Sunday, 8 July 2012


Hey everyone! As you can see from the title of this post, I recently met Sami Yusuf. Well, recently as in a few months ago! For those of you who read my review on Hadramawt KL, I mentioned that there's a surprise linked to this place; well this is the surprise! Ok before I start writing about my little quest, I better warn you..this will be a long post! Brace yourselves!

Sami Yusuf is one of my favourite singers/musicians. He's a British Muslim and is famous for songs like Al Muallim, Supplication, Hasbi Rabbi, Healing and You Came To Me (just go to youtube and watch for yourselves). Well sometime in mid-april, he announced on twitter that he had a couple of surprises up his sleeve. A few days after the announcement, he suddenly tweeted that he had just arrived in Singapore. You can't imagine how excited I was. I immediately replied his tweet saying "you're in singapore?!?!?! you MUST come to Malaysia! it's only a 45-min flight away!" and to my surprise, he actually REPLIED my tweet! It was the first time he had ever replied me too! (so you can guess how much more excited I got). The best thing was: he replied with a simple ":)" I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I knew that that meant he would definitely be coming here!

Then on 19th April (Thursday), I was at my university, waiting to see my boyfriend, Tanvir actually. He was a little late, so I decided to check twitter again. Just my luck, Sami Yusuf tweeted:

which means "Peace be upon you Malaysia :) I just arrived here. How is everyone? Sami". I flipped out! Like seriously, I couldn't believe my eyes. One of the people who inspires me the most, who is usually at the other side of the world, was in the same country, no, the same city as I was! I could hardly control my excitement, was almost going to call Tanvir, who is also a huge Sami Yusuf supporter, and tell him the wonderful news. To my luck, at that moment I saw Tanvir walking towards me. The moment he opened the car door, I blurted out "Sami Yusuf is here!!!!!!!" LOL! He was like "really? really? see see I told you he'll come!" then he sat in and we started talking about where Sami could potentially be staying at. Then we were all like "imagine if we bump into him somewhere..what would you say to him?" and of course I was checking twitter like a mad person. The constant checking effort did not go to waste as soon after, Sami tweeted a photo of him in front of the Petronas Twin Towers, more commonly known as KLCC by the locals. 

The photo invoked even more excitement. Then Tanvir asked the magical question "Do you want to go to KLCC?" and I was like "LET'S!!" but then the rational me remembered that Tanvir had work at 3pm. It was 12.30pm then. So I said "but do we have enough time?" and Tanvir said "that's the thing". We sat in silence for a while and I said "Well we have almost 3 you think that's enough time?" To which Tanvir replied, "InshaAllah it's enough", which meant that yes, we were going to KLCC to find one of our heroes!! 

We headed home to grab a camera and the GPS navigation system (just in case we needed it!). Both items were there; however, we had no memory card at hand because I gave it to Tanvir the day before so that he could transfer some photos (so of course, it was at his place). We were frustrated but still, we had our phones, and meeting Sami Yusuf is more important than getting a photo with him right? Then we drove to the nearest LRT station (train station), parked the car then got on the first train that was headed to KLCC. We were super excited, imagining again and again what it would be like if we got to meet our hero. I was lucky enough to have my Wherever You Are CD in the car, so I took it along with me. By 1pm we reached KLCC and the first place we went to was at the park outside the mall because that was where the photo was taken! We searched all over the place - in the mall, at the park, at the convention centre, at the hotel nearby, at record stores - everywhere! Unfortunately, we couldn't find him. We kept checking twitter of course, in case he tweeted anything else which may give a clue to his whereabouts. The only clue we got was that he was going to have a press conference. It was a big clue, but we still had to figure out what time it was supposed to be at and where! I also kept tweeting that we were looking for him. No replies from him, but that was no surprise lol. I mean he's a busy man, and was busy getting ready for the press conference. 

We went around KLCC again and again and after almost an hour and a half, we decided with heavy hearts that we should be heading back. I was incredibly sad. Then we decided to have our photo taken at the LRT station holding the Wherever You Are CD, just so we got something out of this day: a memory in digital form. We had one of the kind security guards to help us snap a photo :) Then I decided to snoop around twitter, to see if perhaps anyone was lucky enough to have met Sami. Apparently no one had yet to meet him (or at least no one tweeted about it!) but then I stumbled across a couple of twitter accounts that mentioned the press conference. I followed the accounts, and when we got on the LRT, one of the accounts tweeted that the press conference was ongoing, and it was at Hadramawt at Chulan Square! I was overwhelmed with emotions. First, that's not in KLCC! which made me want to go crazy because we spent so much time looking for him there. Secondly, we were already on the way back, so we couldn't possibly get to Hadramawt. I seemed to have given up the idea of meeting Sami Yusuf by that time, but Tanvir still had a little bit of hope - which was all we needed really! He asked me if I wanted to try our luck and head to Hadramawt. I said I do, but I was afraid of being disappointed, and also pointed out that we had no more time. Tanvir said "ok maybe I can go to work a little later". I said "I guess you can try giving them a call". And so he did, and fortunately, Alhamdulillah Tanvir talked to the people at work and they said ok, he can come in later! I was ecstatic! 

