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Alhaj Siddiq Ismail Interview

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Alhaj Siddiq Ismail Interview

Post  Admin on Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:16 pm



Introduction of Mr. Siddique Ismail:


In the new millennium Muslim world is facing many a challenges externally as well as from within the Muslim world. In the last few decades there has been an appreciable resurgence of Islamic thinking and efforts to revive traditional teachings. Muslims, particularly the youth have strived to discover their identities, origin, values, virtues & rituals. Naat Khawani is one of the field in which significant work has been done. Naat is a way of expressing love for the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H). Naat is an inner voice of heart & from the soul, which positively effects every Muslim. Naats have been written and performed in different languages of the world. In a way Naat is Ishq-e-Muhammad (PBUH) and a proven source of refreshing of soul.
Among the top most Naat Khawans that Pakistan has ever produced, the name of Haji Siddique Ismail occupies an eminent space. Siddique Ismail was born on 10th February 1954 in Karachi. He started his career in 1965 through children’s programme named Buchon ki dunya. Mr. Siddique holds the honor of being the first ever Naat Khawan on PTV. He has performed numerous Naats and is recognized at national and international levels. His valuable contribution in the field of Naat Khawani earned him many a national and international awards including the most prestigious, the Pride of Performance.


KalPoint: We would like you to please tell us about the History of Naat Khawani?
S.Ismail: The history of Naat Khawani goes back a long time. If you go in the depth of its history, you can write hundreds of pages since the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is the most loveable person on this planet earth and he is being praised in every era. Even the Quran has stated the importance and praise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in so many ayaats. God has said, “Oh you who believe, My angels and I say Durood on the Holy Prophet and you should do the same too”. It is very difficult to trace the history of Naat Khawani since we cannot find authenticated record that when did it actually got initiated. One can say that on a more regularized basis Hazrat Hassan started this great work. He was also known as Shair-e-Darbaan-e-Risalat even before accepting Islam. He was a poet, but after embracing Islam he gave a new turn to his poetry and started writing Naats in honor of the Prophet. Therefore Hazrat Hassan is known as the first “Sana Khawaan” of that time. After that many a poets followed this trend and we find big names who infact totally dedicated themselves for writing Naats. Naat Khawani has always maintained its heights. Even non-Muslims poets have also said Naats in the Prophet’s honor, like Sikhs, Hindus and Christians. This trend is still persisting and inshallah will continue forever.


KalPoint: When, how and why did you take up Naat Khawani as a career?
S.Ismail: Well it all depends on ones environment to which he belongs. When I was a kid, there used to live an elder person Mr. Haji Mohammad Yusuf Ashrafi near my house who used to perform Naats. Along with my family, I used to hear him too. I was much impressed by his personality and his devotion for the Naats and got inspired by him. I started practicing it & since the very beginning, I had this thing in my mind that whatever field I would take up, I will definitely excel in it as I would be able to give it with novelty. Keeping this thing in my mind I devoted myself for Naat Khawani and never thought of doing something else. I started off from Radio Pakistan through a children program in 1967. In 1969 television was introduced in Karachi and I was the first ever Naat Khawan on PTV. Since then, I have been performing Naats regularly and it is still continuing.


KalPoint: How does it feel when one performs a Naat and how much a Naat Khawaan needs to be emotionally stable while performing a Naat?
S.Ismail: We feel a lot of pride and immense pleasure that we are presenting words of praise to our Holy Prophet who has been praised by Almighty Allah Himself so many times in the Holy Quran. We feel we are expressing the holy prophet a sense of belonging and Ishq to the most beloved prophet of the Almighty Allah. Therefore one can understand that how we feel when we perform a Naat. To be very honest, I cannot exactly explain these feelings since there are no words for such feelings which can support me to describe them but they definitely ooze out from the bottom of the heart. As far as the question of emotional stability is concerned, I would like to say that in performing Naat the feeling of Ishq-e- Rasool gets automatically involved. The Naat Khawan gets emotionally involved while performing a Naat & it creates a deep impact on the listeners as well. You must have seen that many a times, the Naat Khawaans do not succeed in stopping the tears to fall at the time of delivering Naat but still are able to control their pitch & rhythm. I must say that this is all the mercy of Almighty Allah. If a Naat Khawan feels that he is being watched and heard by the holy prophet during his act of performing Naat, his voice will definitely reach the Holy Prophet in his roza mubarak, then it all happens that the tears start to fall and thus the emotions get involved to a great extent. But I must say that it does not happen every time. So, the answer to your question is that emotions are of course a part of the Naat Khawani since we praise the highest human kind on this entire universe, the one and the only for the Almighty Allah and for whom this whole world is created. So of course the emotions get involved that gives a high degree of religious stability to the body and souls.


KalPoint: Do you compose your Naats your self?
S.Ismail: Yes I compose my Naats myself. I started Naat Kahwaani since my childhood and when I joined Radio Pakistan, I got a chance to meet some music directors there. Since Naat Khawani also needs rhym and the rhythm, so I decided to get myself trained. Not that because I wanted to join the music field but since Naat Khawani also needs a good composition it was necessary. So I received proper training from Mr. Qudrat ullah Khan who was one of the leading music director of his time, and thus I was able to compose my Naats myself.


