Sunday, September 26, 2010

Music And Umrah Syawal

An American  hip hop group,  Remarkable Current,  is now touring Indonesia since September 21 till October 1.

Its music and style of the group are unmistakably Western and no different from what one hears from other American hip hop groups. While the main focus of the music is urban, the artists are also influenced by Rock, Jazz, Opera and traditional World Music.

Remarkable Current is a passionate modern fusion of styles that represents blending - it's musical styles reflect the multi-faceted backgrounds of the artists.
With mission to be universal musical ambassadors - to unite people of all cultures, all ethnicities, all religious backgrounds, unlike other hip hop group, what sets RC apart is the spirituality that the group has introduced into its songs that is Islamic-American musical culture today. They have no fear to show their music and being Muslim.
Chants from the Islamic traditions are often infused into their performances.

The group that was founded in 2001 in California, from a group of friends in a basement to a nation-wide collaboration of artists and activists who share the same goal, to creatively shape the contemporary American Muslim identity and share it with the world community.
The group create an identity that is uniquely American and Muslim, and try to tell the world who they are.

Remarkable Current delivers tour de force performances from the Americas to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and now, South East Asia.
Its mission is to excel, to uplift and to inspire consisting of musicians, writers and producers who are bonded not only by their love for music and art but also by their shared Islamic-American tradition.

The founder, Anas Canon, was recently included in the first edition of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World (a publication of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talaal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding of Georgetown University).
He has worked with hundreds of gifted artists and released over 10 full-length albums that span close to a decade.

"Because our background, our primary focus is spirituality - it comes out in our music. But it's not a strategy, it's not a gimmick, it's not something we designed in order to have a certain effect."


Music, being a universal language that transcends all boundaries, was misunderstood by me.

A man, with Jamaican-styled hair, wearing his sloppy-look hat, was pushing the airport trolley loaded with luggage.
He was talking to the person-in-charge of our group.
Who was he sending off?

Until we entered the departure area, then I realised he's one of us.
But in rapper's attire to Mecca?
He confused me.

He talked very little while transit in Sri Lanka but nevertheless, he approached us volunteering to snap our photos many, many times.
Most of the time, he's either with his laptop or photographer's camera.
He chose to be alone in the hotel room in Medina.

Then on the 6th day, his hairstyle changed, all cropped up to almost bald.
It was the first time that we saw his bare head.
Prior to this, his head was covered with his sloppy-look hat all the time, but with hair neatly braided.

Suddenly, one day, he pulled a chair, sat opposite My Husband and I while we were having our dinner.
From casual talk, the subject went to his vanished hair.

He was performing his tahajjud prayer at around 2am in Masjidin Nabawi, when all of a sudden, a man around his 40s, who stood praying in-front of him, fall and was pronounced dead in-front of his very eyes.
It shook him a little, but not more.

After finishing his prayer, he went to Starbucks, opposite the Al-Majid Gate of the Prophet Mosque, which was at the ground floor of Oberoi Hotel, a 10-meter walk and adjacent to Masjidin Nabawi to get his cup of coffee.
As he was scrutinising the building, he saw a woman, her body covered by her long flowing hair, was standing at the ledge of a window of one of the Oberoi Hotel room, about the height of an eight-storey flat.

He was quick to give a hand signal, signalling and shouting to the lady to hold on, not to jump down.
But seconds later, her body, all covered with blood, laid in front of his very eyes.
Blood splattered on many other jema'ah too who were heading back to their room.
The Arabic newspaper reported that the woman, an Egyptian, was a doctor.
She was with umrah visa too.

The 2-death incidents in one night, less than an hour apart, was too much for him.
This time, it shook him a lot.
He did not sleep for a few nights until he vowed to start a new chapter in his life, thus initiated the new beginning with a new 'hair style'.
From then on, we get to know him better, erasing the negative thoughts of him.

He is happy that at last, he is able to make his mother happy with his new hair.
For many years, the lady had been nagging him of his hair.
To make his mother happier, he will be performing his umrah again, for the third time, some time next year, and this time, he will insist that his mother will be with him, together performing the umrah

Being a music composer, always in his own world, the surroundings did not bother him one tiny bit - nor his mother's nag.
He said whenever he performed his prayers in mosques, subuh especially, where jema'ah was only a handful, the imams will surely turned their heads more than twice for salams, while ending the prayers.

His outstanding hairstyle had distracted many imams and attracted many stares and curious looks from others who attended the mosques wherever he was.
With his lock of hair disappeared, it will once again attract another new kind of attention from imams and jema'ah where he usually perform his payers in mosques in and around Geylang area.

Despite his rapper style, he was often invited to give motivational and inspirational talk to secondary school teenagers and polytechnic students.
It hits the right note with students, saluting him for inviting them to his office somewhere in Lau Pa Sat.

Unlike me who spent a lot of free time watching interesting television programmes in the room, he spent most of his nights in mosques.

The last day of our stay in Mecca, he spent the whole of the last night in Mecca, holing himself i'tikaf in Masjidil Haram.

1 comment:

Yousaf said...

I can't understand the relation between umrah and music. but i understand how Muslims find out best umrah deals to perform umrah again and again.