PRESENCE — Nader Khan’s Sufi cover of #Hallelujah, from the album WATER (rel. 2015) A Sufi rewrite/cover of Leonard Cohen’s “#Hallelujah” (rel. 1984), on the journey to the realisation of “He is with you where ever you may be”, and “He is with you, how ever you may be”. iTunes: Also available on GooglePlay, Amazon, Saavn, Tidal, Spotify, and Apple Music. lyrics – Nader Khan lead and backing vocals – Nader Khan producer – Hamid Abdurrahim (Okay Haam) arrangement, percussion – Nader Khan; Hamid Abdurrahim; Eboni Coger mastering – Hamid Abdurrahim; Rodney C. Daniel (Yoda) recording, mixing, mastering – 44 Pennyweight Studio; Morphius Records / Lord Baltimore Recording Studio executive producer – Dr. Bano Murtuja ———————————– I wrote PRESENCE sometime in the middle of 2009. All I remember is that it was a rainy night, and something was prompting me to pick up a pen and start scribbling on paper. Rewind a few years — I had never *ever* actively set out to write an “Islamic” version of Leonard Cohen’s ultra famous song “Hallelujah”. A few decades prior, Bob Dylan had written a much-covered song about knocking on heaven’s door. He wrote his song apparently about death. I’d been considering writing something for a while prior to that night, about the etiquette (adab) of knocking on the “door” of Divine Presence, and waiting; on how waiting for one’s beloved to open the door is in itself an expression of love, whether the door opens or not; on how the most appropriate state in this circumstance would be patience, unconditional acceptance of any and all outcomes; on how to not see one’s own “efforts” in gaining entry as anything beyond worthless rags unfit to mention to your beloved, let alone display them; etc. etc. All I had was a few ideas on this song idea percolating in the back of my head somewhere. Then this night happened. I remember by heart racing and pounding as these words were pouring forth from I-don’t-know-where. It all happened in a buzz. The entire song. Even the “plot twist” in the 4th verse, which was not something I had planned at all. In fact, none of it was planned, per se. All I can say is that I wrote it as it came to me, and I have no idea how it came to me. And when the dust settled and I started jumping up and down and crying at the same time with goosebumps all over me, there was only one tune that I felt could do justice to these words. The song is about the journey of a seeker of God, to the realisation of “He is with you where ever you may be”, and “He is with you, how ever you may be”. So here you have it, a Sufi rewrite of Mr. Leonard Cohen’s much beloved song, one of the most covered songs in the modern era, arguably the most well-known Canadian song ever. This video is a collage of live footage captured by Mansoor Suleman / Third Cinema, during the #QuenchTheThirstUK tour to launch the album #WATER in May/June of 2015. The cover picture for this video is courtesy of Tazkiyyah Amra, and was snapped in Capetown, at the southern most tip of South Africa, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. That fabulous Detroit Trilby framing my cranium is made by the Goorin Brothers, and was picked up at Big It Up Hats. The shiny sandal pin on the hat was crafted by my dear friend Sidi Hamza Perez. Extra special thanks to my dear friend Ahmad Ikhlas Gray, for singing this song with me live during the tour, for his radiant presence and blessed company on the tour, and for his 1,000 watt smile. Extra extra special thanks to Dr. Bano Murtuja for making all of this happen. All of it. The album, the tour, the next gazillion albums, … none of this would be possible without her active involvement. ———————————– Lyrics composed by Nader Khan At the doorstep to Your abode, I dismount from the ride I rode, And drag my guilty feet, alhamduliLlah. The shoes come off as I knock the door. Eyes downcast upon the floor, Struggling to repeat “alhamduliLlah”. Waiting for You to let me in, I cast a blaming glance within, And I’m grateful that I’m here, alhamduliLlah. I’ll knock forever if I must, Though my knocking hands may turn to dust, Every knock with hope and fear, alhamduliLlah. I’ve been knocking a while, and I’ve grown so old, Glad I’m a knocker, not a wayward soul, But it’s You that I desire, alhamduliLlah. More than anyone, or anything, More than heaven and earth, and all within, More than freedom from the fire, alhamduliLlah. How could I have been so wrong, You’ve been with me all along, On the path, and at the door, alhamduliLlah. When I fell, got up, and raised my hands, And prayed again for one more chance, When my face was on the floor, alhamduliLlah. Now I celebrate like a little boy, Once-guilty feet now dance with joy, My Lord is here with me, alhamduliLlah. I whirl and dance with no restraint, No grievance, nor complaint, The Truth has set me free, alhamduliLlah. © Copyright Nader Khan 2009, All Rights Reserved Presence / AlhamduliLlāh Lyrics