A lost generation of ‘nasheeds’.
‘Increasingly we have Muslim ‘pop-stars’ who are filling the gap and providing an alternate of Islamic ‘music”, or so as the argument in favour of nasheed goes. what remains to be seen is, what does an actual ‘nasheed’ contain?
Can it be defined as being an open-ended and liberal as it is nowadays? – The sounds and lyrics mimicking those of the other, far more influential ‘westerns’ songs.
Traditionally, the halal Islamic songs known as ‘nasheeds’ were used to inspire the believers; to enable them to embrace their love for islam. To enlighten their love and make it blossom in their lives. It consisted of the praises of the beloved and the glorification of Allah’s name. Looking at things and how it is going, we seem to have lost this sense and meaning. Lost it in translation, so to speak. Back in the mid nineties I remember the first few nasheed songs which came out. One thing I can say for sure is, they were heaven and hell different to what they are now!
Understandably, in this crucible of arguments there are, by enlarge two groups. One that is opposing of all forms of nasheeds, in the name of it being a distraction and simply, too vile. Whereas the other group is, ‘all guns blazing’. Who allow a full fledged musical orchestra to be used when and where required. All in the name of aiding “integration” and modernisation.
Where should the line be drawn? Are we to fully oppose and shun ‘nasheeds’? – considering the direction they are heading towards. Or, as some minority “scholars” have said; ‘considering the times we are living in, it is virtual that Muslims are provided a halal alternative to music’. Should we support the idea that Muslim youth only listen to the Quran and nothing else? When there are countless satanic instruments and songs pulling at them on a daily basis
This argument does have some ground to stand on. Providing, that the nasheed artist manages to conjure up his own style and sounds, (which is as close to the sunnah as possible) annexed to the lyrics of the song (nasheed), and not copy other forms of music. I do not see how the mimicking mainstream, western music will divert a person from wanting to listen to the actual song itself! Furthermore, as more and more ‘newer’ forms of nasheeds are appearing on the stage, some who are by all definitions, just pure songs and nothing ‘Islamic’, can we actually call it a nasheed? This is what I call ‘a lost generation of nasheeds’. The reason is that, not only have we seen the nasheed industry move away from actually producing ‘nasheeds’ but to that of general songs. – Under the guise of producing an halal alternative and providing nasheeds. Muslim artists seem to be going down the slippery slope and crashing fast into the ground, headlong! We are also seeing local fashion trends and song tastes seep into the ‘halal alternative’. The area/region from which a nasheed artist originates from, has a distinctive attachment to the songs of his ethnic background and region. In turn they produce nasheeds which are heavily influenced by that region.. For example, a Pakistani nasheed artist has the sense of carbon-copying a Bollywood song style/soundtrack. On the other hand, people who aspire to be seen as ‘trendy’ and modern seem to carbon-copy the western songs and styles. What ends up happening is, rather than freeing a listener from the shackles of songs, they are in fact thrust back into the murky world. Another thing which comes to mind is, how fast the blurring of lines has become. The 21st century ‘nasheed’ no longer seems to be that of praising Allah & his messenger (saw) only, but that of also including the praises of; the ‘hijabi’ sister, the oppressed palestinian, and the infamous ‘wife’!
Many of the more widely known nasheed artists see themselves as ‘artists’ and no longer prefer to attach themselves to the ‘islamic’ garb which they once held so proudly. It appears as though their journey to stardom is incomplete unless they shred themselves every-last bit of ‘islamic’ attachment they may have. That being, from the way they used to dress to the way they used to sing, etc. It’s not a far cry to compare the situation with our Christian brethren, they too back in the early eighties, when the hippy culture was thriving, thought to provide the ‘alternative’. But ended up where they are today. Lastly, as I have said in the past, remember that history has a tendency to repeat itself. So, the Muslim nasheed artists have something in play here already. That is, history itself. All they need to do is hold themselves to account and look through the annals of history and see where other ‘religious’ groups’ song artists have ended up. Before, like them too, they (the nasheed artists) end up in the same miserable pile as well!