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Concerts And Nasheeds

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CONCERTS AND NASHEEDS

CONTAMINATED ENTERTAINMENT

 

 

In recent times, there has been a surge of interest in Nasheeds, Nazms and poetry. This new trend which has engaged many Muslims, especially the young has created a lucrative industry. The force of this trend is so overwhelming that it has overtaken even Deeni-conscious Muslims.

 

Undoubtedly, poetry has its valid position in Islam. However, current trends seem to exceed the Shar’i limitation on poetry.

 

In former times, poetry was a vehicle used to instill Islamic values in the hearts. It was generally composed by sincere and pious persons, who themselves diligently practiced on the Shariah. The wordings were used to invoke emotions of love for Allah Ta’ala and the Deen. The result used to be that the listener would become a more ardent follower of the Shariah.

 

Unfortunately, today it has become mere entertainment. Besides it being mere entertainment devoid of any spiritual benefit, the nature of certain Nasheeds have become Haraam and prohibited in the Shariah. Certain individuals and “bands” are producing Nasheeds and “Islamic” songs without the use of musical instruments. However, Musical sounds are created in the background using the mouth and other parts of the body. These Nasheeds and concerts are promoted to Muslims with attractive “Islamic” names and titles.

 

The Iftaa Committee of the Jamiat has thoroughly researched this concept and determined that musical sounds and effects created and produced through any part of the body or through the agency of any instrument is clearly prohibited. The Fuqaha (jurists) are categoric that ALL music, irrespective of how it is produced is prohibited in Islam. Hence, such songs and Nasheeds fall directly under the category of music itself. Notably, this is also the view of many leading Arab Ulama*. Every Muslim understands that music is prohibited. Thus, there can be no doubt in the impermissibility of such Nasheeds.

 

Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said, “There will come a time when people of my Ummah will declare Zina, silk, wine and music to be Halaal (permissible). Allah will destroy such people overnight and those who are not destroyed will be turned into monkeys and swines till the day of judgement.” (Sahih al-Bukhari #: 5590).

 

This new industry of so-called Islamic Nasheeds has certain salient resemblances to the world of pop and rock music. The composers are themselves, in most cases, those who do not live their lives in conformity with the Shariah. Some of these poets and performers imitate western counterparts-the rock and pop groups- in appearance, style, dressing, tune, etc.

 

Since these songs are marketed as “Islamic” demand has grown amongst Muslims. Now the public is invited to attractive “Islamic” Nasheed concerts. Such events are totally against the spirit of the Shariah. Those who are engaged in producing such music should earnestly do a close self introspection of their actions and objectives. If they realize that they have erred, they should immediately repent and abandon this evil business. Those who intend attending these concerts should honestly evaluate their motives and base desires. Will our actions draw the pleasure or displeasure of Allah? Are we emulating our beloved Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) or following in the footsteps of the disbelievers?

 

The Muslim Ummah is urged to abstain from attending events that endanger of our Imaan.

 

* Juz’ Fi Hukmil Ieqa’aat.

 

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)


Council of Muslim Theologians


223 Alpine Road, Overport, Durban

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Pop culture in the name of Islam

 

by Yvonne Ridley

I FEEL very uncomfortable about the pop culture which is growing around some so-called Nasheed artists. Of course I use the term ‘Nasheed artists’ very lightly. Islamic ‘boy bands’ and Muslim ‘popsters’ would probably be more appropriate.

Eminent scholars throughout history have often opined that music is haram, and I don’t recall reading anything about the Sahaba whooping it up to the sound of music. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for people letting off steam, but in a dignified manner and one which is appropriate to their surroundings.

The reason I am expressing concern is that just a few days ago at a venue in Central London, sisters went wild in the aisles as some form of pop-mania swept through the concert venue. And I’m not just talking about silly, little girls who don’t know any better; I am talking about sisters in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, who squealed, shouted, swayed and danced. Even the security guys who looked more like pipe cleaners than bulldozers were left looking dazed and confused as they tried to stop hijabi sisters from standing on their chairs. Of course the stage groupies did not help at all as they waved and encouraged the largely female Muslim crowd to “get up and sing along.” (They’re called ‘Fluffers’ in lap-dancing circles!)

