Junaid Jamshed Inspired A Generation of Struggling Souls

By Hashir Zuberi

Grief brings us together. It causes new wounds, but at the same time heals old ones. It allows a family, a community, or a nation to set aside their petty differences, to overlook faults, to apologize and forgive, and provide the strength we all need from each other that keeps us from falling apart. As a nation, we have had our fair share of grief. Losing 47 precious lives in yet another tragedy is the sort of news that Pakistanis have forced themselves, not chosen, to take in stride. But this time it’s different. Somehow it hurts a lot more. And that hurt has drawn us closer as we huddle in pain and sympathy and remorse and regret. We are closer to each other, as well as a greater meaning, and a greater Being.

There are countless people in history whose lives have been a source for inspiration and guidance for others. Rarely does one come across the fortunate soul who inspired with his life and inspires with his death. Junaid Bhai was one of those rare souls.

I must confess: being compared to, and occasionally mistaken for, Junaid Bhai remains my secret source of pride. Every time a child  would innocently ask, “Aren’t you the one who sings ‘Madinah Madinah’ on TV?” or a parent shared that their child proudly tells people that he studies in Junaid Jamshed’s school, I feel incredibly honored. Although we met on a number of occasions, he would have hardly known me as more than anything but a face in the crowd. But what he gave me, unknowingly, was priceless and something that I cherish to date. I had my own reversion to Deen in early 1995 as a 12th grader, with my own struggles. Those struggles grew more challenging as an international Muslim college student in Boston. Junaid Bhai’s self-discovery also happened shortly thereafter. Learning about his journey, in the face of insurmountable odds, gave me the strength I was so desperate for. His reversion was a victory that was celebrated by young Pakistani Muslims and those in the diaspora struggling with their identity.

Thank you Junaid Bhai. Thank you for inspiring us to a Muslim identity with your life, and to unity in grief with your death.

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi:

In the summer of 1992, when I was a student at the University of Houston, Junaid Jamshed came with his band ‘Vital Signs’ to perform a singing tour at our campus. Hundreds of Muslim students went to attend, and of course there was the standard music, dancing and singing going on at the time. Our Muslim Student Association (of which I was an integral part!) decided to stand outside that event, and pass out fliers reminding Muslims that this was not appropriate for them to do. I was a part of that ‘protest’ outside of Junaid’s hall.
Then, Allah guided Junaid to leave the music industry and become a preacher.

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Fifteen years later, after I had graduated from Madinah, in the summer of 2007 in London at the GPU event sponsored by Islam Channel, I met Junaid Jamshed and informed him of that story. This was minutes after we had both shared a stage speaking to the largest audience in the Western world – over forty thousand people. I said to him how Allah works in mysterious ways: one day I was warning against his concert, and now we were both sharing the same stage for the same message! And I gifted him a copy of my Dua book. He was so moved and humbled that I’ll never forget what he did: he literally hugged me and I could see his eyes well up with tears.

Truly, Allah raises those whom He pleases and writes love for them in this world.

May Allah accept Junaid Jamshed’s death as a martyrdom (along with all of those who died!) and bless their families with patience and comfort at this trying time.

I cannot believe the two verses that he chose to recite in the last Jumah he led, for they are so tragically beautiful in light of this accident: In the first rakah, he recited Baqara 153-7, in which we are told that those who die in the way of Allah are not dead, but alive with their Lord. And we are also commanded to say ‘To Allah we belong and to Him We shall return’ at times of calamity.

In the second rakah, he recited Fussilat 30-33, in which we are informed that the best of mankind are those who call to Allah, and do good deeds, and proclaim their faith. And Allah will comfort such people at the time of death – the angels themselves will comfort them even as they welcome them to Paradise.

It is very moving that these were his last verses, and Insha’Allah it is a positive sign at the beautiful death that Allah blessed him with.

Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan:

In loving memory of Junaid Jamshed.

I was in my mid teens and Vital Signs came on the scene with Dil Dil Pakistan. His music since then, in the band and as a solo artist, became an inseparable part of my youth. I knew virtually all of his songs by heart. I think I still do.

I got to know him after his incredible transformation. He knew me at first as the young Pakistani chap who tutors Arabic in America. We weren’t close but over the years we got to know each other better and of course a common inspirational figure to both of us was Maulana Tariq Jameel.

