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Anasheed (Arabic: singular نشيد nashīd, plural أناشيد Anāshīd, meaning: "chants"; also spelt Nasyid in Malaysia and Indonesia; Turkish: ilahi; Urdu: Naat), is Islamic vocal music that is either sung a cappella or accompanied by percussion instruments such as the daff. In general, Islamic anasheed does 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 some Muslim scholars interpret Islam as prohibiting the use of musical instruments except for some basic percussion.

Anasheeds are popular throughout the Islamic world. The material and lyrics of anasheed usually make reference to Islamic beliefs, history, and religion, as well as current events. .[1]

Some Ulema 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 madhab, the Hanafi madhab, if a person is known to listen to such forbidden musical instruments, their testimony is not to be accepted. Another Islamic scholar, Ibn Taymiyyah, once said that music is like alcohol to the soul.[2] A majority of Muslim scholars traditionally have held that music with all its instruments are Haraam: sinful by the hadith, as well as by tradition.[Citation needed]

The only instrument commonly used in Anasheeds is the duff, which is a small hand drum, similar in size to a tambourine, but lacking bells.[Citation needed].

Prohibition in the Hadith

According to the authentic collection of Sunni Islam, Muhammad said 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”.[3] However, the isnad of this hadith includes Hisham ibn Ammar, who is not considered trustworthy.[4]

Prohibition in Islamic tradition

Apart from the evidence that Sunni scholars draw out from the Qur'an and Hadith, many Islamic scholars throughout Muslim history have agreed that every type of music and musical instruments is Haraam. These scholars include the four imams, namely Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal.[5]

Modern interpretations

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A new generation of nasheed artists use a wide variety of musical instruments in their art. A lot of new nasheed artist are non-Arabs and sing in different languages, like English or Turkish. Some of the nasheed bands are Native Deen, Outlandish and Raihan. Other well-known artists are Yusuf Islam -formerly known as Cat Stevens -, Sami Yusuf, Junaid Jamshed, Maher Zain, Mesut Kurtis, Dawud Wharnsby, Zain Bhikha, ANI, the only female Islamic pop English singer, and many others. As for Arabic nasheed artists -or Munshids-, some of the well known are Abu Mazen, Abu Rateb, Abu Al joud, Abu Dujanah, Abdulfattah Owainat, and many others. Some of the well known Arabic nasheed bands are Al Rawabi, Al I'atisam, Al Baraa', Al Wa'ad and many others.

Appealing to a significant Muslim crowd and also leading to performance of such artists at Islamic orientated festivals (such as Milad), conferences, concerts and shows, including ISNA, Celebrate Eid, and Young Muslims. Other artists and organisations such as Nasheedbay promote an instrument-free stance with anasheed, differing from the current trends of the increasing usage of instruments in anasheed.

See also


  • Durood
  • Haḍra
  • Hamd
  • Madih nabawi
  • Mawlid
  • Mehfil
  • Na'at