Abu Sofia on recent Mawlid event

I asked brother Abu Sofia to do a write-up of the recent Mawlid event in London, Uniting for the Prophet (sall’ Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). I intended that he submit it on his own account, but he sent it to me for editing instead.

As-Salaam ‘alaykum

The 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, a day Muslims the world over look forward to each year, (to some it holds a greater significance than even Eid) as it marks the birthday of the Best of Creation, the Beloved of Allah (sall’ Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). It is a national holiday in 50 Muslim countries around the world and according Faud Nahdi (of Q News) Britain will soon make it 51. :-)

Sunni Sister wanted a write-up on the Mawlid in London on the May 2nd and she, for whatever reason, volunteered ME by mentioning ME by name on her site. Why? I ask why? How did I get myself into this? I could easily not have bothered and disappear into the datasphere but I thought what’s the worst that could happen?… the blogging public would have a laugh at my non existing eloquent writing style? :-)

She wanted the atmosphere angle and here is my take. Please bear in mind that we left after Maghrib as it was getting late and the Mawlid was running around 1.5 hours over. (We had a long drive OK, well for us Brits its considered a long drive anyway.)

The first I heard of the “Mega Mawlid” event organised by Q-News was an e-mail flyer from the Lightstudy brothers at Hounslow Masjid. I was like “Wow!”, the confirmed “Shining Lights” that are going to be speaking at the event DEMANDED my attendance. So plans were made, tickets bought and transport arranged. I went along with 2 of my oldest friends. I have known them so long that its quite scary. :-)

As suspected the event had a delayed start, shock horror! We (the Indian-subcontinent Muslim contingent) need to sort ourselves out, I mean REALLY sort ourselves out cos it ain’t funny no more. But this is another story for another time.

As we took our seats after Dhuhr prayer my old school brother number 2 commented, with some hesitation I might add, that “are there different ‘classes’ of Muslim?” I thought for a bit to ponder what he could mean and responded with, “Yes, you have well off Muslims and not so well off Muslims.” Obviously this isn’t what he meant. He clarified his earlier question by saying, “Don’t you feel different at these gatherings compared to, say, our local Masjid?”.

To cut a long story short basically he was describing how his heart feels sukoon each time he attends such gatherings, an experience that he wishes he could have at our local Masjid. He was right. I experience the same feelings too. In fact I felt that way at every Masjid I went to in Turkey recently and at a completely different level, I mean a different planet sort of level, when I was at the Harams of Mecca and Medina and understandably so.

There was also an air of anticipation that we will soon be in the presence of many who carry with them the Sacred Knowledge.

I have always appreciated the unique style of African music. I had never heard of “Tariqa Burhania” from Sudan but from the minute they started their unique style of praise of our Prophet (SAW) I was hooked. I wanted a CD but I couldn’t find any on the stalls but from what we saw I am sure that this will soon change.

Now “Harmonia Alcorani”. This is a new english nasheed group from the stable of Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad. Honestly now they sounded like a choir and I say this in a good way. When I described them as this to old school brother number 2 he responded with “well it is Songs of Praise”, LOL! (Ok, perhaps only Brits around my age and older will get this subtle joke).

The audience in general were, I have to say, a damp squid when it came to joining in with the naats. This was perfectly displayed during Shaam’s performance and they requested the audience, not once or twice but thrice to join in. What happened? Nothing! Zilch. I have seen Shaam live several times now but this was the first time in London. On each of the previous occasions the audience didn’t need prompting. The atmosphere already electric from listening to whichever shayukh was in attendance became further charged. This Maga Mawlid missed out on what could have been an unforgettable experience of unequal proportions. Yes yes I have to shoulder some blame too as I was there also.

Shaykh Hamza was, well, his usual self. Actually he was almost like he was at ISNA but not as robust. You know when he’s centre stage. Everyone perks up and are mesmerised (again in a good way) with his style, knowledge and wonderful demeanour. He said so much that made a lot of sense but the highlight for me was when he read out his ode to the Prophet (sall’ Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) called Spring’s Gift. . Many, including me, had already seen this wonderful poem before the Mawlid but to hear it read out by the author with feeling and in the manner that it was intended was something else. I am not sure if anyone else felt that way but it was amazing for me.

Shaykh Jihad Brown was the first on stage and one of the things he said will stay with me forever insha’Allah. He was describing the feeling of love that was with Mohammad (SAW) and how it followed him around. He said the “Ocean of Mohammad (sall’ Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)” was an “Ocean of Muhabbah” and that it was ok to get lost in it as long as you never come out. Subhan Allah!

And Allah ta’ala knows best.

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