This beautiful moment was captured in an audio recording by Sidi Ahmed Zaman.
The very first Al Maqasid was a powerful experience. Set in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania, this was a real spiritual awakening for people new to such experiences, and a deep renewal and revival for old hands.
In an unscheduled performance 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 (translation and transliteration shared below), "Tu Kuja Man Kuja".
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 even encourage those present to join in - it was a spontaneous eruption of love, where all the attendees and teachers joined in. 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 been in the same room as them all, and 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 graciously sharing it with me.
If you hear carefully, you can clearly make out voices of Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Maulana Abdurrahman, Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes, and others such as Sidi Abdul Qadir Wiswall, and various other people.
I'd been playing around with a Yemeni tune for this Naat for a couple of weeks, which is how I decided to sing it here. Those who've heard others such as Ustadh Khursheed Ahmed reciting it, will find this rendition to be *very* different - I hope they still like it.
Insha'Allah a studio version of this track will be on the WATER album, which I'm working on releasing early to mid 2014, God willing.
A quick note about this translation - this was the longest I'd spent translating *any* Urdu naat. I found it exceedingly difficult to translate it, and I couldn't have done it without the assistance of 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
Tu hai ehram-e-anwar baandhay hue
M ae dar u don ki dastar baandhay hue
Kaaba-e-ishq tu, mein teri chaar su
Tu asar main, dua. Tu kuja man kuja
Mera har sans to khoon nichodey mera
Teri rehmat magar dil na todey mera
Kaasa-e zaat houn, teri khairat houn
Tu sakhī main gada, tu kuja man kuja
Tu haqiqat hai mae sirf ehsas hun
Tu samandar mae bhatki hui pyas houn.
Mera ghar khaq, par aur teri rahguzar
Sidratul-mu n taha, tu kuja man kuja
Dagmagaun jo halat ke samney
Aae tera tasaw wur mujhe tanmey
Meri khush qismati, mae teri ummati
Tu jaza main raza, tu kuja man kuja
Duriyan samney say jo hattnay lagin
Jalion se nigahen lipattnay lagin
Ansuon ki zuban ho meri tarjuman
Dil se niklay sada: tu kuja mann 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!
You're wrapped in sacred clothes of light.
While I've wrapped on a turban of sending praise.
You're the axis of love. I revolve around you.
You're the answer, I'm the prayer! O, where are you, and where am I!
My every breath squeezes the life out of me,
But your mercy, never let's me down.
My being is an empty bowl; my existence is through your charity
You're the ever-giving, I'm the ever-needy!
O, where are you, and where am I!
You are reality, whereas I'm just sensation.
You are ocean, and I'm thirst gone astray.
I reside in dirt, whereas your path leaves behind,
The furthest Lote tree! O, where are you, and where am I!
When life makes me stumble,
Thought of you steadies me.
It's my good fortune that I'm of your people.
You are giving, I am content. O, where are you, and where am I!
As distances fall away,
My gaze embraces your trellis.
May the language of tears convey my state
As my heart proclaims "O, where are you, and where am I!"
Urdu original by
Translation © Nader Khan & Dr. Bano Murtuja 2013, All Rights Reserved
Image of the Prophet's tomb and mosque from http://alfatihoun.edaama.org/