Amal Hijazi: Lebanese pop star breaks retirement with song for Muhammad

Photo of Lebanese singer Amal Hijazi posted on her Facebook accountImage copyright
Amal Hijazi

A Lebanese pop star has broken her retirement by releasing a song in honour of the Prophet Muhammad.

Amal Hijazi’s decision to retire and start a new life as a devout Muslim surprised millions of fans earlier this year.

Hijazi released her first record in 2001 and made her breakthrough a year later with her second album.

By the end of the decade, she had established herself as one of the most prominent stars in the Arab world.

Hijazi, whose 2002 album Zaman is one of the best-selling Arabic pop records of all time, shocked her fans in September with the announcement she was retiring from popular music.

“God has finally answered my prayers,” she wrote on her Facebook account. She also posted a photo of herself wearing a headscarf.

“I have struggled for years with the art I loved and the closeness to the religion I have cherished. I’ve lived this internal struggle and finally, God has answered my prayers.”

She added she had finally “found happiness”.

Image copyright
Amal Hijazi

Image caption

Ms Hijazi said she was “proud” of wearing the headscarf after transforming her public profile

She released a video of her song on social media yesterday, showing her new look.

The song, an ode marking the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, has so far been viewed nearly eight million times and shared more than 250,000 times.

It has drawn more than 14,000 comments, with some declaring support for Ms Hijazi’s fresh image.

But some comments disagreed on just how modest her new look was and whether a woman singing was proscribed under Islamic law. Several users asked whether a woman performing vocals is “awra”, an exposure that should not be revealed to men.

Facebook user Abu Mohamed al-Astal replied in Arabic: “What she’s doing is not allowed. A woman doing vocals is awra and even if she were to perform the call to prayer, she would incur the curse of God.”

Another, Zeinab Mousselmani, wrote in English: “Wake up people, stop praising her for what God has made haram [forbidden], she needs guidance not encouragement. Why has our religion become a joke to many?”

However, some fans showered her with praise.

Dina Mishik asked in English: “How could you criticise a woman who stopped doing what was proscribed by religion, wore the hijab and sang for the prophet?”

By BBC UGC and Social News Team and Samia Hosny from BBC Monitoring

Amal Hijazi: Lebanese pop star breaks retirement with song for Muhammad}

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