As I prepared to make my way to this year’s Mawlid Festival: A Spiritual Symphony of Love at the former Geylang Vocational Institute, I was unaware of what to expect when I got there. It started at 6pm, but I reached around 30 minutes later due to a sudden heavy downpour. It was an immense blessing because of the extreme hot weather we had been experiencing the past few days – but this made me assume that there was going to be a smaller turnout.
I was wrong. When I arrived, three-quarters of the place had already been filled up, and it proceeded to increase as time went on. The storm was determined; but the people even more so.
Everyone there- the old, the young, the men, the women, had traveled to immerse themselves in their love for the Prophet s.a.w and Allah s.w.t. The attendance alone made me feel like a part of something bigger, a part of an ummah, that I was not merely a Muslim, but I was Islam.
The mawlid started with a beautiful reminder by speaker Ustaz Muhammad Fizar Zainal, “The earth is nothing without the rain Allah has sent down to it; which serves a reminder for us as well.”
Despite the downpour, a performance by the Singapore Haqqani Ensemble followed suit Ustaz Fizar’s opening speech. Inspiring and lovely, they even called out to the audience to join them in an interactive dhikr.
“Abdullah ibn Busr reported: Two men came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and one of them said, “Who is the best man, O Muhammad?” He said, “One who has a long life filled with good deeds.” The other man said, “Indeed, the laws of Islam are too many for us, so give us something comprehensive we can hold onto.” He said, “Keep your tongue wet with the remembrance of Allah the Exalted.””
[Musnad Ahmad, Number 17227, Sahih]
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ بُسْرٍ قَالَ أَتَى النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَعْرَابِيَّانِ فَقَالَ أَحَدُهُمَا مَنْ خَيْرُ الرِّجَالِ يَا مُحَمَّدُ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ طَالَ عُمْرُهُ وَحَسُنَ عَمَلُهُ وَقَالَ الْآخَرُ إِنَّ شَرَائِعَ الْإِسْلَامِ قَدْ كَثُرَتْ عَلَيْنَا فَبَابٌ نَتَمَسَّكُ بِهِ جَامِعٌ قَالَ لَا يَزَالُ لِسَانُكَ رَطْبًا مِنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
17227 مسند أحمد مسند الشاميين حديث عبد الله بن بسر المازني رضي الله تعالى عنه
المحدث الألباني خلاصة حكم المحدث صحيح
After the performance, Ustaz Fizar gave a short tazkirah; “Love is never about possession, but appreciation. Love is manifested through our heart, followed by our actions, through our mouths, in the form of dhikr. This is the symphony of love.”
“Remember that amongst you, Allah has given you the best of examples, and that is Rasulullah s.a.w. If you love the Prophet, act upon it.”
As I sat there, listening to his words, I realized that many of them hit home. How could one profess to love another and not do anything about it? When we feel deeply affectionate towards someone, they never leave our minds – or our hearts. How could I, as a Muslim, cease to forget the Prophet when his love for us was so deep-rooted that he never forgot us?
“ [On the Day of Judgment] mankind would go to each prophet asking for help and each prophet would reply, “Nafsi, nafsi.” “Myself, Myself.” They too would be filled with fear on that Day. Each prophet: Adam, Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and so on will reply, “Nafsi, Nafsi.” But the Prophet, our Messenger, Muhammad, would reply, “Ummati, Ummati.” “My Ummah, My Ummah.” “
The Nurul Huda Islamic Ensemble and Art Fazil gave more wonderful performances. Remembering the words of Ustaz Fizar Zainal, I put in a more conscious effort to sing praises of the man who loved us; and of the God who created it all.
The night was not over. It was made even more sacred by the arrival of two special guests, Habib Bin Abdulkadir Syech Assegaf from Indonesia and Syakh Hisham Kabbani of America.
Syech Assegaf led the congregation into a special 40minute recital of Qasidah and Islamic songs. It was an atmosphere that cannot be recreated. More and more people kept streaming in, all of them singing and smiling in devout remembrance. The rain had stopped long past; but the mawlid was still in full swing.
After that riveting experience, it flawlessly moved to speaker Syakh Kabbani for him to deliver a short sermon, where he touched on the benefits of making dhikr.
“Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-’As r.a. reported: I heard the Messenger of ALLAH s.a.w. saying: “Whoever Supplicates ALLAH to exalt My mention (selawat), ALLAH will Exalt HIS Mention (Selawat) ten times and remove from him ten sins and Raise him ten degrees.”
As if this was not exceptional enough, Syakh Hisham Kabbani reminded us that all of the rewards are promised to us despite our tongues laden with sins.
Those are not the only rewards – he continues by saying:
“There are Angels in the streets! They are roaming… looking for an association like this… of dhikr, and they sit with you. (Dhikr can be recitation of Quran or Hadith)… and angels will come encompassing us, make istighfar for us… what more could be better than that?”
That night I saw how high the Prophet’s position was in the eyes of God, how exalted he was – for Him to give us all of these for the simple act of uttering his name in the form of Salam or Salawat entitles us to all of those rewards (like an an Islamic form of saying “I Love You” to our Prophet, isn’t it?).
Despite our flaws, our mistakes, our sins.
And for Rasullulah, who thousands of years ago, despite having never laid eyes on us, remembered and prayed for us incessantly.
That is truly, the spiritual symphony of love.
For more information on Mawlid Festival 2013, its’ speakers, organizers and performers, do visit this website: http://mawlidfest.sg/event-program/