The source of all this adulation was British-born Sami Yusuf, who is so proud of his claret-colored passport that he wants us all to wave the Union Jacks. I’m amazed he didn’t encourage his fans to sing “Land of Hope and Glory.” Brother Sami asked his audience to cheer if they were proud to be British ,and when they responded loudly, he said he couldn’t hear them and asked them to cheer again.

How can anyone be proud to be British? Britain is the third most hated country in the world. The Union Jack is drenched in the blood of our brothers and sisters across Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Our history is steeped in the blood of colonialism, rooted in slavery, brutality, torture, and oppression. And we haven’t had a decent game of soccer since we lifted the World Cup in 1966.

Apparently Sami also said one of the selling points of Brand UK was having Muslims in the Metropolitan Police Force! Astafur’Allah! Dude, these are the same cops who have a shoot-to-kill policy and would have gunned down a Muslim last year if they could tell the difference between a Bangladeshi and a Brazilian. This is the same police force that has raided more than 3000 Muslim homes in Britain since 9/11. What sort of life is there on Planet Sami, I wonder? If he is so proud to be British, why is he living in the great Middle Eastern democracy of Egypt?

Apparently the sort of hysteria Sami helped encourage is also in America, and if it is happening on both sides of the Atlantic, then it must be creeping around the globe and poisoning the masses. Islamic boy bands like 786 and Mecca 2 Medina are also the subject of the sort of female adulation you expect to see on American Pop Idol or the X-Factor. Surely Islamic events should be promoting restrained and more sedate behavior.

Do we blame the out-of-control sisters? Or do we blame the organizers for allowing this sort of excessive behavior which demeans Islam? Or do we blame the artists themselves?

Abu Ali and Abu Abdul Malik, struggling for their Deen, would certainly not try to whip up this sort of hysteria. Neither would the anonymous heroic Nasheed artists who sing for freedom; check out Idhrib Ya Asad Fallujah, and you will know exactly what I mean.

Fallujah is now synonymous with the sort of heroic resistance that elevated the Palestinians of Jenin to the ranks of the resistance written about in the Paris Communeand the Siege of Leningrad. The US military has banned the playing of any Nasheeds about Fallujah because of the power and the passion it evokes.

If those Nasheeds had sisters running in the streets whooping and dancing, however, the Nasheeds may be encouraged [Note from Siraaj: She probably meant discouraged, not encouraged] because of haram activity surrounding them.

Quite frankly, I really don’t know how anyone in the Ummah can really let go and scream and shout with joy at pleasure domes when there is so much brutality and suffering going on in the world today. The rivers of blood flow freely from the veins of our brothers and sisters from across the Muslim world. Screaming and shouting the names of musical heroes drown out the screams coming from the dungeons of Uzbekistan where brothers and sisters are boiled alive in vats of water. How many will jump up and down and wave their arms in the air, shouting wildly for justice for our kin in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Palestine, and Iraq? There are many more killing fields as well across the Asian and Arab world. Will you climb on theater chairs and express your rage over Guantanamo Bay and other gulags where our brothers and sisters are being tortured, raped, sodomized, beaten, and burned? Or will you just switch off this concerned sister and switch on to the likes of Sami Yusuf because he can sell you a pipe dream with his soothing words and melodic voice?

Oh, Muslims, wake up! The Ummah is not bleeding; it is hemorrhaging.
Listen not to what is haram. Listen to the pain of your global family. 

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What Moves You More ? Listening to the Nasheeds or Quraan?

 

When jumping into your vehicle to go some place, why do people generally listen more to Nasheeds, instead of the Qur’an? One’s CD pouch will be bulging with a wide variety of these, but you may not even find a scratched CD of the Qur’an therein! Please don’t get me wrong, Nasheeds are definitely a healthy substitute for western music, and this is why many share the same tunes and rhythms, but they have become too popular in our times. Provided it’s not to the accompaniment of music, it is allowed to listen to. However, it should and can never replace listening to what we are supposed to be listening to: the Qur’an.

