Faith and Music
Sami Yusuf — a legend in the making. Music that will blow your mind. Get to know him here.
Inspiring us to follow our hearts and achieve our dreams.
Over fifteen years ago I saw Sami Yusuf in a very small university hall in London. There were many nasheed artists performing that day but Sami was my favourite then too. He surprised me with his humbleness and modest way.
15 years later, with over 34 million albums sold he is an internationally renowned singer. And he hasn’t changed much. His lyrics and character reflect the beauty of Muhammad, the Last Messenger ﷺ. To this day his concern is to spread peace and unity throughout humanity.
Even now, his profound lyrics and uplifting melodies help me through life’s difficulties and trials. His journey inspires me to go ahead and strive to achieve something of beauty in this world. This article is a tribute to that.
In the Islamic community, Sami Yusuf is a household name. He is a singer, a musician and, given the number of charities he supports, a true philanthropist. He’s wowed the world many times over with his clear resonant voice and unique lyrics. He is a famous Nasheed Artist which basically means faith singer.
I still remember the first time I ever heard Sami’s lyrics. I was perusing the bookshelf at an Islamic bookstore. No doubt collecting tantalising titles of books and cassettes in order to increase my Islamic knowledge; there being no online courses or Islamic study circles in England at that time, these were a powerful source of knowledge.
I was struck by his soulful voice combined with a heartrending melody. I stopped, my heart stopped still and I held my breath.
Those words still echo in my heart.
“On a clear and moonlit night
In the dark cave of Hira
A man began to cry
Oh Allah show me the light
Tell me why I was created
Where will I go after I die?
What’s the purpose of this life
Where people murder and lie?
How can I stop their corruption?
Oh Allah You’re my only Guide.’
He spoke to my heart. His words resonated with me and I bought the album there and then.
Once at home in East London, I read the CD sleeve from cover to cover. I delighted in and was absorbed by his biography- he was a British Muslim Londoner-like me! I remember listening to this album, day and night, for months on end and watching its ascent to the top of the pop charts in many Islamic countries.
And now for a taste of my favourites.
‘Pearl’ embodies the generosity of the Divine. It points to the fact that your answer to restlessness and hopelessness is with worship and remembrance of the One.
‘You came to me’ shows love for the Last Messenger ﷺ is your ticket to peace and serenity in this world. If you are looking for reassurance and unconditional love, that’s where you’re going to find it.
I’m sure you’ll agree that his song is one thing, but his live performance just adds to the unique nature of the effect of his message.
‘Ya Nabi’ is a live performance that plays with sound, emphasising the power of silence.
Another live performance I love where Sami uses a traditional tune to tell a message in English. Simply beautiful.
His market was brand new. Pop songs for Muslims. The waves he made around the world were tangible. Post-9/11, the benefit of his lyrics and music were mind blowing. His outlook completely fresh.
If you’re looking for a wonderfully uplifting melody, this is the one for you. You’ll be dancing and prancing around the room in no time! With over 6.7 million views of this video alone, I know I’m not alone when I say this song touches my very essence.
In his own words:
‘Nothing has given me more pleasure than to be creative; to challenge orthodox thinking…I’m a proud British Muslim from London who has only made music I’ve wanted to make….I call it art with a purpose…’
If you havent heard of him, you need to ask yourself why. For he has been recognised by many big names around the world including The Guardian and Time Magazine who said he was:
“…the biggest British star in the Middle East” The Guardian.
“Islam’s Biggest Rockstar” Time Magazine.
The United Nations has presently appointed him a UN Global Ambassador Against Hunger and recognised him as a promoter of world peace and harmony.
His message and resonance has gotten bigger and bigger. His latest outdoor concert was held is Istanbul, Taksim Square, and was attended by a quarter of a million people. Amazing.
And now to his latest piece produced just a few weeks ago.
‘One’ is a collaboration between Sami Yusuf, Cappella Amsterdam, and The Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra. Composed by Sami Yusuf, this piece was originally part of ‘When Paths Meet’ a concert performed at the Holland Festival in June 2020.
With the Festival and concert postponed until next year due to Corona, it was decided to produce this piece right away. Astounding the world over and no doubt overcoming many technical challenges, it was made by 28 musicians performing in separate studios.
‘One’ opens with Cappella Amsterdam’s performance of a hauntingly beautiful vocal which sounds like a Gregorian chant.
One referes to the theme of One seeing, One knowing, One love.
Listen to it and let me know what you think.
Tell me you’re not blown away by the haunting tones in this melody. This is faith and collaboration personified.
Who says we can’t live in harmony with one love?
I salute Sami Yusuf for being an excellent ambassador of Islam. Long may it continue!
If you’ve missed it, here is a huge Lockdown treat. A concert recorded at home. Here for you to enjoy.
And now let’s end with some words of wisdom:
Happiness and success come when you hold your ideals and dreams as sacred.
Sami saw his success as an honour and a wonderful way to fulfil his purpose in life. He followed his heart and wasn’t swayed when people came in his way. His path was new and now he’s literally paved the way for thousands of Muslims to follow suit.
When a person achieves something as huge as this, it reminds you that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. It propels you forward.
You are now inspired to continue to go forth and work hard to achieve your dreams. Because anything is achievable if you put your mind to it, isn’t it?