Monday 9 March 2020

Revert Experiences: The Mystique Gamelan brings a Jew to Islam

I have been sharing revert experiences from across the world and each experience is different from the rest. But the experience I am going to share is unique as instead of being motivated by teaching of Islam, a Jew finds a spiritual connection between the percussion sound of a Gamelan and Islam.

This unique revert experience I came across in a post wherein a Jew travels to Indonesia to learn music. Indonesia being a Muslim dominated country, this young man hid his identity afraid of being expelled or being persecuted for being a Jew. He had been attending music classes with his hidden identity, portraying him a Buddhist for almost a year and half when one day he came to listening to the traditional Java percussion instrument Gamelan, made of metal - sounding perhaps something like steel drums.
I may add here that music and Islam do not usually go together. While Muslim communities generally ban non-chanting music all together, others allow it as long as it doesn’t contain messages (e.g., sex, alcohol) that go against the teachings of Islam. The Muslims in Indonesia adopt the latter attitude. [1]
One day while he was attending the Gamelan classes, an old man sitting next to him explained to me the connection between the Gamelan and Islam. He told him about an ancient royal Gamelan ensemble which has the only purpose of commemorating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The old man further told him that the playing of Gamelan was supposed to represent continuous praises for the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

This unique revelation had a profound impact on him as he had never thought about the spiritual aspect of music. His explanations made a lasting impact on him as he started to read more about the spirituality and Islamic mysticism. The more he read about, he came to realize that Islam was a lived religion and that it was full with the spirituality he wanted in my life. Before being exposed to the spiritual aspect of Islam, for him Islam was a dry and strict religion that only focused on the outer aspects and rules.

From here on his quest to know more about Islam grew and was fascinated about the richness of Islam as a religion. He eventually decided to take his shahadha one day and embraced Islam in a small Muslim community center in New York City. He started praying and joined the regular dhikr circle. The rhythmic remembrance of Allah is wonderful, he says and feels that it is like spiritual music that soothes the heart and calms the mind.

Disclaimer: The data for this post has been collected from the reference given below. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

To read personal accounts of many a celebrity who have reverted to Islam, please visit our page: Embracing Islam: Revert Experiences.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Author | Source | References: | 1 |
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