The lyrics of this song come from the poetry of the 14th century mystical poet Nasimi, who was one of the first literary figures to compose in Azerbaijani. The composer sets an ecstatic mood in this new piece in Shur mugham that evokes Sufi ceremonies through high-energy percussion and dazzling avaz sections. The musical narrative is majestic, powerful and intensely beautiful.
Performed live at the Opening Ceremony of the 43rd UNESCO World Heritage Committee held at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Musical Director & Composer: Sami Yusuf
Creative Producer & Director: Andrei Boltenko
Poem by ‘Alī ‘Imādu d-Dīn Nasīmī’ (“Nasimi”)
English translation: Dr. Mohammad H. Faghfoory
Mugham Vocal: Tayyar Bayramov
Ashik Vocal: Samira Aliyeva
For full list of performers:
Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
Video editing and post-production by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios
Lighting Designer: Yury Krasilnikov
Set Designer: Denis Lishchenko
Video Content Designer: Alexander Yaichnikov
Video Content Production: Raketa Media
TV Director: Alex Boltenko
Director of Photography: Andrei Kvardakov
Executive Producers: Sergey Gromov, Elruz Fatiyev
Event Production: Peachline Advertising
Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan
*An allusion to the saying of the Prophet (a hadith qudsi wherein God speaks through the Prophet): ‘I was a Hidden Treasure and I longed to be known. So I created the creatures and they came to know Me.’
**An allusion to the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs
***An allusion to the Five Ahl al-Kisa (People of the Cloak: the Prophet, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Hossein) and to other revered figures
**** Names of tribes/families
*****An allusion to the bridge (al-sirat) that human beings must cross after death to enter Paradise.
Imadeddin Nasimi (1369-1417), an Azerbaijani poet, philosopher and sage, was the author of the first Divans (collections of poetry) in the Azerbaijani language. Considered as one of the greatest mystical Turkic poets of his time, he also composed poems in Persian and Arabic. Although few details are known about his life, his passionate poetry shows his deep knowledge of Islamic poetic traditions as well as a genius for composition, and it shows a depth of knowledge of Islamic, particularly Sufi, intellectual teachings that indicates that he must have had training in these fields. His gift as a poet was instrumental in conveying Hurufi Sufi philosophy to the Turkish-speaking population of Anatolia, a philosophical perspective that is still echoed in the certain Sufi orders today.
The poem in the composition, ‘Nasimi’, has elements of a tradition of ecstatic sayings that emerge from a deep inner state of knowing, an overpowering spiritual state that is often fleeting. Ecstatic sayings such as those of Mansur al-Hallaj, Bayazid Bastami, Nasimi, and others, need to be interpreted in the context of the mystical vocabulary of their times. And it is necessary to understand the religious forces, the social and political life, and the whole culture of the Islamic world within which these figures lived and died. Without a profound understanding of this context certain of their words, which on the surface can resemble infidelity, are easily misconstrued.
In this poem, Nasimi returns repeatedly to the contrast between the ‘two worlds’, the physical and spiritual. By naming opposites—‘I am the old, I am the young’— he points beyond them to unity, to tawhid, to the divine unity that is one of his principle themes. For Nasimi, the signs of God (ayat Allah) are found throughout creation, but they are not limited by this realm alone.
Read the full Lyrics here:
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