On Friday, 7th February 2014, Kallang Theatre was packed with over 1600 people for the Qasidah Theater titled “Penyaksian Cinta” or Testimony of Love.
The storyline was an easy one to follow and easily relatable for all ages too. There were 3 main actors; Ustaz Zahid as the Tok, Ustaz Fawzan, the Father and Rusyaidi, the teenage son. In the story, Rusyaidi’s mother passed away recently and has since looked to his father for guidance and love, but his father is too busy with work and is hardly home. Fawzan struggles with keeping his son in check and goes the tough-love way. Ustaz Zahid plays a qaseedah teacher and he advises both father and son to be better to each other.
The play, as indicated by it’s marketing tagline, is a Qasidah Theater. Every scene has an accompanying Qasidah sung by either one or all of the 3 groups on stage: Madeehul Mustafa, Muhibbur Rasul and Al-Khidmah.
For any Qasidah buff, the whole night was an absolute treat and the play was just an excuse to attend a Qasidah concert. Madeehul Mustafa was flawless mashaAllah, and their harmonizing and commanding presence on stage set the precedent and standard for the 2 younger groups, who did an excellent job themselves.
Not only was their qasidahs literally music to our ears, but the fascinating visual backgrounds provided the perfect experience for all the senses. Imagine listening to the following lyrics while looking at images of Masjid Nabawi or the galaxies or the Kaabah:
Kusering melanggar arahanMu,
dalam sedar ataupun tidak,
ku sering meninggalkan suruhanMu,
walauku sedar ku milikMu.
Yet the beauty of the play, and the qasidahs selected was such that it brought you to feel different emotions – a total immersion. At certain times, like during the above nasheed, you become totally heartbroken as it’s an emotion that we’ve all gone through – guilt and remorse.
Another time, Ustaz Zahid lamented on his sadness and asked Al-Khidmah to sing something that would cheer him up and Asyraf Hasni started to belt out a qasidah that even though had the lyrics “Wa zikruhu, fihi syifa'” meaning “And in the remembrance of you (Prophet Muhammad (S)), in it is a cure”, it somehow made me even sadder! But a different kind of sad, like moving from a dunya-sad to a yearning-for-Prophet-Muhammad (S) kind of sad, which is way preferable.
One of my favourite scenes (there were many since I’m a qasidah junkie) was actually the scene when a man and a young boy sat facing each other to read different verses of the Qur’an, and later both faced the same direction to read the same verses. In this particular scene, the background was that of the door of the Kaabah, which exudes a majesty and awe that is unrivalled, leaving the audience enthralled by both the beautiful Qur’anic recitation and the imagery.
One of the lines I caught from their Qur’anic recitation was “If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” from Surah Ali-Imran, which was a fitting verse to read especially with the consistent emphasis throughout the play to search for the love of Allah and His Messenger (S).
The acting by all 3 actors was impeccable and I want to give a special shout-out to Rusyaidi who did an amazing job with his voice control and expressions. We were all also equally impressed with Ustaz Fawzan who looked like he’s been doing this for years! Ustaz Zahid is a natural on stage so it was difficult to differentiate between his usual-Ustaz persona and the Tok Qasidah in the play, both of whom were wise and ‘bersahaja’.
All in all, I wouldn’t have chosen to spend my Friday night any other way (besides actually being at the Kaabah or Masjid Nabawi!). The event was well-run and well-organised and although it did get a biiit draggy at times, the closing performance made up for it a thousand-fold! The energy in the event hall was buzzing in my bones till the wee hours of the morning and I was humming the tunes for the next few days.
Anxiously waiting for the next performance already, inshaAllah!
For more pictures, you can head over to [https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.450028281790664.1073741840.216482995145195&type=3]