London’s West End came alive for two nights with Rumi: the Musical at the London Coliseum.
Rich visual colours adorning the cast combined with powerful vivid voices being carried across the theatre made for a memorable glimpse into the creative vision of Dana Al Fardan and Nadim Namaan’s interpretation of the 13th-century personality.
Both Shams, played by Ramin Karimloo, and Rumi, played by Nadim Naaman, led the cast in a spectacular performance on November 23 -24.
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Centred around Rumi’s relationship with his mentor Shams-i-Tabrizi, there were two themes which stood out to me. First, when pages of an old historical text treasured by Rumi were thrown into a well by Shams.
Aside from its age, the text also had an emotional attachment to Rumi as it was a gift from a now deceased friend. Shams then relayed that the connection was not in the material object of the book, but in the memory encapsulated in the heart.
This tied to the second theme, which is the relationship between a student of knowledge, Rumi, and a teacher of knowledge, Shams, and how understanding and life should not be restricted to the relationship a person has with their mentor.
Relationship with Faith
How do these two themes fit within the spirit of Islam? The first reminds us that while the things of this world connect us to this world, it is the immaterial things which hold a lasting spirit and are the ones that sustain our souls.
There is of course nothing wrong with having stuff, whatever it may be, as, if we are to live in this life, then we must fulfil the functions that this life has to offer. Preparing for the next life does not mean we detach ourselves from the things of this life.
So Islam urges us that we, the creation, should seek the best of this life and the best of the next. By this, while material things are temporary, they help us create an individual story of our own.
It is as if on the Day of Judgment God will ask, you were given life in that world, what did you do with it? And the successful will not be those who abstain from life, but those who maximized their potential and got the most from their time in this world; however any person wishes to measure that.
The second theme is more interesting, the bond between a human being and those who guide us at the different stages of our life. All of the Prophets had their own disciples, Muhammad, Mary, Jesus, Moses, and the rest, peace be upon them all. Men or women, any of God’s creation who communicated with the Angel Gabriel are described as Prophets, they had something which the rest of us did not have.
Being a disciple of a Prophet makes sense, because when that Prophet made a mistake which went against the spirit of faith, they would be corrected.
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