KalPoint: Many of the Naat Khawans especially these days compose Naats on song tunes; do you think that it is a good trend?
S.Ismail: Yes you are right. But I would like to say one thing in this regard that such kind of copy work is being done by the Naat Khawans who are not trained and they don’t want to put their original efforts in the work that they are doing. If you hand over to me some non-composed Naat, I will try my level best to compose it making use of what I know and what I have learned. I will never go for listening to a song and copy its composition. In my view, a Naat should not be a copy of some already performed Naat; it should not match the composition of any song. But this requires a lot of hard work and proper allocation of time. It is very easy to re perform a Naat or to copy the tune or composition of some old Naat or song, but, very sorry to say, it never creates a long lasting impression. Although, how well the copied Naat is performed, when you listen to it, your mind always goes to that song or Naat on which it is based which I think does not reflect the right approach. I admit that many of the senior Naat Khawans are also following the same practice which is certainly not good and due caution is required in this connection. I feel very sorry for those Naat Khawans who have introduced and are practicing this trend.


KalPoint: There are hundreds of good Naats but the question is that are they in the form of audio, video and books? Have you composed any book yourself?
S.Ismail: Well to be very true all the good Naats are being preserved mostly in the form of books. Lots of books are being published these days. I have also contributed in this regard. I have composed a Book by the name of “Anwar-e-Haramain”. Gen. Zia Ul Haq got this work done by me. He told me to arrange all my popular Naats at that time in the form of a book. I selected almost 215 Naats for this book. I have already released 3000 copies of this book. I was honored as Gen. Zia Ul Haq also gave his personal message in the same book. His remarks were:
“Yeh Mere Khwahish Ki Takmeel Kay Taur Par Kaam Hua Hai”.
Gen. Zia Ul Haq sent five copies of this book to every Embassy of Pakistan abroad with special instructions. The banks were also asked to buy this book and also to distribute amongst their people. I published three editions of this book and within 6 months, 9000 copies were sold. Two years back I wrote another book by the name of “Rang-e-Raza”. Almost 450 Kalams have been presented in this book. It was greatly appreciated by the people and is available in market. Kalams have 10 to 15 stanzas but I have shortened the Kalam to 7 or 8 stanzas for the convenience of the new “Naat Khawans”. On the other end, Naats are also being preserved in the form of audio and videos. Lot of work has been done in the past and is being done in this connection. Naat Khawans are now releasing cassettes and CDs, which is a way to preserve of what they are doing. It is certainly a treasure and it is preserved for our youth and the coming generation as well Alhamdullillah.


KalPoint: Presently it has become a trend that loud speakers are used for Naat Khawanee Mehfils and it is done till late at night. Do you think that it is a healthy tradition?
S.Ismail: (Laughingly) A very interesting question. The same question is never put up when a Musical Programme is going on but when a mehfil is going on, every body has an objection. Secondly it is true that the Mehfils should be held at places where there is no chance of the people or residents getting disturbed. But it’s also a fact that “Zikr-e-Rasool” is the cure of every ailment whether it is psychological or physical. A person can feel automatically cure of the illness, tensions or depression if he or she gets truly involved what is being delivered. So people should not mind these things but of course if somebody is sick or there is some other issue, then special care should be taken.


KalPoint: Are you satisfied by the way some videos like Tala ul badru Alaina and Qaseeda Burda Shareef are being made? Do you think that these videos should have been made the same way?
S.Ismail: Yes you are very right, these videos are not impressive at all and should have been made keeping all the ethical & ritual values of performing a Naat. I am not satisfied by such videos at all. Such videos depict disrespect to the reciting of Naats and naazo-billah to our holy prophet as well. We, the senior Naat Khawans in spite of wanting to do something cannot do such thing, although his has now become a desire of a certain class of our viewers. They want glamour in all the things they do and see. We ourselves are against the making of such videos but we can’t say much about it because the television focuses on the needs and interests of its viewers. So we can just be patient and pray that such videos should focus on paying homage and respect to our Holy Prophet (PBUH) rather than showing glamour and acting.


KalPoint: Do you think that Naat Mehfils are still held the same way in which they were during the times of the Holy Prophet?
S.Ismail: Yes I think the concept is more or less the same as it was during the times of Prophet (PBUH). I would like to narrate a related incident about Hazrat Sheik Sa’adi. When Hazrat Shaikh Sadi wrote a famous Naat, he had only written 3 verses of it when he fell asleep. While sleeping he dreamt he was in a Na’at Mehfil where the Holy Prophet was there amongst various companions. The Prophet prompted to wards Sheikh Sa’adi and said this is my guest from Shiraz and told him to recite his incomplete poem. When he did, one of the Prophets companions spontaneously completed the last misra of the stanza. Thus what I m saying is that even at that time a similar kind of Mehfil must have been held and people would have recited in the same manner as today.


KalPoint: Do the Naat Khawans have to give any audition to appear on Radio and TV like the Actors or Singers do? How one can approach media as a Naat Khawan?
S.Ismail: Yes of course on PTV and Radio Pakistan, one has to give audition as per its policy but as far as the private channels are concerned, they don’t have such standards.


KalPoint: What is the ratio of luck and hard work in one’s life?
S. Ismail: It’s a very vast topic itself. Every body wishes for better luck, there is luck involved in one’s life but he shouldn’t give up the struggle. I will give you an example. If you have to go abroad and you are all prepared from passport making to visa confirmation but when you get to the Airport, you come to know that the flight is not going. It’s your luck. You have done your struggle for going abroad but if the flight is not going, you can’t help it. So hard work is very important in one’s life along with luck.


Kalpoint: Thank you very much that you came here Sir. We are very honored and happy to have you with us today and we have learnt a lot a lot from you. Incidentally Mah-e-Ramzan is just few days away & it is God’s blessing that such a topic & a personality will be on the Inter-net through KalPoint.com for the benefit of millions of Netizens. Thank you very much & may Allah bless us with all the success in promoting such subjects- Aamin & C U on Net.
S.Ismail: I am very happy with your efforts; please continue your efforts and my prayers are with the Kalia Group & the confidence in the youth who will definitely carry forward this task to glory. C U on Net 2.
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