Muslim Hip Hop an Important Conversation


Thoughts anyone?

Here’s a post by a Muslim who attended, then left the event.

“We have recently been witness to the emergence of Muslim Hip Hop, and were present at the two events at the Drum recently. We have lots to say about this and plenty of Muslim Freaks were present.

Our sisters Poetic Pilgrimage, although in the debate on Thursday gave off the impression they were reserved, proved otherwise during the Friday performance. Dancing and wiggling away on stage with other men, in front of a mix crowd of teenagers with full on music. This is not the behaviour of dignified muslim women. I am not against the creative expression of women via poetry, but they are taking it a bit too far.

Kumasi and DJ BLM, were guilty of the same. Encouraging the crowd to stand up and come forward, which lead to people dancing and jumping all over the place… It was utter madness and i personally saw a good number walk off in disgust.

This is Muslim Hip Hop? I have been following this for a while, and I must say I have enjoyed going to spoken-word/conscious hip Hop events, where there has been positive vibes, and performers who knew the limits.

But I think this type of event, where the lyrics were drowned out by very loud music, where you can barely make out the lyrics, people shouting BRAP BRAP, was really just a nightclub gig without alcohol being consumed. I personally feel this event was devoid of any religious benefit, and was just a auditorium full of teenage boys and girls who were glad to be out of the house.”

Courtesy of this blog.

Here are some other [at least claimed] eyewitness accounts.


“Aapa, the younger generation of today look for some sources of inspiration. Not only through the Quran, Sunnah & Books of knowledge but also through people.

 

I personally don’t listen to a lot of Hip-hop but the events over the last few days have managed to hit a spot and I feel like I want to listen to it again and again to keep me inspired. I’m actually sat here wishing I was part of them gatherings again because their words are focused on the deen, their words have a deeper more spiritual effect. Their words are spoken from the heart which you also feel.. You know how they say “your words penetrated my soul”… that’s the effect they had on me.
It’s not easy to go up to the brothers and sisters perfoming and say “Dude, your stuff was deeeeeeeeeep” but I also wish that we could let them know they’re doing a great job and need to continue doing what they do :)


salaams guys

 

i found the events even though no one got back to me :p ok i had a few points that i really think need to be made. the debate was good in that i really feel it needed to take place, but again like soulseekers i dont think that it was a balanced debate in that the whole panel had the same opinion and so it just became a kind of conversation and justification rather than a debate more like a question and answer session.

the second thing is that i think that all the artists made their points clear in that they dont claim to be promoting “islamic hip hop” this is a label that has been put on by others and so we need to be careful of accusing people of doing things that they are not. all artists made their position clear: they were muslims who were hip hop artists. they used hip hop as a way to spread their message. i think that the poetry and the messages in a lot of the performances were great very strong and very meaningful. the Spoken word stuff by PP and Lowkeys Palestine track was so powerful.

ok then i went to the malcolm x event the day after which scared the hell out of me we had women and men dancing together on stage and muslims cheering. now i dont want to judge the artists as allah is the only judge but i mean come on are we so far from the path that we cant see what is acceptable in islam and what is not? i think that the poetry and the accapellas were amazing the rest of the stuff i felt we were falling in to muddy ground it just didnt feel right, and with all the music and the instruments and the dancing i didnt understand a word of the “message” that they were trying to get out to me as i was so involved in the instruments and the bass, and the dancing. that whole side of it took away from the positive and the beautiful message im sure they were trying to get across

i realy dont want to sound negative as i have tried to look at this as forward thinking as possible. this is because its a debate that has many layers and needs to unravelled delicately

i think muslim belal was wicked , and i think pp’s white lillies and the other spoken word stuff that they did was amazing. and as for the bhams poet man with the dreads lol he cracked me.

still feeling a bit unsure though. this is just my opinion nothing more nothing less.


