In Loving Memory Of Junaid Jamshed — His Life Story

In Loving Memory Of Junaid Jamshed — His Life Story

A beloved family man, a successful entrepreneur, an influential Muslim philanthropist and forever an uplifting singer, rising to the heavens above...

On December 7, en route to Islamabad, Pakistan, highly influential and beloved nasheed singer Junaid Jamshed and his wife Nahya died in a fiery, horrific plane crash. His body was identified through facial x-rays, and his funeral was held the following week. Despite having never met him, I (like most desi Muslims) was terribly saddened to hear news of his death, because he was and still is an inspirational pillar of strength for every generation of Muslims around the world. Junaid Jamshed showed us that anyone can turn their whole life around.

The Beginning

Jamshed's metamorphic journey began in 1987 when he was recruited as a singer into the rock band Vital Signs, signing his first record deal at the ripe age of 23. With his heartthrob looks and husky vocals, it was no wonder the lead singer and his band quickly spiraled into fame. Vital Signs's breakthrough shot through the world's musical glass ceiling with their release of the catchy patriotic pop song, "Dil Dil Pakistan," which became the unofficial anthem of the nation — catching the attention of other nations who then acknowledged Pakistan as a culturally rich developing country.

When Vital Signs disbanded in 1995, Jamshed successfully launched his solo career and then experienced his first significant moment of truth in October 1997.

Jamshed had a reunion with one of his friends who had become religious, sporting a full-length beard and wearing loose, white shalwar khameez — standing in stark contrast to Jamshed's clean shaven face and western clothes. Curious about the change in his friend, the singer warily agreed to go on three days jamaat (religious retreat) out of concern for his friend. There he felt a deep spiritual tug in his heart, and the emptiness and discontent that was gnawing his mind those years were soothed by the good company, religious practices and self-reflection of what the purpose of his life was.

The Struggle

The simple lifestyle Junaid Jamshed experienced in jamaat inspired him to rekindle his faith. He began to regularly pray the five prayers at his local mosque and avoid media attention, which caused his newest album to flop due to lack of publicity. Jamshed's friends oversaw his struggle to maintain a lifestyle caught between both worlds, but it was becoming increasingly impossible to sustain his faith without acknowledging the elephant in the room: that music is haram (impermissible) in Islam.

Eventually, he would have to choose what to prioritize as the purpose of his life: religion or music?

At jamaat, Jamshed's friend told him:

"Junaid... [we] don't ask why you don't [pray], we only encourage you and after that we [can] only pray that Allah (SWT) give you understanding."

Jamshed remained torn between his two opposing lifestyles. His pop singer life had a tough setback after 9/11 when his American tour flopped due to heightened tension in the West. Many attempted to guide him back to reign as king in the Pakistani music industry. Even Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself requested Jamshed to return to music, personally calling him to sing the national hit "Dil Dil Pakistan" at a train launch in Pindhi. At first, Jamshed refused but then relented, saying he would regard it as his final performance.

Then, between 2003 and 2004, Jamshed officially and publicly gave up music once and for all. Around that time, he also opened a fashion design company which has since become a full-fledged business. He faced heavy backlash from his friends and the media but bore it all with grace. Jamshed did not regret his decision, and his business flourished, his first wife (who married him in 1990) supported and participated in his lifestyle change and he gained new popularity from advocating a religious, Islamic lifestyle as something accessible and desirable.

For the youth, it was incredibly intriguing that a famous, rich pop star would ditch his industry to dedicate his life to religion, and the understanding of Jamshed's experience encouraged others to strengthen their faith as well.

For the music industry, Jamshed was a trail blazer when it came to nasheeds —producing many Islamic songs sans music, which helped to spread deen. The nasheeds included singles like "Mera Dil Badal Dai," a singing-only remake of "Dil Dil Pakistan" and the "Muhammad (SAW) Ka Roza" album.

The End

Junaid Jamshed held steadfast to his faith and prospered when others thought he'd fail. Since then and still today, he is recognized as one of the "World's Most Influential Muslims" by The Muslim 500 magazine. His clothing business has also blossomed successfully. However, the rest of the western world has little to no idea who Jamshed is — to the point where publications like The Express Tribune mistakenly identified him as a "televangelist" despite the fact Jamshed never preached for funds on TV nor did he ever dupe his audience for money. He supported himself and his family through his clothing business and did not attempt to make a profit off of any of his religious pursuits, including his wildly popular nasheeds.

Junaid Jamshed has left behind a legacy of setting the stage for halal (permissible) nasheeds as a religiously acceptable alternative to music. This stable foundation has prompted other nasheed singers like Zain Bhika to continue this legacy.

When mourning for Junaid Jamshed, let us honor him for what he truly was: a beloved family man, a successful entrepreneur, an influential Muslim philanthropist and forever an uplifting singer, rising to the heavens above.

May he rest in peace.

Cover Image Credit: BlogSpot

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.


It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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Dear Celebrities, You Are Not Politicians So Leave Your Political Opinions Out Of Your Media Feed

Don't let your favorite artist change your own opinion or your vote.


The 2018 American Music Awards hit the lowest amount of viewers in the AMA's history. The three-hour long show received an average of 6.8 million viewers, which is about 3 million less than last year. This isn't the only year that the AMA's views have decreased and not the only award show as well. In fact, in January, the Grammys also hit their lowest viewers since 2008.

So, what could be the cause of these lower rankings? While politics have always been somewhat included in award shows, has it gone so far to drive viewers away?

Historically, award winners have pointed to specific issues affecting our current political climate or some cause the celebrity supports. However, within the last few years, it has become more pointed to specific people.

With viewers slowly decreasing while political slurs to politicians grow, it's safe to say that there's a negative correlation between them both. This could easily be a cause of shows receiving fewer viewers every year, along with the lower rankings.

Imagine, you're watching a three-hour show of celebrities making fun of your beliefs or the person you're planning on voting for. Would you keep watching? Would you come back next year to watch the same show with the same belief shaming?

Recently, Taylor Swift spoke out on her Instagram about not supporting Marsha Blackburn for Senate and how she will instead be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. At the end of the post, she encourages fans to go out and vote.

Blackburn quickly answered saying how she does support women and wants to end violence against women. She even states how she is active in abuse centers as well as child advocacy centers.

While there is no issue for telling fans to go out and vote, it's important to let the fans (of any celebrity) to do their own research as well as make their own opinions.

A voter should not be swayed by what their favorite celebrity has to say about a politician.

While this can hurt the celebrity by causing them to lose a fanbase (the Dixie Chicks for example), it can also make fans feel as though their opinions aren't important, invalid, or even wrong.

It's great that Swift caused such an uproar in voter registrations and that more peoples' voices will be heard due to that. Even so, her, and any celebrity really, could easily persuade their fans to simply vote without telling them who to vote for.

As a student, I hope that you do your research and vote for what you think is right for our society. Go to for more information on how to register.

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