- Rim opened the door
- BBC Arabic News – Cairo
You may hear the call to prayer or recitation of the Qur’an in many angles or circles of remembrance and chanting during the month of fasting in some of the streets of the Islamic world.
Among these voices, women’s voices are hardly heard except as a whisper between the rattling voices of men.
We searched for the well-known voices of Sufi singers around the world, and we talked to them about their experience and how they managed to blend their beliefs with the culture of their country, and even their femininity in a field that is dominated by men.
From traditional singing to Sufi chanting
We started in Cairo and went to meet the vocalist, Aida Al-Ayoubi, who became famous in the early nineties but kept out of the limelight for years and then returned to her in a new look.
Al-Ayoubi says: “After I returned to singing, I was dear to the stage and the audience, especially those who were not used to listening to chanting, so I would start with the songs they knew, then I would start singing and find them in harmony with me and then conclude with old songs.”
Al-Ayoubi says that the task of the maddah is to take the audience – or kidnap it, as she put it – to another world, to feel that it is close to a place like the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.
When we say (We are in Al-Hussein Square, we went) I feel that I am transferring the audience – literally – to the square of the Imam Hussein Mosque in Old Cairo. This place for me is my home that I like to sit in, and sometimes I start singing there spontaneously and I find a young man completes the half, hesitating People with us. “
I asked Al-Ayoubi: What are the obstacles that face women who want to professionalize religious singing in Egypt? She replied:
“This type of art requires high energy and training for the voice and the abdomen. Therefore, the worshipers rarely stand while reading the Qur’an, which may be easier for men than for women. Family obligations on women also make their chances of committing to training lesser.”
Al-Ayoubi believes that the strength of the voice is a secondary matter, whether the vocalist is a man or a woman. The principle is that the vocalist loves what he says and believes in it, “and here what is in his heart overflows the audience,” as he described it.
Aida holds her oud, which her name is engraved on, and murmurs:
“Every good in the paradise is attributed to you, you do not know what happened to me from your eyeballs.”
“The Queen of Sufi Singing”
The Pakistani vocalist, Abida Brwen, is almost the most famous in the world in this field, as she is the daughter of the sixtieth “Sind” province, whose passion for Sufi poetry began when she was three years old.
“I was touched by my father who taught Sufi and classical music in his private school, but it was definitely my Creator who put this passion in my heart,” says Prwen.
She was said to be the “queen of Sufi music,” and those who met her among foreign journalists said that “meeting her is like meeting the Pope” because of the dignity and dignity that appears on her.
Despite all expectations, she met us with a lot of kindness and welcome, as she sat quietly and smiling in a simple room in her house, and let her children coordinate the interview techniques on the application of “Zoom”.
“This form of art is inspired by humanity as a whole, and we also use it to pray for all people, and it does not matter much at what time of the year it is. In the blessed month of Ramadan, we read Sufi poetry as lovingly as at other times.”
This impartial view of time applies to Bruin’s view of many things. Even in her view of the issue of women’s singing, she did not pay much attention to the importance of gender differences, and said:
“When speaking on the spiritual Sufi level, the differences between the sexes are of little value .. The strong belief in Islamic mysticism, Sufi poetry and music breaks all societal barriers.”
Even in the singing itself, Bruin revives a type of traditional Sufi singing called “sargam” that relies on the sound without the words, in an indication of the narrowness of the phrase in expressing the meaning.
“There are some poetic lines in Sufi music that have an effect that is difficult to describe with words, as I feel an inexpressible existence,” says Proyne.
DMug bean Religion from the East and Culture from the West
In Britain, lived a town of Whitman that was born to parents who converted to Islam in their youth and wanted to find a country that could combine Western culture with their religious beliefs.
“I have always had to make an effort to integrate different aspects of my identity,” Whitman says. “I believe that this is the purpose of life to know who you are and what you belong to.”
Whitman currently resides in southern Spain, where the corners of Granada are filled with the relics of the great Andalusian Sufi poets, and from here she began to invent a new color of chanting, in which she composes Sufi poems that fit her Islamic belief, with melodies that suit the Western taste in which she grew up.
According to Whitman, Islam expresses the truth to her, so “I must be honest and not pretend to be another person and pretend to belong to a culture in which I did not originate,” as she described.
And about singing in Ramadan, Medina concluded her conversation with us, saying: Fasting makes you more ready to receive beauty, and it takes you to another emotional state in which you can receive the flow of feelings.
After talking to the three singers, you can clearly see that despite the cultural or artistic differences, the motive behind what they present is the same.