Renowned Munshids (singers) from across arab world recall their individual journey; call for embracing new trends and subjects
SHARJAH, Sharjah Government Media Bureau, May 22, 2018 – The glorious Islamic tradition of Inshad, celebrating the love of Allah and the Prophet, peace be upon him, today faces acute challenges and needs the patronage of public and private institutions as well as popular support. Speaking at the second Sharjah Ramadan Majlis last night (Monday, May 21) titled ‘Inshad: Influence and Art,’ at Al Majaz Amphitheatre, renowned munshids (singers) from across the Arab world recounted their individual journey as artists, besides singing some of their best ‘nasheed’ on the occasion, casting a spell on the audience.
The Sharjah Ramadan Majlis is being organised by the Sharjah Press Club of Sharjah Government Media Bureau in partnership with the Sharjah Media Corporation. The session was attended by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council, HE Mohammed Khalaf, Director General, Sharjah Media Corporation, HE Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Government Media Bureau, and a number of dignitaries and senior officials.
The popular singers called for sustained efforts to support the celebrated art that has evolved over the past 15 centuries while lauding His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for his patronage of the art with initiatives like ‘Munshid Al Sharjah’ and ‘Munshid Al Saghir’ (Junior Munshid). The Sharjah contests have attracted and recognised the best of talent from across the Arab and Islamic world.
Moderated in his characteristic engaging style by HE Hassan Yaqoub Al Mansouri, Secretary General of Sharjah Media Council, the session saw the participation of such household names as Mahmoud Al-Tohamy from Egypt, Yassine Lachhab of Morocco, who won the coveted title of ‘Munshid Al Sharjah’ last year, and Ahmed Bou Khater of the UAE, who has thousands of followers and fans across the UAE and beyond.
Mahmoud Al-Tohamy, who counts millions among his followers and has performed around the world, talked about his proud roots in upper Egypt and how his background of being born in a family of munshids helped him take to the art. “I was influenced by my father who is a famous munshid himself. I studied music at Opera House and underwent training at the hands of professional munshids,” said Al-Tohamy pointing out that the art of inshad has always had a strong affinity with Arabic music.
He argued that the art of Inshad was originally developed by religious sheikhs through the unique melodious recitation of Holy Quran, which in itself is a different art and science. Al-Tohamy called for upholding traditions when it comes to practicing the art of Inshad while embracing change and diversity in in terms of its subjects and ways of connecting with a global audience. “In order to compete with other popular arts and music, we have to be inventive and fresh in our approach. Inshad should attempt to go beyond its traditional subjects to retain public interest,” he emphasised.
He lauded his friend and Emirati munshid Ahmed Bou Khater for tackling more diverse subjects in his songs.
Ahmed Bou Khater, renowned Emirati munshid often described as the ambassador of UAE Inshad, recalled how he was encouraged to sing nasheed by his school after seeing him recite the Holy Quran. He counted his father and brother among his inspirations saying an Islamic atmosphere at home is essential for evolving into a munshid. He recalled how at home they all listened to the recitation of Holy Quran by Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Sudais, the imam of Grand Mosque in Makkah, which helped him grow as a munshid.
He explained why he has consciously tried to include issues as love of a man for his wife, parents and children in his nasheed. He recalled how many had cautioned him against singing a nasheed expressing his love for his wife. However, when it was released it became an instant hit, touching a chord in everyone. He recalled how his wife cried when she first listened to the song. He said in this respect he was inspired by the example of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) love for his wife Aisha (RA). He said he has even sung in his nasheed about sinners seeking repentance and they have been received well.
Munshid Yassine Lachhab of Morocco emphasised that an Islamic environment at home and love and devotion for Allah and His Prophet (sal.) is essential for early grounding as a munshid. He said encouragement and support of his brother, himself a munshid, played a key role in grooming him as a munshid. Talking about his training and competing for ‘Munshid Al Sharjah’ contest, he said Maher Zain’s nasheed were an influence. He also said most munshids have a Moroccan touch to their songs as Morocco has always been closely associated with Inshad. Indeed, every munshid has a geographical connection of his own. Calling for embracing new trends, he said holding on to the traditions of the past is fine but we have to also constantly evolve as artists and further develop Inshad as an art.