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A nasheed (Arabic: singular نشيد nashīd, plural أناشيد anāshīd, meaning: "chants"; also nasyid in Malaysia and Indonesia, and neşid in Turkey) is a work of vocal music that is either sung acappella 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, although digital remastering – either to mimic percussion instruments or create overtones – is permitted. This is because many Muslim scholars state that Islam prohibits the use of musical instruments except for some basic percussion.

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 instrumentsEdit

Some ulama argue that the use of musical instruments is implicitly prohibited in the Ahadith. The founders of all four of the major madhabs – schools of thought in Islam – as well as many other prominent scholars, have debated the legitimacy and use of musical instruments. One such example of the scholars' opinions is of the famous Muslim scholar, Abu Hanifa, according to whose sect, the Hanafi sect, 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.[2] There are those who reject such claims, citing revealed scriptures, earlier prophets, and the example of Mohammed in the appreciation of the musical arts.[3]

According to the authentic collection of Sunni Islam, 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.".[4]

Modern interpretationsEdit

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, Urdu 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 Bukhatir, Ahmed Mac, Sami Yusuf, Junaid Jamshed, Zahid Ullah Afridi, Maher Zain, Harris J, Hamood ul khuder, Hamza Namira, Atif Aslam, Raef, Jae deen (Deen squad), Mesut Kurtis, Dawud Wharnsby, Zain Bhikha, Hafiz Mizan and Kamal Uddin.

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 [5] 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.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community – Catharina Raudvere, Leif Stenberg - Google Books. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  2. ^ al-Fatāwā al-Hindiyyah; an Islamic fiqh encyclopedia published in Mongol India by a council of scholars. The respective chapter contains references to eminent Hanafi scholar al-Marginani.
  3. ^ "Why Music Is Not Haram - Center for Sufism and Islamic Studies".
  4. ^ Shahih al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 69, Number 494v: English translation of this hadith here: [1].
  5. ^ Young Muslim singers are doing just that with Islamic songs called “Nasheeds”.

Further readingEdit

  • 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