There has been a cross-cultural migration of sorts in the past few years. The first is the migration of Muslim youth towards hip hop (aka the hippity and the hoppity for you uncles and fobs out there), and then a migration of rappers and entertainers embracing Islam as their deen and way of life. I want to take a look at both phenomenon in some detail, and end with a semi-comprehensive list of the more famous from the hip-hop crowd who have accepted Islam, and it's ramifications.

Muslim Youth Getting Jiggy With It

I know nobody says that anymore, but I use it with this point in mind: Most people who try to address Muslim youth getting involved in hip-hop culture often use phrases and slang like this to appear 'cool' when in fact all they are doing is destroying whatever semblance of credibility they had with the youth. This is in fact, a subject that does not receive it's due attention. I have only seen a handful of Imams such as Siraj Wahaj (if even that many) addressing these issues with a real force, but in all reality, this isn't hitting a lot of the young Muslim crowd (such as uppity Desi and Arab kids).

A big problem facing the youth is a lack of people they respect to address these issues for them. Hip Hop culture permeates every facet of someones life from the type of girls they desire, to their clothes, cars, rims, brand preferences, attitude, how they talk, how they walk (literally), and moreover what they aspire to. If you're wondering about how pervasive it is, think about if you had ever heard of Louis Vuitton until rappers made it popular? Or ever thought about buying Timberland boots for anything other than hiking?

Unfortunately the only Muslim figures who try to address these issues with them lose every last ounce of credibility the very second they open their mouths and say things like “why our youth are having the jiggy?!” or my personal favorite, “the 50 cents is corrupting our youth by talking about the sex in his music!”

There's a lack of understanding of what draws Muslim kids into this, and how to properly address it. First and foremost it must be understood that the hip hop lifestyle is cool in every sense of the word. I thought the best way to do this would be to take stories of Muslim kids and talk about how they got drawn into it (using fictional names obviously).

The Appeal

Jay ibn Z is a normal Muslim kid. Abu is a doctor, and Ami stays at home to take care of the kids. Ami knows enough English to get by but wouldn't know a gat from a cat or a cat from the actual animal much less weeds from, well, weed. He went to high school in the 90′s and found an affinity for Tupac. He heard California Love and found a new way to party (unlike his previous party experience which was limited to grown men shaking themselves around in a circle slapping sticks together). He heard Hit em up and saw someone who stood up for himself and didn't take any crap from anyone. This was a sharp contrast to others aroud him who were walked all over on a regular basis. He saw something real, and entertaining. It was cool, so he started imitating it. Ibn Z once did try to become more religious. It was the type of religiosity preached by his parents, and when he began getting into rap they yelled at him like he was a 5 year old child. This further reinforced his fall back away from the true Muslim community.

Meem'n'Meem was a disenchanted youth who was fired up by speeches of a certain Dhaal Meem X. He was a minority, and therefore identified with this newfound minority movement. It gave him a newfound identity and culture that he could adopt as his own. He finally felt acceptance from a peer group when he started dressing, talking, speaking, and listening to this culture. This acceptance was especially important to him. At one point in time Meem'n'Meem too tried to attend the masjid and come closer to Allah, however, because of his appearance he was yelled at and alienated by the masjid crowd. They treated him like a straight up thug and did not welcome him in with open arms, and thus he returned back to his 'crew.'

Khamseen Dinar is another average Muslim kid. Everyone around him was listening to rap music, and dressing hip-hop so he started doing it too. He did not have any real goals in life. Islam was a cultural thing that he didn't really get, and all his parents cared about was him getting a degree in something that didn't interest him. But now he had something to aspire to. He got himself some Timbs, some Sean John shirts, and he slowly turned himself into a make believe thug. He wanted to make money, not to support a family or anything like that, but because he needed some dough to get a new car, and 22 inch rims. That is the bare 'minimum level of emaan' after all, anything less than Emmit Smiths is just plain embarassing – you may as well have hubcaps.

Summary

While these stories are not exhaustive, they do give a small glimpse into the direction our youth are heading. The main theme here is that they obviously lack Islamic education, but they also lack a real identity. Hip Hop is something that gives them a shared set of values, and a lifestyle that is enjoyable. Who wouldn't want easy women and nice things? It's a glorified lifestyle of satisfying all the urges man has to excess. On top of this it is not just people involved in the music industry, but this can be seen carried over into sports and other industries. Success is defined by the attainment of these objectives.

