A Complicated Relationship with Music

From the time the sweet words of the shahada had escaped my lips I have had a complicated relationship with music.  I too was the new Muslimah that handed over my stereo and tossed out my CD’s so that “I didn’t participate in the spreading of its evil.” I later discovered the world of qasidas and nasheeds. It was such a daunting task trying to find qasidas and nasheeds that I could vibe with, especially in the years prior to my limitless access to the internet.
                As a person who enjoys writing, music has a history of luring words out of me and rhythm has had the ability to move my pen. I can hear music and emotions that had not yet been given a word had a lyrical composition. Tribe Called Quest came out with Love Movement (1998) I could not fight the desire to pick it up.  I began to write again. I wrote for every tear that fell on the face of that young single mother who had no support and was forced to face the reality that her child’s father was sentenced to life without.  
                Once married with a growing family my music selection had to change. Having my three year old sing I Don’t Want No Scrubs (TLC, 1999) from the top of her lungs was no longer cute.  Busy keeping up with the responsibilities of maintaining a family spiritually, emotionally, and financially, music again took a back seat in my life.
                One day I was awakened by a fellow hip hop junkie who played for me Immortal Technique. I was enraptured by the arrangement of lyrics, the intense delivery, and production. He was my best kept and favorite secret. Online, I dabbled into music like a married man sneaking a peak at porn sites. I rested in the company of Remarkable Current by day and Poison Pen (Chino XL, 2006) at night.
                As a student and traveler on the path towards our Creator, I had arrived to a place within myself that demanded a rectification and purification of my heart and soul. I realized that the path to Allah (AWJ) was a pure one. Great attention had to be given to the influences on my heart. Honestly, some of the music I had dabbled into gave me road rage.  I had to consciously remove myself from the music that did not benefit me in my deen or encourage me towards good.
                Ramadan 2009 was a very difficult time for me. I dove deep into qasidas, nasheeds, and a lot of dhikr. I did dhikr until I felt high, literally. I needed Allah’s help so passionately that I stopped listening to music period because I feared that if Allah were to answer my request for guidance I would miss the call. One day in 2010 I needed a Mary J. Blige moment.  The song, Take Me As I Am (The Break Through, 2005). Again, this single mother of 7 wrote to this song for every tear, to the palpitation of every fear and insecurity, and exhaled a whisper, “Bismillah” as I was inspired to unleash any apprehensions stepping out on my own, again.

Najiyya Alim, 2011

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