I think as muslims we often do not give enough constructive criticism and we always end up praising and just staying silent instead of criticism- which may be a good thing. But in some ways, it is not, because it means we forever go round in circles, and are happy with the status quo, and instead issues that need to be dealt with never do. In a practical sense it means artists will not develop, because their egos are forever being massaged, and they will not only continue in what they do, but go further and further away.

 

I think its pretty clear people were disturbed by some of the performers, and the manner of which they behaved. and like the previous poster mentioned, of course if we think deeply, anyone would have to agree, there are some serious issues here, me personally i think its a healthy thing that we are questioning it.

in reference to dreadlock alien. I think its ironic, that – in my view – the most humblest of artists from both of the two days, happened to be a non muslim. He didnt have to prance around the stage and wave his arms around. His persona on stage was very humble and its a shame our muslim performers dont take a leaf out of his book.


ok firstly on the panel there was a sheikh who all the artists used as a reference point to what they were doing. whether we agree with the sheikh or not he was their teacher and they were referring back to him to give them the scholarly advice that they needed on grey areas. this is what i meant when i said that they were making their position clear. we can say that we need islam as a reference point all day long but whose islam do you use? islam is such a diverse religion with so many scholars and different opinions where do you draw the line?

 

in regards to the hip hop performances i dont know what the artists expected to achieve by that or even where they felt that was going to land the debate. i mean they obviously hadnt thought it through. i mean im not a scholar so im not sure what their sheikh was using to justify that kind of stuff but i am pretty sure that majority of mainstream scholars would disagree with what they were doing. also to do perform like that at a malcolm X concert a man who reached a turning point after his hajj just baffles me.

i think that the reason why such a debate is happening is because so many scholars differ on this viewpoint. and that has created confusion and uncertainty in the muslim ummah. also we cant deny that fact that many do listen to music, many young muslims are inclined to a hip hop culture i always always always thought music was haraaam if you listen to it you listen to it but it was always thought to be haraam. even though i listen to music sometimes i wouldnt listen to it on jumaah or around salaat time or in ramadhaan etc i would expect it to be turned off so i think that means in my heart of hearts no matter what anyone says i feel it is haraam. BUT i dont mind the accapellas and the spoken word stuff because that is just the voice and the message.

also again i feel that their hasnt been an opposing argument based on hadith and quran put forward in a strong way so if anyone can back up what they are saying by quran and hadith that would help a lot


ok i went to the malcolm x event and also the islam hip hop one. my criticism about the islam hip hop event was that i felt it was very one sided BUT i do think that the audience challenged the panel well and i also felt that the artists answered back accordingly. regardless of whether we agree with their arguments or not they seemed to feel that they did justice to the topic and i again felt that they didnt claim to be anything that they werent: they were muslims who performed hip hop. i thought fair enough allah will judge us all accordingly. i did feel that their arguments needed to be challenged further maybe with scholarly backing of the alternative arguments. the debate was very one sided. it was just one perspective. the debate needs to continue in the mainstream as there were many young people there who could easily be influenced. If majority say that Music is haraam then how do we deal with an emergence of hip hop artists who are building a muslim audience. if it is halal (dont all start screaming i have read the previous threads but there are still people out there who strongly believe that it is permissible. they have shayukh and ulema who say it is acceptable and so nothing anyone on this forum is gonna say is going to make a difference to them) how do we deal with the opposition against as i have a stron feeling that this culture is growing. on the night i think that artists such as PP carried themselves well, they performed very meaningful poetry and overall i think they did themselves justice with their words. my thinking was let them do what they wanna do its a bit of poetry with strong messages.

