The very first Al Maqasid (2014) was a powerful experience. Set in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania, it was a spiritual awakening for people new to such experiences, and a deep revival for old hands.
In a moment before one of the evening sessions, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus asked me to sing something in Urdu. Before I could begin, he asked me to share the refrain with everyone, and translate it for them. I shared the refrain of a very famous Urdu naat by Ustadh Muzaffar Warsi, "Tu Kuja Man Kuja" (Translation and transliteration of the refrain is shared below. A full translation and transliteration of these words that had everyone swaying, can be found at https://naderkhan.com/discography/water/ ).
There was something very special going on in this moment - everyone was as if drunk in the love of the Prophet (ﷺ). After I shared the refrain, nobody had to encourage anyone to join in - it was a spontaneous eruption of love, where everyone sang together. People of every conceivable racial background were swaying back and forth singing in Urdu, in love of the Prophet. Some were weeping in longing. Others were smiling ear to ear in celebration.
I am very grateful to have shared this beautiful moment with them. And I am very grateful to Sidi Ahmed Zaman for having the presence of mind to capture it, and to Sidi Mohammad Najeeb Ahmed for sharing it with me.
If you listen carefully, you can clearly make out voices of Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Maulana Abdurrahman, Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes, and others.
My wife had a creative epiphany and suggested I try out a specific Yemeni tune for this Naat. I played around with it for a couple of weeks, decided to sing it here. Those who've heard others reciting it will find this rendition to be *very* different - I hope they still like it.
A studio version of this track is available on the WATER album (rel. 2015), on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, etc.
This was the longest I'd spent translating *any* Urdu naat. I found it exceedingly difficult, and I couldn't have done it without my wife and superhero manager Dr. Bano Murtuja.
Tu Amir-e-Haram, mae faqir-e-ajam
Tere gun, aur yeh lab, main talab hi talab.
Tu ataa hi ataa, mae khata hi khata
Tu kuja man kuja, tu kuja man kuja
You: The Leader of the sacred sanctuary, Me: the needy of the ignorant.
Your praise and these lips? I crave and crave.
You give and give. I err and err.
O, where are you, and where am I! O, where are you, and where am I!
Urdu original by Muzaffar Warsi
Translation © Nader Khan & Bano Murtuja 2013, All Rights Reserved
Image of the Prophet's tomb and mosque from http://alfatihoun.edaama.org/