This weekend, Sheffield will yet again be attracting students from all over the UK and Ireland for two of its largest annual event; the Sheffield Malaysian Games and Nasheed Extravaganza 2010 (NEXT 2010).
For the past 5 years, I've always looked forward to this weekend. Not just because I get to meet up with friends from all over the country, but also because of the fond memories I treasured from one of the event, the nasheed competition, better known as NEXT.
Looking at all the hype that NEXT has attracted this year, I can't help but remind myself how much this event has grown in stature over the years. What started as a very low profile event back in 2005, has now become one of the largest Malaysian event in the UK, attracting renown nasheed artists as guest performers namely Azhari Nowseeheart, Hamza Robertson, Akbar and this year, InTeam.
I still remembered the clear objective of this event; to spread the message of Islam via entertainment, as well as raising funds for charity purposes. For those who know me well, I always find joy in singing and entertaining, although admittedly my voice isn't really the sweetest in the world and could even possibly be a nuisance to the ears of some people. However, I jumped at the opportunity to play my part in NEXT, as I know it is my opportunity to be part of the da'wah work that has been initiated.
My nasheed team back in 2005, when NEXT first started. We came home second, not bad for a debut =)
I didn't take part in NEXT 2006 as I was part of the organizing committee. But I made my 'return' in NEXT 2007, and alhamdulillah, my group was the first runner up.
NEXT 2008 was one of my favourite event, not only because we won the first place, but also because we took everyone by surprise with one very special appearance.
My last appearance, in NEXT 2009. This will forever be one of my most memorable experience, as I remembered vividly that I only just had my chemotherapy a week before the event. I felt tired and slightly weak, but that will never prevent me from playing a part. And alhamdulillah, we were announced as the winner yet again, for the second year running.
Music can be a very powerful tool of da'wah, especially nowadays where entertainment is very much deep-rooted in the lives of people. As you might notice from most of my performances in NEXT, we hardly mesmerized people with our voices, but our intention has always been clear; we want to entertain people whilst at the same time spreading as much message about the Deen as possible in our performances.
And I have always told myself, had I been in Sheffield for this year's NEXT 2010, I will definitely compete again if that allows me the opportunity to spread the message of my Deen.
I remembered that one particular night when I returned home having just finished practising for NEXT 2009. I was so drained out from the after effects of my most recent chemotherapy, and a small part of me started asking; is it worth wasting my energy to compete again in the nasheed event? That was when I reminded myself,
If I am to compete for fame, then yes, it is a waste of my energy.
If I am to compete for the sake of winning, then yes, it is a waste of my energy.
If I am to compete because I just love singing in front of a large audience, then yes, it is a waste of my energy.
But those are not my intention of competing. My wish is to do my part in da'wah. Nothing else but only that. So it is worth spending every bit of my energy for this cause.
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ
"You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma`ruf (all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah..." [Ali-'Imran:110]
All the best for NEXT 2010. May Allah reward each and everyone of you for your effort.