 

overall i thought that the event was ok. as a result i went home and got my wife and her sisters ready for the day after the malcolm x tour. now for some reason because i saw sheikh babikirs name on the banners, and cuz RMW do a lot of speaker tours with renowned scholars such as Sheikh Habib Ali Jifri it didnt even enter in to my head that the event would be anything like what it was. i knew that sheikh babikir wasnt speaking in brum but i just thought that he wouldve had an overall influence on the tour. anyway we got there and it was a disappointment that malikah couldnt make it but cant be helped may allah grant her a speedy recovery.

from the onset i was disappointed everything that the artists had said the day before about using poetry and music to get their message out there all went out of the window. firstly the music was so loud i couldnt even hear what they were singing about. the performances were so in ur face i felt like we were in anight club or something. you know im quite an open minded guy i gave the hip hop scene the benefit of the doubt from thursday felt that maybe just maybe this scene could have a positive impact on british muslim youth esp those who have strayed and are looking to kanye west and tupac as their role models.

however what i saw was alot of imitating of US hip hop artists, then all this brapppppppping business started? i mean why do we need to pump muslims artists egos like that thats not what islam has taught us i thought it was all about humility and praise only to allah? am i wrong on that? then i saw muslim women and men performing together on stage, i swear if there was men and women doing poetry together i wouldve been ok with that because we would’ve been overcome by teh words of the poems. BUT what we saw was our sisters dancing with men on stage. you can talk about social change all you want but i think that some stuff is so fundamental to our deen that if you take that away from us you take away our very essence which is the adhab of a muslim.please remember i also took my wife and her sisters to this event so you can imagine the dissapointment. i mean we’re young people just fresh out of uni, done the clubbing days but when i came to islam (not a revert but when i saw the “light”) i made a conscious decision to leave all of that behind. again some stuff im still open to i like to be open minded but some stuff i felt takes away the essense. im not really knowledgable but i do have common sense.

kumasi kumasi kumasi ive never in my life thought i would see the day when i would see someone on stage dancing to la illah ha il allah and also saying it with the backing of loads of instruments. bringing the whole audience to the front and getting them to wave their hands. that is not the muslim way. i mean are we so far from the deen that we cant see what damage that could do? them words are a declaration of our faith. again i really tried to stay open minded but overall i think that was the final straw for me. after that i couldnt see past it. because there was limited difference between that night and my clubbing days. except in my clubbing days you knew it was wrong whereas on friday ppl were actually thinking it was ok because it was all in the name of malcolm x, muslim artists and muslim organisers.

ok the good points about the event is that the organiser dude did a really humble and lifting speech about malcolm x and his life and how we can use it as and example, i think artists like muslim belal were good because it made you understand and realise what struggles ppl go through when they come in to islam but also how they are still so proud to be muslim, we take it for granted to much. i think PP’s White lillies was good again i liked the stuff that had a meaning but there was so much there that didnt. dreadlock alien was great.

i dont know what the national response has been but im sure nationally people shaykh babikir was at event. would be interesting to get some feedback on comparisons with his presence on the tour.


I second what Sidi Jashim said… I went to the Hounslow event and yesterday’s in London and found both to be inspiring evenings in their own right. Both had a different atmosphere but SubhanAllah truly amazing. I loved Kumasi’s performance last night and Muslim Belal the day before :) but not forgetting all the other artists who were equally as inspiring: Mohammed Yahya, Masika, Poetic Pilgrimage and Beatbox Unorthodox…

 


I also went to the radical middle way event, the following day – a muslim hip hop concert. It started off ok, but i felt the behavior of some of the artists was quite shocking. The dancing on stage with full on music, alongside other men was quite disturbing. Our sisters Poetic Pilgrimage, although on the panel debate seemed reserved, i think their behavior the following day was very contradictory and not appropriate. The whole event just seemed to be pretty much like any mainstream Hip Hop concert. I certainly think this was insult to relate this event to Malcolm X and the proof of Muslims in Hip Hop being a dangerous thing, was very clear at the concert and some of the performances. I think there needs to be parameters set, and its clear that muslim artists who start off ok, seem to stray away from their original goals.

 

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15 Comments

  1. MuslimahCA says:

    SubhanAllah! In my not so practicing days, this would have seemed fun, but like number 7 said: “The whole event just seemed to be pretty much like any mainstream Hip Hop concert. I certainly think this was insult to relate this event to Malcolm X and the proof of Muslims in Hip Hop being a dangerous thing, was very clear at the concert and some of the performances”

    As I try to control my nafs from listening to music, I dont see any difference from mainstream hip hop and the Kumsai brother. Using the beats and songs of other mainstream artists and the one sister they keep mentioning that was dancing on stage and performing, its shocking but honestly for the ummah today its hard to distinguish what is halal and haram when they have no knowledge, so they just do it.

