We had the honour of interviewing Labbayk Nasheed Group Alhamdulillah! Labbayk is a nasheed group based in London, UK. The group started singing officially in Islamic events from the year 2004 and have been doing live performances around the world since.
Tell me something generally about Nasheeds and its importance:
Nasheeds for us is a means of Da’wah (conveyance) to the beautiful religion of Islam. The art emanates from Islamic poetry and has developed much with the ongoing development in technology. Nasheeds have a way of changing the conditions of people; to uplift them, to make them sad, to provide tranquillity in times of difficulty. Whilst still being able to praise Allah (Subhana wata a’laa) and His beloved Prophet Muhammad (Salallahu Alyhiwasallam).
MashaAllah that’s great! So tell me, why did you choose to sing?
We chose to sing as we found there to be very few people out there offering non-instrumental alternatives that conform to the principles of Shari’ah.
Do you have any inspirations?
We have been mainly inspired by munshideen (Plural for Nasheed singers) from the west to the east, who all bring different flavours in their works. Naming some of them will not do justice to all who inspire us.
Ok then! So, what are your most memorable moments?
Some of the most memorable moments for us is performing our then newly released tracks from Rhymes of Praise at London’s Trafalgar Square in front of around 40,000 people. Another would be when we had the opportunity to be in front of around 750,000 people in Kerala, South India. Many of our international performances also have their unique memorable moments, countries which include: Canada, South Africa, Qatar, Switzerland and USA.
Many more people are singing Nasheeds, uploading tracks on YouTube etc, what advice would you give to upcoming Nasheed singers?
Always keep your intentions (Niyyah) sincere that you are doing this purely for the sake of Allah. If you intend to do this for money and fame, you will only realise that you’re not going anywhere with it and there is no blessing in the work.
You give a lot of importance to Ulama (Scholars), tell me about taking advices from them in regards to your Nasheeds:
We always try our best to seek counsel from esteemed ‘Ulama, who verify our lyrics and content before they are published. We are indebted to them for their much valued time and effort. The Ulama who have checked our lyrics and content include:
Shaykh Dr. Hussain Ahmed
Mufti Dr. Abdur Rahman Ibn Yusuf
Imam Tahir Anwar
Mufti ‘Umair Zulfiqar
Shaykh Suliman Gani
Shaykh Muhammad Sbini
There are many other esteemed Ulama who support our work, however it is not possible for us to name them all here due to long list of names.
That’s a great list MashaAllah! When you go abroad for a program, what do you miss the most?
Most of our international trips last about 3-4 days on average, so our families are most missed. However, we do stay in touch with them via phone/social media.
Aww! Ok, Who is the most famous Nasheed artist that you’ve met?
Alhamdulillah we have shared stages with many well-known Nasheed artists, some of whom include Maher Zain, Zain Bhikha, Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Mishary Rashid al-Afasy, Mesut Kurtis, amongst many others.
Some people are quite negative about Nasheeds, even non-musical ones, what’s your advice to them?
Nasheeds are meant to inspire one to remember Allah (Subhana wata a’laa) and His beloved Prophet (Salallahu Alyhiwasallam). They act as a means of Da’wah as well as Naseeha (Advice). If Nasheeds are not doing that, then I can understand the negativity towards them, even if they do not contain musical instruments.
Any hints about your next album?
There are some exciting tracks we are working on which you can say are a “step up” from our previous album “The Greatest Gift”. We hope to release the album on the first week of Ramadan 2016 Insha’Allah, with samples and advert coming out hopefully a week or two in advance. We would urge everyone to follow us on Facebook and also sign up to our mailing list on our website to stay updated as soon as the album is released.
And finally, why the name Labbayk?
Surprisingly this is not a name we as a group came up with. It was given to us by a close friend to the group when it was formed in 2004. The name comes from the Talbiyah which is recited during the holy pilgrimage of Hajj, and literally means “we are present”, signifying that we are present in the service of our Lord’s religion, al Islam.