Marsia Play With Emotions…Is That Right

Mohamedarif Suleman

(Nairobi, Kenya)

Concencus shows, from the various written as well as verbal comments we have received after last issue’s discussion on Marsias, that Marsias are to a large extent leading towards singing. In fact, a letter that we received from the Dar es Salaam Jamaat Tabligh Sub Committee even pledged to supply us with a list of Marsias that have been positively identified with such affiliation.

What is acrimonious is not that these Marsias and Nauhas are in fact underscoring the importance of rhyme and rhythm, but that we refuse to accept the fact. If these Marsias are not inappropriate, than why should Hindi songs? Oh, for the music? But isn’t there a new finding now that certain types of music are no longer outlawed? So, the question returns – where do we draw the line?

Taking a peep inside the life of an ordinary Indian and by extension of a Pakistani (The Indian Sub Continent), we will invariable discover that music and films are life and blood of each person. Many reason have been established, and for once, the lack of another entertainment and leisure outlet in these countries due to years of restrictions as well as large population. In India, for example, where most of these Marsias are born, every person identifies himself with a certain movie character that either rationalizes his own status or gives impetus to his actions. So profitable is this line of business, that if career guidance was to be conducted that naturally acting and entertainment would yield a greater percentage of candidates.

The lyricists who pen those emotionally crushing words (in great part to offer comfort an solace to the poor Indian who is struggling in life), are not seperated from those talented authors of Marsias. The bottom line is whether we can choose to be a market for such outlets or not.

But as humans, and in spite of our innate grief for the sacrifices our Aimmah (AS), we sometimes need that additional shot in the heart to move us, that uniquely poetic expression of Imam’s grief or distress. And so the question remains on where do we draw the line reemerges.

Many times even the Zakireen have been found to flaunt with their audience’s emotions by reciting narrations that have powerful and heart piercing effects, but whose authenticity remains questionable. And amidst all this , we run the risk of passing on some false education to the budding youth. After all, it is perhaps very okay for the newer generation to see and hear all of this, because they have grown to see only such things. So, who will take the responsibility? An English proverb seems to offer the audacious answer. ”The responsibility rests with the Government”, in our case an obvious pointer to our Jamaat leadership and resident Aalims. If these two classes of people can avoid playing populists, then there will be sufficient room for our communities to move away from this obvious and imminent amalgamation of Marsias and songs. But of course, we must first ascertain if this is wrong in the first place.

Those of us who have read a bit of psychology know that the first step in resolving a conflict – whether internal or external, is to accept the existence of a problem (the step that follows rejection, withdrawal and resignation). Once we can collectively agree that there is a problem, it will be easier to identify the cause of the problem. At the moment it does appear as though we are terribly divided…in thought as well as action.

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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.
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