BURDA OF AL-BUSIRI
3CD SET + 80pp BOOK in full colour in protective slipcase.
English translation and introduction by Hamza Yusuf.
Calligraphy by Mohamed Zakariya.
Performed by the Fez Singers.
Produced by Abdullateef Whiteman.
from the Introduction by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf)
I felt compelled to translate the Burda after a trip to Mauritania
having realized it was everywhere, on everyone's tongue, always
ready to alter the ambience, enhance the state, bring the presence
of the beloved into the gathering. Once, sitting with one of my
teachers, Abd Allah Ould Ahmadna, I heard for the first time a line
from Imam al-Busiri's other great poem, the Hamziyya: "If God
places a people in the service of the blissful, then they too become
blissful." Those words penetrated my heart because they emanated
from the poet's heart and "what comes from one's heart pierces
another's." That is the quintessence of poetry: penetrating
human insight that only a poet can justly put into words powerful
enough to reach another's heart enabling the listener to realize
the same insight. Sometimes the poetry acts as a catalyst for insights
even the poet did not intend or see. Poetry is a breeze from one
heart blown into another by the force of its meanings. In the middle
of the Sahara, the Burda blew cool breezes into our heart-gatherings,
meanings that added insight to our lives, reminding us of our beloved,
more importantly why we loved him. I wanted to share that with others.
has always been enhanced by music. Homer recited with lyre accompaniment.
No doubt the relationship between the two is of shared womb, sisters
competing in beauty. I was first introduced to the Burda as song
in Morocco and have since heard it sung in many places. In Fez a
group of us were transported to another world, a perfect world,
free of sin, free of vice, free of temptation, and upon leaving
the gathering, felt as if, once again, we were exiled from the Garden.
I have seen Yemenis filled with the same joyful spirit, singing
the Burda in their own unique way, like innocent children freed
from fear while praising the one who, on the day all have fear,
shows none. Once in Madina, two Sudanese men sang a section of the
Burda in a way that returned it to its home, Africa. While sung
in every country in the Muslim world and now even in Europe and
America, it is and always will be from Africa. The Burda is like
Africa: it is as deep as the oceans that surround her, as powerful
as her Nile, as vast as her Sahara, and contains as many celestial
lights as a starry desert night in Niger.
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