When we got to the station, we rushed to the car, paid for parking and drove to Hadramawt KL. And of course, things kept going wrong. haha, why wasn't I surprised? It was only 3pm or so, but there was heavy traffic in the KL city centre. It wasn't even rush hour yet! Then to our horror, we saw that some roads were being closed because of some event that was going to happen that weekend, which meant that the horrible traffic could be worse than we thought. To add insult to injury, our GPS wasn't working well! It kept saying it was calculating a route, when it really wasn't. We probably missed a few million turns thanks to it! The traffic was so bad, we were literally at a standstill for 20minutes. We were already pressed for time as the press conference could end at any minute and Tanvir still needed to go to work as soon as he could. When traffic finally moved, we were relieved, though it was still unbearably slow. Fortunately after taking a turn or two, we managed to get out of the terrible traffic, but of course, the GPS was still not cooperating. After a while, eventually it did lead us to the right place. As we drove in front of the restaurant, we could see Sami Yusuf banners and knew exactly where the press conference was being held. We rushed to find a place to park our cars and had higher hopes as we saw the heaps of media cars. But then we met with another problem: where do we park our car? There was absolutely no parking at all. We went round and round and fortunately at the 4th time, we finally found ourselves a parking spot! 

We parked, and ran inside the restaurant and realised we had no idea what to do or what to say. It was an event for the media...we couldn't possibly just barge in right? Then I asked the guy at the counter, "this is where the Sami Yusuf press conference is right?" He looked as if he had no idea what I was talking about at first, but then he managed to say "upstairs". I was grateful for that one word that he uttered hahaha. So we rushed upstairs, saw customers having their lunch, and walked out onto the balcony. There were many children, all dressed up in the same 'baju melayu' (malay traditional clothing for men). Then Tanvir turned to face me with a big smile on his face, and then he looked away again. I followed his gaze and there he was. There were people sitting in a circle, and Sami Yusuf was right there at the centre. SAMI YUSUF IN THE FLESH! My heart skipped a beat. I couldn't believe my eyes, there he was. So Tanvir and I went closer and we found ourselves standing behind the circle of press, right in front of Sami Yusuf. I had the biggest smile on my face. I was smiling from ear to ear, listening intently to everything Sami had to say. I was extremely relieved by how easy it was to be able to stand there. (It was a press conference, meant for the media, but we still managed to be there!). Brother Sami was being interviewed at the time. He talked about the Salaam album, about the collaboration with Dato' Siti Nurhaliza (one of the most successful Malaysian artistes), about why it took him so long to get here and so on. While he was talking, we made eye contact and he smiled at me! A nice, warm smile. I was so happy lol! 

This was taken as we were going nearer to the circle of interviewers
Tanvir and I listened intently, occasionally glancing at each other, smiling, as if to convince ourselves that this was actually happening; that we really were, standing just a few feet away from THE Sami Yusuf.

The interview circle

After a while, the interview was over. Sami thanked the media sincerely, saying that they had done more than their jobs :) I love how warm and friendly he is! Then one of the interviewers asked if she could have a photo with him. Tanvir and I waited somewhere near for them to finish talking and snapping photos. The moment the interviewer turned to walk away, Tanvir and I rushed to stand in front of brother Sami. Right at that moment, we were standing face to face, smiling at each other. I was star struck; at a loss for words. Thank God Tanvir was with me. He gave salaam to Sami and he replied joyfully :) Then we introduced ourselves to him, well sort of. I only managed to ask "How are you". Tanvir was doing a much better job! Tanvir said to Sami "she is one of your biggest fans, from twitter". Sami turned to me and said "Thank you so much for your support. What's your name?" I smiled and said "My name is Adlina". Then he said "Adlina....Adlina! I know you!" And well that definitely shocked me! Then he continued, "I read your tweets!" Well you honestly cannot imagine how happy that made me. I mean to know that he remembers me from twitter. Twitter! Where he had close to 100,000 followers (at that time). That really made my day! Then he said "It's so nice to finally meet you!" and I was just in awe of how down to earth he is. He made both of us feel as if we've been friends for life, made us feel very comfortable. It was incredibly easy to talk to him!