Through my personal interactions with him, I got to see the non celebrity side of one of the greatest cultural icons of my generation. He had a great sense of humor, a genuine loving concern for the young generation, an appreciative and humble spirit (which I found most shocking because the man was on top of the world since an early age). He called and pray[ed] for me and thanked me when I spoke out about giving him benefit of the doubt. I used to Whatsapp him every now and then. He would tell me he sees me as his own younger brother. When we discussed my plans to come to Pakistan (eventually), he would play the big brother role and say, don’t worry I’ll take care of everything. I was a bigger fan of his as a friend and older brother than I ever was of him as a musician. I would even tease him sometimes about his old stuff and how awesome it was. He’d just say, “Well Nouman, that just means you have a good taste in music, my friend!”

A man who had everything a youth could dream of at his fingertips gave all of it up to pursue a path he well knew would bring him little appreciation and much criticism. An artist and entertainer who was willing to exchange the loving adoration of his millions of fans for criticism and scoffing condescension coming from the very same – a man who would see the ugly side of sectarianism and be humiliated in the name of the very religion that he sacrificed everything to serve. And finally a man who Allah decided would go back to him as a shaheed. I will always honor his memory as someone who lived by his convictions and will always be grateful to Allah that I could call him a friend.

What an amazing human being. What an incredible life. Let his legacy be one of inspiration to change for the better. If Allah gave him the strength, courage and commitment to do that, He will surely grant it to the millions and millions of young people yearning for purpose in life.

May Allah accept him, his spouse, and all whom we lost in that tragic flight crash as shuhadaa who are already overjoyed at what Allah has given them.

You will be missed Junaid Bhai.
Your younger brother Nouman.


Maulana Tariq Jameel:

“I am going through pain, immense sadness. He was the heartbeat of millions of people. He sang the praises of our Prophet. He was taken away from us suddenly. Life is a mirage, a bubble of water and death is the truth. When we lose someone close to us then our whole being shakes.

I have known him for 20 years. He was a regular person- not guided by pious company, not trained by awliya, but a good person by fitrah. Junaid was a pious person. May Allah Almighty shower countless blessings upon him and give courage to others to follow his footsteps… The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to Abu Hurairah (Mafhoom of hadith), make your character beautiful by making up with those who break up with you, giving to those who take away from you, forgiving those who harm you. Believe me that Junaid was a picture of this hadith. He made up with those who broke him, he gave to those who never gave, he forgave people. This was a part of the excellence of his character.

From 2007-2016, I went on ten Hajj with him and he and his friends —without any greed or niyyah to make money — ran JJ Hajj just to serve the Hujjaj. I am witness to his generosity. Didn’t realize that this would be his last Hajj. The only place to live together forever is Jannah. He was a good Muslim. People were so horrid to him but he forgave them all. He had the best character.

Allah changed him, guided him, granted him. His death is a loss to the entire nation. We are a nation of worshippers, hujjaj, daaes, faster, but we don’t have many people of character, manners. He had the best manners.”

He also spoke about how he approached him 20 years ago with a hole in heart that he couldn’t fill up with worldly goodies. Maulana helped him find the salve for his wounds.He also prayed to Allah Almighty for granting eternal peace to the departed soul of Junaid Jamshed, his wife and other victims of the ill-fated plane.


Sr. Zeeshan Shah

Growing up in Pakistan in the 90’s it was impossible to have missed Junaid Jamshed and his band, The Vital Signs. I have fond memories of attending their concerts, listening to their music and proudly singing Dil Dil Pakistan at the top of my lungs. They were unlike any other Pakistan had ever seen. The nation’s very own boy band.

But then, I moved to the U.S and lost touch with the Pakistani music scene. It wasn’t long after that, that I heard of Junaid Jamshed’s metamorphosis and spiritual awakening. He had left the music industry. I had nothing but respect for his decision. You see, even as he was going through his struggles, I was facing my own. I remember coming across one of his talks on YouTube about how he changed. It was so powerful and I could relate to his every word. Unbeknownst to him, he had become my mentor. He showed by example what it takes to change for the sake of Allah. He was a true inspiration for many others with similar struggles, I am sure.

Tormented and tried though he was by those around him, he never thought it beneath him to apologize for his mistakes. That takes courage and speaks volumes about the man that he was.

That is how I will forever remember Junaid bhai, as someone who left it all for the sake of Allah and trusted in Him alone. He taught me humility, grace and the desire only to seek the pleasure of Allah and to work for the attainment of His Paradise. All the rest is bound to follow.

Shaykha Fatima Barkatulla

May Allah forgive and grant Jannah to Junaid Jamshed bhai, his family and all those who lost their lives in the recent plane crash. He turned his life around when he could have continued to be a famous pop star. He left the allure of the Dunya for everlasting bliss in the hereafter and sought to call others towards the same path.

