On every religious occasion, the local residents of the Old City of Nablus anxiously wait for the Sufi band of Sheikh Nadhmi, which is also known as “Eddat Sheikh Nadhmi,” to show up somewhere on their streets and start playing drums and cymbals, and singing hymns.
In the Old City of Nablus, specifically in its western quarter (Nubani area), the Sufi Zawiya (place) of Sheikh Nadhmi is located and it is considered the headquarters of this band, which is famous for marking Islamic religious events, especially “al-Mawlid an-Nabawi” (the birthday of Prophet Muhammad) and the Hejra (the Prophet’s migration from Makkah to Madina).
During religious events, members of the band start to move from their place and embark on singing and drumming on the street outside, while several local citizens race to give them sweets and candies, which are later distributed by the band to passers-by or to the people who visit the Zawiya of Sheikh Nadhmi.
A reporter from the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) recently met with Sheikh Nadhmi, who talked about his Zawiya and band in the Old City of Nablus.
“The birth of the band is not old; it was in recent years. The early starts were confined to marking religious events such as al-Mawlid, the Isra and Miraj, and the Hejra inside al-Zawiya in the Old City of Nablus where we usually stay,” Sheikh Nadhmi said.
“With the passing days, we found that the celebration of such religious events became popular among a large group of citizens and the style of prophetic praises won their admiration and attention, which has led us to go outside on the streets during any religious occasion,” he added.
Elaborating on his Zawiya and its inception, the band chief explained that the place he and others used as a starting point for the band activities had been a Turkish Mosque that was demolished more than 200 years ago before he took the initiative in recent years and renovated a very small part of it, which is a cellar, to utilize it as a modest place for his Sufi band and its drums.