So everyone’s been buzzing about Sami Yusuf in South Africa, and if you don’t know who Sami Yusuf is…well, you clearly haven’t been following the latest craze around this talented Muslim musician and youth icon….and it helps that he’s good looking too. If there was ever such a thing as a Muslim rock star, he would qualify (but he would probably not want to describe himself in that way).
Accompanying his trip to SA, there’s also been a huge debate around whether music is haraam, and whether musical instruments are unIslamic (well its an old debate really, finding new life here). The debate rages on, and I am going to err on the side of arguing that melodious sounds that make people feel positive about themselves and creation in general, can’t be all that bad. But people respond to music in different ways… and perhaps it’s the responses (screaming girls…maybe ?), that are getting some religious folk worked up.
Islam has always had some form of popular culture, and the kind of music that Sami performs, is reflective of the current form of popular culture, viz Nasheed music. Some of the religious leadership have a problem with a couple of things, like the playing of instruments, the idolizing of the musician, the responses to the music (swaying, dancing, screaming, etc, though this doesn’t always happen) and maybe the idea of anything being remotely appealing to Muslims, other than the Quranic recitations.
My take is, if young Muslims are listening to Sami and other Muslim musicians, who are in some ways also remembering the Almighty through their music…err, why should that be a problem?
I reckon there’s lots more people who think like me.