    Like you mentioned in the other post, they all need to take one year off and study the deen. I am sure they would come back better than ever and actually have some serious content to implement in their poems and lyrics and some good drum halal beats :)

  2. Abdullah says:

    Normally I would read Imam Suhaib’s post about music etc and think, what he is talking about is relative to his DJ’ing past as he always keeps taking it back to Hip Hop etc. Sometimes I think let it be Imam, as its something that people will always be around and we ain’t ever getting away from this culture. What we need to concentrate on is bringing these people to our circles through hikmah and instill the deen in them so much that the music side of things eventually becomes a distant past for these people also. I sincerely believe this – having seen many transformations of brothers and sisters whose hearts have been touched by scholars from which they went towards gradual change to get closer towards Allah (swt).

    To be fair I have to say I am sinful of listening to music myself – when in the gym, out shopping (stores are playing music), work environment, or even watching a movie where its soundtrack may be the latest hip hop hit. In fearing hypocrisy I can’t really comment on ‘we should not listen to music’.

    Having seen the FREAK show in the clip above I have to say I was somewhat shocked and now in some way feel, maybe Imam Suhaib is right to speak. But at the same time, by speaking out I think people can get pushed away from the deen. I remember during the days of Jahaliya whenever people would say to me “why don’t you pray? Come pray with us” – I would go on the defensive and be determined even more not to pray. With this in mind I let people arrive to the deen in their own way where I would offer to be their point of contact for anything they may need during that transition period of Jahaliya to practising.

    From experience, my personal thoughts are that it is good to let people know of our stance on music, but to constantly make a statement on it will either push them away or de-sensitize them of the message to the point where the message will not impact them anymore and they will just continue with listening to and going to FREAK shows like the one above.

    My intention was not to offend, just to state my observations. Forgive me if there was any offence caused.

    Wassalaam

  3. Sean says:

    As Salamu Alaykum,

    Well here’s my little two cents.

    I love hip-hop. I grew up on it, moved completely away from it to draw closer to my creator, and have now found a small place for it in my life, in my appreciating-human-art-and-culture box. I am very, VERY selective about what I listen to, and with some careful work I am able to find hip-hop music that I think is nurturing, enriching, and useful to me.

    That being said, I do not go to hip-hop shows or concerts. I never found them much fun in my jahiliyya days and I think they are totally absurd now. I consider concerts and shows in a totally different category than listening to music in an appropriate private context. If I were a hip-hop artist, I honestly wouldn’t even do shows, and just ask that people appreciate my music for what it is.

    This problematic display by Remarkable Current is necessarily not a proof against hip-hop altogether, but it certainly raises some red flags. Hip-hop is, like any other human cultural form, something that CAN be free of inappropriate haram stuff. What is problematic is that our artists and fans too often are not sorting that stuff out? Do hip-hop artists “have to” do shows? Do hip-hop artists “have to” dance on stage? Does all hip-hop have to be danceable?

    I do not say “Muslim hip-hop” must be, dawa or imploring directly toward knowledge and worship. It can be a lot of things. And it can still have modesty and hikma. It’s possible, but, the Muslim artists just aren’t doing it.

    Perhaps, people should not just be making blanket condemnations of hip-hop as a human artform, but of advising its Muslim participants to cut out the problematic nonsense that has worked its way into the Muslim hip-hop scene. Now, I know the response some will have: if something can lead to haram than it too is haram, so we cut the harm off at its root. That is a clearly sloppy causal argument in this case. It’s just as sloppy as “hip-hop influenced me to become Muslim so it is completely good.”

    The reality is that while some will get the “hip-hop-is-haram” message and drop the music altogether, the vast majority won’t. This is a simple fact, for a very wide variety of reasons. So can we call to ways to cut out the nonsense from it.

