Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
Fatima Barkatulla recalls the story behind the new Omar Esa Nasheed: ‘Muhammad’s Company’, written and produced by Fatima Barkatulla and the lessons she learned from working on the project.
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Maha has to be in your company.
A proclaim your co chair insha
Allah Al hamdu Lillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah
dear brothers and sisters Salam alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. In this podcast episode I wanted to discuss and just kind of highlight some of the experiences I've recently had.
This is a few days after the Nasheed video was released for Mohammed's company, salallahu alayhi wasallam, which is a poem that I wrote actually wrote
many years ago, I believe I wrote it in Egypt, when I was a student of knowledge, they're
studying Arabic, and Islamic Studies at a college of Alice, her, and some local institutes. I either wrote it there, or I started writing it there. And I remember writing the poem, just because of this overwhelming feeling that I had.
At the time when I was studying the Sierra.
And, you know, the Sierra, the life of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam, anyone who has studied it, from beginning to end, will know that it's an emotional rollercoaster, really, I mean, you, you study it, you and and the whole of Islam comes to life. And it's such an extraordinary life that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam had,
that you can't help but be completely immersed in it, and completely be in love with the personality of the Prophet sallallahu wasallam. And really feel the feelings that he felt at every stage of his life. So
studying the Sierra, and then, you know, over the years, whenever I studied the Sierra again,
I've been so moved by it, and so immersed in it, there were times when I used to, you just, you just would think about the companions and how, although, you know, of course, they,
they were such great people and, and had such strong personalities you wish that you could have accompanied the prophet SAW them as being
one of his companions.
You know, they had the honor of being the ones who defended him in battle, and,
you know, helped his message spread at a time when it was not fashionable for Islam to be, you know, propagated. They supported him when he was an outcast.
They did everything to the highest level, and they met him, they saw him, they saw his face, they saw,
you know, everything about him, and his personality and his beauty and outward and inner beauty. So Pamela, so, on the low end, he was sullen.
And so a student of Sierra cannot help but think, you know, I wish I could have seen that I wish I could have been there, how lucky they were, or how blessed they were, I should say that last night that I like chose them, in order to be that generation that would
really gain all of the rewards and the benefits of,
of having been with the greatest man who ever lived.
At the same time, as a student, you refer when it when you reflect on all these things, you start thinking well,
you know, they were special, they were chosen. And Allah chooses whomsoever He wills. And then you start reflecting on yourself and your own times and where you are and what you're doing. And,
and I think one of the things that for me,
I realized, and I believe it's one of the scholars and one of my teachers also said this to us.
He said to us that, look, the companions, they got to be with the prophet SAW Selim, they've got to defend the prophets allow us to send them with their bodies, with their physical selves.
But we, although we live 1400 and so years after the Prophet sallallahu Sallam
we too can defend the profits on a lower selam. With our tongues, right? we too can be of that have a blessed generation of people, right? Who even though we didn't see the Prophet sallallahu wasallam, we follow Him, we OBEY Him, we
stay away from what he told us to stay away from. And we do the things that he asked us to do sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, we defend his honor when it's when people are trying to cast aspersions on him. And we
spread his call. That was that was the other very important thing, spread the message of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam to humanity. And so all of these sentiments and emotions and ideas were kind of in my head at the time, and I wanted to express them. And so this poem was the result of all of that,
Mohammed's company. And
what I did after that was, I just, you know, sent it to a Muslim magazine,
sisters magazine once I'd written it, and they published it, you know, sister, Nyima, Robert, she was the editor. And you know, she's always been a real supporter, and somebody who's always kind of cheered me on and encouraged me, Mashallah, may Allah bless her and her family and guide her family and, and bless them in every way. And she
encouraged me with this. So it was published in sisters magazine, and a brother A few weeks later, tried to get in touch with me via sisters magazine. And he was a local artist in London, and he turned the poem into an A sheet. But he was just doing it like privately, you know, in his own house, and he really wanted to reach out and get my permission, really, to use the poem, and to actually perform it in different places as an A sheet.
And so obviously, I was really, I'd never even thought about it being turned into a sheet until he contacted me. And so I asked him to send a recording. And he did, and it was really nice, you know, it's nice, his interpretation of how
it could be.
recital performed was was really nice. And I tried to kind of talk him into getting it recorded in a in a professional way, you know, so that maybe we could put it out there as something that people could listen to.
