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The Dawn: In the gardens of Nahāwand

Tilāwat: Sūrah al-Fajr

Riwāyah: Ḥafṣ ʿan ʿĀṣim (al-Shāṭibiyyah)

Archive: Ashara Mubaraka 1436 AH (Surat)

The Recitation

Today’s recitation demonstrated a beautiful morning to what will be the most unique Ashara Mubaraka ever witnessed by this generation of mumineen. While our homes were transformed into masājid during Ramaḍān of this year itself, we are now witnessing the haqīqī “adhān” of our Mawlā TUS resonating through our walls and purifying them from the evil eyes of shayṭān.

The Sūrah al-Fajr was recited in the riwāyah of Ḥafṣ ʿan ʿĀṣim through the ṭarīq of al-Shāṭibiyyah. Much has been discussed about this ṭarīq and the riwāyah of Ḥafṣ is commonly recited throughout the Islamic world.

Part of the recitation was a beautiful rendition of nahāwand

Part of the recitation was a beautiful rendition of nahāwand, a maqām of unmatched elegance and style, which, coupled with the refinement of the recitation, gave way to a melodious assembly of Qurʾānic verses.

A word on Nahāwand

The city of Nahāwand in Iran

Technicalities of notes, keys and chords aside, this article will discuss how the maqām of Nahāwand has been employed by the mashāhīr in their recitations.

This maqām is characterized by a special beauty of sadness and gloom uncommon among the rest of the maqāms. Evoking emotions of grief, the maqām is staple to most qurrāʾ with the notable exception of Sheikh Abdul Basit who uses it rarely in his recitations. Below is an example of Abdul Basit reciting in nahāwand:

Abdul Basit in a rare display of nahāwand

Most qurrāʾ treat nahāwand as an integral element of their recitations. The beauty of their recitations is based on this maqām. As such, this maqām has benefited from immense skilled-input from the reciters of the Qurʾān-e-Majeed. For instance, Sheikh Mustafa Ismail, over the course of his career, developed an entire school of thought based on his rendition of nahāwand. His unique style in rendering the various cadences and dynamics of this maqām made him one of the foremost proponents thereof in the field of Qurʾānic recitation. As a result, subsequent generations of qurrāʾ have adopted his style as a model for this maqām.

Mustafa Ismail reciting in nahāwand

The second undisputed leader in the developmental corpus of this maqām is none other than Sheikh Mahmood Khalil al-Husary. His special style of rendering this maqām is such that no qārī wishing to master the art of nahāwand can overlook Sheikh al-Husary’s style in this maqām. In fact, it is imperative for beginner qurrāʾ to memorize as many excerpts of al-Husary as possible should they wish to perform a reasonable rendition in nahāwand.

The unique style of al-Ḥusary’s nahāwand

The third and perhaps the best proponent of nahāwand cannot be anyone other than Sheikh Mohammad al-Minshawi. The vocal range of al-Minshawi represented in his qarār (base), jawāb (mids) and jawāb al-jawāb (highs) complements his rendition of nahāwand in a way that most qurrāʾ can only dream of achieving his prominence in this maqām.

al-Minshawi’s nahāwand, a surreal experience

Finally, the following two qārīs have made substantial inroads in furthering the development of this maqām in a Qurʾānic context. Here are two short clips of Sheikh Mustafa Ghalwash and Sheikh Mohammad Imran in the maqām of nahāwand:

Sheikh Ghalwash briefly touching nahāwand before moving on to his preferred maqāms
Sheikh Imran in his unique rendering of nahāwand mixed with kurd

This article has briefly touched upon nahāwand with the mention of a very few examples of some prominent reciters. It attempts to provide a basic understanding of nahāwand and how it is used by qurrāʾ.

In the upcoming articles, we will discuss this maqām in detail and also study the sequence of other maqāms in relation to nahāwand.

It is hoped that your journey today through the gardens of nahāwand has been “fruitful” to a certain extent.

