Taha (Live)

Date of release: 1 Feb, 2020

Album Cover

Tracklist + Liner Notes

  1. Taha (Live at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music)

    Ṣalla l-Lāhu ‘alā Ṭāhā
    Khayri l-khalqi wa-’aḥlāhā
    God’s blessings be upon Taha,
    Best of creation and the sweetest

    Khayru l-khalqi huwa l-hādī
    Nūru l-kawni bihi bādī
    Best of [God’s] creation, he’s the guide
    The light of existence shines through him

    ‘Amma n-nāsa bi-’irshādi
    ’Azka l-khalqi wa-’arḍāhā
    He encompassed all mankind with his guidance
    Purest of creation and the most pleasing

    Nūru l-Lāhi l-mutaqaddim
    Qabla l-khalqi l-muta‘allim
    The first light of God
    He was taught before all other creation

    Badru n-nūri l-mutalaththim
    Hādi l-khalqi li-Mawlāhā
    The veiled light of the full moon
    Guiding creation to its Lord

    Ba‘da s-sidrati qad sārā
    Wa-ra’a l-ḥaqqa wa-’anwārah
    Beyond the Sidra* he walked
    And saw The Truth and His Lights

    Waqafa r-ruḥu wa-ma sārā
    Idhhab waḥdaka yā Ṭāhā
    The Spirit (Jibra’il) stopped and did not continue
    [saying] go on alone Taha

    Irża l-Lāha bi-l-ālāf
    ‘an ’ahli l-bayti l-’ashrāf
    May God be pleased with his intimates
    from his noble family

    Wa-l-’aṣhābi ’ūli-l-’insāf
    Nālu l-khulda wa-suknāhā
    And his companions, the people of justice
    Who gained eternity and its dwelling

    Malīḥun lawnuhū**
    Kahīlun ṭarfuhū
    Jamīlun na‘tuhū
    Ṣalla l-Lāhu ‘alā Ṭāhā
    Of fine complexion
    His eyes, dark and wide
    Of beautiful face
    The guide, with whom God is satisfied

    Qamarīyun wajhuhū
    Bahīyun shakluhū
    ‘Aẓīmun khuluquhū
    Ṣalla l-Lāhu ‘alā Ṭāhā
    His face is like the moon
    His form is resplendent
    His character is mighty
    Taha, the chosen one

    Rahīmun qalbuhū
    Ṣadūqun wa‘duhū
    ‘Amīmun jūduhū
    Māḥin muntaqā
    His heart is kind,
    His promises are kept
    His generosity is vast
    The effacer (of sins), the chosen one

    Ṣalātu Rabbī
    Ma‘a s-salāmi
    ‘Alā Muhammad
    Zaynu l-’asāmī
    The blessings of my Lord
    And His peace
    Upon Muhammad
    The most beautiful of names

    Maqām: Bayātī
    Commentary: “Ṣalla l-Lāhu ‘alā Ṭāhā” was written by the Sudanese/Egyptian Shaykh Salih al-Ja’fari (d. 1979) who taught and lived at the famous al-Azhar University in Cairo and was also the Imam of the al-Azhar mosque. He was a Sufi shaykh in the lineage of Ahmad ibn Idris of Fez (d. 1837) and a prolific author of works on the Qur’an, Hadith, Islamic law and Sufism. He also wrote a celebrated collection of poetry, from which this song is taken. The end section incorporates the blessed names of the Prophet (pbuh) taken from the Diwan of the famous Moroccan Sufi saint Imam Mohammed Al-Jazuli’s (d. 1465), Dala’il al-Khayrat.
    *The Sidra is a reference to the “Lote tree of the furthest boundary” (sidrat al-muntahā) mentioned in the Qur’an (53:14) and described by the Prophet on his night journey to heaven (mi’rāj). The sidra marks the outer boundaries that separate the created world (‘ālam al-khalq) from the spiritual world of the divine command (‘ālam al-amr).
    **This section is an original composition with words provided by Mohammed Ali El Oumari and Abdel Ilah Ikhal. The inspiration behind the melody comes from an old Kurdish folk song heard by Sami Yusuf when he was a child.

    Words by Shaykh Salih al-Ja’fari
    Music: Traditional Islamic (unknown provenance)
    Performed and arranged by Sami Yusuf
    Recorded at Andante Studios


This completely new arrangement of ‘Taha’ was performed live at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco in 2019. The words are from a mystical Sufi poem by the Sudanese/Egyptian Shaykh Salih al-Ja’fari (d. 1979) who taught and lived at the famous al-Azhar University in Cairo. The inspiration behind the melody comes from a well-loved folk song that is famous from India to Central Asia, from the Middle East to the Balkans, and all across North Africa. In this unique interplay of musical and literary traditions, Sami Yusuf is accompanied by master instrumentalists from around the world and is joined by several backing vocalists as well as the renowned Moroccan singer Ismail Boujiya.


Album Samples