Traditional Middle Eastern
music and Islamic music

Despite all the diversity of traditional music in the Middle East, this music has some elements in common, based on the Arab-Persian tradition and the strong influence of Islam .

Origin, teaching and development of Islam
For a better understanding of the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Near and Middle East (and thus its music) it may be useful to at least take a brief look at the origin, teaching and historical development of the defining religion in this area - Islam . Islam is historically the youngest of the three great monotheistic religions (Judaism - Christianity - Islam).
The founder of Islam was the Arab prophet Muhammad - Muhammad , who was born in the city of Makka - Mecca around 570 AD In that bean, neither the Arab religion nor society had any fixed system, it suffered from primitive idolatry, polytheism and animism, the general decline of morality. Muhammad's prophetic vocation and enlightenment took place according to Islamic tradition at the age of about 40, when an angel Gabriel appeared to him while meditating in a cave on Mount Hira and ordered him to recite the Quaran (Qur'an) - the divinely inspired message of Allah . The Arabic word Allah is composed of the words al-lah and its meaning is (universal) God. This God is completely transcendent, he has no forms or kinds, he is the creator of all things, omniscient and omnipotent, the judge of all people. It exists from eternity to eternity, is unattainable and physically incomprehensible. It is the clearest fact that Muslims unconditionally submit to: Islam is a strictly monotheistic religion of submission .
  The most important statement about God is contained in the creed , the so-called shahadah : "La ilah illa Allah;" - " There is no god but God ", to which is attached: "Muhammad rasul Allah" - "and Muhammad is a prophet of God ". This confession is singingly evoked by muezines 5 times a day (him and zin - the one who calls) from the towers of the minarets, which call the believing Muslims to pray together.
Muhammad delivered God's message from 610 until his death in 632. His disciples and followers collected and wrote down these texts. Thus was born the Qur'an , which contains in 114 chapters (suras) the "true and unchained" message of God to the people about what to do and how to live. The first chapter, or surah of the Holy Qur'an begins with the verse:
" In accepting the God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, the merciful, pity, rulers of doomsday!
You we worship and You help asking, guide us the straight path, the path of those
who zahrnuls by Your grace, neither to those to whom you are angry, nor to those who are in error!
  The Qur'an is written in cultivated classical Arabic, and some Orthodox Muslims do not recognize its translations into other languages, which they claim distort the "true divine message."
Muhammad and his disciples, of course, based some of the older religious teachings in formulating the text of the Qur'an, especially the Old Testament, the Torah, and in part the New Testament (Gospels). In many respects, however, the Qur'an is fundamentally different from the Bible, for example, it does not recognize the concept of the Holy Trinity, Jesus is only one of the prophets, .................
  The word Islam means "submission" or " commitment "to Allah in the sense of Muhammad's message contained in the Qur'an. The word Muslim then refers to one who professes and practices Islam.
In addition to the Qur'an, canon law is binding on Muslims Sharia ("path to the Source" - life), based on the principles of the Qur'an, which governs the entire life of a Muslim in the religious and civic field. It contains a number of obligations, injunctions, including penalties for violations.
  There are five ritual acts involved in the daily lives of Muslims:
1. To repeat the confession of the Shahada: "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Prophet."
2. Prayer towards Mecca five times a day.
3. Charity, provide a certain percentage of your income.
4. Observe the prescribed fast, especially during Ramadan.
5. Make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.
  The sacred place, the "temple", of Muslims is the masjid - mosque. It is a place for worship and invocation of God, for prayer, meditation, study of the Qur'an, preaching, counseling, decision-making, and judicial activity. Mosques tend to have an impressive appearance and magnificent ornamental decoration. According to Islam, the depiction of God is inadmissible, God cannot be known and depicted in any way.
In the first years of his prophetic activity, Muhammad encountered misunderstanding and persecution in Mecca, and so in 622 he left Mecca for Jatrib, which then became famous as al-Madin - the city of the prophet - Medina . This important year for Muslims was accepted as the beginning of the Islamic era . During his successful work in Medina, Muhammad gained a large number of followers, at the head of which he then triumphantly returned to Mecca., where he became a religious and secular ruler and made it the main pilgrimage center of Islam, which it is to this day.
The religious center of the Muslim holy city of Mecca is the ancient shrine of the Kaaba , which Muhammad dedicated to Allah. It is a stone cubic structure in an area surrounded by an impressive amphitheater, in the wall of which is inserted a black sacred stone - a meteorite worshiped in pre-Islamic Arabia.
  After the sudden death of Muhammad in 632, disputes arose over the succession (caliphate) in the religious and secular spheres: the successor of the prophet should be the ruler - the caliph or caliph , who would be both the leader and the successor of religion - the imam. The question of Muhammad's "true" successors has become a source of division among Islam.
  Sunni Muslims have adopted the principle of an elected office . The first three caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman) were elected by such an election, which involved the leaders of Islam in the capital Medina. To this day, the Sunni branch of Islam represents a moderate direction, relatively open to tolerance and progress.
  Shiite Muslims the contrary, they argued that "true" leadership and succession should be determined by the prophet's "bloodline," and advocated for the imam of Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law Ali ibn Talib, who had married Muhammad's daughter Fatima. From their marriage came Muhammad's grandchildren Hasan and Hussein. Ali ibn Talib became the fourth caliph, but was murdered in 661. His son Hassan was also murdered; his brother Hussein became the new imam, but he was also murdered in 680. Adherents of this direction of Muhammad's succession formed the "Shi at Ali" movement - "Ali's Party". They consider Ali and his successors to be true and infallible teachers with divine abilities. Shiite Muslims ("party members"), who make up about 20% of all Muslims, with their religious leaders, the Mujahideen , fundamentalism . These Shiites (or those who abuse their foolish religious zeal and intolerance) have long been a source of violence and the fight against progress in the Arab world. It is not surprising, therefore, that the breeding ground for the development of terrorism has just emerged here .
Interestingly, in the Middle Ages, the Islamic Church was far more tolerantto religions other than the Catholic Church. Although the Muslim rulers fought cruel wars (contrary to the Qur'an), they left the population relative religious freedom in the conquered territories. For example, good coexistence with Hindus was known in the Mughal Empire in India. Catholics also waged crusades against Muslims, which also involved cruel killings and looting (again in violation of the Bible), but they also uncompromisingly forced all the inhabitants of the conquered territories to convert to Christianity - the infamous "evangelization by fire and sword." This was reflected, for example, in Spain, where there was religious tolerance during Muslim rule, while after the Reconcist all Muslims and Jews who did not want to convert to the Catholic faith were expelled from the country, and cruel inquisition and religious fundamentalism prevailed in Spain.
  Islamic mysticism , which developed in a movement called Sufism, was very important for the development of Islam and its cultural tradition . Sufi mystics strive for an intuitive and emotional experience of oneness with God , cultivating love of God. The name "Sufi" is derived from the Arabic word "Sufi" - wool, because these mystics wore simple woolen clothing in contrast to the flamboyant secular clothing.

