Today's advent of information technology has provided citizens with more opportunities to access and embrace various types of music around the world. Maher Zain, a Swedish national of Lebanese descent, visited Brunei early this month as part of a world tour to introduce his music to his fans. According to Wikipedia,
“His first album ‘Thank You Allah’ of 13 tracks and two bonus songs was released on 1 November 2009. His music videos on youtube has collectively gained more than 4 million of views.”
The video shows Maher Zain singing one of his popular songs, ‘Barakallah Lakuma’, which was welcomed by his Brunei fans during a meet and greet session organised by Athirah Management.
Maher Zain, who is popular with Islamic inspirational songs, made several radio interviews in Brunei. According to Pelangi FM DJ and blogger Zayn Sabri, Maher confirmed that he has 107,000 fans from Brunei alone on his Facebook page, out of more than 700,000 fans globally.
Vance Tan blogged about the radio interview:
“Fans of Maher Zain, an influential figure from Lebanon, stormed in at Radio Televisyen Brunei recently to capture the moments with the global sensation, according to a deejay working at RTB, DJ Zayn Sabri. Maher Zain’s inspirational music video on YouTube, ‘Insha-allah’ has gained a remarkable one million views. During a short interview over Facebook chat, Zayn also mentioned that Zain is a ‘very inspirational figure to everyone…especially to the youth’. He added, “Other international artists had to bow down and give way to him especially our local charts at Pelangi FM.’ Maher Zain’s interview on Pelangi FM will surely leave a legacy in Brunei, and as we speak the interview is now history.”
Ranoadidas saw Maher Zain making a huge impact in Brunei, especially among the youth
“With just a span of two weeks, the initial hype was more than enough to spread the awareness that a music icon Maher Zain will be in Brunei Darussalam for a meet-the-fan session. My Twitter and Facebook responses have been phenomenal after I announced that he will be coming to Brunei officially.”
Ranoadidas also had the opportunity to interview the celebrity about his impressions on Brunei and his many fans. Twitterians fielded these questions
Rano: I read in one of your interviews that you were lost in “music” at one stage. Can you explain more?
Maher Zain: I felt something was missing. I was thinking a lot. I went back to Sweden and my friends brought me to the mosque in Stockholm. Then my heart just opened for the brothers and I'm glad Allah guided me and I felt very happy. It took some time for me to adjust when I stopped my music and my work for a while. Then I realised that maybe I can help and do something with my experience to convey a good message, my thoughts, my feelings through music. From there, I contacted my record company Awakening Records and the rest was history.
Rano: Do you have problems entering western countries such as the U.S? (Question by @zul277)
Maher Zain: Alhamdulillah, so far there's no problem. If they actually listen to my music, we are trying to show a good picture about Islam. My music has a lot of happiness, about love, humanity etc. I have been to the United States a few times and I will be having a few tours in the States this year. So far so good.
Rano: What inspires you to be in the music scene? (Question by s_a_m1995)
Maher Zain: I wanted to share what I've heard and experienced and I wanted to thank Allah and hence the album is called Thank You Allah. There's always a lot of inspiration from doing a good thing. I want to convey a message and inspire people.
Rano: When is the next album? What can the fans expect?
Maher Zain: The second album will be slightly different but it will have more messages on Islamic issues, motherhood, friendship etc. It's like a package. The next album will be released some time next year and insyaAllah, there will be different languages like the current ones in iTunes and this is because we have a big community from different races. This shows that Islam is big, not only Arabs.
Randomly techno and Kinsella blogged about how the songs of Maher Zain are touching the lives of many people. UBDStudentaffairs also blogged about Maher Zain's visit to the Uni's Radio Station. Geek in White also posted a video of a radio interview with Kristal FM.
Maher Zain's recent visit confirmed his popularity in Brunei. His songs continue to dominate local radio stations. He is seen by many Bruneians as an inspirational figure who spreads love and faith around the world through music.