    I think it may not be becoming of a scholar to advise people how to listen to hip-hop, so I will provide a few of my suggestions:

    1. Make a priority of the Qur’an, prayer, and seeking Islamic knowledge.
    2. Try to be around Muslims who are serious about their religion, be they hip-hop heads or not. Your companionship is one of your most important factors. Take it very seriously. If you don’t have good companions now, you can find some at your local mosque. (Sometimes ;) )
    3. Do not listen to commercial radio. At all. It is garbage hip-hop that is designed to engender materialism, misogyny, and nihilistic behavior. Also, the music on there today is soulless, synthesized trash. (IMO :) )
    4. Do not watch music videos, especially on MTV or BET. This is where the stuff gets really ugly. I don’t think I need to describe it, but somehow Muslims sit and watch this dajjalic trash.
    5. Do not go to Muslim concerts. They just are not conducive to Islamic behavior; particularly for the artists.
    6. Go to an “underground hip-hop” store and ask the experts there, who you could listen to that has decent content. They may have some good suggestions for you. There’s a lot more out there, than the current lame offering of “Muslim hip-hop.”
    7. Try out more pre-1990 hip-hop. It’s not all wonderful content, but back then most of the artists were trying to get radio-play and kept their albums free of cusswords and lewd content. There are many exceptions of course, but the content back then was much much better than today’s stuff and the music itself was more soulful too.
    8. Start transitioning your collection to “instrumental” hip-hop. One of the main appeals of hip-hop is the beats. The main problem with hip-hop is the lyrics, and the arrogant rappers. Take the first one and leave out the other one; with instrumentals. There are instrumentals out there for almost album or song, and lots of instrumental-only artists. Here’s one good place to start, http://strictlybeats.blogspot.com/.
    9. Do regular music fasts, especially during Ramadan. It is a great way to keep the music bug in check, and reset your priorities if they start to slip.
    10. Read “Islam and the Cultural Imperative” and “Living Islam with Purpose” by Dr. Umar Faruq Abdallah. These brilliant papers help put things in perspective for you. (Highly recommended.)
    11. Continue to engage in healthy, respectful discourse with hip-hop’s critics. Those voices (when they are sensible and respectful) will help to remind you of what you need to cautious of.
    12. Have taqwa. This is the best advice.

    Insha’Allah, we can all progress to a better place; in our art, in our intentions, in our discussions, and in our actions.

    Sean

  4. AmirAbuMusa says:

    All very good points. Having been around this almost my whole life the dangers are far
    more damaging to the heart than the entertainment benefit. “im not really knowledgeable but I do have common sense” is REAL talk. What comes to mind is the statement of Abdullah ibn Masud, the companion of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as Ibn Masud said, “The love of the Quran and the love of music cannot combine in the heart of a believer.”

    No need to sugar coat these issues anymore. The HAQQ is the haqq

  5. El-Moro says:

    Sometimes aritists start out all Islamic and then digress… trouble is their muslim fan base will follow them trough all the fitna..

    Look at Outlandish, had a nice album with Closer than Veins, now look at them? The latest album Sound of a Rebel?

  6. lucield says:

    even though in the other thread i said some hip hop is good, and i mentioned liking specific songs or some struggles artist went through, it has to be in an islamic environment.

    the environment described with men and women dancing together, the music so loud you cant even hear the words, that doesnt really sound like “islamic” hip hop -

    and also – to the artists, i always envisioned them being more like early 90′s rappers in terms of the lyrics having actual substance than imitating the trash that is most modern rap where the lyrics arent even understandable or audible.

    the more correct environment to me would be more like that for an opera house, the crowd isnt rowdy,everyone stays in their seats – and there is no booming music that overpowers the lyrics.

    my 2 cents.

