[UPDATE: I have gone on to translate a fair number of Malaysian nasheeds and pop tunes.  You can browse them with the nasheed and nasyid tags, check out the language category, or do a site search for things like lyrics.]

I just can’t keep up with the number of new music groups singing nasheed here in Malaysia. There must be at least a dozen groups that have debuted since the last time I was here. Raihan, Rabbani and Hijjaz continue to penetrate western Islamic goods catalogues. For those of us non-malays the biggest obstacle to appreciating the music is the original material in Malay language. So I was happy to find Nasheed World, a website dedicated to translating Nasheed lyrics into English. There’s plenty there to explore, but from a quick look, I’d say the quality of translation is good. Here’s their translation from the very beautiful track

“Odei Anak” by Raihan on the Syukur album:

Dear child do you understand
How fearful it is for the pregnant mother?
Dear child do you know
How painful it was for your mother to give birth to you?
Dear child do you know
How difficult it was for your mother to bear you?
Dear child do you know
How painful it is to give birth to you?
However, your birth entertains the heart
Cared and pampered for everyday
Irregular sleeping hours at night
But it does not matter because you are loved
Days have passed
As you have grown
A mother is getting older
However, still sacrificing to make a living
So you would have a better futureNow you are an adult and your mother has passed away
Time has passed as if it is calling out to you
Have you given her your love?
Have all her good deeds been repaid?
Paradise lies at her feet…Only good children
Can give their love
Only good children
Can pray for your afterlife

That site led me to Nasyid Online, which has a good selection of songs available to listen. Sepohon Kayu is a good one. It lets you get a feel for the instrumentation and melodies that a lot of the nasheed share; lots of gamelon-type percussion and clear harmonies.

Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply