2022 Portfolios: "Salam Ya Mahdi" Religious Anthem Stirs Bahraini Authorities, and "The Lament of Ra'biya" Stands Out as Ashura Artistic Production

2023-12-10 - 11:54 am

Bahrain Mirror (2022 Portfolios): Notable among the religious artistic productions in Bahrain during 2022 were the release of the anthem "Salam Ya Mahdi," and "The Lament of Ra'biya" poem. Bahraini elegy reciter Mohammed Ghuloom presented the first poem, with the author's name kept undisclosed, in collaboration with the Imam Hussein Institute for Recitation and Production, gaining widespread fame. The second poem was performed by reciter Sayed Isam Al-Hashemi in collaboration with "Maidan Ahlulbayt" channel.

The video for "Salam Ya Mahdi" on YouTube garnered over 15 million views since its release in June 2022. It's worth noting that the poem drew inspiration from the anthem "Salam Farmandeh" by Iranian artists Abuzar Roohi, performed in Isfahan with a large group of children to symbolize the connection between generations and their Imam. The anthem quickly spread to other countries such as Turkey, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, and beyond. "The Lament of Ra'biya" accumulated nearly 3 million views by the end of 2022.

Following the local and international response to the release of "Salam Ya Mahdi," Bahraini security forces mobilized to track activities associated with the anthem. Authorities summoned officials from Diraz Mosque, threatening imprisonment if they organized related events. Additionally, events linked to the anthem were prohibited in the areas of Sitra and Al-Dair. Many villages and areas urged reciter Ghuloom to recite it with children, causing significant discomfort to the authorities. Traffic management cracked down on vehicles playing the anthem, issuing fines to drivers, and some citizens reported their cars being confiscated. The anthem also faced criticism in government newspapers.

In response, prominent religious figure Sayed Abdullah Al-Ghuraifi stated during a sermon that "the anthem is purely ideological, and people have the right to express their beliefs." The occasions of "Ashura" and "Arbaeen" observed by Bahraini Shia in 2022 featured many recitations of poems of poet Ghazi Al-Haddad, who passed away in June 2021, as well as additional contributions inspired by his poetry.

Reciter Sayed Isam Al-Hashemi, who shared a special relationship with the late poet, produced three works based on his poems: "The Lament of Ra'biya," "Nawayeh," and "Sayalqaak Al-Hussein." Sheikh Hussein Al-Akraf composed the poem "Kathab," and Kuwaiti reciter Mohammed Al-Hujairat produced the shared poem "Yawma Al-Wafa." Reciter Abdul Amir Al-Biladi presented "Ra'y Al-'Ain." All these works drew inspiration from verses left by the departed poet. However, "The Lament of Ra'biya," which is 14 minutes long, garnered significant attention among those interested in artistic production and Hussaini mourning during the Ashura season. It also sparked a debate about what Sheikh Al-Akraf referred to as the "Biladi School" in Hussaini mourning works.

The echoes of this production extended beyond local borders to most Shiite-majority countries, particularly Iraq, where it received wide acclaim as a standout artistic production during Ashura. The other poem, "Nawayeh," produced by Sayed Isam Al-Hashemi, also received considerable attention, though not matching the first production.

A noteworthy aspect was the collaboration of three reciters from Bahrain and Kuwait in producing the poem "Yawm Al-Wafa," utilizing sea rhythms, introducing a new and uncommon element in Hussaini elegies. The involvement of Kuwaiti reciter Mohammed Al-Hujairat in producing this work was particularly notable, considering he was kept away from Bahrain by order of the Interior Minister. Bahraini authorities informed Al-Hujairat that commemorating Ashura in Bahrain was restricted to citizens and residents, and he was not allowed to participate in mourning gatherings.

Most of the poems produced were in colloquial Nabati Husseini poetry, except for Sheikh Al-Akraf's production "Kathab," which selected a piece from the eloquent poetry of the late poet, rich in political symbolism. One of its lines read, "Expose the throne of tyranny, declare that the ruler is a puppet of Satan, announce that the infidel sword has slaughtered faith, and declare that the sinful palm has torn apart the Quran."


Arabic Version