Event Review: Mawlid Festival 2012 (7pm till the end)
You can read the first part of the event review here.[divider]
As the audience slowly filled the Max Atria right after finishing maghrib prayers, one could see that it was an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. Before the break, they were left in an uplifting mood by Ustaz Shafi, and right after maghrib, everyone was ready for more.
The post maghrib program started with the adorable SimplyIslam Kidz giving their best in singing their rendition of Bushra Lana, Ya Imam ar-Rusli, Madinah tun Nabi and Ya Rabbi Bil Mustafa. It was amazing to see young children pouring out their soul for Rasulullah s.a.w. and this was a reminder of the importance of instilling the love for the Prophet in our children starting from a tender age.
Next we were treated with the sweet voices of our sisters from Az-Zahra ensemble. The ensemble has been around for years and gone around the US for different mawlid events. Definitely, they are one of those who have helped in spreading the love for Rasulullah s.a.w. in the US. Singing Khayrul bariyya, Solatullahi wassalam, Subhanallah walhamdulillah, Ya rasulallah ya habiballah, they enlivened the festival even more with their performance.
Azkafada Saman dance
The Azkafada Saman dance, known as the “dance of a thousand hands”, originated from the Gayo ethnic group from Gayo Lues in Aceh. Living up to its meaning of a thousand hands, the dance left the audience in amazement as every single move was well-coordinated, well-practiced and, well-executed. It was definite that they spent months and even years practicing the dance. If your eyes weren’t fast enough, you’d simply get confused from watching their hand movements!
An interesting aspect of the Azkafada Saman dance group, is that while the dancers dance, the singer is actually singing songs in praise of the Prophet s.a.w. How wonderful it is to be displaying such enthusiasm in performing the dance, to those words of praise. The group received an appreciative round of applause from the audience, many of whom may not have heard of or seen the Saman dance.
Qawwali by A. Jainulabudin Faizi
The uplifting and upbeat music of Qawwali brought the audience to another level of the elation in the celebration of mawlid. A. Jainulabudin Faizi has been a singer and sound engineer with 40 albums launched in his name. He is prominent in Singapore, singing Qawwali which has been around since the 8th century. Starting out slowly and gently, Mr Jainalabudin sang the first song in a clear and strong voice. The song then built up steadily, accompanied by traditional Qawwali music. Allahu Allahu Allahu… The energy and fast tempo without a doubt lifted the spirits of the audience as they sang along together.
His performance made hearts jump for joy in remembrance of the Allah and His Prophet s.a.w..
Poetry Recital by Nadiputra
Almahdi Al-Haj Ibrahim, or Nadiputra, is a well-known playwright, director, producer and actor and a prominent figure in the Malay theatre scene. This night, he presented Surah al Alaq and its translation, followed by an impactful poem. The poem revolved around the deeper meanings of Surah al-Alaq, and how strong the love of Rasulullah s.a.w. for his ummah is. Yet we, his ummah, are still lost in our own pursuit of the dunya. It was a moving poem which makes us reflect on our role as Muslims and our love for the Beloved.
“What do your eyes see?
What do your ears hear?”
Ask yourselves, what DO your eyes and ears see?
Art Fazil was the next lineup in this festival. He has been an artiste for many years, admired for his creativity, meaningful songs, and unique style. Being his usual entertaining self, he engaged the audience with his banter and beautiful songs. One of his songs, Yakin (Certainty), has so much that one can relate to. Translated, the chorus reads:
“If I can’t run, I’ll walk
If I can’t walk, I’ll crawl
If I can’t crawl, I’ll drag myself
Slowly, I will eventually reach.”[/box_light]
No matter what, there is always a way for us to get to our destination. Don’t ever give up, because you will get there by any means. Remember this in our own journey of life, our journey to the everlasting abode, our journey to meet Rasulullah s.a.w. and Allah s.w.t.
Nowseeheart’s songs remain evergreen throughout the years. The three songs that they sang were “Selawat atasmu”, “Kuharap cinta”, “Marhaban” and “Selawat pelindung diri”.
