Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Song, Dance and Music as Part of Islamic Sufism - Part 2

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam 28 November 2022 Music Is One of the Fine Arts That Has a Soothing Effect on the Mind Main Points: 1. The universe reverberates with a subtle music. 2. Music of the Spheres refers to the music in the universe. 3. Plato believed man listened to music before his birth. 4. Rumi said that man has listened to the songs in the heaven. ------ Music is one of the fine arts that has a soothing effect on the mind. Music is a harmonious sound that is produced in a certain tone, pitch and rhythm. Man invented musical instruments to enhance the effects of poetry. In ancient times, poetry was not mean for reading. It was composed for singing in accompaniment of a musical instrument. In India, poetry was not recited or read before 10th century. Poetry and music were not imagined as separate fields. According to Jewish traditions, Prophet David a.s. sang the Psalms in accompaniment of the lyre. Song of Solomon or the Song of Songs attributed to King Solomon is one such example. Islamic Sufis were inspired by Indian mystics who sang devotional songs in accompaniment of various musical instruments like Dhol, flute, cymbal, Veena, Sarangi etc. Doha, Shabad, Sakhi, Chaupai, Kirtan etc. were sung by wandering minstrels of India. Devotional poems like Geet Gobindam of Jaydev and Shri Krishna Kirtan of Chandidas are lyrical plays. Charya Geetis of Buddhist mystics are also songs that were sung with music and dance during the 8th and 12th centuries or even in later periods. The Buddhist sadhus of Nepal even today sing these songs while dancing. Therefore, the sufis borrowed the tradition of singing devotional songs in accompaniment of music and dance and called it Samaa. Whenever the word Samaa is mentioned, it means songs sung in accompaniment of instrumental music. But Sufis have a cautious approach to Samaa or musical songs. Hadhrat Ali Hujweri says that while listening to Samaa, some discipline shoud be maintained. One should not be allowed to join a Samaa if he is not aware of the rules of Samaa. One should join it occasionally and should not be accustomed or addicted to it. He is, also of the opinion that novices should not be allowed to join a Samaa. Sufi Abu Ali considered Samaa haram for common people. The sufis forbade Samaa that is, listening to songs for lay people or novices because they did not have the spiritual training and maturity to benefit from the positive influence of music. They are carried away by its satanic influence and it becomes Lahwa (entertainment) for them. And the Quran forbifds Lahwa and La'ib. Lay people listen to the music as a means of entertainment and not as a means of elevating one's spiritual state or achieving spiritual ecstasy. Many spiritual and mystic songs are allegorical in nature in which earthly love - love between a man and woman -- is used to mean the devotee's love for God and his desire to have a union with God in the guise of a man's desire to have a union with his beloved. Such songs are listened by novices and lat men and produce romantic and lustful thoughts in the mind of the listeners. This is the reason, Sufis have prevented lay men and the uninitiated from joining a Samaa. Maulana Rumi says in his Mathnavi that the earthly music hs been taken from the spheres of the heaven. Men on earth only recreate the music with their voice and instruments. We have listened to these songs in the Paradise of Eden with Adam and we recall the forgotten music. Shaikh Sa'dii said that even camels are spell bound by music. One who does not get affected by music, he is an animal devoid of an aesthetic sense. Some Sufis put limitations on musical instruments used in Samaa. Imam Ghazali. He forbids the use of lyre, flute and Chang, Rubab and allowed Tabla, Shaheen and duff for Samaa. He has barred young men from listening to Samaa. He says Samaa should not be made a means of entertainment and it should not become an addiction. However, Maulana Rumi considers song and music a means to attract ignorant people towards religion. He says that when he found that people were not getting attracted towards God and are deprived from wisdom and spiritual gifts, he drew them closer to God with the help of poetry and music. Rumi considered the assembly of Samaa the Assembly of God. He had the knowledge of playing the musical instruments of his time and would also teach his disciples how to play them. He had got the knowledge of music from his Murshid Shams Tabrezi who was a poet and loved music. Therefore, song and music became a part of Islamic mysticism under the influence of Indian tradition of devotional songs that were presented by sadhus and wandering minstrels. During the life of Chaitanya Dev, the tradition of singing Kirtan by the devotees while dancing and waving their hands like the Sufis doing Dast Afshani became very popular. Muslim Sufis promoted Qawwali as a means of their spiritual expressions. However, there is still a section of Indian sufis who do not encourage music for spiritual purposes. They adhere to the Quranic and prophetic tradition of reciting poetry without music. The Prophet's Companions recited poetry and some even recited Naat. Kaab bin Zuhair's Naat is famous in Arabic poetry and Hadhrat Buseeri's Naat called Qaseeda Burdah is also famous. Music was not encouraged by Islam and the Quran is silent on the issue of music. Therefore, sufis have adopted a very guarded approach to the use of music in spiritual circles and have allowed for only mature and aged sufis. Part One of the Article: Song, Dance and Music As Parts of Islamic Sufism - Part 1 URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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