Culture, Music & Arts

    Allah gives light in darkness,
      Allah gives rest in pain,
    Cheeks that are white with weeping
      Allah paints red again.

    The flowers and the blossoms wither,
    Years vanish with flying fleet;
    But my heart will live on forever,
      That here in sadness beat.

    Gladly to Allah's dwelling
      Yonder would I take flight;
    There will the darkness vanish,
      There will my eyes have sight.

    by: Siegfried August Mahlmann - [1771to 1826] (tr. H.W. Longfellow)

    Original German

    Allah gibt Licht in Nächten,
    Allah gibt Trost in Not!
    Und bleich gehärmte Wange
    Färbt Allah wieder rot!
    Blumen und Blüten welken,
    Jahre verschwinden im Flug;
    Doch ach! mein Herz wird bleiben,
    Das hier voll Schwermut schlug!
    Fröhlich zu Allah's Wohnung
    Werd' ich hinüber gehn,
    Dort wird die Nacht verschwinden,
    Dort wird mein Aug' ihn sehn.

    Muhammad Abdul Quddus Muwakil is the quintessential Trini: a mélange of cultures, histories, and genes. Although he often wears the colours and emblems of Rastafari, he is a practising Muslim, fluent in Arabic. His father named him after the Prophet, and Abdul Quddus translates as “slave of the Most High.”

    “Islam has influenced the core of my being, the way I live,” Muwakil says. “It has taught me to be respectful to others, to be truthful, and to give to the less fortunate.” This doesn’t prevent him from having questions, though. He challenges the Muslim belief that music is haram (forbidden). After all, he plays the guitar, flute, harmonica, and African djembe drums, and music reaches the audience that he most wants to reach: the youth.

    ALLAHUMMA salli 'ala sahibi al-taj, goes a famous Yemeni prayer — "Our Lord, bless the Owner of the Crown!" The "crown" is the turban, and its owner is the Holy Prophet Muhammad, upon him blessings and peace.

    'Imama, the turban, has been the most distinctive vestimentary sunnah — "way of life" — of Islam since the beginnings of the Religion. 'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar said: "The Prophet used to wind the turban around his head and tuck it in behind him, letting its extremity hang down between his shoulders."

    Ramadan - A Poem

    A poem on Ramadan by the esteemed Khalim Ali Principal of Trinidad's Warrenville TIA Primary school

    Here Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad  narrates the history of poetry in Islamic civilization.  Shaykh Abdal Hakim is a British Muslim researcher, writer, columnist and teacher - widely known as one of the world's leading Islamic scholars. His profile and work have attracted significant media coverage both in the Muslim World and the West. Conversant in both traditional Islamic scholarship and Western thought and civilization, Winter has made contributions in the following areas: Muslim-Christian relations, Islamic ethics, Sufism, Islamic theology, Hadith studies, orthodox Muslim responses to extremism, sexuality in Islam, Islam and gender, Islam and the West, British Islam, religious life in Ottoman Turkey.

    Aashiq al-Rasul - Every Beat - Acapella - Official Music Video, Voice Only, No Instruments used.

    A south Indian scholar named Gopal once visited the court of Allaudin Khilji and 'posed a set of religious and mythological questions in the course of a theological debate to the badshah,' Ayaz narrated.

    'The question was made of 28,000 sentences and was sung as a verse by the pundit. The king, who was busy taming murderers and criminals, assigned poet Amir Khusrau the task of framing a fitting reply. The poet wanted six months to reply,' Ayaz said.

    After six months, he assembled a team 12 children led by one of his prime disciples, Shamaat Bin Ibrahim, Ayaz said.

    'Khusrau penned the 'kalams' (verses) and instructed three child vocalists to reply to the south Indian scholar with 'taans' - classical music notations. The poet wrote a code of musical conduct for the 'kalams' to be sung and it became the first qawwali musical verse sung for the common man,' Ayaz said.

    Music continued to flourish in medieval India in spite of the acquisition of political power by the Turks, Afghans and Mughals.  It was patronized and thrived at the imperial courts of Muslim kings in Delhi and Agra and at the centers of provincial kingdoms like the Sharqui kingdom of Jaunpur, the Khilji kingdom of Malwa and the Bahmani kingdom of Bijapur and Golcunda.

    In his memoirs Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, has named several leading musicians of his time including Sheikh Ghuran, Sheikh Adhan, Khawaja Abdullah Marwareed, Sheikh Nai, Sheikh Quli, Ghulam Saadi, Meer Anju and many others. It is believed that the renowned musician Baiju Bawra was among the musicians in Humayun’s court.

    The Rise of Islamic Rap

    Some South Asian Muslim youth in British cities, seeking art and music that reflect their own alienation, embrace the hip-hop and rap of urban black America. Styles and messages converge, as young Muslim teens blend cultural and political expression with their Islamic faith, explains author Peter Mandaville. Islamic fundamentalists warn against any music at all, let alone provocative hip-hop. Budding interest in alternative, radical music could be a fad – or signal yet a new alliance between Muslim and leftist social-justice values. There’s power in demographics: Some 70 percent of the world’s Muslim population is under the age of 30 – and they could eventually transform mainstream Islam, including the religion’s goals, activism and reputation. – YaleGlobal

    "Levee Camp Holler" is no ordinary song. It's the product of ex-slaves who worked moving earth all day in post-Civil War America. It has lyrics that, like the call to prayer, speak about a glorious God. But it's the song's melody and note changes that closely resemble one of Islam's best-known refrains. Like the call to prayer, "Levee Camp Holler" emphasizes words that seem to quiver and shake in the reciter's vocal chords. Dramatic changes in musical scales punctuate both "Levee Camp Holler" and the adhan. A nasal intonation is evident in both. Upward of 30 percent of the African slaves in the United States were Muslim, and an untold number of them spoke and wrote Arabic, historians say now. Coincidence or not, this traditional AfroAmerican folk music possesses features that are found in Islamic African music and hardly at all in other styles. Grehart Kubik, a musicologist who specializes in African rain-forest music, concludes: "Many traits that have been considered unusual, strange and difficult to interpret by earlier blues researchers can now be better understood as a thoroughly processed and transformed Arabic-Islamic stylistic component. What makes the blues different from African American music in the Caribbean and in South America is, after all, its Arabic-Islamic stylistic ingredients."

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