May Allah Taʾālā aid us in understanding the Qurʾān, and in reciting it according to what our Mawlā TUS wishes us to.

  • J Safri 11:22 am 20/08/2020 Reply

    Was waiting for your article today as soon as shz saab completed his recitation.

    • Shehrebanu Phirkhanji Wala 12:45 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

      So beautifully explained

      • Mustafa kagaz 9:32 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

        Beneficial article for quran learner also ..mixing maqam ajam and nahawand recitation of quran creates a deep impact in mind and calms all the rushes

      • Amate Syedna t.u.sTahera M.Juzer 11:08 pm 06/09/2020 Reply

        Shukran!have come to know for the first time…Iam used to listen Shehzada SahebADM.only..His ADM.qiraat is clearest and touches the heart

      • Ummesalma saif 11:22 pm 14/08/2021 Reply

        So beautifuly explained

  • Husain Johar 11:24 am 20/08/2020 Reply

    Reading your articles is surging my intellectual palate to delve more deeper into this field and learn more about it.

    • Hussain qamari 1:25 am 22/08/2020 Reply


  • Jamila 11:35 am 20/08/2020 Reply

    One of the most awaited articles during Ashara Mubaraka.

    Several recitations in this maqām was very soothing especially Sheikh Mustafa Ismail.

    For common public what you come up in article is very knowledgeable & enlightening. Keep it up!

    • Quresh Tambawala 12:03 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

      Wonderful experience to hear different qurra in nawahand.

    • Naamah jogpur 12:17 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

      Very informative…got to hear soothing recitations.. jazakallah

  • ETERNAL TRAITOR 11:48 am 20/08/2020 Reply

    beautifully expressed and explained – it encouraged me to search more on this topic – may Allah bless you for sharing your knowledge with all mumineen .

    • Fatema Mustansir Baxamusa 1:05 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

      Very butiful nice explain your knowledge thanks

    • Shabbar Gilitwala 2:08 am 21/08/2020 Reply

      Shukran for taking us through this amazing journey in the gardens of nahavand.

  • Aliasger 12:06 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

    For someone who is absolutely tone deaf, the examples really gave clarity to the whole understanding of the maqam. Awesome.

    • Rashida V 12:45 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

      Superbly written and explained.. thank u so much for sharing

      • Jumana Burhani 1:08 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

        Nice article And soothing voice

    • Mariyaa 1:01 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

      Very enlightening ! Happy to learn

      • Murtaza Kheriwala 2:58 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

        Every thing is nicely explained in your articles of today’s Quraat..which give us the in depth understanding of Quraan & its Qiraat..jazakallah ta.

  • Dr. Cumel Geos 1:40 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

    Explained with clarity!
    Sir why is this Maqaam attributed to Nahawand, the Iranian city?
    Is it because it has any traces in its melodies of the typical Persian accent? And why in particular the sadness of the tone?

  • Sakina burhanpur Wala 5:39 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

    Very enlightening!!!
    And explained very beautifully with few examples…

  • Sh Murtaza Moayyadi 5:45 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

    Jazakomullaho khairan
    Once again a very intriguing article and yes of course we want to know more about Nahawand and other maqams as well

  • Husain saher 5:51 pm 20/08/2020 Reply

    Fantastic, the way u explain is truely awesome

    • Alifia Bhol 4:18 am 21/08/2020 Reply

      Always a treat to Read something you wirte !

  • Sh murtaza sh Mohammed Choprawala 12:02 am 21/08/2020 Reply

    Nahawand explained very well and recitation by highly reputed
    Qurras is amazing.

  • Shabbar Gilitwala 2:12 am 21/08/2020 Reply

    Shukran for taking us through this amazing journey in the gardens of Nahavand.

    • Ummesalma saif 11:22 pm 14/08/2021 Reply

      So beautifuly explained

  • Hussain qamari 1:26 am 22/08/2020 Reply

    Jazakumullah khairan

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