They also reminded us of the 4 characteristics of our prophet saw: Siddiq (honesty), amanah (trustworthiness), tabligh (to reach out the message), fatanah.
They ended their performance with an advice that was given to us by Rasulullah s.a.w.: to hold on to al-Quran and sunnah, as mentioned in the hadith, “I have left you two things and you will not stray as long as you hold them fast. The one is the Book of God and the other the Law (Sunnah) of his Prophet.”
Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
The highlight of the evening was the talk by the eminent Shaykh Hisham Kabbani. The main points presented in his speech can be divided into two – the love of Allah for the Prophet s.a.w. and the path of tasawwuf.
Al-Muallim, al-Ameen – The teacher, the trustworthy one
Muhammad s.a.w. is our teacher, who was taught by Allah s.w.t. He is the most trustworthy one who can be trusted with the secrets of the Holy Quran through revelation.
Allah taught him what he did not teach anyone. As mentioned in the Quran, Surah ar-Rahman, verses 1-3 that reads: ar-Rahman. ‘Allamal Quran. Khalaqal insan (The Beneficient. Has taught the Quran (to Muhammad). He created the human being.) The Prophet s.a.w. was taught the Quran, and it is by the love of Allah s.w.t. for the Prophet s.a.w. that He taught him.
Surah at-Tawbah verse 24
“Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline; or the dwellings in which ye delight― are dearer to you than Allah or His Messenger or the striving in His cause; then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious.”
Shaykh Hisham said regarding this verse of the Quran, “The love of Allah and the Prophet s.a.w. is a holy issue – no one can say about that love except the greatest love that Allah has planted into the heart of Prophet s.a.w.”.
One proof of Allah’s s.w.t. love for the Prophet s.a.w. is in the secret of the first letter in the name of Allah, and the name of Rasulullah s.a.w. The letter alif is the first letter in “Allah” and in “Ahmad” (the name of Rasulullah s.a.w. in Jannah).
Love for Muhammad s.a.w. before anything else
Our love for Rasulullah s.a.w. should come before our children, family, parents, money and business. It is our duty to show the love of Rasulullah s.a.w., for us to reach the love of Allah. Allah has mentioned in the Quran, Surah Ali Imran, verse 31: Say: “If ye do love Allah, follow me (Muhammad): Allah will love you and forgive you your sins; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Our hearts belong to Allah s.w.t.
Muhammad s.a.w. was the only one in whose heart was only the love for Allah s.w.t. He received the honour of being the only one to reach Kaaba Qawsain Aw Adna, an honour even Jibril alaihissalam wasn’t given. Imagine how much love Allah s.w.t. has given Rasulullah s.a.w. at that moment.
Allah tested Prophet Ibrahim alaihissalam with his son, because he was loving his son and Allah at the same time. Prophet Ya’qub alaihissalam lost his son and eventually his sight, realising that with his blindness he only sees Allah. Had Muhammad s.a.w. put other than Allah in his heart, he would not be granted the honour of reaching Kaaba Qawsain Aw Adna.
The Way of Tasawwuf
Shaykh Hisham goes on to shed light on tasawwuf or Sufism. The majority of people who express their love for the Prophet s.a.w. believe in tassawuf. Tasawwuf is the way to Allah s.w.t. And the way to Him, as mentioned earlier in verse 31 of Surah Ali Imran, is through the Prophet s.a.w.
Tasawwuf has existed since the time of the Prophet s.a.w. He taught the sahabah “khusnul khuluq”, meaning the best of moral excellence. They didn’t need to have a shaykh or a guide because they were taught by the Prophet s.a.w. himself.
Many individuals have disputed over Sufism, having been a subject of debate till today. To this, Shaykh Hisham quotes a few prominent scholars of the past, who have accepted tasawwuf as an essential part of Islam.
Imam Malik said, “He who practices tasawwuf without learning sacred law corrupts his faith, while he who learns sacred law without practicing tasawwuf corrupts himself. Only he who combines the two (tassawuf and fiqh) will reach the Truth.”