Basic styles of Middle Eastern music

Traditional musical instruments of the Middle East

Ney - oriental reed or bamboo longitudinal flute of various lengths (up to approx. 60 cm), with 6 front and 1 back holes. Hailing from ancient Egypt, it is widespread throughout the Middle East and is one of the basic instruments of the Persian-Arabic musical tradition.
Out - traditional Arabic lute
Tanbura - long-necked lute
Kanun - Turkish multi-string zither (75 strings)
Kemence - small violin, played like a cello

  Some typical instruments of traditional Middle Eastern music:  


Ney -
flutes of

              Out                  Tombak    

Tombak (also called Dumbek or Zarb ) - single-membrane vertical drum, often with
Daf ceramic body - large flat Persian frame drum, often used in Dervish ceremonies Zikr
Mazhar - single-membrane drum
Kudim - small timpani
Halile - cymbals
Dutar - Central Asian double-stringed lute
Satij Gijak - string instruments
Tár - long-necked lute widespread in Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia
Rabab - traditional Persian-Afghan lute with 5 main strings and 13 sympathetic, has sliding frets. Lute for ringing strumming typical of Arabic music.
An Indian Sarod evolved from a rabab .


Sound library :

Persian classical instrumental music - Dastgah and Avaz style Ney
flute: Hossein Omoumi, Tombak, daf: Madjid Khaladj
Persian vocal-instrumental classical music - Dastgah, Asfahar, Esfahan style
Singing: Sima Bina, Ney flute: Hossein Omoumi, Tar: Madjid Der Tombak: Madjid Khaladj
Azan - muezins from Aleppo
Tariqua - music of singing dervishes from Turkey
Tamas - Palestinian music
Lute out: Samir and Visar to Jumbar
Maval - mystical songs from Egypt
Baba Bulehšah: Sufi songs quavali
Sings: Abida
Keroglu- Turkmen epic songs
.................. will be added ......

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