Sound Vision has announced the passing of our Muslim brother Dale (Jamaluddin) Marcell who was the leader of the Fletcher Valve Drummers.
Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon.
The Sound Vision article states, "The layers of rhythm and energetic percussions of the Fletcher Valve Drummers brought a new dimension to the live Nasheed / Musical stage in the Muslim community. Dale and his group were the all-time favourites at MuslimFest in Canada and at several major events in the UK, as they shared the stage with renowned Muslim performers, including Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Native Deen, 786, and Ashiqe Rasul."
YouTube has two of his live performances here:
Apparently, Brother Jamaluddin publicly declared Shahada while live on stage with his drumming group and Dawud Wharnsby during MusicFest 2005!
Interesting to me is the mention in the article that Brother Jamaluddin was often disappointed that the Muslim community did not appreciate his art. However, he drummed on.
Being a drummer myself, I can relate to the Brother's disappointment. The Muslim community is split when it comes to music.
My main drum is the daf. In the purest sense of Islam, the playing of the daf is only permitted for specific occasions like Eids and weddings. It is only permitted to be played by women.
I do own a djembe (like the drum Brother Jamaluddin can be seen performing with in the videos, strapped around his waist). The djembe is a drum most commonly played in West Africa, however, many people around the world play it. I bought the djembe because I live in a very small town and a local teacher was offering lessons. I figured that once I learned to drum in a formal kind of way, through lessons, that I could then teach myself the rhythms of the daf.
And I have done this, Alhamdulillah.
But deep down, I always feel a little bit anxious. Why? Because I know that music and musical instruments (other than the daf) are a controversial topic in Islam. Some scholars say that it is all absolutely forbidden. Yet others say that, like anything, it is permissible if it doesn't distract a person from their Islamic duties and if the music doesn't promote the haraam.
I then read an essay on the Internet written by Brother Yusuf Islam (formerly "Cat Stevens") called Music: A Question of Faith or Da'wah. He did so in response to the criticism and controversy that occurred after he returned to the music industry after a long absence. These words stuck out for me:
"Different opinions about music indicate that it is not to be taken as a question of faith ('Aqidah), but is simply a matter of understanding (fiqh)."
I agree with Brother Yusuf. I have really thought about this, talked to Muslims, and most importantly, I have prayed about it. Some of my Muslim sisters think I "rock" because I play drums. Yet others think that I am an open sinner with no shame. Ya Allah. It is truly distressing.
(Me - Drumming With My Teacher For a Children's Class)
Insha Allah, the Almighty (swt) will judge us all and forgive us all/Ameen.