Our family met him a few years back and he shared some kind words with us. My husband tells me that he was a distant relative of ours, rahimahullah.SubhanAllah. His nasheeds made us yearn to return to Makkah and Madinah, yearn to repent and yearn for the Divine. May Allah grant his family patience and may we all be inspired to turn our lives around, to return to Allah before the day comes when our name becomes a hashtag people tweet about, or text each other about. Ameen.

Brothers and sisters, our hearts ache at the passing of our brethren, of a caller to Allah. But we are constantly being reminded by Allah that our time too could be around the corner. Return to Allah dear sister, dear brother. This life is too short not to spend it in Allah’s obedience.

Shaykh Noman Baig

Waking up this morning to hear about the #PIAplanecrash was devastating. Even more devastating was to hear about my dear brother and friend Junaid Jamshed who was aboard the flight with his wife. I got to know Brother Junaid Jamshed personally in the last decade and words really can’t describe my admiration for him and all of his contributions to humanity, society and community. We traveled together, dined together, hung out together at the studio and also performed Umrah together.

May Allah the Almighty accept all of his good deeds and that of his family, and make it a means for his salvation in the hereafter. May He also elevate their rank and grant them the highest level of paradise. May Allah also grant everyone who died in this crash salvation and give patience their families. Ameen.

Such an inspiration for so many while he was alive. May his legacy continue to be an inspiration for many to come. Ameen.

Imam Tahir Anwar

Some reflections of the passing of Junaid Jamshed (rahmatullahi alayh)

Thanks to Shaykh Nomaan Baig, I got to meet Junaid Bhai when he came to San Jose a few years ago. He once came for an IOK event and the second time for the Grand Mawlid. When I woke this morning, and heard this news, I was in utter shock and heartbroken. And the realization creeped in: Death can come at any time, any place and in any way God has willed.

A few things come to mind:

– How will we spend the last weekend before we pass away? What will we be engaged in? Agree or disagree with Jama’ah Tabligh, but it’s a movement in which they leave the comforts of their homes to invite others to Allah. In it, they remind themselves of their responsibilities towards God and humanity, and invite others to the Masjid. Not to a party, not to the mall, but the house of Allah. Away from the comfort of the bed in his home, while sleeping in a sleeping bag in the Masjid. And he spent the last weekend of his life inviting others to Allah.

– What will our last tweet or social media post be? His last post on Facebook was of the Jumu’ah he led on December 2 (see below). His last tweet was about being on heaven on earth and being in the path of Allah. Little did he know that was going to be his last tweet, social media post. Keep things positive!

– What did he leave behind? He left us with beautiful poetry that he sung about loving the Prophet (SAW), making tawbah, and meeting Allah. Ya Allah! What a gift he is leaving behind. The millions that will hear these words and begin to love Allah and His Prophet (SAW). What a perpetual charity!

– In closing, I share the words of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, ‘I cannot believe the two verses that he chose to recite in the last Jumah he led, for they are so tragically beautiful in light of this accident:


In the first rakah, he recited Baqara 153-7, in which we are told that those who die in the way of Allah are not dead, but alive with their Lord. And we are also commanded to say ‘To Allah we belong and to Him We shall return’ at times of calamity.

In the second rakah, he recited Fussilat 30-33, in which we are informed that the best of mankind are those who call to Allah, and do good deeds, and proclaim their faith. And Allah will comfort such people at the time of death – the angels themselves will comfort them even as they welcome them to Paradise.

It is very moving that these were his last verses, and insha Allah it is a positive sign at the beautiful death that Allah blessed him with.’

May Allah have mercy on all those that have passed in this tragedy, elevate their maqam and grant patience to their families. Aameen.

Disco Maulvi

The alert popped up on my Whatsapp, a plane had gone missing on the way from Chitral to Islamabad somewhere near Abbotabad. Minutes later, the same sender informed that the plane had crashed with 47 people on board. Like to many such alerts from this friend, who is a security expert and hence often the harbinger of bad news, the response was Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Rajeeoon followed by a forward of this tragic news to others on various groups etc. Yet those 47 people remained just numbers that often pass on my screens. Then came the news that Junaid Jamshed and Saeed Anwer might have been on their way back from Chitral. Suddenly the numbers became real people, a connection that made the tragedy all so real. Soon the passenger manifest was all over the media and it was confirmed by connections in the Tableeghi Jamaat that Saeed Anwer was still in Chitral but alas Junaid and his wife along with several other members of the Jamaat had indeed been aboard that ill-fated flight.

