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Listen to the Music

Singing Qasaid (pl., sg.: Qasida) is a central element of spiritual practice within the sufi order Tariqa Burhaniya. The melodies are created by singers inspired by the beauty of the words. Their singing is to guide and nourish the sufi followers on their spiritual path anywhere in the world.

The Miracle of Qasaid

Qasaid of Tariqa Burhaniya is the collection of poetry by Mawlana Sheikh Muhammad Uthman Abdul Burhani, the former leader and renewer of the Burhaniya Tariqa. Up to now, there are 95 pieces, each between 10 and 425 verses (two lines each), in Arabic language, with a depth of meaning only to be revealed while following the sufi path. While singing Qasaid praising Allah, His prophets, His holy men and women, gifts are flowing like revelations from the "sources of the sea of oneness" to the shores of our finite world and reach the hearts of all devotees.

The Music from Inside

All Qasaid singing comes from the heart to touch the heart. Thus, the " quality " of the singing is not a matter of well done " technical " interpretation. The rhythm is based on a regular (heart) beat, provided by hand clapping or drums, based on this beat the variety and richness of African rhythm feeling enfolds. The speed often increases as excitement rises (especially in Hadra), making the singer to cut half the pace of the song or to choose a new Qasaid to match the rhythm. Most of the melodies draw on pentatonic scales with the melody of the verses (middle and upper register) being related to the refrain melody (lower/middle register). Usually, the lead singer introduces the refrain of his choice, the chorus repeating it (even twice, if it is only a short line of text) after each verse the lead singer enchants. During Hadra (in between periods of intensive rhythm and body movement) there may be also sama'i, so-called " silent " Qasaid - just one vocal without any support, using also traditional melodies, but with more freedom for the singer to follow his inspiration.

Join the Party

Singing Qasaid is to be enjoyed collectively: a group of singers (munshid) form a chorus, taking turns in choosing a refrain (plus melody) of one Qasaid, and singing a selection of verses while the chorus (and sometimes also the audience) repeat the refrain. The possible settings are:

  • Hadra: the central spiritual ritual of (most) sufi orders, it is the effort of all participants to be in the presence of the Divine. Hadra [mpg-Video / 8 Mb] begins with the invocation of angels, prophets and saints, it then moves on to the recitation of the opening lines of the Shahada (confession of faith) "La ilaha illa-llah" (there is no divinity except Allah) and reaches its summit in reciting the name "Allah".
  • Saffa [mpg-Video / 4.2 Mb]: a parade headed by the singers and drum players, with many others following, some carrying banners, possibly a big social event to invite all the community for a celebration.
  • Rejoycing: singing Qasaid at any time of rejoycing - welcome, marriage, or whenever the hearts long to reunite with the Divine.