Cultural Arts Review – Mayer Zain

Posted on October 3, 2012 by


By: Jeff Halvorson

            Acclaimed Islamic music artist Maher Zain came out with his new album Forgive Me in May of 2012.  He is a Swedish Muslim of Lebanese decent who became famous in 2009 with his album Thank You Allah.  He received four platinum records in Malaysia after four days of the release of his new album.  I was immediately infused with his music the second I found it.  It has a very smooth likeable melody that fits in with modern society.  It does many wonders to both families and the ears.  Zain sings in English and Arabic, but most importantly he sings about his faith.  Muslim artists are finding new ways to share to the media and his music speaks for him both politically and spiritually.

            Zain moved to Sweden when he was eight years old and ever since then, music inspired his life.  He spent late nights practicing and composing music with his friends in college, despite his path of an Aeronautical Engineering degree.  However, he soon entered the stage of being a music producer.  It is a dream job for most, but it wasn’t what he thought.  A trip back home with his family in Sweden empowered his Islamic faith and he was convinced that music producing wasn’t what he wanted.  Relating back to his memorable musical nights in college, he decided to become a singer and songwriter of contemporary R&B music about his Islamic faith.

            Zain is partnered with Sami Yusuf, who is widely known in the Muslim community.  According to the Inside Islam article, their objective musically is to explain the compassionate nature of Islam, love of God and the Prophet, and the importance of treating women with kindness.  However, their music also relates to political issues such as the Arab Spring.  The Arab Spring is also known as the Arab Revolution.  It is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests happening in the Arab world beginning on the 18th of December 2010 and is still going on today.  The fight for freedom in the Arab Spring inspired Zain to compose the song “Freedom.”  

            Zain’s music has that religious spiritual tone that anyone can recognize in most music involving religion, but mixed with a more modern upbeat melody.  He sings in a soft honest voice providing encouragement in his followers.  He sings about the ups and downs of life and faith, but with Allah’s grace you can find your place.  Zain pulls out your emotions such as love and forgiveness and the music allows you to think and reflect upon yourself.  One of his most popular songs in his new album, “Number One For Me,” represents the value of parents.  Another song called, “One Big Family,” also represents importance of family.  His music brings people together and inspires the unity of Muslims living in all parts of the world.  Music and religion both accomplish bringing people together, but music and religion combined can be an even more powerful influence.

            I was very happy when I found this artist on iTunes.  This is the kind of music anyone can enjoy even if you’re not Muslim.  This may be a very unusual style compared to traditional Nasheed or Islamic vocal music.  However, this might be exactly what the Muslim community needs.  Traditional Islamic music focuses on the vocals allowing only a specific type of percussion, but that tradition cannot last forever.  This offers a different genre that reflects more to the younger people of the Muslim faith, which is just what they need to keep people influenced by Muslim faith for future generations.Image




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