Sunday, 15 September 2013

Rasha Yousif | Heaven's Gate

Rasha Yousif was on my Sufi Saints of Rajasthan & Kashmir Photo Expedition-Workshop, and documented the Urs of the Sufi saint Moin'Uddin Chisti which attracts thousands of devotees and pilgrims from the four corners of South Asia, including Pakistan and Bangladesh. She produced an audio-slideshow of the event, and titled it Jannati Darwaza; Urdu for Heaven's Gate.

There's the story, perhaps apocryphal, that whoever crosses the threshold of Jannati Darwaza seven times to circumambulate the saint's tomb, will secure a place in heaven...hence its name.

While most attending the event are of the Muslim faith, there are significant numbers of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and members of other religious traditions who visit the shrine during this annual observance. 

Moinuddin Chishti is the more famous and revered Sufi saint of the Chisti order of the Indian Subcontinent. He was born in 1141 and died in 1230 CE, and is believed to be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammed. He interpreted religion in terms of human service and exhorted his disciples "to develop river-like generosity, sun-like affection and earth-like hospitality."

Rasha is from Bahrain, where she works in the finance industry. She graduated from the University of Bahrain, and obtained her Masters in Finance from DePaul University.

She's a passionate and prolific photographer, and her work can viewed on her website, and on her Vimeo page.