The idea of an Islamic musical theatre is not a new one. Erma Fatima presented her "Sirah Junjungan" back in 2008. It was well-received which prompted a 2nd season a year later.
It wasn't that long ago but I've forgotten how the theatre ended. Was it during Fathul Makkah (the conquest of Makkah), Haji Wida' (the Farewell Pilgrimage) or the passing way of the Prophet Muhammad SAW?
It was a tall order to summarise the eventful life of our beloved Prophet SAW in a 3-hour theatre. So, understandably a lot of important events had to be cut out.
PEMBINA's latest effort is far more ambitious. Instead of chronicling the life of Prophet Muhammad SAW, it aims to chart the rise and fall of the Islamic Civilisation. Right from the first revealed verse of the Quran, to the glory of the Umayyad and Abbasid Empire, to the demise of the caliphate system in 1924.
It's impossible to condense hundreds of years of history in just a few hours, but the show, Sirah Muzikal, is really worth watching because:
1) We all need to learn/be reminded of our history. I watched 7 Wonders of the Muslim World on Discovery Channel the other day. And one of the commentators, Ziauddin Sardar, said something about the Blue Mosque that really struck me:
"When I think of mosques, the mosque that comes to mind is the Blue Mosque because I think it symbolises the zenith of the Muslim Civilisation. To me, it speaks volumes about the Muslim thoughts and learning, sophistication, the architecture that we developed... and I see it as a symbol of HOPE. Perhaps what we achieve in the past, we can also achieve in the future.So, the Blue Mosque for me is not just a beautiful, sublime building -an awe-inspiring building- it is also a structure of hope, a structure with a very deep past and hopefully also a very vibrant future"
Maybe this theatre will do the same? May we be inspired by the great things Muslims have achieved in the past and be spurred on to emulate their acts in the present and in the future.
2)History can teach us many things. Okay, this second point is very similar to the first but I just cannot stress it enough! ;)
Henry Steele Commager, a historian once remarked;
" For a people to be without History, or to be ignorant of its history, is as for a man to be without memory-condemned forever to make the same discoveries that have been made in the past, invent the same techniques, wrestle with the same problems, commit the same errors; and condemned, too, to forfeit the rich pleasures of recollections."
1924 seems like aeons ago but it's not. It's just 86 years ago. We can learn lot from what made the once-mighty Islamic Empire fall.
3) It's hard to find good and halal (Islamically-permissible) entertainment nowadays. And those who strive to provide us with one, should be given our support.
4) It's for a good cause. The proceeds from the ticket sales will be channeled to Sekolah Tahfiz Bayu Syahadah in Kampung Bitoon, Ranau, Sabah, which is chaired by Nazrey Johani (formerly of Raihan). So let's 'berhibur sambil beramal!' :)
5) There are many other prominent nasheed performers around. Besides Nazrey Johari, there will also be Far East, Muadz and Now See Heart.
Coincidentally, one of Now See Heart's members, went to my school the other day to give a talk on Ramadan. Kids can be rude and inattentive at times but they loved the talk! They were very attentive and involved (which was very uncharacteristic of them! Haha). I couldn't remember the name of the speaker though...
So, get your tickets now and I'll see you there?