Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Divine Presence Tour - The Sultan and the Shaykh

Even Angels get distracted from their duties when
the opening acts of the Divine Presence Tour is about to start.
Have you been to a concert of the Divine Presence Tour? It is a whimsical title given by the sinner to a host of divine events commencing from the prophethood of Muhammad ibni Abdullah(pbuh) to present day. The road trip began in Mecca in 610 AD and is still a running show today. The heirs of the Prophet, the Masters are still packing in the stadiums with their performances. The current production has recently been reinvigorated with the announcement of the latest act booked - the new Caliph of Islam, King Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. 

Last Thursday night, I was lucky to catch one of the opening shows, a mawlud (songs in praise and veneration of God and the Prophet) performed at the Naqshbandi zawiya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Guest lead singer was Shaykh Bahauddin Adil, son of Mawlana Shaikh Nazim Adil - the present Master Producer at the Tariqa's studios(some people call it a dergah) in Lefke, Cyprus. We, myself and Mika were glad to make it for the performance, because surprise, surprise - the Sultan was here! - I guess it was a Royal Command Performance of sorts under the patronage of Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Yussuf Izzuddin Shah Ghafarullahu-Lah, Sultan of the royal state of Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia. *Phew!* That was a long introduction. But I thought that this time I would name someone in his proper station. His Majesty is of course the father to the late Shaykh Raja Ashman Shah, the present head of the Naqshbandi order in these waters. Funny, It's all a father and son thing going on that night...

There they are! The Sultan! The Shaykh! The crowd are going wild!
Trust me, when it comes to the Naqshbandis, this is considered 'wild'.
They are a sober lot, you know.
Sitting not far from me is Mikhail. In his pyjamas. When he saw the large crowd and
the Sultan, he was really upset and didn't want to go in at first, "Papaa... you made me
come in my pyjamaaas...!
I soothed him by telling him, "Look, Mika, you are the only one
around wearing purple and white - It's Shaykh Raja's favourite colour!"
His natural sense of
decency soothed, he walked in with me. 
After the prayers, lead singer, Shaykh ''I-am-no-Shaykh' Bahauddin started the mawlud.
The darbuka (Arabic drum) of Ahmad Alatas started to sing its thunderous music.
After one song, SB would ask the Sultan, "One more, or stop?" The Sultan said "One more." 
three times that night. When you remember that the Sultan is a serious and stoic sort of man, and
not to mention a former Lord President of the High Court of Malaya , you will
perhaps observe how things have changed. How people can change.
Permission granted, Shaykh 'I-want-to-be-a-free-man-with-no-responsibilities' Bahauddin
would begin singing with the mawlud boys to the rapturous delight of the audience.
I had a seat in the back. But I was happy.
After 4 songs, the show finally ended about half past eleven. Mikhail and myself joined
the queue to meet the band backstage. Shyly Mika shaked the Sultan's hand and kissed it.
Shaykh 'I-don't-give-sermons-I-only-give-coffee-talk' Bahauddin. I grasped his hand like
a man foundering in a stormy sea. When the friends, followers and groupies of Ku Ash were left
in sorrowful bereavement for the passing of Ku Ash, it was Shaykh Bahauddin and his indomitable
cheerfulness that spurred us to smile again. To laugh again and to take courage.
As you shaked the Sultan and the Shaykh's hand you are later supposed to walk along.
But I quickly grabbed my son and led us behind the celebrated pair.  (The things I do for my readers...)
I stood behind the Shaykh and happily played with his robe. It was colourful, and the material
was quite soft. I took a picture and then noticed later that there I was, a shadow on
the clock of the Master. Hehehe. I like poetic endings...
After the passing of Ku Ash, Shaykh Bahauddin said to his followers - "Before, when he was alive, you are walking one step at a time. Now you shall walk ten steps!"

I don't know actually what that means. But events occurring have shown it to be true, in a kinda spiritually fuzzy Sufi-esque manner that is the natural remit of the Sufi tariqas (Path) and the Alwiyas of God (Saints). But that is story for another time.

God bless you, sunshine. Your presence here makes it all worth it, in whatever way you call upon our One Loving God, Most Merciful Creator of all humanity.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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