Monday, October 14, 2013

10 of the Best Nasheeds

Asalamu Alaykom,

On this Day of Arafat, I'd like to share some of my favorite nasheeds.  These are songs to help us remember Allah.  Anytime is a good time to remember Allah.

 1.  A is for Allah  It's only right to start the list with the best known Muslim musician, British revert Yusuf Islam.  The former Seventies Superstar known as "Cat Stevens" has undertaken many endeavors to help in educating Muslim children including opening the first full-time Muslim school in England in 1983.  "A is for Allah," is an English alphabet song which teaches the meaning of many Arabic words and Islamic concepts.

However, don't overlook this song as something only for children.  No matter your age, you will enjoy its simple beauty.

 2.  Thank You, Allah  Here's Lebanese Swede Maher Zain and his very reflective, "Thank You, Allah".  It's a song many Muslims can relate to as it shows appreciation for the journey towards understanding Islam.

This version is instrumental, though he has also released the nasheed with vocals only (as some purists adhere to a voice and percussion only policy).  I like that Maher Zain sees his audience as very global and often releases the same song in three languages:  Arabic, English and Malay for his vast number of Indonesian fans.  If you want to read more about Maher Zain, check out my post on him.

 3.  Silent Sunlight  Though this nasheed is sung by Dawud W. Ali, it's really a joint effort between him and Yusuf Islam.  Dawud W. Ali is a Canadian revert with Scottish roots.  He re-purposed an old Cat Stevens song, "Silent Sunlight," into a revamped tribute to The Creator. Honestly?  I still get chills when I hear this song.

Check out all the great Dawud W. Ali songs which are available through Soundvision.

 4.  Madinah, Madinah  A nasheed doesn't have to be mellow.  This song by the Britsish group Aashiq al Rasul is very upbeat and fun.  Their name means, "Those Who Love the Messenger" and they have been performing since 1998.  The song, "Madinah, Madinah," talks about the city where the Prophet Muahmmad emigrated to from Mecca.

 5.  All I Ask of God  Time to turn up the intensity dial.  Outlandish is a Danish trio of two Muslims, Isam Bachiri and Waqas Ali Qadri, and their Catholic friend Lenny Martinez.  Isaam is of Moroccan heritage, Waqas is of Pakistani heritage and Lenny is of Cuban and Honduran heritage.  While Maher Zain has different language versions of his song, this group often puts three languages into one song.  "All I Ask of God," is sung in both English and Spanish.

Their use of hip-hop beats and rapping will be able to reach some listeners that more traditional nasheed artists will not.  I like their unique style.

 6.  Every Night and Every Day  I've mentioned this nasheed on the blog before.  "Every Night and Every Day," is a catchy song which you'll find stays with you long after you hear it.  This singer at the microphone is Ramij Raja and though he has a good voice, he's not professional.  I included him in this list because it's good to remember that ANYONE can worship Allah with a nasheed.  You don't have to be a superstar.

I actually like this version better than the Mesut Kurtis rendition which I find rather overblown.

 7.  Fartaqi  This is one of the first nasheeds I ever listened to.  It is Emrati Ahmed Bukhatir singing in Arabic which somehow uplifted me even though I didn't know the meaning.

 8.  Forgive Me  Ahmed Bukatir is going to have the distinction of being on this list twice.  I feel they are very different offerings.  "Forgive Me" is sung in English and tells of realizing how blessed we are.  The video makes it even more compelling.

Sorry, Sami Yusuf!  I almost chose your song, "My Ummah" to be included on the list.  I truly do realize that there are many striving to sing for the pleasure of Allah.

 9.  A Land Called Paradise   If you think about it, these songs don't have to follow a certain musical  style.  There are many different ways to make a joyful noise unto The Lord.  The song, "A Land Called Paradise," is a country and western offering from Egyptian-American Kareem Salama.

This video was directed by Lena Khan, who I had the good fortune of interviewing last year.  She also directed the Maher Zain video "For the Rest of My Life."

10.  Allahu Allahu  This is a very short six-minute excerpt of twenty-four-minute nasheed from Pakistani master musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.  You might have heard his distinctive voice on collaborations with Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," and also with Eddie Vedder on, "The Long Road, " and "The Face of Love."  Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan passed away in 1997.  May Allah be pleased with him and forgive him his sins.

This is classified is a "Qawwali" song from the Sufi tradition.  One thing I like about this video is how communal it feels.  You feel the ummah rejoicing in knowing who is The Greatest.

Subhanallah!  It is an awesome recording.  I do feel the awe of Allah when I hear it.  I can't help but smile and lift up my soul.  

I hope you will inshahallah enjoy the nasheeds I've shared with you.  

Wishing you and your family a Happy Eid filled with the knowledge that God is the Greatest and we who believe are continually blessed.


Muslimah Delights said...

Some real gems in there! I like how you've included both old and new nasheeds.

Eid Mubarak!

Londoneya said...

Beautiful Nasheeds to teach the children too. Hope you had a lovely Eid sis!

Party of 5 said...

Hassan loves Maher Zain's music *weird* maybe, I don't know, but baba used to play those songs for him, even had a ringtone with one of his songs.