But he wasn't very keen on that. I think he just wanted to keep it as a local thing that he did. He wasn't really keen on it being a big thing. And so although I was a bit disappointed, yeah, it was nice. It was nice that somebody had taken it and done that. Then a few years later,
I noticed brother Omar I saw
on YouTube. And
you know, I started listening to some of his nasheeds
our generation, you know, having been brought up with music
all around us and at school, and, you know, every was everywhere. And for most of us, I think of our generation, you know, we were really immersed in into music and in the music scene, and for many of us, we won, we became more conscious of Islam and we became more conscious of the Sunnah. And, you know, gain more knowledge, I think we, we really realized that music was not congruous to our Islam, and to a pious life, and so we moved away from it. And so I think one of the things that nasheeds have done is given us something for those of us who would probably describe ourselves as being pretty much addicted to music, or, you know, very attached to it.
And their sheets with you know, vocal ondina sheets have been a real
way of satisfying that
attachment that we had.
But obviously, not to, not to replace the Koran or not to be anywhere near the Quran.
But you know, four times or when when a person wants to relax
wants to listen to something vocal only nasheeds have really satisfied that kind of gap. So many years later, I noticed brother Omar Isa
and I noticed that he was very kind of up and coming, Mashallah very motivated seemed very,
you know, he seemed to be one of the more knowledgeable machine artists in the sense that he was very clear about why he was doing the shields, he was very clear why he wasn't using music. And, and I thought that was great.
And I also liked his professionalism, you know, the way his machines were presented and things like that. And so I noticed that he, I could, I could contact him quite easily online. And so I did. And I sent him
my palm. And I just, I really did not think that he would necessarily do it, you know, or be even interested, but I just thought, you know, I'm going to give it my my best shot. So I sent it to him, I actually had sent it to other machine artists before,
but I had not even had a reply from them.
With brother Omar,
you know, he, he really liked it, or he was quite positive about the time.
And he said, You know, he would keep it and one day he wouldn't Charla work on it.
And it was like two years later, I think that by then, you know, obviously, I just thought,
and he, he's probably too busy. He's got other projects, you know, it's not going to be a priority for him.
But sure enough, he did actually get back in touch with me and say, sister, I've actually turned your poem into another sheet.
And I was really surprised because it's been so long for it, forgotten about it, or he'd gotten busy.
But he said, Yeah, I had some time, and I wanted to, you know, wanted to stay true to my word. And so he turned it into this machine. And it was completely different to the way the other brother had performed it.
But just listening to it by myself home, on my headphones, I was really moved by it.
And the reason why I was moved by is it felt like my in the shoe, my poem had come to life, and somebody had brought it to life. And I think it brought back for me, all of those emotions and feelings that
you know, as a student of Sierra, I had felt, and I knew that other brothers and sisters who were studying the Sierra who were reading or even who were just reading, the books of Sierra would have felt similar emotions, you know, and so as soon as I heard the sheet, I was like, this has got to be made into a video because I can even see how how it would be you know, I could see the
the story of the the sheet being brought to life in a video.
So I mentioned it to Brother Omar.
But there was quite a big kind of few obstacles in the way, the main obstacle being the
the funding of the filming and the travel to Medina and stuff like that. So I really wanted the issue to be filmed in Medina. Or at least part of it because for me the story of the Nasheed was a student of knowledge Bible,
studying the Sierra, and yearning to be a companion only aiming to be from with the profits or loss alone in his company. And then traveling to Medina and all the feelings that he has there. You know, it was very important to me that Medina would be part of that. Because for me, as a student, whenever I go to Medina, it just has such a profound effect on me, it doesn't matter how many times I go, when I see a place or go to a place and somebody tells me that this was where the profits are low while he was selling was where he did this or why he did that. It just Subhana line I just really moves me that I'm in the same place as I sort of lost on the law while he was selling and I'm
sure and I know that Muslims all over the world feel that way. So it was really important to me that Medina be in that video.
But at the same time, you know, it meant that there would be significant amount of cost to that to arranging that and and
Just arranging the whole the whole thing. But there was a chance that brother Omar was actually going to Medina anyway. And he could extend his stay there and film this right? With his crew. So hamdulillah I thought this is just an amazing opportunity. The time is right, you know, everything seems to be aligning, you know, and Allah Subhana, Allah has brought this opportunity, my way, many opportunities that come your way, if you don't grab them.