 

Leaving music and listening to Nasheeds instead should become a stepping stone to listening and reciting the Qur’an, but we seem to have become stuck on these Nasheeds, without moving on. It is a fact that listening to Nasheeds in whichever language – English, Urdo,  Arabic, Malaysian – has made today’s generation of Muslims such that he is not moved when he hears or reads the Qur’an, but he is moved when he hears these Nasheeds. Agreed, some are quite inspirational and have meanings that really resonate with one, but shouldn’t the Qur’an produce this effect on us more than these Nasheeds? It’s sad that you will witness tears rolling down a Muslim’s eyes when he listens to some Nasheeds, but not a drop of it sheds when he recites the mighty words of Allah, Exalted be He.

 

Nasheeds have taken a root in almost everything done in the name of Islam, whether it be Islamic videos, concerts, conferences, workshops, or Islamic programs shown on television. Everything has a smattering of Nasheeds in it. Nasheed artists are becoming more popular than Qurra nowadays, and their concerts are generally well attended. The result is that our children have been exposed to listening to these Nasheeds from their very childhood, but what is sad is that the same amount of importance is not given to the Qur’an –  the Book of Allah. This is indeed alarming.

 

In his book titled “Al-Bayaan li Akhta’ ba‘d al-Kuttaab”, an Arab scholar by  the name of  Shaykh Salih al-Fouzan has written: “With regard to what you call Islamic nasheeds, they have been given more time, effort and organisation than they deserve, to the extent that they have become an art form that takes up space in curricula and school activities; people record them and reproduce them in large amounts for sale and distribution, and they fill most homes. Young men and women listen to them to such an extent that they take up a great deal of their time and listening to them takes precedence over recordings of the Holy Qur’an, the Prophet’s Sunnah, lectures and useful academic lessons.”

 

Initially, these Nasheeds were vigorously promoted as a healthy substitute for music. Instead of playing music in wedding parties, businesses etc, Muslims played these Nasheeds instead. However, these Nasheeds soon exploded in popularity and they became easily available for all. Instead of listening to the Qur’an, people started using them in their homes, day and night, whether there was an occasion or not. It became a way of relaxing and winding down.

 

If Nasheeds have assumed this proportion, it can be nothing but one of the oldest tricks of shaytan: to divert people from paying attention to the Qur’an. If people do not listen to the Qur’an, when will they ever recite it themselves? Better still, when will they ever take the time to seriously study it and get to know what Allah Ta’ala has communicated to us? The matter has become so serious that apart from Ramadaan, we have by and large forsaken the Qur’an. In Surat al-Furqaan (25:30), Allah informs us that this will exactly be the complain of our noble Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam) on the Last Day: “And the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) will say: ‘O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Qur’an (neither listened to it nor acted on its laws and teachings)’”

 

Remember that the Qur’an is the best and most beneficial of speech, and the most moving and the most effective in guiding the soul. Allah, may He be exalted, says: “Allah has sent down the Best statement, a Book (this Qur’an), its parts resembling each other (in goodness and truth), and oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah. He Guides therewith whom He wills and whomever Allah sends astray, for him there is no guide.” (al-Zumar 39:23)

 

It is very unfortunate that the effect of the Qur’an, that of softening the heart and making our hairs raise, is hardly felt by anyone nowadays. No reward has been prescribed as such for listening to Nasheeds in the ahadith, but the same can not be said for the Qur’an. Our noble Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam) said: “Whoever reads one letter of the Book of Allah will have one hasanah for that, and a hasanah brings a tenfold reward. I do not say that alif-laam-meem is a letter, rather alif is a letter, laam is a letter, meem is a letter.” (al-Tirmidhi, 2910)

 

In conclusion, let us make the switch today: let’s switch from Nasheeds to the Qur’an. A nasheed in-between is no problem, but the majority of our listening time should be dedicated to the Qur’an. Soon you will become attached to the Qur’an and you will find delight in reading and listening to it. You will not want to substitute it for anything and you will – Insha Allah – then experience the true joy of worship and the sweetness of faith. May Allah Ta’ala make us from amongst those – Ameen.

 

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