Then I said "It's so great to finally meet YOU!" and Tanvir said "we've been looking for you! we were at KLCC and had come across so many obstacles in trying to find you". Sami replied "MashaAllah, thank you so so much. I really appreciate it. So are you coming to the show?tell me you're coming to the concert" (He came to Malaysia and Singapore to promote his upcoming Salaam concert in July). I said "well I will certainly try to make it. I'm one of those followers on twitter who tweet you again and again, begging you to come to Malaysia for a concert". He laughed but apparently he didn't take it to mean that I wouldn't miss it for the world, so he said "Don't tell me you won't be in the country then!" I said "oh no no no, I should be here, especially since it's so close to Ramadhan". He flashed a big smile and said "Inshallah then" Then I realised that Tanvir hadn't been saying much. I wanted to get him into the conversation as well, so I said "Tanvir here is from Bangladesh, so it's just fantastic that he got to meet you here in Malaysia". Then he turned to Tanvir and said "Oh Bangladesh. Which part? Dhaka? Silet?" And to this we were impressed, mainly because he knew of Silet! Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh, so it isn't uncommon that people have heard of it, but not many know about Silet (that includes yours truly!). Tanvir said "I'm from Dhaka" and then they talked a bit (Sorry, I'm rather sketchy about the details because this happened some months ago! I know, I should've written all this down earlier!) Then we realised a lot of other people were just waiting for their turn to speak with Sami, so I asked "is it ok with you if we take a photo together?" And he replied, "Of course". I took out my phone and Tanvir and I looked at each other, then around us, wondering who we could ask to help snap the photo. Then brother Sami came closer to us, held his hand in front of my phone and said, "May I?" and so I handed my phone to him. Then he asked one of the guys standing near us if he could help take a photo. Of course he said yes! I'm still grateful to you abang for taking our photo! So we stood together to pose for the photo and I said "bang, ambik dua kali ok", which means "bro, snap two photos". And so he took two photos of us together with Sami :)

Smile! Love this photo! Can't believe we have a photo with Sami Yusuf!!

Here's the second photo!
After we took photos, we thanked the abang for helping us. Then Tanvir asked Sami how long he would be here and what his plans are like for the rest of his stay. Sami said "I'll be here for three days. Today I have this press conference. Tomorrow is going to be a very packed day" And I asked "Busy with interviews?" He said "Yea, very busy. Then on Saturday I'll be in the studio the whole day recording with Siti and then go back. So I'm not sure if I have time to really go around and see the place". Though later it turned out that his flight had been delayed and so he had an extra day in Malaysia :) After that we realised again, other people are still waiting to have their turn to meet Sami, so I asked if I could have his autograph. Sami smiled and said yes. I took out the Wherever You Are CD and handed it to him. Tanvir said "this is the real third album" and Sami said "Yes, the genuine, authorised one" As he was signing the CD, I said "We read your post about the fake album that Awakening records released. I can't believe they would do that". Sami said "It's ridiculous, and all this for just a few bucks! It's not about the money, I don't care about the money. But they created that image and they are doing this". I said "Yeah, they pride themselves to be an Islamic recording lable, and yet they are doing this and giving Islam a negative image". Sami shook his head in disappointment. By then he had finished signing my CD and gave it to me. Then he asked "Did I spell your name correctly?" I said "Oh it's spelled with an A, but it's ok" and he corrected the spelling of my name and gave it back to me. Then we told him that we should make a move and we said "It was an honour meeting you, hope you have a productive stay here" and he said "Barakallahu feekum" with a smile and Tanvir said "Inshallah we will meet again soon", and Sami said "Inshallah see you at the concert!" and then we rushed to the car, and couldn't knock the silly smiles off from our faces. 

My autographed 'Wherever You Are' Album!

Seriously, he was the nicest person ever. He was super warm and friendly, extremely down to earth. I mean I had imagined it many, many times in my head how it would be if I ever got to meet brother Sami. Believe me, this time reality was better than fiction. However I envisioned the meet to be in my head was nowhere near how amazing it was when I actually met him. As an artist, he is incredibly talented. He is blessed with a beautiful voice, and also with the skills to play various musical instruments. But not every talented artist is blessed with a heart as big and warm as his. Not every artist is as nice to his or her supporters :) I feel extremely blessed that we both got to meet such an inspirational person. Without God's grace, we could not have met him on that day. Both Tanvir and I are really grateful to have met such a wonderful person. 

It has always been my dream to meet Sami Yusuf, one of Tanvir's too. It is an amazing feeling to have one of our dreams come true :) I know this post is extremely long, but I really wanted to share with you all our crazy little quest. Everything that could go wrong, had gone wrong on that day, but we never gave up. This shows that (with God's grace) we can achieve our goals if we are persistent and we don't give up. 

Source: @OEP_Offshore's Twitter

Before I end this post, I urge you all to attend Sami Yusuf's Salaam concert in Malaysia on 14th July, 9pm at Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam. Sami Yusuf lives by the saying "quality over quantity", which he has proven time and time again with his songs and albums. We can expect the concert to be amazing, for sure :) There are still tickets available, so click here to find out more about the concert and get your tickets online! You can also get tickets at Rock Corner outlets and Victoria Music Centre outlets. Dato' Siti Nurhaliza will also be making an appearance at the concert, along with MOHRAM. If you can, do attend the show! 

I hope you've enjoyed this blogpost (if you're still reading lol!). I bid farewell with a few other photos I snapped during the interview (sorry for the poor image quality!) Till next time then!

Much love,

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