And even those who say they are not looking at those objects in this sense – then why do they still adopt the culture? It is easy to say the Sahabah are your role models, but what does that statement mean if you are walking aroud wearing a Lebron James jersey with your Carmelo Anthony endorsed shoes.

Young Muslim kids act like wanna-be thugs because they think its cool. It gives them an identity, they fit in, they feel manly. They have not had adequate exposure to real Islamic values, and real Islamic role models.

It is often joked that these rappers convince these kids into acting like this while they are laughing on their way to the bank.

One point not mentioned in the stories above though, is the double standards set by the parents of many of these children. The same parents who discourage their children from listening to things like rap or looking up to these people as role models are the same ones who listen and dance to Bollywood and Arabic music. They are the same ones who live their lives as if they are a hindu family from an Indian movie.

Thus, these role models and parental figures are in no position to then address the haram aspects of hip-hop culture, such as the vile lyrics and music found therein. They do not have a proper foundation of Islamic values to teach the true meaning of Islamic identity and the pride and self-respect that a Muslim has. They have not fostered relationships with others so that their children can have a solid foundational peer group of friends who are practicing Muslims. Instead, we find them indulging in the same vices, but from a different culture, and instead of addressing issues with hikmah, they yell like immature children.

These kids have not been given the proper knowledge to be comfortable taking Islam as their true way of life, and have thus adopted the way of life of those around them instead.

If this phenomenon was not strange enough, there is not a flip side to this phenomenon.

Rappers and Entertainers Embracing Islam

This is a huge phenomenon that has gone somewhat under the radar. People know about it, but it does not receive the due attention it deserves. What is causing all these famous people to accept Islam?? I wish that we could somehow sit down and talk to them.

Just a quick list of people who are Muslim – Everlast, Mos Def, Common (you know him from this ad), Ghostface Killah, Napoleon from Tupac's Outlawz, Lupe Fiasco, Akon (who by the way admitted to having 3 wives since it's allowed in Islam), Jermaine Jackson, Taleb Kweli, Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes, T Pain, Dave Chappelle, and many many others.

Alhamdulillah that so many of these influential people are accepting Islam. It remains to be seen though that their Islam is more publicised. I strongly believe that by being looked up to by so many people (especially non-Muslims) would be a good push to get some good publicity about Islam. These are the role models for many people. Unfortunately, our Muslim youth are falling behind and being 2 steps back when in reality they should be 2 steps ahead of the game.

They are quickly running from the lifestyle our youth are embracing, and embracing the lifestyle our youth should already have.

I must give a very big jazakAllahu khayr to MR for helping with this post.

38 Responses

  1. nuqtah

    Bust Rhymes, Ice Cube, Common= Muslim?

    Now that’s news to me.

    Anyways, nice entry. There was a brief period of time somewhere in my semi-delinquent early teens when i was drawn towards ‘hip hop/rap’. It was mainly as a form of escapism and venting my anger/frustration. But I never really got into it, I thought it really didn’t answer anything.

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  2. nuqtah

    [quote]But I never really got into it, I thought it really answer anything.
    [/quote]

    *it really [i]didn’t[/i] answer anything.

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  3. Yasir Qadhi

    Salaam Alaikum

    IbnAbeeOmar, jazak Allah khayr for that article.
    A question and a point:

    Q: What exactly do you propose elders and du’at do in order to provide alternative role models for these youth? How can you ween them off of this hip-hop culture and onto some solid Islam?!

    Point: Many Muslims kids somehow think that because the rapper/comedian they listen to is a Muslim, that somehow justifies or mitigates what they are doing. Yet of course it is irrelevant who does the singing/dancing/dirty jokes. A comedian that I (occasionaly) listen to is so vulgar and disgusting that his religion actually becomes MORE of a problem for me personally (that’s just personal: seeing a Muslim talk unabashadely about drugs and loose sex is more painful for me). Of course I do not doubt any of their conversions – and may Allah guide them to be even better and better Muslims. And I do not doubt that some good will come out of the dawah that they give, even if they are involved in haraam. Yet, do you not think that it is possible their religion somehow adds an aura of legitimicay to their professions or actions? And would this not compound the very problem that your article seeks to address?

