Archive for the ‘Spiritual’ Category
(Hamza Pérez. Muslim Puerto Rican-American Rapper. Cool graffiti art at the back btw.)
I stumbled upon this amazing documentary last night, it’s about a Puerto Rican-American rapper, Hamza Pérez who pulled himself out of drug dealing and street life 12 years ago and became a Muslim. And his whole life took a change of direction. Alhamdullilah.
It made me think for awhile. I’m honestly amazed by how some people who embraced Islam to sincerely hold on to its fundamentals and practice it without a question. Even a simple thing like wearing a hijab. Where else some of us who are born Muslims are more reluctant of it. I’m unsure of what the reasons are but however, on my long observations I could see that Pop/Sub Culture being one of the reasons.
We read magazines, watch television shows and it shows people living the flamboyant and sometimes even promiscuous lifestyle. MashaAllah. And we got too influenced thus these negative traits became ideals and it’s embedded inside of us without us knowing.
Is that wrong? Getting influenced by Popular cultures? On most parts of it, yes because most of it are against the fundamentals of Islam. My only logic to being a Muslim is this; do you believe in the Allah s.w.t and the message Prophet Muhammad s.a.w brings? If yes, then by all means you should practice the knowledge of Islam that is showered on to you. If you don’t practice it, mashaAllah it’s basically saying that you don’t believe!
It brings new terms such as being a ‘secular muslim’. I can’t see what’s fundamentally right about it. This reminds me of a quote I read, unfortunately I forgot its source, “I don’t want to reform Islam, I want Islam to reform me”. Remember that Islam is a complete and beautiful religion.
The documentary shows that its possible to moderately be part of a subculture movement but still hold strongly to Islam. To that extend, Brother Hamza Pérez is a good example, being a rapper and a muslim.
Let’s take a moment a reflect back to our lives.
May Allah bless us all.
My childhood is filled with fun and long family road trips. We’re in Singapore so naturally any adventurous road trips will involved crossing the causeway into Johor, Malaysia. The long two lane snake roads that seems to stretched forever covered by the thick oil palm plantations. It’s quite a beautiful scene. In the car, my Dad will always have Ron Goodwin’s ‘Music for an Arabian Night’ CD on the stereo and the music really sets you down into a, what I call, cool blue mood. It’s like wearing polarized shades on a sunny day, you feel like you’re in a totally different reality. A calmer one.
Anyway here’s one of my favorite tune from the CD;
This is the song I absolutely adore. As some of you Singaporeans might have already realized, yes, this is the song that is usually played after Warna 94.2 Mahgrib Azan.
I’m very happy that I managed to find this old CD. Whenever I’m not feeling at my best, this song certainly provides a uplifting feel. Alhamdullilah for providing me with such beautiful memories for me to seek comfort in.
I came across this very interesting documentary on the journey of Cat Stevens converting to Islam. It’s interesting because of how much I can relate to it. I urge any Muslim musicians or artists to take a moment to watch this piece of clip. It will certainly open up your eyes to a bigger cause, inshaAllah.
Anyway, this makes me want to share about my experience with Hip Hop and how I try to make sense of it through Islam.
I was a avid Hip Hop listener. Having organized my own hip hop music compilations and gigs, I had my fair share of experience in this beautiful subculture. Hip Hop has developed much throughout the years, from what started in the streets of Bronx in the late 70s is now one of the major genres featured in MTV. Hip Hop is now a vast subculture and is appreciated all over the world, from China to France.
I think Hip Hop in essence is a celebration of life. It manifests itself from that idea and from there you have the different elements like Rap, Graffiti, DJing and breakdancing. Its provides a celebratory perception to life. It’s like an addictive which makes life more colorful and spicy.
Unfortunately, having received much mass-appeal Hip Hop has inevitably fallen into the hands of corporatism. Suddenly it has become a tool for generating money. It has swerved from its foundation to being something that is extremely rigid. It promotes masculinity, sexism, and promiscuous living. From being a celebration of life, it has turned to something braggadocios. This is of course is the mainstream view of Hip Hop.
I’m a born Muslim and my values are exactly the opposite of the mainstream’s view of Hip Hop. Nowadays in gigs, fellow Muslim brothers and sisters are getting way too influenced on what’s showing on MTV. It’s worrying. Even smiling has become something that is sinful within this bunch.
Is that what Hip Hop is all about? I disagree. Islamic way of living is beautiful and when we moderately include Hip Hop in it, it will become more enjoyable. Let’s take some time off and reflect back to Islam and inshaAllah, we’ll see the bigger picture and fight towards it.