Barzanji and the Old Days


Regardless of heated discussions on whether barzanji (the term is most often incorrectly written as ‘Berzanji’) is an innovation, I still find that barzanji, whenever the meanings are carefully pondered upon, is a very exciting pastime, especially as I have an inclination towards music and singing. 

Somehow I think this tradition is slowly fading away, but luckily, Mawi has again popularised this tradition with his album – which I don’t really like, without any other reason than his voice, which I think is not that good.


Cooler version by Ustaz Akhil

Thanks Mawi, for making the generation awares of this tradition

I learned ‘barzanji’ and marhaban when I was 10. My father is a FELDA officer, thus I spent my childhood in some FELDA in Pahang where religious schools are provided on top of the normal primary schooling. One of my teachers atthe religious school, an ustaz, whose name I have rudely forgotten took the initiative to teach small kids barzanji after school twice a week. I remember that he paid considerable attention to me, I think, as I was very keen on learning. Our group (yes, a few other boys and girls joined the class) managed to learn a few ‘songs’ (I could not exactly remember what was the term used for that actually) before some issues erupted – and the class had to be stopped.

I think that we managed to perform once during an occasion- of course, I was on the lead – and a teacher who was talent-spotting at that time later chose me to participate in Quran-reciting competition, saying that my tajwid was good. Well, one thing led to the other.

And honestlyy, until now, I still find myself going through my marhaban books whenever I am at home, wishing that I finished learning all chapters. I remember I have two books – the red one, the older, more classical version, and the blue one which is the newer version, translation included. I still remember the rhythm, and love it so much. It forces you to use fully your voice, not keeping it inside, which is crucial when it comes to Quran reciting, as you have to pronounce the sound with the right ‘makhraj’.

My parents were actually proud about me  learning marhaban and barzanji – and whenever I went ‘balik kampung‘ my uncles and aunts and grandparents would ask me to do some barzanji for them. 


I don’t know why I suddenly remisnisce all of these, probably because I have just reached the age of 24 a few days ago, which means I have left barzanji for 14 years ( Masha Allah, I am old!) , and I am on the transition towards another phase in life, and that my grandparents who loved to listen to me barzanji and marhaban and reciting Quran have passed away, and that I am a grown-up now.

I wonder if I still have time to teach my future children these traditions, when they are 10. 

Here’s a part that I have learned, and still remember the tune. 



p.s. Thanks for all your du’a. I have just came back from London, with a job secured, and still waiting for some other offers. Alhamdulillah.

p.p.s BinGregory wrote about barzanji in this entry, along with links to English translations of Barzanji texts:



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