H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, last night attended the first performance of the spectacular oratorio Clusters Of Light at the Majaz Amphitheatre, Sharjah.
The oratorio, which portrays the beginnings of Islam through poetry, music, drama and dazzling audiovisual effects, marked the beginning of Sharjah's year of celebrations at being named Capital of Islamic Culture and drew an audience of over 3,500, including numerous VIPS from the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere.
Clusters of Light is based, in a respectful new work by the Saudi poet Dr Abdul Rahman Al-Ashmawi, on the biography of the Prophet Mohammad, Peace Be Upon Him, from his birth until his death. Its music is by the Bahraini composer Khalid Al Sheikh and it is performed by more than 200 artists from around the world, led by top Arab stars Hussein Al Jasmi, Lotfi Bouchnak, Ali Mohammed Hajja and Mohammad Assaf.
The audience enjoyed the show from its very opening moments, beginning with a cinematic journey back in time from Sharjah to the holy lands. The word IQRA - the first word the Prophet (PBUH) received from God - was emblazoned on the screen and sung with passion by the performers in a spectacular ?4D' overture.
We were taken to Umm Al-Qura, destined - once the sun of Islam rose in the sky - to become the place of light and revelation known to Muslims everywhere as the "Qiblah". Above music and the voices of the singers, the narrator told of the time of ignorance and idolatry that reigned there, culminating in an attempt - in the Year Of The Elephant - to demolish the Kaaba itself. At the very same time, the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him, was being born.
The drama showed us Muslims leaving the doors of Mecca carrying the torch of faith: a light in the darkness to give them hope on a dangerous journey, ordained by The Prophet (PBUH) to save them from torture and oppression.
We watched them cross the desert from Mecca to Madinah and saw how The Prophet (PBUH) and Abu Bakr as-Siddiq spent three days in the cave at Jabal Thawr, where the Quraysh couldn't find them despite being just a few steps away from them. We later saw how the believers waiting in Madinah welcomed The Prophet (PBUH) and Abu Bakr, and urged their neighbours in the city to become brothers of the new emigrants from Mecca. Events concluded beautifully with the first prayers of Bilal al-Habashi, the first muezzin, after building the first mosque.
The narrative then reached the battle of Badr, one of the few battles specifically mentioned in the Quran. The last sermon of the Prophet (PBUH), known as the "Khutba al Wada", was a moment the audience will never forget. As the curtain fell, the following words were spelled out in light: Here is dawn, shining like silver. Here is the sun, the brightness at both ends of the world. Clusters of light still shine with a pure and soothing light.
H.H Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, said, "Today, after a year of hard work, great effort and the focusing of considerable resources, we are able to stand with great joy and pride before this exceptional event: an event which can only cement Sharjah's position as an Emirate which spreads Islam's message of peace among the people of the world".
"Sharjah has achieved a great deal for the advancement of Islamic culture in the last 20 years," HH the Crown Prince said, "thanks to the vision of Sheikh Doctor Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, member of the Supreme Court and ruler of Sharjah. The success of Clusters Of Light, and everything else we celebrate today, is a reward for all his efforts over the years to support and sponsor cultural events in Sharjah, ensuring the preservation of Sharjah's art and traditions and promoting tourism in this great Emirate of ours."