▪︎ Says Nasheed is for reflection not dancing
▪︎ ‘Ummah Once Known’ points out the disunity in the Muslim world
The entertainment industry is one of the least toed paths by Muslims in the world and this is undoubtedly due to a number of controversies that surround it. The music genre, for instance, has consistently been subjected to heavy criticisms by scholars as a result of the use of musical instruments, lewd lyrics and many other acts that go in contrary to Islamic teachings.
For Wonuola Tahj, popularly known as Sogheer, this would not be a barrier as his zeal to redefine Islamic entertainment led him to choose a career in vocal pop, thereby making him a frontliner in using his craft to entertain and educate his numerous fans in Nigeria and abroad.
Sogheer rose to limelight by a dint of hard work, resilience and the spirit of doing things differently. His genre of art, which is Nasheed (Islamic song without instrumentals) has not been well traversed by Muslims in Nigeria and beyond.
The Broadcast Studio Manager of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, explained that he ventured into vocal Nasheed due to the heated debates on the permisibility and impermisibilty of music with or without instrumentals in Islam.
“The genre I embrace is known as vocal pop. Since there is a controversy on the usage of music instruments in Islam. It is a safer option as all sound beats therein are vocalised, that is, made with the mouth,” he told Muslim News in an interview held on Saturday.
The talented artiste explained that what stood him out amid other Islamic music artistes both in Nigeria and abroad is the use of instrumentation, noting that once they do away with musical instruments, there is actually no difference as the purpose is to achieve the same goal.
Sharing some of his works, the cinematographer noted that he has produced series of Nasheed and featured in Islamic themed movies, while revealing his upcoming solo project, KONTROFAASI that is due for release by September, 2020.
“I’ll start with the movies. I will mention their titles which I would list according to the year of production as well as output in terms of quality. The very first was 2 sides of a Coin (2015), Faded Dreams (2015), Needle in the Darkness (2016), Destiny (2017), Crushed (2017) and finally, Blunder (2019).
“In the aspect of Nasheed, I belong to a duo group known as Crescents Nasheed and we have two albums under our belt: We Need You (2013) and Beats Ain’t Necessary (2019). My solo project KONTROFAASI is for release on online platforms as well as my website www.sogheer.com (still under construction) September 3rd 2020 in shaa Allah.
Tahj told Muslim News that he has secured international collaboration with a popular UK based Nasheed artiste, Omar Esa.
According to him, “The work is titled – Does the World Care? I have recorded my part and he is currently recording his part. We will get everything done after the lockdown”.
Ummah Once Known
The media enthusiast believes that his best hit is yet to come, but he gives preference to an acapella single, “Ummah Once Known” of all his works so far.
Speaking on why he loves the song, he said: “Ummah Once Known points out the current disunity within the ranks of the Muslim Ummah, while Myself and Black Child were able to highlight the causes as well as proffering solutions to these problems.”
Sogheer also believes that Nasheed is best used for reflection not dancing, saying that its true essence which is to pass beneficial message gets defeated when people dance ferociously to it.
“Nasheed is for the listening ears, I mean those who want to listen. Let me put it this way, ‘Nasheed is for listeners not dancers’. If people are dancing ferociously to Nasheed, most especially in public, the sole purpose of passing beneficial message has been defeated.
Islam and entertainment
He added that Islam does not necessarily go against entertainment, as he alluded to Suratu Yusuf as a form of entertainment, noting however that Islamic principles must not be flouted in the course of entertainment.
“What led to revelation of Suratu Yusuf? To educate us and narrate stories, which is also a form of entertainment. The human mind is naturally playful and then we have so many things that are contradictory to our religion, Islam, as it is in the entertainment industry today. If we don’t make alternatives, soon, we will all be carried away subliminally,” he declared.
Local and foreign Nasheed
When asked the difference between his genre of music and that of foreign Islamic singers, the vocalist said, “The difference is only in the quality of production and the good news is we have successfully closed that gap. What we await now is acceptability of Nasheed as a genre here at home and then we spread our tentacles to other parts of the world”.
The Muslim artiste urged fellow Muslims to follow his work, noting that Muslims need to tell their stories and blow their own trumpets.
“Everything we are doing is still strange. We are not in haste. By we, I mean Nasheed acts here in Nigeria. Alhamdulillah, the list keeps growing everyday. With time and with the right exposure, we will get there. Nasheed and Islamic-related movies would have an industry of its own.
“Nigerian Muslims should understand that if we don’t tell our stories by ourselves, nobody else will tell it right. If they are not telling it right, how then are we going to change the narratives?,” he concluded.
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