    Yasir

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  4. ibnmasood

    For the record, Dave Chappel, since his conversion, tried to get Comedy Central to stop playing his vulgar stuff…he is now joining the “Allah Made Me Funny” Comedy Tour insha Allah :-)

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    • Shazza

      Oh wow! that’s so nice! mashaAllah, may Allah guide him more and more! how wonderful! Alhamdulilah! yay!

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  5. ibnabeeomar

    wa alaikum assalam jazakallahu khayr for responding sh. yasir, to address your question and point :)

    regarding the question first:
    to wean them off these role models is going to require serious long term education. that is the only solution i can think of.

    as for elders and du’aat the most important thing is to 1) learn WHY kids have got themselves into this, and then 2) don’t be in denial about it. when i say denial, parents often turn a blind eye to things like listening to rap as long as their kids get good grades – this focus must be changed.

    what du’aat can do though, is make themselves aware of the culture – its like saying we need american da’ees, we also need da’ees who are familiar with other aspects of sub-culture in america.

    to solve the identity crisis the only solution i can proffer is to put a newfound focus on teaching kids the seerah, the lives of the sahabah, and teaching them about real role models they can look up to. we need to get past sunday school type seerah, and give ppl real examples of real men. if someone learned about khalid ibn walid for example, they would never consider these ‘gangsters’ to be so tough and brave.

    also these youth should be made to realize (maybe sometimes in a tough way) that even though they think they are not doing anything major, it sticks with them. it needs to be pointed out to them how exactly they are imitating these people, and what that entails. there needs to be some education about music as well – not just that its haram – but what effects listening to it so much and over and over again has on their minds.

    another thing is to focus on the muslim identity – and this is something that transcends just the hip hop thing and affects muslims in general in the west.

    Regarding your last point, then it is something i struggled with greatly while writing this post and had it in the back of my mind to maybe post a follow up post addressing that very issue.

    it does compound the problem – especially for those who are ignorant. one example that comes to mind is lupe fiasco reciting surah fatihah during a rap concert, and also his titling his album something along the lines of liquor something. for the ignorant youth, this definitely does give some air of credibility to these actions and makes it seemingly ok.

    at the same time though, for kids who are mired in hip hop culture already, to see that those they looked up to are slowly turning into practicing muslims, it can also have a good effect. i remember reading an interview with everlast a couple of years ago where he talked about how he felt bad about making music and he knew it was forbidden in his religion. he also mentioned how he gives dawah to his mother and teaching her about the questions one will be asked in the grave.

    my point is, for someone who is neck deep in it, it can help, but in general it does hurt to see people converting but still being involved in these types of things like you mentioned about the comedian.

    so to answer your point – Allahu Alim :)
    i see some positives, but the negatives are definitely there. i think it goes back to what i mentioned in the article that we need to teach the youth to be ahead of the game, they should not be following these entertainers into practicing islam, they should be preceding them – and that will only happen i think with what i mentioned above in response to the question.

    hope that answers it some, look forward to anymore comments you have insha’Allah :)

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  6. Mujahideen Ryder

    Sh. Yasir, the comedian your mention, I’m assuming is Dave Chappelle. He has left his show and he is done doing his vulgar comedy. Now he is working with the brothers of the Allah Made Me Funny tour. Napoleon and other rappers have completely left the rap industry and dedicated themselves to learning Islam.

    As for some suggested answers to the question. This will sound strange, but speakers, imams, and elders need to be educated about hip hop instead of just saying “50 cents this”. 50 cent is old. The youth don’t really listen to him. And it’s 50 cent not 50 cents. So keeping up with what the Muslim youth are talking about so you can counteract what they are thinking is essential. Me personally, if I heard a speakers talking about TI and Ne-Yo, I’d be surprised. First of all, it has never happened, second of all, the speaker did his research and know what’s haram hot in the ummah of youth. Then you hit them hard with there current lives. Rapper X is in jail for 20 years after drug bust. Or Rapper Y divorced his 6th wife and she’s filing a lawsuit for 10 billion dollars.

    The point is, no matter how popular and cool these rappers/celebrities are they are going through problems. They are suffering with the popularity they have.