  7. Mustafa Davis says:

    Assalamu ‘Alaykum,

    I am the producer / director of the film DEEN TIGHT which is a documentary film about this very subject. http://deentight.com/

    The Deen Tight film tells this story from the perspective of the artists and ex-artists (those for hip hop and those against it). We give a platform for both sides of this debate to express themselves.

    Some people have asked why we did not include the scholars in this film. This was a calculated decision and our main intention behind this was to protect the sanctity of our teachers due to the fact there is not a consensus amongst them concerning this issue. Some scholars have not only expressed acceptance of Muslim Hip Hop, they have actually advocated it and attended concerts themselves. Others have adamantly condemned it and those who participate in it. This can be very confusing for the Muslim masses who rely on the opinion of the scholars to navigate through the murky waters of modern life.

    For example: The rap group ‘Native Deen’ won the award for Best Nasheed Artists at the Mahabba Awards in Abu Dhabi in 2006 and 2008. Several of our most renowned teachers of the tradition reside on the Scholars Counsel for this awards show. I am not claiming that this means that any of these scholars advocate Muslim Hip Hop in any way, however; one can see how this could be misleading to someone who goes to these men for religious counsel to then hear another teacher from the tradition condemn a group who performs Muslim hip hop. The Deen Tight film was funded by some of these very scholars for the purpose of gaining a thorough understanding of the issue so they could then get together and discuss it with full knowledge of all the variables.

    As someone who has been studying this closely for the past 3 years, speaking with artists, ex artists, teachers and scholars on the subject… I recommend a Muslim Hip Hop Summit where qualified scholarship and the artists sit together and discuss the issues from A – Z. I know that several of the artists have private sanctions from scholars to perform Muslim Hip Hop. I have spent time with other artists who are simply doing it because they want to, sanction or not. I have spent time with scholars who say its something that needs to stop and have discussed the issue with scholars who say its not only ok to do.. but that its absolutely needed. I’m certain that if we are to label something as “Muslim” then there needs to be qualifying prerequisites in place for it to be sound, however; I’m not personally interested in either promoting or condemning Muslim Hip Hop at this time. I’m interested in finding a solution for what is clearly a very real issue in our community. I’m interested in a consensus amongst the scholars so that the masses will know exactly what Islam says about these issues. If that consensus is not reached, then I fear that this problem will only worsen over time as people begin to lose faith in our scholarship for not being able to properly guide them through these trying times. Right or wrong, we can see this trend already happening. I pray that Allah protect us from this because without the guidance of our rightly guided scholars, we will surely falter.

    My main point is that if even our scholars are differing about this subject how can we expect the masses to agree on a single course of action?

    I would advise people to keep Adab when engaging in this discourse. It is a sensitive issue for many and thus should be handled carefully so that there is no room for Shaytan and the lower self to come into play. I advise our artists to be respectful of our scholarship and dialogue with them in an appropriate manner. I offer advice to our scholars not to fall victim to name calling and arguing. Mentioning specific names in these posts is distasteful and if one is not careful could fall under the category of slander.

    Prophet Muhammad said :”Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “God and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of God said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.” (Muslim)

    Culture and Islam (in the West) and how it fits within the context of our Deen is something our scholars are still figuring out for themselves. During this process it is imperative that we remain one Ummah and if we disagree… that we do so as brothers who love one another and desire good for each other. The goal isn’t to win a debate… the goal is to do that which is most pleasing to Allah… and Allah knows best.

  8. J says:

    If a Muslim watches that video above, there is no need for daleel to issue a judgment on it. The fitrah is enough to know that it is haram!

  9. Mustafa Davis says:

    I have been perusing the internet and this dialogue seems to be popping up everywhere. I am deeply saddened by the remarks that are being posted on other blogs about this debate. I caution people from trying to defame any of our scholars for ANY reason. They are human and also make mistakes. But to exacerbate that problem by bringing personal issues, etc.. is not from our tradition and we should NEVER stand behind any man/woman who purposefully attempts to discredit or dishonor our teachers. Regardless if a teacher has done right or wrong by you… they still represent a SOUND tradition and the Sharia of Islam. At least have respect for that. If we succeed in discrediting all our of scholars (for whatever reason) then we are left to our own devices to survive in this increasingly hostile world.

