iPod and headed out. It was evening but time and space was somehow blurred by the melodious African undertones and pure rawness. It came straight from his heart because my brain wasn’t even processing it. It went straight to my heart. And I just rediscovered it after years, and I’m at once transported back to shuffling my feet in the dusty streets of Cairo, going around the block as I was suspended in a state of flow.

I’m not a fan of mainstream Qurraa’ (qur’aan reciters ) because I look for heartfelt recitations that I can lose myself in. I don’t know what it is.

Last year I stumbled across a quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who aptly expressed the ethereal mystery that lingered with me for years:

“You can’t, if you can’t feel it, if it never
Rises from the soul, and sways
The heart of every single hearer,
With deepest power, in simple ways.
You’ll sit forever, gluing things together,
Cooking up a stew from other’s scraps,
Blowing on a miserable fire,
Made from your heap of dying ash.
Let apes and children praise your art,
If their admiration’s to your taste,
But you’ll never speak from heart to heart,
Unless it rises up from your heart’s space.”

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