    Hip Hop also has a lot of disagreements over who “runs” hip hop (or a city) or who has more money. For example, 50 Cent and Jim Jones had issues. They made songs making fun of each other. You can say, look at these people. They are acting like children fighting on who has more money, who is more popular in New York City, etc. With all the money, with all the popularity, with all the so called respect from the streets, they are fighting over who has a better status in society based on what the listeners feel. The young people who listen to this crap, don’t realize they are just giving the more money and the reality is, they are just doing this for a show to increase airtime and public appearance.

    Then you hit them hard. These rappers claim to talk about the struggle in the ghetto and claim they are hardcore, but yet they driving really expensive cars and live in mansions and they don’t give any money back to there communities. In fact most of the lyrics are about how much money they have and the girls that love them.

    Then you reach the climax. Why do you, the youth, waste your time with this crap! With all of the good in this world you decide to spend countless hours reading lyrics, listening to them, reading about there pathetic lives and the so called “beefs” they have with each other. You think hip hop in America is hardcore beef? Try Iraq, Falasteen, Chechyna, Afghanistan, Sudan, and other places around the Muslim ummah. You sit here singing “big things popping” (really popular song right now), well big things are happening in the Muslim world and your reading about so called “beef” in the hip hop world. What about “beef” in the Muslim world?

    By now, you should have the attention of a lot of them, so this is where you stick in the Islamic stuff. Quote the Qur’an, the ahadith, lessons from the seerah, etc. Basically talk to them, and tell them that they need to stop listening to this crap and start doing something with there lives. If they really want to be popular and be recognized, what better way to be recognized by the ummah and Allah (swt) as a person who attempted to help humanity and help the Muslim ummah succeed.

    Okay, i might have got off on a rant, I apologize. InshaAllah forgive me if I have said anything wrong and hopefully it is beneficial.

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  7. SrAnonymous

    Assalamu alaykum
    I think just asking someone about their favourite thing. like music whatever, is a good way to get an initial idea of their take on their world.
    But of course that’s just the beginning.

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  8. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    ibn abee omar,

    Jazzak Allaahu Khayr for drawing attention to these issues.

    I’m not sure what you were getting at but just to defend our brother the impression should not be left that simply because the word ‘liquor’ is in the title of Lupe Fiasco’s album, it somehow means he was endorsing alcohol.

    Here is how he’s been quoted as describing the title:

    “ In Chicago, instead of having bodegas like in New York, the majority of the corner stores are called ‘Food and Liquors.’ The store is where everything is at, whether it be the wine-o hanging by the store, or us as kids going back and forth to the store to buy something. The ‘Food’ is the good part and the ‘Liquor’ is the bad part. I try to balance out both parts of me.[10]”

    Traditionally, most of those food and liquor stores here in Chicago have been actually owned and operated by immigrant Muslims, but maybe that’s a different discussion.

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  9. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    Shaykh Yasir,

    I assume, although I have not heard you state it directly, that you are coming from the understanding that music is haraam just because its music.

    I am not here to disagree with you about that but as I’m sure you might know, this is not the perspective that most of those who are involved in hip hop are coming from. The most sincere among them are in touch with students of knowledge but most of them are getting the message from these people which is encouraging them to make their lyrical content and their example as positive and uplifting and halaal as possible, and to use any influence they might have to call to the truth of Islaam. (And Allaah knows best how they are advised in private).

    Of course I agree with Mujahideen Ryder that the more one actually knows about a subject the more one can engage in a discussion with someone who cares about that subject….but I don’t necessarily think it is necessary or advisable for older Muslims who don’t listen to hip hop or music to start listening to it (obviously!) or learning a lot about it.

    In my experience, kids who are into hip hop and start learning more about Islam or even the Muslim hip hop artists themselves are not looking for Islamic khateebs or students of knowledge to necessarily start listening to their music or referring to their lyrics in detail. If one doesn’t really know about something faking like you do always sounds fake and corny (I wonder why) and although sometimes people may appreciate your effort it’ll still be fake and corny.

    I know that they do appreciate it and usually come closer to the Muslim community when they are accepted as Muslims and appreciated for their talents rather than rejected and thought of in stereotypical ways by people who, as mentioned by many others, don’t seem to understand them or the environment they’re coming from at all.
    Again, the most sincere of them are usually in a deep personal crisis when something that is so important to them and their identity is possibly simply haraam and something they should just abandon forever. For an already well publicized analogy that many of us are already familiar with just think of the life journey of Yusuf Islam. And believe me, they know how great is the haraam that actually surrounds these things more so than any of us.

