A composed, elegant, and charismatic Sami Yusuf performed on stage at the heart of Nazareth on July 5th, in an open-style square known as Sahit Allahham during the month of Ramadan gathering over 100,000 fans in a city with a population that doesn’t exceed 80,000 people! No barriers could get in their way. Palestinians from neighboring cities flooded Nazareth to attend his concert despite the difficulties associated with crossing borders and the hardships of fasting. It was the stars first ever live performance in the country as he managed to unite the Palestinians both physically and spiritually through a historic and mesmerizing show that only left his fans yearning for more.
The respected Ali Salam, the Mayor of Nazareth received Yusuf with great reverence and pleasure. He could barely contain himself around the star. His love and respect for the artist was quite evident spending a significant amount of time on stage with him to show his support. Mayor Salam hugged Yusuf repeatedly and honored him by placing a black and white checkered Kufiya, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism around his neck as he proudly announced on stage “You are one of us.” The feeling was obviously mutual on Yusuf’s part as he shared some very touching words on his Facebook page the following day. Here’s an excerpt:
“…It was a true honour to visit this beautiful city and I hope the world can one day see what I saw and know what I know about your beautiful land and its people. There is so much to learn from you. Rarely have I seen such energy, love and unbelievable community spirit and interfaith harmony. Europe and much of the world could learn a thing or two from you!…”
Yusuf lead the concert with his legendary Al-Mu’allim and then continued to perform with some of his older and more recent songs. His fans went especially wild and repeatedly cried out in one voice ‘’eedha, ‘eedha,’ meaning ‘repeat it, repeat it‘ in Arabic when he sang Hasbi Rabbi.
Apparently, Yusuf is not only a monshid or singer, but a truly multi-faceted artist. He sat eloquently before the Piano emitting a radiant presence while effortlessly delivering the kind of music his fans have come to love over the years. Besides his love for the sacred, Yusuf is becoming known more and more for his admiration and respect for culture and tradition, his compositional and song-writing skills, and his ability to play many instruments including traditional ones like the ‘Oud, Daf, Setar, and Tompak to name just a few.
When it comes to music, there are thousands of artists who come and go throughout the years and their music is quickly forgotten. As for Yusuf, his pieces will clearly stand the test of time just like the work of classical geniuses like Mozart or Beethoven. He’s even created his own genre of music that he terms Spiritique, a new term for a new era of spiritual music.
Yusuf is truly changing the way music is being received by Muslims at large. You can’t help but feel closer to God when listening to his pieces. His lyrics are packed with love for the Prophet and Islam as well as an appreciation for many of the major faiths and traditions with a special regard to humanity at large. At his current rate of accomplishments and fame around the world, if Yusuf remains true to his beliefs and music, he’s destined for greatness by the pure grace of Allah as he would say.