I’ve been dying to write about the Islamic Relief Evening of Inspiration Concert that we went to last Friday, but didn’t want to spoil the surprise for those attending the rest of the shows in the country.
So after a week, here’s my overall experience!
Firstly, we didn’t tell the kids that we had gotten tickets for the show, and whenever they saw the adverts on tv, or the posters at the musjid, they would longingly say, ‘We wish we could go!’ I’m not usually good at keeping things like this a surprise, but this time I succeeded, and it was so worth it! We said that we were going out to supper, and as we approached the venue, the posters were more prominent. Eventually when we stopped and got out of the car, and confirmed to the kids that we were in fact going to the show they were beyond excited!
So we got our seats, and settled down to be entertained. It started with a most heart-moving rendition of Surah Ar-Rahmaan, by a Qari. Then a local up-and-coming nasheed artist, Hussein Kala. His young daughter joined him on stage for one of his nasheeds called ‘Be like him’ This was about the attributes and characteristics of Nabi(saw) and how we should all try to ‘be like him’
This was followed by beautiful traditional arabic nasheeds by french-speaking Khaled Berlhouzi. His voice is so crystal clear, and very moving! I particularly enjoyed when he involved the audience in singing the chorus.
Then Omar Regan, an American muslim comedian, who had the audience enthralled. This was followed by a song prepared by the children of Osizweni Orphanage, one of the many projects sponsored by Islamic Relief. It emphasised the reality of the harshness of so many young lives, and how they would be destitute had it not been for generous contribution of muslims throughout the world. This was followed by a nasheed by a young female artist (whose name I can’t remember, sorry) which spoke of a childs need to simply be found and taken home. During this song images of war, and suffering were shown on the large screens, and sent shivers up my spine.
In between all of these performances, the directors of Islamic Relief also gave short presentations on the organisation, the fundraising efforts, and the projects throughout the world. The show that we attended was mc’ed by Saffiyya Surtee, and I must say, she had just the right balance between entertainment and education. At this point there was an interval during which we did a quick bathroom run with the kids, so as not to be disturbed during any of the acts later. We also got popcorn and other refreshments that were on sale, as well cd’s.
After the interval was without a doubt, the part of the show that I had been so patiently waiting for. Zain Bhikha, a world-renowned Islamic nasheed artist, but still a person who exudes such humilty. He performed a few nasheeds and then introduced his son Rashid Bhikha, who performed as well. A wonderful moment to watch was Zain and Rashid perform together. At this point, Khaled rejoined them on stage and they performed a new nasheed that had never been performed live. Zain Bhikha has always had the ability to invoke emotion when singing, but listening to his song ‘Zambilooni’ performed live moved me to tears! It speaks of the beauty and grace of Khadeeja(ra), her strenght and wisdom, and unfailing un-questioning faith and belief in Allaah’s Nabi(saw).
This was followed again by Omar Regan, who is without a doubt the funniest muslim I have ever heard! His jokes had all ages falling over with laughter. Its almost a week since the show, and Little Man still randomly repeats them.
And then the absolute highlight, was Canadian Dawud Wharnsby, another world-renowned poet and artist. His spoken word poem ‘People in the Boxes’ was incredible to hear! Also, the duets between him and Zain Bhikha which followed were most heart-warming, especially one entitled ‘The Prophets Hands’ which talks about the chaos and confusion in our lives at times, and how then we should simply refect back on what our Nabi(saw) would have done in the same situations.
This was the very first concert that we had been to as a family, but I can guarantee it won’t be the last. It was most certainly an evening of inspiration, and all who attended, left feeling happier, and more spiritually fulfilled!
As Saffiyya Surtee said ‘Poetry and the tradition of using melody, has been a part of Islamic History, ever since the Hijrah, when the people of Madeenah, welcomed Nabi(saw) with the song ‘Ta-la-al-Badru…’
In my personal opinion, I would say we most certainly need more events and shows like this, that inspire and show our youth the beauty and fun in our Faith! Another aspect that I found to be wonderfully positive was seeing muslims artists from all parts of the world unite to bring this series of concerts into fruition, highlighting the basic teaching of, ‘All muslims are part of the same family.’
Knowing that the funds raised, were going to a very worthy cause made it even more enjoyable.