Introduction

A Mystical Journey - Sufi Music and other Expressions of Devotion from the Muslim World features artists from Algeria, Bosnia, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Syria performing music from various Sufi and other esoteric traditions of Islam.

Article Information

Compiled by:
AMJ Team

Date posted:
1 October 2007

 

A Mystical Journey

A Mystical Journey Photo: Shellina Karmali © Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Photo: Shellina Karmali © Aga Khan Trust for Culture

A Mystical Journey - Sufi Music and other Expressions of Devotion from the Muslim World is a Golden Jubilee International Programme featuring artists from Algeria, Bosnia, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Syria performing music from various Sufi and other esoteric traditions of Islam. The show travelled to Paris in December 2008, coinciding with Mawlana Hazar Imam’s final Golden Jubilee visit to France. It had already been enthusiastically received by more than 40 000 members of the Jamat and their friends across Canada and the United States.

A Mystical Journey seeks to express the rich diversity of devotional expressions in Islam reflecting different geographies, languages and traditions. Though different in form, these acts of devotion are common in their peaceful search for the divine and represent the pluralistic traditions and mystical unity among different communities of interpretation within the Muslim world.

Music and musicians play a vital role throughout the Muslim world. From Indonesia, through South and Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, music serves not only as entertainment for various Muslim communities, but also as a way to express devotion and reinforce common values and traditions. Whether bringing listeners closer to Allah, sustaining cultural memory through epic tales, or strengthening the bonds of community through festivity and celebration, musicians are central to the cultural life of Muslims throughout the world.

Salman Ahmad performing at the Vancouver show Copyright: Aziz Ladha
Salman Ahmad performing at the Vancouver show.  Photo: Aziz Ladha

The Sufi and other esoteric traditions of Islam manifest their beliefs through diverse forms of devotion ranging from ecstatic movements in dance to meditative exercises in quiet solitude.  These acts of devotion seek the promise of enlightenment which offers a divinely-graced vision, moral clarity and all encompassing love. Enlightenment in these esoteric traditions speaks of a dissolution of the very self in a union with the divine that words cannot easily convey and thus music, poetry and dance become critical forms of expression.

Tahleelah from Syria at the Vancouver show. Photo: Aziz Ladha
Tahleeleh from Syria at the Vancouver show. Photo: Aziz Ladha

A Mystical Journey brings together nine world-class performances. Over 60 artists and musicians will take the audience on a musical journey of the mind, body and soul, enlightening as well as entertaining through various music pieces, qawwalis (devotional music tradition), kalams (poetic works) and rock songs and dance performances of whirling Sufis.

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