Ibrahim El-Salahi Untitled from Prison Notebook 1976

  • Not on view

The imam said to me, after the prayers,

“It is divine providence.”

Everything is entered unto your destined

Sacred Book before you are born.

It is the will of our Creator, the Eternal

Refuge, Owner of Sovereignty, and the One and Only.

When He intends a thing that He says to it, “Be,” and it is.

His knowledge precedes His will. He has encompassed all things in knowledge.

So you’re left with nothing other than to surrender to His will.

I have but to surrender to His will.

I entrust my affair to Allah.

“There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.”

He is Allah, my Lord.

Ibrahim El-Salahi: The bird here is almost like my conscience, reminding me of what should be done.

I yearn for a ride on the back of a Buraq.

Immersed I would be, in the ecstasy of its amber-colored horseback,

Soaring over far skies,

Far away from prison walls,

Never to return.

Ibrahim El-Salahi: This is about how I wished to have a Buraq, which is a flying horse or donkey, or something in between. I would be engulfed in its amber perfume, and it would fly me over the walls, the thick walls of jail, and I would never return.

Publication excerpt from Ibrahim El-Salahi. Prison Notebook, 1976. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2018.
Ink on paper from a notebook with thirty-eight ink on paper drawings (recto and verso)
11 1/4 × 13 3/8" (28.6 × 34 cm)
Acquired through the generosity of Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Catie and Donald Marron, Alice and Tom Tisch (in honor of Christophe Cherix), Marnie Pillsbury and Committee on Drawings and Prints Fund
Object number
© 2021 Ibrahim El-Salahi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London
Associated work
Prison Notebook
Drawings and Prints

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