Like many who grew up in the 80s and 90s, Junaid Jamshed was a common name. From the time the Pakistani pop band Vital Signs rose to prominence by releasing what became a prominent Pakistani anthem, the handsome Junaid Jamshed become an idol for young boys and a heart throb for the girls. His voice crooned out songs that stirred the soul and were often listened to on repeat throughout my teens. Concerts were aplenty in those days and I would never miss a chance to catch Vital Signs live on stage.

As I entered college in the fag end of the 90s and subsequently went on journey of religious awakening, I stopped listening to music and then restarted as I struggled with a new me. It seems in the years that as I was struggling so was Junaid. After Vital Signs broke up, there were rumors abound that Junaid seemed to have drifted away from music but then the year after he suddenly was back in the industry as a solo artist and it was not until 2002 that he officially announced he had left music for good. The man who had inspired many subsequent names to join the industry was no longer a part of it.

His renouncement of music led to the start of a successful business career as he entered the fashion field with the help of an entrepreneur Sohail Khan. This business venture now gave Junaid the support he needed and soon the poster-boy of Pakistani pop became the public face of the Tableeghi Jamaat.

(The last Jumuah Prayer led by Junaid Jamshed a few days before. His choice of ayat, in hindsight, seems very profound)

Wrapping up that little history lesson up there, what did Junaid Jamshed mean to me? Junaid to me characterized the struggle to surrender. The same struggle that started for me somewhere in 1998 and that to some extent still goes on today: the struggle to bend my soul to follow the Commands of Allah (SWT); the struggle to mute the Disco side and to enhance the Maulvi side of me. I never got a chance to properly meet Junaid after he became a Maulvi. I did reach out to him when I was asked by some friends in the Learning & Development industry to invite him to one of their upcoming youth sessions which they wanted to have a spiritual side as well. Sadly that event never materialized and Junaid and I never met. However, during our brief interaction for the youth event he came across as a very caring and helpful person.

Today as I write this, I wonder that maybe I should have taken a bolder initiative and connected more aggressively with him. Maybe I would have learnt much from him, from his struggle to give up fame for religion and his struggle to handle a different fame that came as a religious figure and the many issues that seemed to hound him after he did so. I could have also learnt much from his struggle to contribute more to society. Sadly that chance is gone. All that is now left is to learn from his death. How he was out in the path of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), trying to inspire people to turn to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) —- and how eventually Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) chose to take him back while he was on that Path: a martyr in sha Allah.

Sh Abdullah Quick: Like Musab Ibn Umayr

Daud Mohmand | Islamic Relief USA

“I first met Juniad in UK during our Evening of Inspiration tour in 2009 and I was amazing at his talents and presence on stage.  During that tour, we drove from one city to the next and I had the pleasure of sitting next to him.  When your traveling with someone, you really get to know each other and people open up and he and Outlandish started singing almost the entire ride.  The very next year we brought him to the states and did a six city tour for Children in Need with Native Deen.  During the tour, he performed nasheed in urdu and I received comments from people who didn’t understand Urdu were mesmerized by it.  We brought him couple more times after that for Islamic Relief.  He was a very caring person; he himself gave to the cause and signed up for our Orphan Sponsorship program.  He was a passionate person about what he wanted to do and kind. He joked with me that I was his favorite [P]athan.  You could never forget his smile; it just made you happy.  He will truly missed.

Azhar Azeez |Islamic Relief USA

We all are deeply saddened by the news of the deaths of Junaid Jamshed, renowned singer and da’ee (evangelist) with his wife [and] the rest of the people on board. إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعون

Junaid performed several times and did multiple city tours with Islamic Relief USA to help raise funds for Orphans and Children in need. I have so many fond memories of traveling with him, long conversations about American Muslims, eating late nights and getting up early to catch flights. Since he used to give talks in between his songs, I used to joke with him saying ” You should sing and let me talk because I can’t sing and you can’t fundraise. He will be missed greatly by all of us.  To God we belong and to Him we return.

Mohammad Elshinawy

O Allah, beautify the reception of #JunaidJamshed, and all those we expect You’ve chosen as martyrs on this flight and beyond. We attest that he has given up much to please You, and You are His ultimate judge, and the unimaginably merciful.


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2 responses to “Junaid Jamshed Inspired A Generation of Struggling Souls”

  1. He was equally humble and a publics person during his pop stardom. Maybe this is the reason Allah chose him among all the lot to be an inspiration for a generation to realize their final destination. May Allah have mercy on his soul. There was and never will be another JJ. #RIPJJ

  2. Sadia baig says:

    Junaid jamshed from pop star to scholar his life was an inspirational example . He is the source for inspiration and guidance for others.may ALLAH rest his soul in peace ameen

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