Rumi's Influence on Afghan Artists

Rumi's Influence On Afghan Artists
نفوذ وتاثير مولاناي بلخ و روم در آثار هنري هنرمندان افغانستان عزيز ما

خدایا مطربان را انگبین ده
 برای ضرب دست آهنین ده

O Lord,
Give the musicians sweet voices.
For the drummers,
Give them strong iron hands.

Throughout the centuries, Rumi's mystical poems have had a great influence on Afghan art and literature. In Afghanistan, poetry of Rumi (along with the great Sufi poets, Hafiz Shirazi
and Baydel) form the basis of classical and to some extent, modern Afghan music. The legendary Afghan singer, Ahmad Zahir, whom many consider as the genuine representative of modern Afghan music, was deeply inspired by Rumi and recorded numerous song infused with poetry of Maulana in his 22 albums. The greatest Afghan-born maestro of Eastern India's classical music, late Ustad Sarahang, who was perhaps more revered in India than his own homeland, also preferred the poetry of Rumi.

Here is a tiny collection of Afghan artists singing Rumi's poetry:

Talented Afghan-American singer, Humayun Khan sings Rumi's "Listen to flute how it complains of separation" 

The legendary femal Afghan singer, Ustad Mahwash sings Rumi's "Listen to flute how it complains of separation" 

Legendary Afghan singer, Nashenas sings Rumi's "Listen to flute how it complains of separation" 

The great "Maestro" of classical music, Ustad Sarahang sings Rumi's
"Come my beloved, come, come"

Legendary Afghan singer Ahamd Zahir sings Rumi's 
"I'm drunk and you're mad, who's going to take us home"

Ahamd Zahir sing's Rumi's "O' Hajj-Pilgrims, Where are you, where are?"

Ahamd Zahir sings Rumi's "It isn't wise to separate from companions"

Ahmad Zahir sings Rumi's "I havd found what I was seeking tonight,/ I shall whirl and dance till the
breeze of dawn tonight"


Ahmad Zahir sings Rumi's "I'm a servant of the moon

Ahmad Zahir sings Rumi's 
"you're leaving cloaked in mystery"


 Rahim Ghafari Sings Rumi's "My Sufi master and my desire"


 Ghazal singer, Nashenas sings Rumi's "As the flute started moaning"


Sharif Ghazal sings Rumi's "I can't make it without you"


Young Afghan singer,Jawad Karimi sings Rumi's "O lovers, it's time to leave this world"


Legendary Afghan singer, Zahir Howaida sings Rumi's "Like the flute, I'm also complaining" 


Afghan singer, Mahbubulah Mahboob sings Rumi's "I don't have anyone but you"


Rumi's Influence on Afghans of all walks of life

Rumi’s place in the collective consciousness of his birthplace's inhabitants, Afghans, are of immense proportions. Coleman Barks, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, whose translations of the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi, have sold over a half-million copies in the United States, and is widely credited with fusing Rumi's mystical messages into the mainstream culture of America, had the following observations of Afghans' love for Rumi and the fact that no single Persian literary figure is more revered in Afghanistan than Rumi, after his trip to Afghanistan in 2005:

(Professor Coleman Barks in Afghanistan) "...I came away from this visit with the most startling observation … of the vital role that Rumi’s poetry plays in the life of Afghans. Doctors, lawyers, government officials, even warlords are passionately committed to his poetry...Most of my presentations involved reading a translated poem, followed by [a translator] reciting the original, which often everyone knew by heart, followed then by discussion of the soul-growth teachings present in the imagery. Then on to another poem. A fine, and tremendously mature, way to spend the afternoon. It felt both ancient and familiar... ..Another instance of the place that poetry occupies in the Afghan soul: on my first night of public appearances.. As I was reading the first poem in English, I realized that everyone in the room was silently saying the poem with me in Persian. Afterward there was animated discussion. I asked Ruhollah what was going on. He said it was a fierce debate about the metaphor of drunkenness (ecstatic love) in this poem of Rumi as compared with the references to wine in the poetry of Hafez. Here were cabinet level men and women arguing poetry, from their deep, and varying, experiences of it...
...These are my people, and I told them so. In radio and television interviews, on the Voice of America, wherever I was asked my impression of Afghan culture, I brought up this enthusiasm for poetry. I had not known that there existed in the world such a poetry culture...This discovery, of course, is part of a blindness I have, that we have in this country, and in the West in general, to things Islamic. It is a long-standing and pervasive condition. Wherever possible I confessed our ignorance, my personal variety, and our general American species. And yet, it must be stressed, there I was, and for a reason... ...Their Afghan poet has been the most-read poet in the United States during the last ten years! My translations alone have sold over half a million copies. These facts astonished audiences, who inevitably asked why. No one knows, I said, but it feels like to me that a presence comes through the poetry, even in my American versions, the sense of an enlightened, compassionate, hilarious, very clear and sane, and deeply kind, human being. We have been lonely, I told them, in the United States, for what the Sufis call a true human being. In Rumi and his friend Shams Tabriz we have found two of them....

...My most treasured experience of the whole Afghan time, though, was not at all public. It was a private meeting...Down several turns of a narrow alleyway we entered the home of Omarii Chisti, a 95-year-old man who has taught Rumi's Masnavi for 75 years. When Jami in the 14th Century said, "Rumi was not a prophet, but he has a book," he was speaking of the Masnavi. It was pure grace to look into Omanii's eyes and ask my question, Who is Shams? Not waiting for the translation, he shot back, Shams is the doctor who comes when you hurt enough. No one hurts enough now. That's why he hasn't come. Rumi's longing was sharp enough to bring the doctor.The hour-long meeting with that man was reason enough, for me, to have gone to Afghanistan..."

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