    But it seems there is something inside them that keeps telling them that maybe they can use their talents for good, for the sake of Islaam and Allaah (swt) and that is so hopeful and inspiring for them. So when many of them find Islamic teachers/students of knowledge who advise them that there may indeed be ways to do this and encourage, Wallaahi you should see the sacrifices that many of these brothers and sisters make to try to do that.

    I don’t know, Shaykh Yasir, if we accept that music is always haraam, does it mean that this voice is Shaytaan or is there some other message we can reach out to these brothers and sisters with? And I am speaking not just about the artists but about this whole generation with an attachment to this culture.

    Allaah knows best.

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  10. Moiez

    Another Thing is that alot of youth are ready and willing to be have the sahaba be their rolemodels but with every role model there are group of friends who all admire him or her and try to immitate that certain person, the youth who want to be like the sahaba dont have that circle of friends like the rappers and musicians.
    So starting a group of friends who like to strictly role on the sunnah way instead of staying up all night playing games, they sleep and wake up for qiyam al layl and go for fajr, read quran after fajr chat a little on dreams and what not excercise a bit and you know just be that group that others will be envious of because your actually accomplishing something and not just wasting your time

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  11. Tariq Nelson

    One thing that many do not seem to realize is this phenomenon is not all that new. None of this just suddenly appeared out of a vacuum

    The most famous example in the 1970′s, Ronald Bell – AKA Khalid Bayyan – of the R&B group ‘Kool and the Gang’ embraced Islam as did many Jazz musicians during that time. Many were not famous, but nonetheless it happened

    I have spoken to many older converts that were jazz musicians before accepting Islam – and even for a while AFTER accepting Islam.

    In the 1980′s several “conscious” rappers had some kind of “Islamic tilt” to them – Public Enemy probably being the most famous example.

    In the early 1990′s, there were the ‘X’ hats and the many people that converted to Islam.

    Many of these current rappers – particularly those from the East Coast have family members or friends (growing up) that were Muslim and this had a major effect.

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  12. ruth nasrullah

    Asalaamu alaikum.

    Br. Tariq, good point. (I didn’t know about Kool and the Gang!) While we’re on the subject of Muslim jazz musicians from back in the day, I’m going to proudly plug my dad, who co-wrote a biography/discography of jazz musician Gigi Gryce, known as Basheer Qusim after embracing Islam. (see http://www.attictoys.com/jazz/GG.html).

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  13. aarij

    Very very very good article, may Allah reward you immensely. Subhan Allah, its like a blast from the past. This hip-hop disease is sooo common amongst our youth. I really think that it boils down to this: we (the Muslim youth) don’t have any role models to look up to. And no, if you tell a kid who plays bball all day and listens to rap all night about the sahaba as role models, he’d look at you as if you’re telling him fairy tales (it’s true).

    Y’know what (and I’m speaking from personal experience here), Muslim youth need a cool Muslim role model to look up to. Someone who is practicing the basics, shunning the haram, helping the community all while being “cool”.

    One of the people who I really looked up to back in the day was Hakeem Olajuwon. He was the man in basketball, and alhamdulillah, a good Muslim. Same with Shareef Abdur Rahim, who used to fast in Ramadan and still play ball. I used to be so happy to see him play and read his interviews. Point is: Muslim youth look for role models in the entertainment and sports industry. If they find a bad role model (like all of the rappers), chances are they are going to go down the route of imitating the rappers. If they find a good role model (like ‘Reef or Hakeem), they will at least try to remember their Islamic values. For these youth, there is much more hope.

    I really think that not only do we need Islamic education, but we (as a community) need to encourage the athletic youth amongst us to seriously take up athletics while upholding Islamic principles (just like the desi parents really encourage their kids to take up studies so seriously!). In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that the community should offer scholarships to promising Muslim youth to encourage them in sports.

    The reason for this is that the youth who’ll go on to play basketball or football in the big leagues and when they give an interview and they say “Alhamdulillah, all my talent is from Allah”, this in and of itself is priceless dawah to the youth. Far more effective than a 100 uncles telling the Muslim youth to come to the Masjid. It’ll strike a cord and make a connection that an uncle can never make. Trust. :)

    Lastly, on a more grassroots level, we (as a community) need a Muslim Big Brothers Big Sisters type program. The program is simple: an adult (20+) spends a few hours each week with a youth (8-16 yrs). They can do activities like going to a basketball game (and taking time out to pray :), hanging out, etc. If the big brother is a well-established person in the community who is a practicing Muslim, it can really have a huge impact on the little brother as he’ll have a true, real-life role model to look up to.