You know, you never know if you're ever going to get those chances again. So I, although the idea of raising that amount of money was quite daunting to me, because I hadn't really done it before. And also, you know, I thought to myself, people, are they really going to believe in the project? I believe in the project. And I know why I believe it's important. But can I convey that to other people, you know, sometimes people think of artistic projects as being like a luxury, right? They don't see them as
being important. But to me, I think, any vibrant, religious community, any vibrant community has its cultures and its arts, and it needs to express those, you know, they, the creative people, and every community has its creatives,
they have this kind of energy, and this,
this eye for beauty and expression, and its various modes, and it must be expressed, and that's just goes for every culture. And as Muslims, we have our own unique ways of expressing our culture, whether it's through nasheeds whether it's
in the visual arts, you know, in calligraphy in, in Islamic geometric patterns, and, and, and as Muslims growing up in the West, we will have taken on board the styles and the cultures of the communities that we've grown up in, and that we're part of, but obviously, we want to stay away from the the impermissible aspects and the things that aren't Congress to our values, and we want to adjust them to be in Congress to our values, right? So for me, I think arts and in their various expressions, you know, when they're in line with our values, we have a lot to offer, we have a lot to express through them, and our children, and the next generation of Muslims need outlets to
express themselves in halaal ways, right? If we don't provide them with a model for those
means of expression,
they will turn to impermissible means right? Or they will
from not being able to express beauty, that desire to be creative.
So anyway, to me, it was an important project. It carried an important message that I wanted to be out there you know, that there are these various things that every Muslim should strive to do, if they love the Prophet sallallahu Sallam obey the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam follow in his footsteps and emulate him in his character, and, you know, outwardly and inwardly, to spread his call, and to fulfill his decrees. So everything that he he asked us to do everything that he considered important for the oma.
We should strive to
follow and carry out.
So these are the key messages and I really wanted to bring them to life and Alhamdulillah I made them
and I consulted with a few friends of mine. And
one of my friends, she was very encouraging. And she said, Come on, by the way, you can, you can raise this through crowdfunding, you know, it's going to be easy. Just do it. Just just make a start. You've got you've got the kind of reach you'll be able to do it just, it's not that much money. To me, it was a lot of money. But
you know, as a student,
it seemed like a lot of money to me, but she encouraged me and she said no, if enough people
contribute, you're going to make this and I had like, less than a month or about a month to do it in which was also quite daunting. But you
I just thought it's now whenever. And I started the process, I started reaching out to organizations at first as well. And, yeah, they were not very forthcoming.
But some individuals were and then one organization was also and so hamdulillah somehow, through a lot of contacting people, and you know, all of that we've got to the end, you know, we've got, we got to raise the amount that I needed, in order to fund this.
And at Hamdulillah, I must say, I was,
I was really pleased, and I felt very blessed and, and glad you know that Allah had given us that opportunity, because it was completely unplanned. And one of the things I learned from that, I think, from this whole project was, you know, when you're quite an organized person, you tend to plan everything, right. And I'm really into planning, planning my whole year, planning the goals for the year, the projects, things, I'm not going to be doing things I am going to be doing. When you're that sort of person, it can be really easy to not allow unexpected and spontaneous things into your life, right. But what I learned from this experience was a lot of Allah tala send certain
opportunities your way or certain ideas and certain things pop up. And if you're too rigid, right, in your planning, you know, you'll never do anything that's difficult, you'll never do anything that's spontaneous that out that's outside your comfort zone. And you'll never do things that you may have really enjoyed doing, had you taken the risk, and had you just gone off plan and just, you know, taken the plunge. And so for me, even though this was not a planned project for this year, I can't tell you how much joy and satisfaction I have had from from from being part of it. And even though there was a level of pain involved in the sense that I had to take time out from other things
and really focus on the fundraising, which I must say, I do not enjoy it, I don't I don't enjoy fundraising, but you know, the nature of any good project is it needs to be funded, right? anything you're going to do have high quality. So Alhamdulillah overall, you know, it, Allah made it easy for us. And I got the funding just in time for brother Omar to be able to do the filming and for everything to be done in time. There was a funny moment when I was explaining to Brother over my vision for the initiate video, right, which was a student of knowledge sitting in London, you know, in his classroom and reading the CRR. And he's like, thinking dreaming about the prophet SAW Salaam
and how amazing it would be to meet him and to be his companion. You know, he's like, feeling all these emotions that a student of Sierra feels. And then he literally goes to Medina. And
so, you know, he, he feels that he's with the Prophet sauce underneath. He realizes how much he loves the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam, and how real His story is.
So, you know, my vision was it was about Medina, but it was also about
the, the mundane aspect of being a student, you know, in London, reading a book.
So Subhanallah you know, I wanted that both those kind of aspects to be brought to life. And one of the suggestions I had for by the way that I was getting a bit excited, I think,
at the prospect of being like, I don't know, the new Steven Spielberg or something, right. I'm on the ship videos. And I said to him, you know, you've got to film the mountain of light, right? The Jebel Knorr and the Hari Hara. And, I mean, you could film yourself climbing up the mountain, you know. And I think brother Omar was like,
very diplomatic, you know, Mashallah. He was very patient and diplomatic whenever he spoke to me. And he literally kind of paused.
