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A nasheed is a type of cultural music. A nasheed (Arabic: singular نشيد nashīd, plural أناشيد anāshīd, meaning: "chants") is a work of vocal music that is either sung a cappella or accompanied by percussion instruments such as the daf. In general, Islamic anasheed do not contain lamellaphone instruments, string instruments, or wind and brass instruments, and digital remastering – either to mimic percussion instruments or create overtones – is not permitted as this is still a form of instrumentation and mimics actual instruments. The only acceptable instrument is the daf which is to be used during weddings as some in the time of Muhammad. It can also be used in certain ceremonies.

Nasheed are popular throughout the Islamic world. The material and lyrics of a nasheed usually make reference to Islamic beliefs, history, and religion, as well as current events.[1]

Prohibition of instruments[edit]

Some ulama argue that the use of musical instruments is implicitly prohibited in the ahadith. The founders of all four of the major madhabs – Islamic schools of thought – as well as many other prominent scholars, have debated the legitimacy and use of musical instruments. For instance, according to the Hanafi school of thought, associated with the scholar Abu Hanifa, if a person is known to listen to such forbidden musical instruments, their testimony is not to be accepted. A majority of Muslim scholars traditionally have held that at least some music with some of its instruments are haraam: sinful by the hadith, as well as by tradition.[citation needed] There are those who reject such claims, citing revealed scriptures, earlier prophets, and the example of Mohammed in the appreciation of the musical arts.[2]

According to the widely acknowledged book of authentic hadiths Sahih al-Bukhari of Sunni scholarship, Muhammad taught that musical instruments are sinful:

"Narrated Abu 'Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash'ari [a companion of Muhammad] that he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful. And there will be some people who will stay near the side of a mountain and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, 'Return to us tomorrow.' Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and He will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection.".[3]

Modern interpretations[edit]

A new generation of nasheed artists use a wide variety of musical instruments in their art. Many new nasheed artists are non-Arabs and sing in different languages, like English, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Pashto, or Turkish. Some nasheed bands are Native Deen, Outlandish, UNIC and Raihan. Other well-known artists are Ahmed Bukhatir, Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens), Ahmed Mac, Sami Yusuf, Junaid Jamshed, Zahid Ullah Afridi, Maher Zain, Harris J, Humood AlKhudher, Hamza Namira, Atif Aslam, Raef, Jae deen (Deen Squad), Mesut Kurtis, Dawud Wharnsby, Zain Bhikha, Hafiz Mizan and Kamal Uddin.

In the Indian subcontinent, Qawali is famous for the Islamic relationship with spirituality in the national language of Pakistan, Urdu. It is said that many spiritual men like Bhullay Shah, Kabir Singh, Baba Fareed and others spread the message of Islam in Punjabi, Saraiki, and Urdu.

The Grand Masters Of Qawali are said to be Ustad (Teacher like Father) the most famous are Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mian Azeez Qawal, Pathany Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and others.

Arabic nasheed artists – or Munshids – include Abu Mazen, Abu Rateb, Abu Al joud, Abu Dujanah, Abdulfattah Owainat and Muhammad al-Muqit. Some of the well known Arabic nasheed bands are Al Rawabi, Al I'atisam, Al Baraa' and Al Wa'ad

Appealing to a significant Muslim audience and also leading to performance of such artists at Islamic oriented festivals (such as Mawlid), conferences, concerts and shows, including ISNA, Celebrate Eid, and Young Muslims.[4] Other artists and organisations such as Nasheed Bay promote an instrument-free stance with anasheed, differing from the current trends of the increasing usage of instruments in anasheed.

The Islamic State (ISIS) is known for the use of nasheeds in their videos and propaganda, notable examples being the chant "Dawlat al-Islam Qamat", which came to be viewed as an unofficial anthem of ISIL,[5] and "Salil al-sawarim".[6] ISIS has also produced nasheeds in French.[7] The 2016 nasheed "Ma vengeance" contains praise of the January 2015 Paris attacks, the November 2015 Paris attacks, and the 2016 Brussels bombings.[8] The 2016 chant "Par Amour" glorifies martyrdom.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Raudvere, Catharina; Stenberg, Leif (15 January 2009). Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community. I. B. Tauris. p. 76. ISBN 9781845117627. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Why Music Is Not Haram – Center for Sufism and Islamic Studies".
  3. ^ Shahih al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 69, Number 494v: English translation of this hadith here: [1].
  4. ^ "Islamic Music For the New Generation". Ahmed 4 July 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2019. Young Muslim singers are doing just that with Islamic songs called “Nasheeds”
  5. ^ Marshall, Alex (9 November 2014). "How Isis got its anthem". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 29 August 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  6. ^ Schatz, Bryan. "Inside the world of jihadi propaganda music". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  7. ^ Heilpern, Will (31 March 2016). "Pro-Trump, Clinton, Sanders campaign ads spotted next to ISIS videos on YouTube". Business Insider. Insider Inc. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Le nouveau chant en français de l'EI « Ma vengeance » justifie le terrorisme en Europe et fait l'éloge des attentats de Paris et de Bruxelles". Memri (in French). 7 July 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Un nouveau chant de l'EI en français glorifie le martyre". Memri (in French). 9 February 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Thibon, Jean-Jacques, Inshad, in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014, Vol. I, pp. 294–298. ISBN 1610691776