    Just as we are asking our scholars to support us… they need us to support them. Give advice, admonish with proper etiquette, refrain from personal attacks and always wish that the truth be manifested on the others tongue so that you can submit to it. This is the way of our righteous predecessors…. wa Allahu Alim.

  10. Suhaib Webb says:

    Submitted on 2009/07/19 at 6:30pm

    “I would encourage Muslims to avoid these superstars, inviting them to events, paying them big sums of cash and treating them with such pageantry.”

    “Is Imam Suhaib talking about him self here?

    We know that Arabs love white prostitutes and they get the most money of all of the hookers. Has anybody asked Imam Suhaib how much he gets paid to do his lil fake Arab-American accent while they parade him around their “Religious gatherings”.

    See below

    “Show business is show business. Seems these intolerant self appointed “Scholars” are just worried they may be losing their fan base. And what is up with the Eminem reference??? Don’t “Imams” have better things to do with their time then to drive more people away from Islam????”

    Interesting a brother recently took shahada with me al-humdulillah. Perhaps the question is, what type of Islam are we teaching the people in the first place? This watered down Krush Groove Islam is saddening and when people realize that they were bamboozled by you, they will be upset. I know because, as one convert told me, “The problem wasn’t with me, it was those who explained Islam to me. The watered it down and turned it into something else.”

    “I noticed he has failed to mentioned the fact that He is living off that…
    “ARAB MONEY!!!”

    Abdul Haqaa: I pray you are well and thank you for this question. Actually, I take $0 for speaking for visiting a community. In fact, all the classes that I teach are for free. I hope and pray that Allah will preserve that as it was something I was taught by my teachers, who learned it from their teachers back to the early days of Islam. I have even recorded studio lectures for free and donated the profits to the organization. I currently live in a one room place, sleep on the floor while my family lives in another country. In other words, I’m surviving.

    However, when I travel I do have certain demands which I will list below:

    1. No first class or business class tickets, economy or nothing.
    2. No fancy hotel, just a simple decent clean place to rest

    Can you say….. HATERS!

    May Allah make our love and hate for His sake alone.

    Abdul Haqq one thing to consider is that such a responses are only going to prove what many have assumed. The Muslim HH community is unable to divorce itself from the evil constructs that HH was based on. By using foul language and coming out like some kind of hard cat on the streets, making false assumptions and calling me out like you wanna battle, you have done nothing but further my claim that you, and your friends, are religiously in bad shape.

    Abdul-Haqq

    May Allah make us on the Haqq
    SDW

  11. Aziza says:

    Al Salamu alaykum,

    Firstly, the subject at hand seemed rather strange to me (“MUSLIM Hip Hop?? Seriously?”) as I’ve never heard any songs or read about any of the artists; but i found it interesting and intriguing that Imam Suhaib writes about it on his blog -surely it’s a matter that affects our Ummah.

    Before I sound judgemental or anything, I still listen to music, I grew up on it, I am surrounded by it (from the supermarket to the mall to the streets), it goes to the extent that every word I use could remind me sometimes of a song: for instance, the words I’m using while writing this post like “music” reminds me of Madonna, the word “hand” reminds me of Ataxia, “sorry” of Tracy Chapman, “remind” of Air, and the list is endless…

    I watched the video, and I have to say I was troubled and disturbed. The “artist” (forgot his name, sorry!) is trying to put a halal face on something that is considered haram in the first place. And what about the screaming groupies in the video? Is this a proper way to act?

    It’s not because he’s trying to sing about something deep that he has to use cacophonic sounds to get his message across.

    Shaykh Hamza Yusuf said in a lecture he gave called “Real Love”, if you’re attracted to cacophonic sounds, something’s definitely wrong with your heart.

    But I’m in no position to talk and/or criticize from the religious point of view as I don’t the academic background to do so, though I will take it from the sociological one.