And he replied, and this was over, like, phone or voice recordings and things. And he was like, sister, that that that's not going to be possible. You know, the way he said it, I was thinking so while he's probably thinking,
you know, the sister she's like, it's getting a bit carried away. You know, she thinks I'm sorry.
Sort of stuntman, who's who's gonna do all sorts of like, I don't know, Mission Impossible type stunts
for her video, right? She's getting a bit carried away. So yeah, it was quite funny.
hearing his very diplomatic reply, and then sort of cringing a bit afterwards, thinking I, maybe maybe I was getting a bit carried away there. But Mashallah, the way, brother Omar and his team interpreted,
you know, the vision that I had,
was just just great. I think they really caught the essence of what the issue was about. So I'll handle I'm really, really, I was really pleased with that. And so now the machine is available
for you to watch the video on YouTube, on brother omos YouTube channel, it's gonna be on my channel as well in a few days, probably. But, you know, do go to Brother Omar's YouTube channel and watch it. And let me know what you think. Leave a comment, or reach out to me, you know, in whatever way you can. And let us know what you think, and how it made you feel. Because I know the first time I watched it, I felt very emotional watching it because I really felt what I had felt when I'd written the poem in the first place. So I just wanted to share, and capture I think that experience for you and for myself, actually, on audio. And I wanted to
kind of share some of the lessons I learned from that experience. So one of the lessons was for me, how important it is for us to express our creativity, you know, in a healthier way, find healthier ways to express
the creative spark that's within you. Another lesson that I learned from this experience was the whole idea of being spontaneous, and sometimes going off your plan, you know, for the year, when an opportunity comes your way that is in that is congruent with your, with your goals and vision, right? In life, and being willing to allow good things to come into your life that you had not planned. Because you know, that Allah Subhana Allah has is the best of planners, and taking some risks, you know,
taking the plunge and trying to do things that don't seem easy or don't seem impossible, because everything has to start somewhere, right? Every project seems impossible until it's done. So I think
that was a key message or lesson for me. Another lesson I learned from this process was as a Muslim woman,
you know, there are certain things that sometimes people think, as a Muslim woman that they are restricted, right, in the sense that, you know, I'm not going to go singing that she videos, my singing on an issue video myself, right, I'm not going to become a singer in public,
in front of men, etc.
However, that doesn't stop me from participating and being able to be part of
projects, you know, and being a significant part of project. Right. So I know that sometimes, you know, some sisters, they might want to be singers, or they might want to be in the sheet artists themselves. Now, doing that in the public in front of men, is problematic, right? So that doesn't mean you have to completely shut down that creative part of yourself. It just means that have confidence, do it in the halloway and find areas that you can contribute to,
you know, in in, in that industry in a halaal way. And those roles are just as important and just as significant, if not more significant.
Because sometimes being the artist is one thing, but being the the visionary, and the person who can fund and support artists is also really important.
I also learned that when I when I wrote my book about Khadija GLONASS, so in that I was the person who was writing, I was the one who is creatively expressing. However, my publisher and my editor and you know, their roles was just absolutely crucial because they were the visionaries behind the book, right? They were the ones who had a vision for the book and saw that vision to come
So all of us have a role to play. And each of those roles is significant and is important in its own way. And we shouldn't ever belittle any particular role, you know. So that that was another thing that I learned from this whole process and handled it. really grateful to Brother Omar and his team for being so professional and,
and really taking on the project. And I'm very grateful to the brothers and sisters who were so enthusiastic. He told me, you know, wow, this is a cool project, we'd love to donate, we'd love to sponsor this and be part of it and we want to see it come to life and that handily, light has come to life. I'm really grateful to all of those people for supporting us. So does our Kamala Harris. I hope that through this audio blog, you know, you would have gained something, an insight into
what happened behind the scenes. And I hope that you know, encourages sisters who might have creative abilities and and want to do things in a creative way to find halaal ways of doing it.
And to consult people have knowledge, you know, and do the right thing and not consider what they what part they played as being any less significant to the role the brothers play, so May Allah forgive me and forgive us and may bless the project? he accept it. And may we be united with our Prophet sallallahu Sallam at the house of Allah co author, and enter into Jenna and his company
sallallahu alayhi wa salam.
Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.
Swear as long as there is breath in me in your footsteps will traverse patiently defend your name and fulfill your every play. Spread your call to love humanity, strong and long.