May 4, 2014 By Basith

Towards the Sacred Music

Mahir zain

Maher Zain believes in bringing in Islamic thoughts and teachings in to the music by not missing the fragrance and flavour of the mainstream music.
Maher Zain had the passion for music within him since his child hood and the inspiration was indeed his father who himself was a singer, but got involved into it professionally only after his bachelors degree in aeronautical engineering. Born in Lebanon he moved to Sweden along with his family when he was eight. From Sweden immediately after his University days Zain got linked with the Moroccan born singer/lyricist Nadir Khayat [known by the name ‘RedOne’]. ‘RedOne’ then moved to New York and Maher Zain had the opportunity to work with and support the emergence of city’s major Pop stars including Kat Deluna and Lady Gaga.

‘RedOne’ was making a large impact in the mainstream music industry since then and there was nothing like looking back for one aspiring to build a musical career being part of it. But it is the strangest of decisions and the riskiest of options that brings in meaningfulness to one’s life, Maher Zain knew this clearly and he felt like ‘there was something that went missing in his New York life’.

When he went back home to Sweden he felt like not returning back to the busy, hectic celebrity life of ‘Music in US’ and was desperate to do something which could bring in calmness to himself, a music that could bring in a positive approach to the Muslim community, a music that could generate immense gratitude towards the Almighty, profound love towards the Holy messenger, a music that could well give directions to a discontented angry youth and win justice to people through a revolution which is silent, non-violent yet full of passion and will power.

Back home in Sweden during that break from the US, he was reviving a few nostalgias of his child hood days. Though he says he was religious through out his life, along with his few Muslim friends there, he went to mosques, attended Islamic lectures and nostalgia made him recognise what exactly he was missing in his US life. Maher knew this was the time to decide, to either follow his heart’s will or the ‘so called ambitions’.

He knew that he will have to cut his past from all those friends, the music he made until then and by it a lucrative career most would have aspired for. He was so happy for the music he made with ‘RedOne’ and there was no case of repentance in it. Sacrificing something dear, something which would tempt many human hearts to take a look back – a prospective career – Zain had immense faith in Almighty’s blessings towards ‘his hearts will for a noble cause’.

The Muslim youth in the west, the West Asia and South East Asia were already fans to the US music giants irrespective of whether it was ‘Haram’ or ‘Halal’. One thing he knew for sure was that the music industry was not giving this Muslim audience what exactly they aspired for or deserved. Zain felt that this emptiness could only be filled in by bringing in Islamic thoughts and teachings in to the music by not missing the fragrance and flavour of the mainstream music and instead beautifying it by bringing in some ingredients of the Islamic Nasheed and spirituality. The intense spirituality thus brought into his music offered deep meanings to the lyrics he coined for those concerts.

Within days Zain proved before the world that  his decision to leave the main stream music industry was the most righteous of decisions in his life. The grand success of his debut album ‘Thank You Allah’ released by the awakening records in 2009 indeed gave birth to a Musical star who according to his Muslim fans across the world, held their heads upright by making them feel that they too are part of the main stream music industry – by not only making them rejoice to their full and instead bringing in spiritual ecstasy, optimism and directions to live a life out and fight a struggle out through the Islamic principles of tolerance and faith in the Almighty.

His second album ‘Forgive Me’ was released in April 2012 and is believed to surpass the records of his debut album, he already has more than 4.5 million Facebook likes and performs concerts world wide. His music, he feels, is not meant to freshen up the minds and thoughts of Muslims only; but, instead a wider audience of non-Muslims too. He says, certain aspects can reach out to new people.” One such recent attempt from his part – Number One for Me, a single dedicated to his mother, which is already a big hit in YouTube.

So, his Music, besides thanking Allah, are prayers to keep people from going astray and with regard to these aspects in the lyrics he is not the first and one of the kind – as we have seen the greats of Yousuf-ul-Islam, Zain Bhiktha,  Sami Yousuf, Native Deen and lot others carrying out this purpose effectively as well.

What makes him stand apart as the modern day Islamic music’s seminal voice is that he is able to preach Islam as a way of life through his music and has tried to cover the aspects of a Muslim life all round, his songs were not just Islamic teachings and instead a bold involvement into the Muslim life and struggles worldwide. Zain’s songs stood by the people’s desire for a different future and the fans loved the revolutionary feel in his music. This could well be compared to the revolutionary effect of black music in the Western music industry.

Though Tahreer Square didn’t have much to link with his music the angry Muslim youth taking part in the Jasmine revolution soon recognised that they have got a singing comrade sharing a similar wavelength. “Thank you Allah, “Palestine will be free” and even the latest “Freedom” was not indifferent in conveying a revolutionary message and in backing up the youth uprisings in the West Asia (Middle East), thr US and even Europe.

The internet played a big role in his success as it is well evident from his face book likes and hits received for his YouTube videos at around 60 million overall. He says, “Internet is both “revolutionary” and the “biggest blessing” for Muslim artists, since they face considerable obstacles in getting Islamic-themed music on radio and television”. Through internet he was able to directly publicize his works to the people without caring much for the traditional media coverage.

For good or bad he just like those great predecessors who made an ideal blend of Islamic music with Rock, Pop and R$B least cares for the Haram/Halal aspect of music, well might be because the “aim” is noble and the “way” which has stayed a hot topic of debate for centuries – ‘in the hands of a distinguished artist like Maher Zain’- will stay noble as well; the world hopes so!

Watch his rapture:

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