Spiritual Life

The Music of Hadj Nemat

Hadj Nemat played several instruments with mastery, notably the tanbour—a Kurdish lute considered to be sacred by the Ahl-e Haqq—for which he composed numerous mystical hymns that other players still benefit from today. A great number of these hymns are accompanied by his own poetry. Some of these compositions, performed by his son Ostad Elahi, are now available on the following CDs:

Dialogue with the Beloved: Track 2, Suite Sheikh Amiri, features a segment in which Ostad Elahi embellishes upon the theme of the melody composed by Hadj Nemat. The piece is considered among the most cherished in the tanbour repertoire.

Celestial Harmonies: On track 4, A Suite of Hymns, Ostad Elahi performs the following three hymns by Hadj Nemat in a small family gathering:

A) Aman, Sad Aman. This hymn was composed by Hadj Nemat at the beginning of his spiritual transformation, around the year 1901. The words are an entreaty to the Spiritual King and true Beloved seeking divine mercy.

B) Ey Dervish Dervish. Composed during the initial stages of his spiritual transformation, this hymn is also addressed to the Spiritual King, who is referred to here as "dervish." Hadj Nemat is said to have seen his Beloved in the garb of a dervish one day and composed this hymn in his honor.

C) Shirineh Leylaneh is another of Hadj Nemat's compositions on this CD.

Destinations (CD 1): On track 1, Suite Sheikh Amiri, Ostad Elahi performs two of Hadj Nemat's compositions in the Sheikh Amiri mode.

Destinations (CD 2): On track 5, Tarz, Ostad Elahi performs one of Hadj Nemat's compositions in the Tarz mode.

Aside from Ostad Elahi's renditions of his father's compositions, another CD by the Razbar Ensemble titled Attar contains hymns that were either composed by Hadj Nemat or sung in remembrance of his spiritual personality.

In addition to music, Hadj Nemat was also an able poet who was as adept in Kurdish verse as he was fluent in Persian. As reflected in the index of his works, the majority of his writings appear in verse. According to Ostad Elahi:

My father composed the entirety of The Book of the Kings of Truth in forty days. I recall as he paced the room and recited the verses fluidly and without any hesitation, and I would quickly transcribe them.

In his works of poetry, Hadj Nemat always attributed more importance to the authenticity of the meaning than the visualization of the imagination. Thus, though he observed the formal rules of poetry, it is evident that substance took precedence over considerations of form and meter.