    Also, we (individually) should get involved in the existing BBBS programs and mentor non-Muslim kids (an amazing way of giving dawah). I’m trying to get myself registered for this (the process is long), but I’m hoping and praying that Allah makes this beneficial for me.

    My $0.02. This article really did make me think about things from the past that my brain was trying to block off :) Jazak Allah khair again.

    was Salam alaikum
    Aarij.

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  14. Hassan

    “What is causing all these famous people to accept Islam??”

    Well hmm, I have theory, that may or may not be right.

    I forgot the name of sahabi (I think Sa’ad Bin Abi Waqas) who in battle with persian empire was asked by Rustum, what do muslims want. And he (RA) said we want humans to be free from slavery of other humans into slavery of one Creator Allah alone.

    The nature of these rappers, comedians etc is usually of non-conformism, specially to white americans who had enslaved their ancestors. They have strong feelings against anything enforced on their culture. Hence you find them very innovative (regardless if its in music or whatever), they reject status quo of culture, they would do the weirdest thing (seen weird by whites, or even others) to create their own culture.

    Islam is very attractive for them in this sense, as it would be first non-conformity in terms of wide spread religion of America (Christianity), its attraction of worshiping the creator only, and taking no BS from others, instead of worshiping the white god (jesus as in Christianity). Some may convert (initially) as in case of Malcom X to nation of islam, because they start to hate white people. And then eventually guided by Allah to true Islam, as they mature.

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  15. ibnabeeomar

    hassan i think that theory is more in tune with why muslim youth are turning to hip hop, but not vice versa. going from hip hop to islam is in fact going from non-conformity TO conformity. while the nation of islam example may have been true before, i don’t think it is as predominant now as it was before. Allahu Alim but it seems like they are inshallah genuinely convinced of the truth, and since most of these ppl are in each others closer social circles anyway it seems they are making dawah to each other.

    i wish we could somehow hook up an interview with them (if anyone knows how can you please email us at info//at//muslimmatters dot o r g)

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  16. Amatullah

    My younger brothers are 16 and in high school, and like ustadh Qadhi mentioned they use these rapper’s ‘Islam’ as proof they can listen to music…like, “well, Lupe Fiasco is muslim and he raps!” Alhamdulillah with the Help of Allah they stopped listening to music. I found that bringing them more to the masjid, classes etc, and developing a bond with the older, yet still young (20ish) brothers has helped as well alhamdulillah.

    One brother actually does something with them every other friday or so like take them out bowling then have a halaqah, they’ve been canoeing, camping, had an all-night sport camp thing and will teach them the deen at the same time…this is what they need not someone to nag them about music being haraam etc.

    Also, as someone mentioned, i’m just a little skeptical about those artists being Muslim, have they actually come out and said they’re muslim? They should use their fame for good, subhanAllah. How can one even remain a good muslim in an environment like that? wa Allahu ta’ala ‘alam, may Allah azza wa jal guide us all.

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  17. Erie Haryanto

    In the name of GOD the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate

    AQ 4(Al Nesaa ):79
    Anything good that happens to you is from GOD, and anything bad that happens to you is from you.

    May AlLaah reward y’all well, hallelujah.

    Aamiin.

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  18. Akbar

    Ice cube is you follow the link from the above article it takes you to a guardian article where he is interviewed …I never was in the Nation of Islam… I mean, what I call myself is a natural Muslim, ’cause it’s just me and God. You know, going to the mosque, the ritual and the tradition, it’s just not in me to do. So I don’t do it.

    So its open what he is…

    As from the list of people mentioned the one to take note of is Napoleon (and ones similar to him) who has kit the music business altogether and even cancelled the release of his forth comming album …
    As for the ones still on with the music etc.. its not really of much consequence… they are not really the people we should be pushing.

    Ands its just about talking to the people on thier level ..ie don’t go to the guy on the block talking the way you would try to connect to someone on a campus..
    And the stories of the sahabah are about the rawest stories you can get about people comming into islam and doing the things they did.

