(Note: this was a note written on my Facebook on 15 October 2014.)
I have seen way too many posts/articles online about music being Haraam (forbidden, sinful), and I have been asked by a few friends and family members (indirectly), over the last few years, why I promote Islamic inspired music. I believe ‘sins’ are acts which trouble the heart, and my heart is content. I sleep well and the best relationship I have is the one I share with my Creator.
Here’s my story. As many of you know, I have for a few years now, promoted Maher Zain’s music, in my personal capacity, and then also as part of a communications agency I own with a business partner. The best work I have ever done has been work for my own personal growth, work I do separately to my day-time job as an ex-PR Account Manager and currently a Head Copywriter and Creative Director at an agency in Kenilworth.
Whenever my heart draws me closer to something, something that fills it with joy and spirituality, I speak to my Creator. Every time. Just to make sure he approves. He has ALWAYS guided me to do the right thing. I have always asked, and often it takes years before I know my answer but there’s a reason for that. My wish to work with Maher Zain and the faith-inspired record label that represents him, Awakening Records, has been a long time coming – 3 years actually. For years I contemplated, I asked, I prayed, and wondered whether or not it was something I was meant to pursue. While I am by no means the perfect Muslim, I always try to do what’s right.
I am not a preacher and never will be, because I am learning daily, but my decisions are ones I live with and will ultimately be questioned about. I will continue to do what makes me and my Creator happy, and if you could only feel the way I feel when I sit down to pray, you’ll get it.
My journey started back in 2011, when I came across his song, ”For the rest of my life”. I was sitting in the car and flipping through an mp3 CD. His song was in the middle of the main stream stuff. I did a double take since it wasn’t something I’ve heard before. And that was it. The next day I searched for his music online and listened to it every day, my colleague (non-Muslim) could see how it impacted my life in ways I could not then explain. It took two weeks of listening before I became even stronger in my faith. Three years on, and I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. HOW IS THAT HARAAM, I ask you?
I prayed about all sorts of things, what do I do now, how do I give back? How do I say ‘thank you’ to someone who’s touched my life through the airwaves,someone who doesn’t know I exist? I prayed and then I dreamt – I had an answer. I wanted to work with Awakening Records, a UK-based media production company, owned and operated by Awakening Worldwide. How was I going to reach them? I found a generic email address online and sent a mail highlighting my experiences in the preceding two weeks. I knew, that due to the amount of fan mail and spam they probably receive, I’d at best, receive an automated response ‘Thank you for your email. Due to the large amount of mail we receive, we cannot reply to…..’
Within AN HOUR, I received a reply from the CEO which kick-started an amazing three year journey for me. I have never limited myself and always believed that though the world seems like a big place, it’s actually quite small and with technology, we’re able to connect with ANYONE, ANYWHERE at ANY TIME.
So it began. I met with the CEO who was in Cape Town a few months after our email exchange. We chatted at the airport just before he was due to leave. Maher just boarded his flight as I arrived so I didn’t get to meet him at the time. While I was disappointed, there I sat in front of an inspiring, respected and talented businessman, lawyer and author, who believed I had something valuable to say. We chatted for about 40 minutes and I pitched him an idea (how I could grow Maher’s fan-base in SA). At the time, only ONE of my Facebook friends (my husband) ‘liked’ his official FB page. A dear friend called him a Tupperware singer 🙂
Months passed, and while things didn’t take off the way I hoped, I never gave up since I never got the feeling that they were no longer interested. I pushed on, and knew that one day I’d have the opportunity to work with them. Through it all, I prayed, a lot. After months of emails with no replies (email addresses had changed and I was not aware) I sent my last email in January 2013. I offered my support for the last time – that’s where I left it, but continued to pray and ask what I was meant to do.
Months went by once again, and in September of 2013 I received a FB inbox from someone who is now a dear friend. She asked me if I knew Awakening Records. I replied saying that if she wanted to know anything she’d need to call me to discuss since I don’t accept anyone on FB. She called me straight away. She was the person bringing Maher Zain to SA and her conversation with the CEO involved him asking her to make contact with me. A few minutes after our call, I received an email from the CEO saying he asked her to make contact with me, he told her that she has to work with me, and he knows together we can make it happen. Needless to say, I was on board as PR Director for the concert that took place in December last year. I also fell into the role of artist management, and adopted last minute-programme changes. I briefed the supporting acts and Maher Zain on the slight amendments to the proceedings for the evening, after a meet with the CEO and Maher’s manager. I also had articles published, word for word, in some of the most read online and print publications in SA.
While being introduced on stage in front of roughly 15 000 people, and spending the day with Maher and his entire team the following day, NOTHING came close to the feeling I felt after I got home from the concert at 2am. I was pleased, my Creator was pleased, and while I was burnt out after 3 months of balancing my day-job and my side-work, which by the way, was voluntary, I was ready to lay my head down after I said my evening prayers. It came together and ONLY because I had faith, I trusted the months of silence and did exactly what was revealed to me as answers.
Years on and I now have 62 friends who ‘like’ his page, 62 of 21 498 955, Yes 21 million! (It must be said that this highly intelligent friend of mine, who called him a Tupperware singer, found the concert to be one of the best he’s ever attended.)
While those 62 ‘likes’ are not as a result of my efforts, it shows me that he has touched more people than just me. So much more!
So while some have a frowns upon their faces when I overflow with pride, my heart smiles. The smile on my face says that I’ve been abundantly blessed. The smile in my heart says my Creator is happy and that’s all that matters.
Do ABSOLUTELY anything you want to. If it makes your heart smile, no matter how unreachable it may seem, just TRY. You never know!