When jumping into your vehicle to go some place, why do people generally listen more to Nasheeds, instead of the Qur’an? One’s CD pouch will be bulging with a wide variety of these, but you may not even find a scratched CD of the Qur’an therein! Please don’t get me wrong, Nasheeds are definitely a healthy substitute for western music, and this is why many share the same tunes and rhythms, but they have become too popular in our times. Provided it’s not to the accompaniment of music, it is allowed to listen to. However, it should and can never replace listening to what we are supposed to be listening to: the Qur’an.
Leaving music and listening to Nasheeds instead should become a stepping stone to listening and reciting the Qur’an, but we seem to have become stuck on these Nasheeds, without moving on. It is a fact that listening to Nasheeds in whichever language – English, Urdo, Arabic, Malaysian – has made today’s generation of Muslims such that he is not moved when he hears or reads the Qur’an, but he is moved when he hears these Nasheeds. Agreed, some are quite inspirational and have meanings that really resonate with one, but shouldn’t the Qur’an produce this effect on us more than these Nasheeds? It’s sad that you will witness tears rolling down a Muslim’s eyes when he listens to some Nasheeds, but not a drop of it sheds when he recites the mighty words of Allah, Exalted be He.
Nasheeds have taken a root in almost everything done in the name of Islam, whether it be Islamic videos, concerts, conferences, workshops, or Islamic programs shown on television. Everything has a smattering of Nasheeds in it. Nasheed artists are becoming more popular than Qurra nowadays, and their concerts are generally well attended. The result is that our children have been exposed to listening to these Nasheeds from their very childhood, but what is sad is that the same amount of importance is not given to the Qur’an – the Book of Allah. This is indeed alarming.
In his book titled “Al-Bayaan li Akhta’ ba‘d al-Kuttaab”, an Arab scholar by the name of Shaykh Salih al-Fouzan has written: “With regard to what you call Islamic nasheeds, they have been given more time, effort and organisation than they deserve, to the extent that they have become an art form that takes up space in curricula and school activities; people record them and reproduce them in large amounts for sale and distribution, and they fill most homes. Young men and women listen to them to such an extent that they take up a great deal of their time and listening to them takes precedence over recordings of the Holy Qur’an, the Prophet’s Sunnah, lectures and useful academic lessons.”
Initially, these Nasheeds were vigorously promoted as a healthy substitute for music. Instead of playing music in wedding parties, businesses etc, Muslims played these Nasheeds instead. However, these Nasheeds soon exploded in popularity and they became easily available for all. Instead of listening to the Qur’an, people started using them in their homes, day and night, whether there was an occasion or not. It became a way of relaxing and winding down.
If Nasheeds have assumed this proportion, it can be nothing but one of the oldest tricks of shaytan: to divert people from paying attention to the Qur’an. If people do not listen to the Qur’an, when will they ever recite it themselves? Better still, when will they ever take the time to seriously study it and get to know what Allah Ta’ala has communicated to us? The matter has become so serious that apart from Ramadaan, we have by and large forsaken the Qur’an. In Surat al-Furqaan (25:30), Allah informs us that this will exactly be the complain of our noble Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam) on the Last Day: “And the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) will say: ‘O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Qur’an (neither listened to it nor acted on its laws and teachings)’”
Remember that the Qur’an is the best and most beneficial of speech, and the most moving and the most effective in guiding the soul. Allah, may He be exalted, says: “Allah has sent down the Best statement, a Book (this Qur’an), its parts resembling each other (in goodness and truth), and oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah. He Guides therewith whom He wills and whomever Allah sends astray, for him there is no guide.” (al-Zumar 39:23)
It is very unfortunate that the effect of the Qur’an, that of softening the heart and making our hairs raise, is hardly felt by anyone nowadays. No reward has been prescribed as such for listening to Nasheeds in the ahadith, but the same can not be said for the Qur’an. Our noble Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam) said: “Whoever reads one letter of the Book of Allah will have one hasanah for that, and a hasanah brings a tenfold reward. I do not say that alif-laam-meem is a letter, rather alif is a letter, laam is a letter, meem is a letter.” (al-Tirmidhi, 2910)
In conclusion, let us make the switch today: let’s switch from Nasheeds to the Qur’an. A nasheed in-between is no problem, but the majority of our listening time should be dedicated to the Qur’an. Soon you will become attached to the Qur’an and you will find delight in reading and listening to it. You will not want to substitute it for anything and you will – Insha Allah – then experience the true joy of worship and the sweetness of faith. May Allah Ta’ala make us from amongst those – Ameen.