    Because if you reflect at the culture at that time it was pure ‘gangbanga’ cultre so its not that hard to relate that today..

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  19. Abu Muhammad

    @Yasir Qadhi

    I cannot speak about the States, however in England the youth (in my experience) who are into the hip hop culture are attracted to the gangland life.

    A prime example is Birmingham where a lot of youth speak in hip hop vernacular and wear those types of clothes. They are heavily into rap music, fighting and talking a lot.

    Before I started university we used to give a lot of dawah on the street and these guys would respond when they realised that the sahabah of the Messenger of Allah were real men.

    When we showed them that their role models were weak in many ways and that real men were like the sahabah. We told them stories of the bravery of the companions and their sacrifice for Islam.

    Many of our generation from Birmingham respected that.

    Things are different now as it seems that these new kids have no sense of reality let alone manhood or role models. It’s quite depressing. Times have changed.

    I still think that that model works: Breaking down / destroying their current role models and then replacing them with better ones.

    Allah knows best.

    (BTW thanks for the chocolates in LOW Birmingham)

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  20. Ibraheem

    In the name of Allaah, most gracious, most merciful!
    How a person spends his/her day defines his inclinations. If every family picks at least a little chunk from the 24hrs of the pie of time and dole it out to some form of home da’awah, Allaah is full of mercy – most kind.
    Those away from family – studying or renting an apartment somewhere can still get a form of listening to the words of Allaah. We take the internet for granted – but Allaah hasn’t thrust out this technology in our midst for mere jest. Our generation is the luckiest, yet the laziest. The Sahabas didn’t have any microphones, but Allaah put power in their voice and efforts because of which you and I are now calling ourselves ‘muslims’. We don’t only have microphones, but ipods, mp3s, super-gig laptops, you name them.
    Do we think Allaah has enabled the invention of these for just fun?
    I don’t have much space to dilate on how and why hipop is conquering not just the muslim youth, but the entire world. I’m a Black youth myself, at the hub of the hipop sphere ( U.S.A). Unfortunately, the super rich muslim nations are not investing much effort in empowering the muslim media. The media is the ear, eye, and sometimes, the mind of many a people. Today’s barons of material civilization know this and do all they can to control the media. Wouldn’t I be foolish to believe that the oil-rich muslim nations can’t come up with an MTV, CNN, BET and Sky alternatives? I won’t bore you with a tirade right now, but Allaah knows best.

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  21. Razi Ahmad

    As-salaamu alaikum

    While reading this article I immediately thought about a talk that Mutah Beale (aka Napoleon) delivered at a three-day conference held in New Jersey this past July by Masjid Rahmah of Newark. The basic gist of the talk was of his experience living the hip hop life and the emptiness he felt despite all of the material things he accumulated while making records. He said that despite all of his material possessions, this emptiness never went away until he embraced Islam in totality and abandoned the life he had been living.

    I don’t know if the brothers at Masjid Rahmah have that talk available for sale but if they do, I think that it would really be beneficial to the younger brothers and sisters that are enthralled by hip hop.

    Was-salaamu alaykum,

    Razi Ahmad

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  22. Ibraheem

    Napoleon’s talk has been on youtube for a while. I’m not sure which one is recent. But yes, it will be good if any brother or organisers of his deliberations can kindly make it available to everyone (sale or otherwise).

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  23. UAS

    Please delete the 1st post; some words were missing. jazakAllaho khairun–

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

    I am so glad this article was posted. JazakAlalho khairun

    Tell an average youth ‘musical instruments is haraam and you will shatter any hope they have for an identity.

    I think sometimes we envision these youth to have the taqwa and imaan of the companions, and thus we talk/ order them around that way, subhanAllah!

    We cannot be too quick to tell a youth in love with music that his or her love is harram.
    This is, compared to the other problems youth face, such a minor issue in the big scheme of things. Did we forget to acknowledge all the good these youth do? Even in the Prophet’s sirah, the good of that culture was acknowledged and was used as an opportunity to restore order to the people.

    For example, emphasis on individuality can indeed be a strength of the youth. Youth are in many ways getting smarter(parents would agree, haha); why do we not emphasize this facts and use it to our advantage in calling them to worship one sole Creator?

    As already mentioned, but sadly the advice is not heeded enough we have to talk to people at their level of understanding. The Prophet SAW would send leaders who dressed well and were educated to bring people to Islam; someone that specific community would look up to. Now that is as the writer rightfully stated is lacking.

