Event review: Mawlid Festival 2012 (4 – 7 pm)
Where: Singapore Expo Max Atria
You can read the post-maghrib event review here.
Have you ever been in love?
Well I have, and dare I say that the whole auditorium audience at Singapore Expo’s Max Atria fell in love if they had not already.
With the same person.
Muhammad ibn Abdullah, may peace be upon him.
Held on the 23rd of September 2012, the event began with a welcoming address by Ustaz Muhammad Nuzhan who acted as the emcee for the earlier part of the whole event. He spoke of having the sense of tranquility (salaam) in one’s self. Explaining further, he zoned in on a point that struck a chord with me; that having all the physical and materialistic means does not guarantee tranquility in one’s heart.
It is a gift that is bestowed upon the servants that the Almighty has chosen. So great is the gift that no amount of money and wealth can help to attain it, and no extent of adversity that befalls an individual can prevent it. One way to try and acquire this elusive ni’mah is through the remembrance of Allah and the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Qafilah Zikrullah proceeded to take the stage soon after Ustaz Nuzhan finished the address. They are a qaseedah ensemble led by Ustaz Omar Maulana. For those who might not be familiar with qaseedahs, it is a session where the group leads the audience in reciting praises to Allah and the prophet (pbuh) with the accompaniment of some instruments. The crowd recited along with the various beautiful salawats and zikr with Mawlid Diba’I books clutched in their hands for reference, courtesy of Simply Islam, of course.
A young boy in the group was given the privilege of having a microphone for him to lead one of the recitations. His eagerness and passion was so precious. There was a moment during this session that I fell silent, just listening to the voices around me echoing with praises of love for the prophet (pbuh). Voices that rang out strong, clear and full of yearning.
Seeing and hearing so many people unite in their love for our leader, our imaam, our Nabi, made my heart swell with love not only for the blessed prophet but also for the fellow muslims in the audience. It definitely brought tears into my eyes and I would have started weeping in my seat save for the fact that, the camera man was standing just a few steps away from me and was panning his camera at all angles. It would not have been a pretty sight to appear to the folks at home watching the live stream on www.sufilive.com .
The session ended with a Mawlid do’a recited by Ustaz Masruhan Kyai Choteb which moved some to tears.
Next came the very talented Angklung ensemble from Madrasah Al-Junied Al- Islamiah. They played instrumental melodies to the tunes of different salawats. I can only describe their performance as gentle, melodious and very complex. I might be biased here because I was from this school, but their performance probably inspired some to go and learn how to play the angklung. Needless to say, they managed to steal the hearts of the audience with their beautiful arrangements.
Syamil and Ustaz Sofyan
After the angklung performance, the lights dimmed for abit only to be lit up again and reveal Syamil. He is a solo nasheed singer. With smooth vocals, he entertained the crowd. During his performance, we were graced by the arrival of the esteemed Shaykh Hisham Kabbani. Ustaz Sofyan also came on stage for a duet with Syamil for an emotional rendition of a song of love and longing for the Prophet (pbuh).
Okay. Brace yourselves because I’m going to go a little bit crazy on this part. Al Mawlid is a Malaysian group that got together last two years in 2010. What I find so very cool about this band is that their members were once part of various popular RnB Soul groups like Ruffedge, VE, and Inuuendo. Now, they sing songs of love to the Almighty and prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Performing songs like Cahaya Seluruh Alam (The light of the universe) and Menuju Madinah (Heading to Madinah) they melted hearts all around the room with their soothing vocals and soft melodies. Even the editor agrees with me, so your argument is invalid. Half way through their performance though, I was struck by how much they have changed. What they were doing back then and what they do now is very different. Yes, they are still singing and entertaining but this time they have the element of da’wah in their songs. Not just empty love songs that hold meaning only for this world. It’s fascinating to see how the heart can totally be transformed once it is touched by Allah’s hidayah. Once the heart is enlightened, there is nothing that can stop us from getting closer to him. May Allah enlighten our hearts as He has done theirs and Ashabi.
(On a random note, I have now gotten their songs in my phone and they’ve been on replay ever since. So, members of Al- Mawlid, if you are reading this, follow lah saya kat twitter ye. Hee. Thank you. (@mardeedee))
Ustaz Shafi and Majlis Cinta Rasulullah
The last performance before the break for Maghrib prayers was the qasidah group called Majlis Cinta Rasulullah which was led by Ustaz Solihin. Soon after, Ustaz Shafi, who is a well known Singaporean Islamic teacher joined the recitations and it came as no surprise that this elicited a big response from the crowd. His salawats were passionate and got the auditorium following along. He encouraged everyone to wave their hands to the rhythm of the salawats in greeting to the prophet. Needless to say, he got the crowd involved and most people were seen happily, and passionately reciting along.
Phew! That was only the first half of the event and already there were so many things that went on. What I got from this event is that it is not your typical mawlid celebration with purely qasidahs and do’as. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, the fact that a variety of ways to express our love for the prophet was showcased just shows the diversity in us. And through all of our differences, we unite and stand together in the spirit of love for our blessed prophet, Sayyidina Muhammad sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam.
As my father asked us after passionately making the decision to avoid American brands in light of a certain offensive video:
Don’t you love our prophet more than McDonalds?!
Yes Ayah, that’s why I went to the Mawlid Fest.
May Allah bless the organisers, performers and everyone who made the event possible. Barakallahu feena.[divider]
Radhiatul Mardhiyah Mustaffa
Mardhiyah graduated from Temasek Polytechnic with a Diploma in Applied Food Science and Nutrition. She’s an aspiring writer who blogs her mind at http://marmardee.wordpress.com/