Imam Shafie said, “Three things in this world had been made lovely to me: avoiding affections, treating people kindly and following the way of tasawwuf.”
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was advising his son, “I do not know people better than them (the Sufis).” Then someone said to him, “They listen to music and reach states of ecstasy.” To which Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal answered, “Do you prevent them from enjoying an hour with Allah?”
Imam Nawawi said in his book, Al Maqasid, The Disciplines and Principles of Tasawwuf:
“The specifications of the way of the Sufis are five; first, to keep the presence of Allah s.w.t. in your heart, in public and in private. Second, to follow the sunnah of the Prophet s.a.w., by action and speech. Third, to keep away from dependence on people. Forth, to be happy with what Allah s.w.t. gives u even if it is little. Fifth, to always refer your matters to Allah almighty and exalted.”
Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab himself said, “My father and I do not deny or criticize the science of Sufism, but on the contrary we support it, because it purifies the external and the internal of the hidden sins, which are related to the heart and to the outward form. Even though the individual might externally be on the right way, internally he might be on the wrong way. Sufism is necessary to correct it.”
All these point towards the proof that tasawwuf is a practice that it is an integral part of Islam. It is important though, to distinguish oneself from those who claim they are Sufis when in fact they do not follow the proper ways and adab of tasawwuf. Sufis love the Prophet s.a.w., and anyone whose act or speech that goes against the sunnah of the best of creation, are not the true lovers of Rasulullah s.a.w.
And thus, Shaykh Hisham ended his speech with this short yet powerful sentence – “Tasawwuf is love for the Prophet, and love for the Prophet is tassawuf.”
Formed back in 2005 in Syria, Madeehul Mustafa’s members consists mainly of former students of the Abu Nour Institute in Damascus. Out of love for Rasulullah s.a.w., Madeehul Mustafa was formed and they have been bringing forth Qasaaids (poetry in praise of the Prophet) to Singapore at various events. Classical Qasaaids depict the longing and love for Rasulullah, Madinah and remembrance of Allah. All of these are brought to our ears by the simple yet melodious rhythm of the daff (percussion) as well as the clear voices of our brothers from Madeehul Mustafa.
There is no doubt that these Qasaaids bring elation to the hearts of the lovers of Rasulullah s.a.w. As Madeehul Mustafa started to sing “Madad, Ya Rasulullah”, the audience became deeply immersed in expressing their longing for the Prophet s.a.w. Louder and louder the voices became, and as Madeehul Mustafa continued with the Qasaaids, soon, an impromptu hadrah began. The effect of dhikr and remembrance in a gathering has more impact than if one were to do it alone. Everyone in the audience was elated, pouring out their love and longing for the Prophet. The Max Atria would never have experienced such joy in one gathering if not for the Mawlid Festival.
Haqqani Whirling Dervishes
The Haqqani Whirling Dervishes, which came all the way from Indonesia, was up next. For some who may not have seen or heard of the whirling dervishes, they originated from Mawlana Jalaluddin ar-Rumi, or also known just by Rumi. His poetry has been popularised in recent years and gained attention especially in the West. You would wonder how the dervishes actually remain in perfect rotation throughout periods of fifteen minutes or more! It is truly one of the most intriguing things that anyone could come across.
Singapore Haqqani Ensemble
The Naqsh Band, who has been invited to various events both locally and internationally, was the last act for the night. They definitely did not disappoint, as their performance was an amazing wrap to the Mawlid Festival. Although it was already late into the night, most of the audience was still full of energy and excitement in participating in their songs.
The inaugural Mawlid Festival 2012 was concluded with Mahallul Qiyam with all the acts for the night, and a du’a by Shaykh Hisham Kabbani. For sure, the audience shares a common sentiment – that they’ve spent a beneficial night in remembrance of Allah and His beloved, and are in anticipation for next year’s event. As the crowd slowly emptied the Max Atria, there was one thing for certain – Rasulullah s.a.w. is alive in our hearts.[divider]
A travel enthusiast, Salwa enjoys learning about cultures and gaining new experiences. She spends her free time trying to pick up new languages (although there is none besides Malay and English that she can master yet!)