Hailing from New Jersey, meet Barry Danielian (http://www.barrydanielian.com/), a renowned trumpeter and instructor in Filipino & Malaysian combat arts. Barry has worked with diverse artists such as Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, KRS One, Billy Joel and Bono to name a few.
Since an early age, Barry has been a spiritual seeker. His Italian and Armenian Christian roots laid a strong foundation for morality and religion. With an interest in martial arts since he was a teenager, he began to explore Asian religions such as Buddhism and Confucianism. Some years later, while attending Berklee College of Music, He met a drummer Nasir and his family who had a profound impact on his spirit. A few years later he became awed by the works of Rumi, ibn Arabi and al-Ghazali in a religion class. Afterwards, Barry once again ran into Muslims, this time from Senegal. He recalls that they had a special warmth and peace about them that could be felt by anyone in their presence. Whatever it was that they had, he wanted it too. Shortly thereafter, Barry accepted Islam.
Barry has encountered many difficulties since becoming Muslim. One of the main difficulties had to deal with many Muslims who are against the usage of musical instruments. When we asked him about this, Barry prefaced his thoughts with a very intriguing question. How is it that many Muslims partake in or easily allow haraam (forbidden) actions such as riba (usury/interest) yet exert so much passion and energy on the topic of music where this is differences of opinion? Barry believes music has a place within the Muslim community for the following reasons:
1) Providing an alternative to negative “pop culture”, especially for the youth. Not only should this be provided, but Muslims should also be telling their story, but currently and historically, through music.
2) Art on a basic level has an entertainment component to it. While this isn’t a foundational aspect, it is a part of it. People need to relax, laugh and have some joy.
3) Most importantly, music can invoke a longing for the Divine. Music can be used to speak about social injustices and hopefully inspire people to action. The music of the 60′s and 70′s had a huge role to play in the civil rights movement and anti-war movement.
Message from the blogger who runs this:
Regardless of our own opinions towards music, we can’t deny that we are all within the community of the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of God be with him). We must ask critical questions and more importantly provide answers for our context living in the West. For far too long have Muslims and non-Muslims been pushed away which is often a far greater harm than listening to music. Fortunately this conversation has begun, as presented wonderfully in DeenTight by Mustafa Davis. Barry is quoted to have said: “The painful thing for me is I really don’t want to be around certain kinds of Muslims too much because it just creates [problems]. I don’t want to go in there and be fighting with people and scrapping. You know I play music, I’m not an axe murderer.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?