Nice list...

My world of love and life - Marie said...

I am just discovering this list. Thank you for sharing these beautiful and inspiring songs Yosra. Fartaqi is very uplifting, you're right, even thought I don't understand one word of what is being said.

Anonymous said...

Lyrics and its meaning

Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo
maalikul mulk laa shariikaa lahuu
vaahdahuu laa ilaaha illaa huu
Shams Tabrez gar Khudaa talaabii
khusbuukhaaN laa ilaa illa huu

Kaunain kaa masjuud hai maabuud hai tuu
har shai terii shaahid hai ke mash’uud hai tuu
har ek ke lab par hai terii hamd-o-sanaa
har soz meN har saaz meN maujuud hai tuu

You are the Lord of the two worlds, you are to be worshipped
all creations are your witnesses because you are to be witnessed.
On every lip is your praise and eulogy
you are present in all passions and all music.

tere hii naam se har ibtidaa hai
tere hii naam tak har intihaa hai
terii hamd-o-sanaa, alhumdulillah
ke tuu mere Muhammad kaa Khudaa hai

All beginnings begin with your name
and all the [blessings] end with your name.
Your praise is praiseworthy
because you are the God of my Muhammad.

Allah huu Allah huu
Allah huu Allah huu

Sufi mystic chants.

ye zamiin jab na thii, ye jahaaN jab na thaa
chaaNd suraj na the, aasmaaN jab na thaa
raaz-e-haq bhii kisii par ayaaN jab na thaa
jab na thaa kuch yahaaN, thaa magar tuu hi tuu

The time when there was neither land nor the world
nor moon, sun or the sky,
[and] when truth was not known to anyone.
At that time there was nothing except you.

pahuNche meraaj meN arsh tak Mustafaa
jab na maabuud-o-bande meN pardaa rahaa
tab malaaik ne Hazrat se chhup kar kahaa
saarii maKhluuq meN haq-numaa tuu hii tuu

When Mustafa (another name of Prophet Muhammad) ascended to heavens
[and] when there was no veil between the master and the servant.
Then the angels said secretly to the Prophet
that of all the creations, only he was truth-like.

kyuuN piyaa ibn-e-Haider ne jaam-e-fanaa?
Khaal khichvaa’ii Tabrez ne kyuuN bhalaa?
daar par chaRh kar Mansoor ne kyaa kahaa?
sab banaa ke khilone rahaa tuu hii tuu

Why the son of Haider drank the cup of annihilation?
Why Tabrez agreed to be skinned alive?
What Mansoor said on the gallows?
After making all these toys, you remained the same.

Khaaliq-e-kul hai tuu ismeN kyaa guftuguu
saare aalam ko hai teri hi justujuu
teri jalvaagarii hai ayaaN chahaar-suu
laa shariikaa lahuu, maalik-e-mulk tuu

There is no argument that you are the master of all
[and] the whole world pines for you.
Your splendor is obvious everywhere
No one can be associated to you, you are the master of the world.

har shai tere jamaal kii aaiinaa-daar hai
har shai pukaartii hai tuu parvardigaar hai

Every creation reflect your glory
all creations chant that you are the Lord.

terii rabuubiyat kii adaa ko kamaal hai
tuu rabb-e-qaaynaat hai, tuu laa-zavaal hai

The beauty of your Lordship is perfect
you are the Lord of the Universe, you are without decline.

tuu jo har aan nayii shaan dikhaa detaa hai
diidaa-e-shauq ko hairaaan banaa detaa hai
Daalii Daalii terii takhliiq ke gun gaatii hai
pattaa pattaa terii qudrat kaa pataa detaa hai

You, the one who glows with new radiance every moment
[and] perplex the yearning eyes.
All the branches [of trees] sing praise of your creation
[and] all the leaves lead to your omnipotence.

laa ilaahaa terii shaan yaa! vaadahuu
tuu Khayaal-o-tajassus, tuu hii aarzuu
aaNkh kii roshnii, dil kii aavaaz
thaa bhii tuu, hai bhii tuu, hogaa bhii tuu

There is no one like you and that is your grandeur, O! the unique one
you are the imagination and inquisitiveness, you are the wish
you are the light [and] the voice of heart
you were there, you are there and you will be there.

Mukhammad Mansur said...


Hi Yosra. I am Indonesian.

If you listed Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan which he is a sufist musician, have you listened to any music from Omar Farok Tekbilek of Turkey? Omar has some music from his long career in sufi music.

Yosra said...

Wa Alaykom Asalam Mukhammad,

I do not know this of this artist. I will have to look him up inshahallah and maybe include him on another list.

Thank you for sharing :)

Also, thanks to those of you who clicked for listening.

I did not post the comments from Mohammed, who is a BIG FAN of Sami Yusuf. Why? It's OK to disagree with me, but not to be rude about it. "Disagree without being disagreeable" is a great phrase to keep in all our minds.

Love and Light!

of said...

thank you

Fez27 said...

Fantastic list. I review Islamic music on my website Islamic Music Hub. I'll be adding some of these very soon.