“Divine is beautiful and loves what is beautiful.”
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
“Our heartfelt prayer is that this music serves to awaken people of all religious traditions to the sacred musical treasures of Islam and that it contributes to interfaith harmony.” CarolAnn Barrows & Taylor Kroff
The Mevlidi Sherif, the finest expression of reverence for Muhammad (pbuh), forms an essential part in the religious instruction of most Turkish minds. We hope that this new symphony will foster an interest, even for many who have little direct contact with the world of Islam. Considering how Christians feel about their Christmas carols provides some understanding of what the Mevlidi Sherif (or mawlud) means to Muslims.
Over 500 years ago Süleyman Çelebi, from the Great Mosque at Bursa, wrote the Mevlidi Sherif (then entitled Vesiletu’n-necat) so that Turks would have access to the magical, mystical story of their beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which had previously only been available in Arabic.
Over the centuries this epic poem has been recited and sung in Mosques and in homes; on countless occasions of rejoicing and sorrow, such as births, weddings, house blessings, graduations, and especially to celebrate the Night of Power and the Birthday (mawlid) of Muhammad (pbuh). Some consider it to be the most frequently recited poem in the world.
In 1942, as an act of interfaith and goodwill, Mr. F. Lyman MacCallum, a Christian missionary who was born in Turkey to missionary parents, translated into English this epic poem and published it in a journal dedicated to promoting East/West understanding. This was a remarkable artistic feat as MacCallum stayed true to the traditional Turkish poetic meter, mathnawī of fâ’ilâtün fâ’ilâtün fâ’ilün, as well as holding fast to the authentic meaning of the original text.
In 2015, Dr. Timuçin Çevikoğlu, from Ankara University in Turkey, discovered MacCallum’s English translation of this most beloved poem. With the intention to help those in the west better understand the very heart of Islam, he invited sacred music singer, Ms. CarolAnn Barrows from Maui, Hawaii, USA to be the first person to ever sing the Mevlidi Sherif in English. He asked her to compose music that would appeal to western sensibilities. Ms. Barrows interviewed many composers to assist her. It wasn’t until she heard from Mr. Taylor Kroff from Austin, Texas, U.S.A., that she knew she’d found the right person for the task. Using digital technology they were able to work together, even though thousand of miles apart. They amended and re-translated the text of the original English version of the poem and composed the Mevlidi Sherif Symphony ~ in English. The recording is now available online all over the world. Click here to listen and purchase!
“This music was born out of our desire to help non-Muslims appreciate the love all Muslims have for their Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); to create greater understanding and peace among nations. We are not suggesting that anyone change their faith, but rather that greater world peace will be achieved by understanding and accepting the faith of others. We pray that this music will serve to remove the boundaries which divide different religious faiths by bringing to full light the underlying wisdom with which they are all united.” CarolAnn Barrows & Taylor Kroff