    We cannot bring a thobe/ shalwar kameez, kufi, bear embracing bro (Imam Siraj wearing shalwar is the exception due to his ‘Malcolm X appeal’ to the rappers.) to give a talk to the youth.

    We need to bring a rapper to a rapper; as already stated, a rapper who prays and stays away form major sins who himself is learning. His/ her change will gradually come.
    We all agree the focus should be on hooking up these youth with the right role models.

    I think sometimes we get very picky and expect too much from certain troubled youth.

    Is the issue bad music and bad messages, or is the issue bad role models and rotting
    deen? Let’s work top down, not bottom up; the music and cursing didn’t come first, the warped role models did.

    I think of Umar (RA) our righteous Khulafa Rashideen who would drink and whip women.

    Did someone tell him in his drunken state that whipping women is haram? Or did the people he most identified with approach him with the Quran?

    You can cure the symptoms but until your cure the root cause of all these issues, they will linger on.

    The Prophet, SAW did not approach the people immediately with sayings such as ‘stay away from that which is doubtful, such as music.

    And the Companions (may Allah have Mercy on them all) approached social inadequacies first, an approach very few imams are doing.

    Imam Siraj Wahhaj and Malcolm did this and that is why Non Muslims respect and revere them. Yes, Malcolm had his flaws, and perhaps people followed him in those flows, but the same people who followed him embraced his change to ‘proper Islamic thought’.

    I do believe that will also happen to these Muslim Rappers, we just need to concentrate our dawah on them.

    How hospitable were the people around Malcom X, Malik El Shabazz? How open and merciful were they, and how merciful are we on Eve, Chapelle, etc?

    May Allah give us patience and hikmah with the talent that are now embracing Islam. I think we are the problem. The Islamic workers need to have more mercy; we need to start reading our history and apply it to today’s times; nothing has changed; we do not need a new master plan.

    We need some social action here, VS daleels on Music and rappers clothing; I don’t believe now is the time for that unless it is in a classroom  with people who in the least pray 5 times a day 

    On another note, the youth that we are discussing here should not hear what is taught in a classroom publicly or in a concert or via email, Friday Khutbas, Eid prayer (the only time these type of figures come to the masjid). When there is a huge crowd of urban or urban wanna -be youth at these precious times, we need to wake them up with the basics!

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  24. wali

    ibnabeeomar- That list is a bit exaggerated with all due respect. the only ‘practising’ Muslim there is Napoleon, Wallahu ‘Alim. ice Cube, Common and Busta Rhymes have openly declared their ‘adherence’ to the 5% nation, offshoot of N.O.I. As for Mos Def, ‘Ms Big Booty’ or whatever, that is really ‘Islamic’??- I am not judging but what did the Prophet say about all the ummah being forgiven except those who advertise their fawahish and if Worldwide TV is not advertising I don’t know what is. Also Napoleon is the only one in your list who is openly claiming to be Muslim and giving da’wah.

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  25. wali

    BTW I am not making takfeer waliyadhubillah! unfortunately I was into Hip Hop in my younger jahiliyyah days and I was telling myself that these people are Muslims and used to read all their interviews etc.. and thats how I know what they are upon. Also as for Jermaine Jackson, despite what people say about him being on Big Brother with those shayateenas, he seems to be sincere and trying to practise so may Allah guide him more and bring his brother to the deen.

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  26. Roshan

    salams!
    What an awesome article!
    Insha’allah, maybe those artists will show how glorious Islam is in the mainstream media,yea?
    Well, I hope so…
    but I wonder, since Akon is Muslim, what makes him perform the songs he sings?
    Just a thought. Keep up the work!

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  27. Shazza

    I think of the famous rappers who are Muslim in the analogy of slaughtering a pig in a halal way… let’s face it, if those famous “Muslims” will start preaching Islam by using a haram means, then that’s not really going to do much good is it?

    They aren’t publicising their Islam for a reason, and I think its mainly because they don’t want people to see them as Muslim role models because they simply aren’t. And they know it.

    They lead a really bad way of life, they sing about haram things (the most of them) and simply stated, they should not be seen as role models, rather they are in a state of need for our dua. May Allah take them away from the life they lead and put them on the path that Habibullah sallalahualayhiawasalam followed.

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