Dakwah music with a modern voice

Nasyid songs should be able to connect with the masses’ emotions for the music genre to penetrate a wider base of listeners in this borderless society

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

ANUGERAH Nasyid IKIM 2019 (AN19) returns to the local entertainment scene as the Islamic faith-inspired music industry evolves and widens its reach a bigger audience.

The award ceremony, organised by Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM), will be held on Nov 30 at the Dewan Besar IKIM in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur.

IKIM DG Datuk Prof Azizan Baharuddin said nasyid songs should be able to connect with the masses’ emotions for the music genre to penetrate a wider base of listeners in this borderless society.

“If you want to catch people’s attention, you’ve got to go for their emotions and thoughts. Indirectly, it is an approach using the principle of naqli (knowledge that is based on the Quran and the Sunnah),” Azizan said at the launch of AN19 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Azizan said nasyid is a powerful tool in the music industry to spread good values and knowledge by integrating the principle of aqli (conventional knowledge), naqli and mashair (emotion).

“Technology has empowered everyone. There is a democratisation of thinking and emotion. The melody and lyrics will touch people’s hearts,” she added.

Local nasyid industry had its glory days in the late 90s during the era of popular nasyid groups such as Raihan, Rabbani and Hijjaz.

Raihan’s Sesungguhnya and Puji-Pujian as well as Rabbani’s Intifada and Pergi Tak Kembali, for instance, had become household songs to Malaysians.

The popularity of Raihan also led to the release of a movie called “Syukur 21”, which also features Raihan members acting in the sci-fi movie.

Somehow, a few years later, the local nasyid industry had lost its lustre.

While some viewed such Islamic music elements as a preaching method (dakwah), the industry was, however, deemed revitalised with new flavours from 2009 onwards, particularly when Swedish singer-songwriter stormed local music fans with contemporary music infused with strong Islamic influence.

(From left) One of the judges Farihin Abdul Fatah, Azizan and IKIM Media acting director Mahathir Shaharuddin during the press conference of AN19. Azizan says nasyid is a powerful tool in the music industry to spread good values and knowledge by integrating the principle of aqli, naqli and mashair

Maher Zain is famous for, among others, “Insha Allah” and “For the Rest of My Life”, which he also released a Malay version called “Sepanjang Hidup”.

There are also other names that have penetrated Malaysian market including Sami Yusuf, Irfan Makki, Humood Alkhudher and Harris J.

As for the upcoming AN19, the finalists are rather eclectic and represent beyond the traditional nasyid style as they encompass songs with divinity and humanity themes.

The 12 finalists are REUNIC (Bertemu Semula), Ikhwan Fattana (Bismillah), Caliph Buskers (Buta), Saujana (Satu Dalam Perjuangan), Mirwana (Cinta Bukan Mainan), In Team (Dia), XPDC (Doa), Far East (Gugur Di Setiamu), Ittihad (Rabbani), Adeep Nahar (Izinkan), Rabithah (Jalan Keluar), and Khai Bahar (Cahaya 114).

The jury that would determine the winners would be led by composer and producer Farihin Abdul Fattah.

Other judges include, composer Rozman Shafie (also known as LY), lyricist Norkhayati Mohd Hashim aka Baiduri and Huzaimi Mohd Zaimi from Nowseeheart.

Azizan said the AN19 will focus on the digital approach through social media viewing access.

The nasyid award ceremony by IKIM debuted in 2004 and organised in 2005 before it went to a 10-year hiatus until 2015. It is now a biennial event.

In 2017, the song Syahadah by Fadzli Fareast won the AN17. Lah Ahmad’s Salam took second place while Daqmie’s Jalan Syahadah settled in third place.