Archive | Video RSS feed for this Video archive

Ahmet Ozhan; Elvis Presley of Turkish Sufi Music

Can Yine Bülbül Oldu by Ahmad Ozhan

Translation from Turkish

Poem by Niyazi Misri

My soul has become a nightingale
The thorn bloomed and became a rose
Everything became eyes and ears
And everything became anew

I became Ferhat today
I cut a hole through my prison of flesh
To reach my beloved Shirin.
Each direction became a path

Forget both day and night
And throw away everything between
Oh Niazi don’t stay apart
You are asked to come.

Can Yine Bülbül Oldu

Can yine bülbül oldu
Hâr açılıp gül oldu (medet)
Göz kulak oldu her yer
Her ne ki var olundu

Ferhat bügün ben oldum
Varlık dağını deldim
Şirinime var maya
Her canibim yol oldu

Geç ak ile kareden
Halkı çıkar oreden
Niyazi der buradan
Durma sana gel oldu

Translated by members of Jerrahi Order.


A wonderful poem by Imam al-Haddad of Yemen. Translated into English and song in Arabic.

Imam Abd Allah ibn Alawi al-Haddad born in 1634. He lived his entire life in the town of Tarim in Yemen’s Valley of Hadramawt and died there in 1720 CE (1132 Hijri). In Islamic history, he was considered one of the sages. His works revolve around the attainment of certainty (yaqin), the degree of unshakeable faith in God and Muhammad. Imam ‘Abdallah al-Haddad was the renewer, or Mujaddid, of the twelfth Islamic century. He was renowned, and deservedly so, for the breadth of his knowledge and his manifest sanctity. The profundity of his influence on Muslims is reflected by the fact his books are still in print throughout the Islamic world.


The poem (Qasida): Qad Kafani Ilmu Rabbi
My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me
from asking or choosing

For my du’a and my agonising supplication
is a witness to my poverty.

For this secret (reason) I make supplication
in times of ease and times of difficulty

I am a slave whose pride
is in his poverty and obligation

O my Lord and my King
You know my state

And what has settled in my heart
of agonies and preoccupations

Save me with a gentleness
from You, O Lord of Lords

Oh save me, Most Generous
before I run out of patience (with myself)

My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me
from asking or choosing

O One who is swift in sending aid
I ask for aid that will arrive to me swiftly

It will defeat all difficulty
and it will bring all that I hope for

O Near One Who answers
and All-Knowing and All-Hearing

I have attained realisation through my incapacity,
my submission and my brokenness

My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me
from asking or choosing

I am still standing by the door, so please my Lord
have mercy on my standing

And in the valley of generosity, I am in i’tikaf (solitary retreat)
So, Allah, make my retreat here permanent

And I’m abiding by good opinion (of You)
For it is my friend and ally

And it is the one that sits by me and keeps me company
All day and night

My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me
from asking or choosing

There is a need in my soul, O Allah
so please fulfil it, O Best of Fulfillers

And comfort my secret and my heart
from its burning and its shrapnel

In pleasure and in happiness
and as long as You are pleased with me

For joy and expansion is my state
and my motto and my cover

My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me
from asking or choosing

May Allah be pleased with him Imam al-Haddad .


The Word: Wheat by Rumi; The Sound: One Truth by Omer Faruk Tekbilek

Omar Faruk Tekbilek had been studying Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, with the thought of becoming a Sufi cleric. At 15, he quit school to become a professional musician. “But I never quit studying, though,” he maintains. “In fact, I am still studying; it’s endless. Music for me is not something to show off. It’s my life. It’s the shortest path to God. Playing is prayer for me.”

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi Poem:

If wheat sprouts out of my grave,
the bread you make of it will get you drunk.
The baker and the dough will go insane,
and the oven will recite intoxicating verses.
If you come to visit my grave,
My tomb will appear to dance.
Brother! Don’t come without a tambourine,
for the sad can’t join in God’s celebration.
Though deep in the grave, the chin closed tight,
this mouth still chews the beloved’s opium and sugarplum.
If you tear a piece off that shroud and fasten it round your chest,
a tavern will open up from your soul.
From every direction comes the sound of the harp,
and hue and cry from the drunk.
Every action will perforce give rise to another one.
God has created me from love’s wine;
even if death takes me, I am the same love.
I am intoxication; my origin is the wine of love.
Tell me: what comes from wine except intoxication?
Toward the lofty soul of Shams of Tabriz
my soul is flying, lingering not even a single moment.

Rumi translations courtesy of Reynold A. Nicholson.


Poem by Rumi and Music by Omer Faruk Tekbilek

Omar Faruk Tekbilek, born in Turkey, has lived and worked in the New York area since 1976. He is a virtuoso on several Middle Eastern instruments and is a capable performer on dozens more. Tekbilek became familiar to many listeners through his work on Brian Keane’s soundtrack to Suleyman the Magnificent and subsequently through two additional collaborations, Fire Dance and Beyond the Sky, that combined the sounds of the Middle East with Western synthesizers and guitar. He has appeared at the Kool Jazz Festival and the New Sounds Live Concert Series, and has performed with Don Cherry, Ginger Baker, and many others.

