Islamic Studies

Hip Hop In The Muslim World! Our Youth Are Beginning To Look To America’s Urban Youth For Orientation

Casablanca Break Dancers (Morocco)

Islam is strange in the land…

We have a new neighbor now in my zone turned “hood” you read correctly “hood” the phenomena of hip hop and the culture of the inner cities of America is becoming more apparent in the lands of Islam, in the Middle East.

It is strange to see in the lands of Islam drug corners and low riders and yes Muslims from the Middle East with dread locks and Timberlands, bobbing to hip hop pounding from radio systems the cost of which could feed the poor Muslims who survey the trash dumpster in front of my building every morning for the period of a year. How many times have I seen Muslim youth smoking marijuana in the Muslim lands it hurts to say. I refused to speak about this matter and now I break the silence. From Saudi to Pakistan there is a problem in the land. When I went to Hajj I heard about Egyptians and Saudis peddling –drug selling in the Holy Land. I’ve seen youth in this land sniffing out of paint cans, needles and weed spots ak and we argue about how to make salaat. Muslims in the West need to get it together Islam is strange in the land. In the lands of Islam people are being turned out and burned out and we talk of Salafi and the philosophy of the Sufi but to me these are calls of the wannabe. Where is the practice of Islam from East to West that should be the question that occupies the heart?

And who is for the people…? Who represents Islam? Who represents the Prophet Muhammad (saw) ? This is the question. Some of the people of the Prophet Muhammad (s) are looking to Brooklyn and Chicago for beats, and inspiration. Sometimes they find Islam through hip hop and sometimes not let us hope they don’t get stuck on dope.



Middle Eastern hip hop is hip hop music and culture originating in the Middle East. It is performed in many languages such as English, local Arabic dialects, Hebrew, Persian, and French. It is highly influenced by American hip hop.

Hip hop music has a high popularity almost everywhere in the Middle East. It is played on the radio stations and shown on TV stations, but performing it has begun only recently. A lot of hip hop groups are still underground. Being critical about politics and expressing certain views could incite government censure. The internet has been a major outlet for most groups.

About the author

Yusuf Rios (Abul Hussein)

Yusuf Rios (Abul Hussein)

Yusuf Rios was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While becoming a Catholic priest, Yusuf discovered the path to Islam. He studied Islamic sciences for a period of seven years, studying with scholars in Cleveland, Ohio before receiving a work-study contract with the Islamic American University. At the Islamic American University, he read Arabic and a limited number of Islamic sciences intensively for one year. He then traveled to Cairo, Egypt where he resided for five years. There, he attended a number of intensive courses at Arabic learning centers. After these courses, he joined various scholarly circles, reading Islamic sciences with a host of scholars of diverse expertise and orientations. Yusuf takes particular pride in having studied intimately with a number of scholars from al-Azhar University. Likewise, he has great love and attachment to Egypt and especially al-Azhar Mosque where he studied for the major portion of his residence in Egypt. Yusuf has a Bachelors in Western Philosophy and Sociology and is working on a Masters in Education. He serves as an instructor in Islamic Sciences with Islamic American University and in local mosques in Dearborn, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio. His four main research areas in Islamic sciences are in the areas of Usul al-Fiqh, Maqasid ash Shar’ia, Hadith Sciences, and Fiqh.

Add Comment

  • Asalaamualikum,

    Very saddening but true fact, that this is evident in many places.

    We all come out with new problems, be it with the youth, the elders, parents or the general Muslim community as a whole, it all goes back to one aspect … Lacking of deen, in the individual and the community as a whole.

    The youth in my area, you will see most of them dressing, talking, walking the same.

    With their jeans almost down to their knees, and the hip hop dress and language.

    It seems that this is more appealing to them, and a way of gaining respect.

    From my observations, it seems that it is the ‘norm’ for them, and anyone that doesnt submit to this, is seen as something unusual.

    Why is it that they have resorted to this way of life?
    Why have they turned to that culture, which only brings opression on themselves…and leads to injustice

    Not too long ago, the father of a young lad, was stabbed in the liver and bled to death, defending his son in a fight.. and what did this fight start from… ‘A dirty look’.

    All kinds of aspects come into it, peer pressure, upbringing, the activeness in the community.

    This is a large area of concern, and it seems to be growing even in the sacred lands.

    I pray Allah guides us all…

  • Thats so true what you are saying;however we cannot belittle any aspect of our religion. We should also talk philosophy but in proper place and time. We cannot ignore the major diff in ummah

  • Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

    Hi, i am speaking as one person in close relation to hip hop. Not as your thinking but just that music has been close to my heart and not just hip hop music – where its derived from etc (many music in general anyways).

    I shall start off with saying yes.. STEREOTYPICALLy youths in hiphop today are corrupt, abusive and aggressive in many way. So much disrepect as if religion is no longer a concern no more? many hip hop artist have turned to islam which is beautiful Maash’Allah. BUT I stress this does not mean everyone in hiphop is following these bad ways.

    OK Obviously you may no that (assuming though). But just saying it that people like myself.. YES we wear baggy clothes, YES we walk witha certain style and talk differently.. this does not make us aggressive, wanting to fight or tryna rob someone or even drug deal. However, if its intimidating and the look is not “smart” to peoples opinion.. that is your own assumption on the clothes and the look and the talk. about intimidation, many people find the hijaab intimidating especially if a women covers her face aswell. myself i dont so dont question me on it. i watch the news.
    judging people on looks is where prejudice comes from.

    the peice was mainly talking of those who do corrupt things and i understand this. muslims doing it is absolutely disgusting because they have, typically, so much guidance to receive from islam and by hearing this happens in the holy lands makes me sick.
    Hiophop as an influence is obviously by non muslims.. the talk of money, fame, etc etc most haram things is implanted in to young peoples brains as “cool”. it what gives them that image in thinking okay doing something bad is bbaad (good.. or struggle in this bad way is good/acceptable).

    what is soo funny is that there is sooo many sooo many positive hiphop music, i dont udnerstand why can it be ignored by the masses. it seems to be another political thing i guess. its all mainstream or whatever. even in so called “underground hiphop” what is supposedly not mainstream – it is not but that doesnt mean its positive. its still negeative comments but the underground seen is more – creative?-.

    again my opinions on music is that i love it. i love how the mind travels into wonderess ways to express feelings thoughts emotions.. hiphop was once known as another close comparison to poetry.. unfortunately by the majority, it has been lost. Inshallah with age the young ones will understand better like most hiphop artists have. an also inshallah positivity will grow more within any “mainstream” in this world.

    Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

    PS: would just liek to add although the talk and walk and everything seems hard to understand.. ist like why – someone asked-. its all rhythe, falvour, comfort, yes like an image.. way we present ourselves. many have their talk wrong.. so it differs. but the style is more ryhthem and flavour – shows personality rather then most tryna to create an aggression out of it.
    -thats why i love it that someone in hiphop with all this “personality showing” comes and talks with such wisdom.

    see the people with struggle need to show that dont just become something bad because evil is always around you. show that your better, struggle, strive, adapt and find a positive means in a harsh negative world.


  • we still respect to their believed.we are born in many religion,and to respect it,we must not fight for it.because they do no harm to the saying goes faith can move two mountains,and its their faith and so us faith.

Leave a Comment