    Why do we listen to “Muslim” Hip Hop? Why do we NEED it? Is it just our way of staying in touch with the society we live in? Is it our way of showing to the others “hey, look I’m still like you” but in a “halal” way?

    The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (from 18th-century ENLIGHTMENT period, ironically) once said “Man is born good, society corrupts him”. In our muslim concepts, this is called fitra.

    We should not be deluded by the fact that the artists are trying to do good with their music and in the end, they misrepresent the whole idea!

    I support the fact that we should be fully integrated in our society, in our community, etc. BUT there are certain limits to everything.
    Don’t go off dancing to some “Muslim” Akon just because he sings about Muslim matters!
    Do not convince yourself by saying “Oh it’s fine, this is halal music, man!”

    I totally agree with Imam Suhaib for these artists to take a year off and go study the deen.

    Perhaps they will understand that their style is not appropriate with the Islamic message?

    Let’s all take this step by step, a sort of Music Rehab. And Allah SWT will help us in our endeavors.

    Wassalam

  12. Abul-Hussein says:

    …Metal or hip-hop musicians are at the center of the anxieties and hopes of what could be called “Islam’s generations X through Next”: Muslims in their teenage years through their late 30s. As a percentage of the population of most Muslim countries, that demographic, particularly its younger members, is close to twice as large as its counterparts in the United States or Europe. Its musicians tend to be more educated, informed, and socially active than their Western counterparts.

    During the last decade of traveling across the Muslim world, I have met musicians, activists, scholars, Islamists, and ordinary people in more than a dozen countries, including Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, countries in the Persian Gulf, and Pakistan. That is a wide swath, home to upward of 500 million people; but that’s still only a third of the Muslim world. Muslim metal, hip-hop, and other forms of pop music continue all the way to Indonesia…

    http://www.chronicle.com

    Like heavy metal, hip-hop, and other macho forms of music in the West, in the Muslim world these genres tend to be dominated by men, whether musicians or fans. The problem is so acute that the brochure for a 2006 rock and hip-hop festival in Morocco included an open letter from one of the female organizers titled “Girls Wanted.” But as one female artist lamented to me, as long as it’s considered immoral, or at least unsafe, for young women to go out on their own to concerts, let alone to be on the stage playing “Satanic music,” it will be men who make up the majority of metal musicians and fans in the Muslim world.

  13. Kareem says:

    Salaam,

    I support DJ BLM, Kumasi and that whole genre 100% but Suhaib Webb is also my homie. Insha’Allah we can all agree to disagree in a Islamic manner.

  14. Usman says:

    I think the real question is the identity crisis that Muslim youth seem to have with regards to being fixated on a hip-hop culture. Its a common to see many Muslim guys born and raised in the affluent suburbs of America to generally gravitate towards and emulate gangsta/hip hop life styles or become involved in the production of it. The language of imams in sermons and lectures tend to take on a “hiphop/gangsta” quality when attempting to connect with the youth. It’s almost as if hip hop has become the de facto counter-culture for Muslim youth in the west. I have nothing against hip hop as there are many hip hop artists out there that will challenge you intellectually, but I think there’s some kind of subconscious tendency to say “Oh I’m a Muslim youth in the West, its expected of me to be into hip hop type things”.

    As a musician myself (not hip hop), my opinion is that people need to look for and appreciate sonic depth in music versus getting too absorbed in lyrics and lifestyles of artists. I feel that Muslims should try to become less attached to the cultural aspect of an art form…for me the point is not to just create entertainment to be consumed but to create something that generates introspection, and is worthy of laud. Ideally, If people wish to create music, he/she needs to have exposure to as many styles and influences as possible and find their own voice to share with the world, rather than being boxed into a specific genre based on religion or ethnicity or whatever. There needs to be appreciation of a range of musical styles…. classical composers such as Mozart or Beethoven, as well as the talents of Lupe or Common, as well as the experimentalist of Radiohead…but if anything, don’t settle for the status quo….and create something that challenges yourself and others.

    My 2c.

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