The Jamat of the Northeastern United States celebrates an evening filled with the richness and tradition of heritage, with humility, devotion and expression of love towards Murtaza Ali.

The Jamat is seated. The musicians take their place to charge the audience with melodious symphonies. The hall is silenced. There is a briefing about the rich and wide variety of devotional expressions. Suddenly the door opens and the Northeast Youth Choir enters, humming devotional poetry. Moved, everyone joins in the chorus. 
 
The humming of the poetry transitions into verses accompanied by musical instruments, carefully selected to enhance feelings without affecting the sanctity of these special devotional expressions. The mesmerizing colorful lighting keeps the Jamat in awe, magnifying the impact of the musical scores. Delighted, the Jamat is also moved by the performance, some showing tears of joy. 
 
“In my life, I have attended many, many programs but I have never attended such a musical program; it was so touching. Had the tickets been $100, $200, even $500 I would have still attended over and over. I feel so happy I can’t even express myself,” says Jamshed Vediya.
 
Another member from Edison, New Jersey feels that there is not always enough time to thank Allah. She says, “It is a very small word. I think even a shukran tasbih was not enough to thank Allah for what I got from the show.”
 
The musical concert series, Expressions of Love, revives the tradition of religious dedication through music, taking the audience on a journey over a series of “mountains and valleys.” Various ginans, qasidas and nasheeds, along with old geets and a few original compositions from the artists, encouraged the audience to interact with the performers to dance and play raas garba. The experience was meant to leave the Jamat with a newfound sense of pride for our musical tradition, as well as excitement for the upcoming Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
 
“Hearing the song Bhool Jaata Hu(n) brought me back to the right path. I realized during the performance that I have been lost for a long time. I am thankful from the bottom of my heart. This has brought us all back today,” says Nisha Kotadia. Fez Meghani and The Sufistics filled the atmosphere with their renditions and they were joined with commendable international talent - Anwar Khurshid, a sitarist who has composed music featured in the Oscar-winning film Life of Pi; Jatinder Parkash, who has scored music in famous Hollywood films such as Chloe Cooking with Stella, and others.
 
The musicians were surprised by the extent of the emotions they saw. Keyboardist and singer Pervaiz, noted, “I felt humbled by the response received after the show. I am thankful to the Jamat for welcoming with open arms, a sense of humility for the opportunity given to us, as well as a sense of pride in the Jamat for how they come together and how much energy and love they show for our traditions, and for the Imam of the Time.”
 
The three sold-out shows at New York Headquarters Jamatkhana Social Hall saw Jamati members from Boston, Philadelphia, New York Headquarters, Manhattan, Westport, Poughkeepsie, Lake Success, Edison, Albany, and a few members from Washington, DC. Several Volunteers put in countless hours into making sure that the atmosphere of the hall was transformed to match the experience that the performers were bringing to the Jamat.
 
“It was one of the best experiences of my life. This performance has left me speechless in the love, confidence, overwhelming sense of pride in my Jamat, and excitement that I feel for our Jamat, its leaders, and the performers,” says Alvirah Kabani, who led the organizing team.
 
The evening ended with a special song chosen to leave the audience feeling united, and it responded with multiple standing ovations.

Sufi Music and Qawwalis

The art of expressing love through music has a long history among Muslims. Sufi music is religious devotional music, inspired by the works of prominent Sufis, such as Rumi, Amir Khusrow and others. These songs hold great importance on holy days such as Milad-un-Nabi
 
Qawwalis, the well-known devotional genre, is most commonly found in the Sufi culture in South Asia. The richness of this diversity, like the pluralism of the Ummah as a whole, describes the global Jamat as a beautiful mosaic. Today, musicians such as Abida Parveen, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan are considered among the finest Qawwali vocalists.