Entertaining the Muslim Youth

By somayya | December 23, 2007
January 2008

Entertaining the Muslim Youth

by Somayya Gefori

786, a Muslim Singing Group

When I was a young child, my family listened to the likes of Yusuf Islam in the car. Nowadays there are many nasheed artists, and over the last decade the industry has practically exploded with new talent: Native Deen, 786, Sami Yusuf, Zain Bhikha and Mesut Kurtis, to name but a few. Nor does this trend in entertainment come without controversy.

Native Deen, a Muslim singing group

A recent BBC documentary followed the American nasheed group 786 (of Pakistani origin) and Native Deen (of African-American origin) as they did interviews and performed in the United Kingdom. A lot of points were raised, including the fact that 786 looks so much like the average boy band, and that most of its fans are female. They usually dress in jeans and t-shirts, though they mentioned in the documentary that they were starting to wear more traditional Pakistani clothing, because too many Muslims were basing their judgments of the band on the way they looked.

The Modern Day Nasheed Image

Perhaps the way they appear, and the way that they sound is ahead of its time. Or maybe it is because it so closely resembles non-Muslim music, albeit with clean Islamic lyrics! At least one can say that Muslim children and youth are somewhat safer listening to modern nasheed; they are guaranteed the safe-guard against ‘bad’, ‘rude’ or ‘naughty’ lyrics, regardless of what people think of the modern-day nasheed image.

Who Shall the Youth Look Up To?

On a slightly different note, whether people agree or disagree with Muslims listening to today’s nasheed artists, the question is who else do today’s Muslim youth have to look up to for inspiration? Apart from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), because of course Muslims should look up to him to inspire them to better themselves. Unfortunately, many children look up to people in the spotlight here and now, whether one agrees with their choice or not, so it’s important that the Muslims who are in the spotlight, whether singers of nasheed or performers of comedy routines, are good practising Muslims.

Most young people would not think of looking to their local Imam for inspiration: most Imams grew up in non-Western countries with little understanding of the interests and values of today’s young Western Muslims. They are faced with many challenges different to those of the older generation. For example, if an imam grew up in a predominantly Muslim country, the chances are he would never have had to deal with the problems of encountering and engaging with non-Muslim children or having non-Muslim friends. Most Muslims who live in the West have to attend school, college and university alongside non-Muslims, whose lives are so different from theirs.. (For more on this topic, refer back to my first article, ‘Being a Muslim Teen in the UK.’

Enjoy in Moderation

Based on my research, the basic opinion on nasheed seems to be that as long as it is enjoyed in moderation, and does not take over one’s life, it is acceptable. We see that in the case of non-Muslims, because many of them have no religion, they spend so much time listening to and talking about music. They go around with iPods in their ears all day, as if they have nothing else to do. In Islam there is plenty to do; pray, read the Quran and Islamic books, being but part. Remember your Deen!

Remember that I am not an Islamic scholar or expert, nor do I claim to be; this article is just my opinion as a practising young Muslim in the West.

12 Responses to “Entertaining the Muslim Youth”

  1. maarfat Says:
    December 26th, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    if someone wants to give their poems to be sung who should be contacted can u provide me with e-mai add

  2. dia Says:
    December 27th, 2007 at 6:39 am

    In my country there are many nasheed group with different genre. there are some group with haroki style (use only drum/percussion instrument) talks about struggle, palestine, jihad dll… they are not only harmonic in voice but it really pump your ghirah/spirit in islam to anyone who listen to it… unfortunatelly, none of them have english version

  3. Rashad Says:
    January 27th, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    These are among the signs of the finals days. We are celebrating in our own distruction.

  4. furkan Says:
    March 5th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    so good and encouraging

  5. Chelsea M Heffner Says:
    February 20th, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    I agree. Anything in moderation should be ok (notwithstanding bad stuff). Good guidelines.

  6. mikhail Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 2:28 am

    as-salam, i think nasheed group should follow the strict rule of islam. there are few such group like saimum of bangladesh and others. moderation is a non-specific term. after all we should beware of those so called nasheed gr. which r un-islamic.

  7. imaan Says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    mashallah may allah help u guys

  8. Islam Mohammad tariq Says:
    October 4th, 2009 at 12:30 am

    its good to see mashAllah.

  9. muslim girls for marriage Says:
    November 27th, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Hi,thanks for providing such encouraging article.Really a nice article and suggestions are also good.Thanks so much again…

  10. bookworm764 Says:
    December 21st, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Hi, thanx for this article. It’s true that we must always remember our deen and not be engrossed in nasheeds most of the time. Although this is a form of worship, we should take it in moderation to avoid going into the haram. Salaam 🙂

  11. fatima Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    asalam.o.alikum ! i am really inspired by the work of native deen.may ALLah make us good muslim and true muslim.islam is best!

  12. Mohamedf Ali Says:
    June 24th, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Good post
    Jazak Allahu khayran
    The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If good is done to someone and then they say “Jazak Allahu khayran” to the one who did the good, they have indeed praised them well.” [Tirmidhi]
    Jazak Allahu khayr ???? ????? ?????

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