O Drop
Listen, O drop, give yourself up without regret,
and in exchange gain the Ocean.
Listen, O drop, bestow upon yourself this honor,
and in the arms of the Sea be secure.
Who indeed should be so fortunate?
An Ocean wooing a drop!
In God’s name, in God’s name, sell and buy at once!
Give a drop, and take this Sea full of pearls.
[Mathnawi IV, 2619-2622]

Rumi translations courtesy of Kabir Helminski.


Islam: Empire of Faith. Part 2: The Awakening (PBS Documentary)

This part is about the Awakening of the world under Islam. The advancements and discoveries credited to Islam as a system that ran society.


The Making of Islam: Empire of Faith
by Robert Gardner, Producer

The production of Islam: Empire of Faith was a big challenge from the beginning, simply because it covered more than a thousand years of history and culture, and a very large part of the world.

But we really wanted to push beyond the conventional form of historical documentaries, which have depended on pans and tilts of still pictures, supplemented with landscapes and interviews. We wanted to find a way to use the visual techniques usually reserved for fiction motion pictures to tell a story of great scope that took place in pre-photographic history. This meant the project would require very large scale costumed re-enactments and equipment far beyond the ordinary documentary production package of camera, zoom lens, tripod and small light-kit.

We knew that we had to find a way to present images of cultural history — both re-enacted scenes and contemporary scenes of Islamic architecture and city life — in a way that would evoke the past, but maintain a sense of authenticity. The scenes would be dream-like and impressionistic but would still give viewers a sense that what they were seeing was accurate in historical terms.

We designed a production package that included a robotic crane with an 18-foot reach (Jimmi-jib), allowing us to fly the camera through architectural spaces, and a Steadicam that would allow for smooth camera moves through buildings at ground level — even mounting it on a truck to shoot running horses at full speed. We took a wide selection of lenses from extremely wide to telephoto and we also brought a high-speed camera for true slow-motion (500 frames per second) allowing us to slow an action down that actually took one second to fully twenty seconds on-screen. All of these taken together would provide an extraordinarily production palette. But it also meant that we had to travel with more than 40 cases of equipment — and do so in seven different countries. The logistics were severe.

The actual American camera crew was very small — Director of Photography Rege Becker (who also operated the Steadicam) and First Assistant Cameraman and Jib Operator Nick Gardner, who also shot second camera when required. The rest of the crew was hired and trained in each country — Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel, Spain, Turkey and Iran.

It was in Iran that we used a motion picture company — with a crew of 50 — to produce the costumed re-enactments. Iran’s foremost Art Director Majid Mirfakhraei, had to create locations, costumes and props for more than a thousand years of history — from the deserts 7th century Arabia, to the palaces of the Ottoman empire. The same team of stunt riders had to be made-up and redressed to play Arabian mounted soldiers, Crusader knights, Mongol raiders, Ghazi horsemen and Ottoman cavalry. A full sized, four-story replica of the holiest shrine in the Muslim world (the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia), had to be built in the deserts of Southern Iran and the vanished world of 8th century Baghdad had to be created in the ruins of a 19th century Persian palace. More than 300 costumes were required, as well as a dozen camels and riders, dozens of sheep and goats, an entire Bedouin encampment and the streets of Jerusalem in the 11th century — complete with market stalls and citizens.

This extraordinary production design, set in epic landscapes, gives the film a startling sense of scope and provides a remarkable window through which to examine the past. The film took 18 months to edit, and is supported by an original score by Leonard Lionnet.
Film Credits

Narrated by
Ben Kingsley

Produced and Directed by
Robert Gardner

Documentary Producer
Stefano H. Kotsonis

Director of Photography
Regis Becker

Production Manager, Associate Producer
Char Gardner

Historical Re-enactments, Iran
Producer, Hedayat Films
Morteza Shayesta

Art Director, Production Designer
Majid Mir Fakhrai

First Assistant Director and Translator
Ebrahim Pourmansouri

Leonard Lionnet

Jonathan Grupper
Patrick Prentice
Richard Roughton

Christopher Schultz
David Grossbach

Content Advisors
Sheila Blair, Jonathan Bloom, Ahmet Karamustafa, James W. Morris, Michael Sells,
Mohamad Arkoun

For Devillier Donegan Enterprises

Production Managers
Denise Glennon
Ciara Byrne

Program Development
Rebecca Goldfield

Supervising Producer
Greg Diefenbach

Executive Producers
Brian Donegan
Ron Devillier

A Gardner Films production in association with PBS and Devillier Donegan Enterprises

Islam: Empire of Faith was presented as part of the Empires ® series. To learn more about other programs in the series, visit the Empires ® series homepage.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 242 other followers