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Super Music From Muslims like Dawud Wharnsby Ali for dua and praise

Updated on May 24, 2013

Dawud Wharnsby's Super Music Beginnings

Maybe what most attracted me to Dawud Wharnsby Ali's music was his sound - of course it was - considering the strength of draw Celtic music has upon me. Do you suppose it's in the genes?

I'm maybe 1/6th, or so, Scottish, but it's scarcely something that was ever brought up in my home, being of Scottish ancestry on one side of my family tree, actually on only a branch or two of that great big tree.

Sure, I knew there were some Scots back there a great distance in our history, but it's not like we ever played any Scottish music in the home.

If I were to have been affected by music played on our phonograph, I think it would have been that of Edith Piaf, or of minstrel songs from the American Southland.

Of course I wonder if any Americans can say they are divorced from Scottish sounds, when at just the first notes of a military funeral we recognize the plaintiff sounds of the bagpipes.

I remember hearing the bagpipes in the 4th of July parades, long before they turned the corner down the street - in fact, we probably could have picked them out before they made several of the last turns leading to our house, from which we watched the small town parades.

But the music I know does cause my ears to pick up, me to stand taller, is the Celtic folk ballad. So, it may be having some (maybe) common distant ancestors, that drew me to Wharnsby's sound when I first heard him. Suffice it to say that it matters not whether he croons a children's song or a form of nasheed aimed at adults. I like it all.

I first heard Dawud Wharnsby Ali on Yusuf Islam's 'Bismillah' CD, which I bought a few years after I converted to Islam, to play while making art. I was unaware that Dawud Wharnsby was born in Canada; neither did I peg his age as that of my daughter (born in 1972).

As a teenager he had a thriving interest in live theater - as an eighteen-year old he appeared in 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' after first having become involved in local theater in his early teens. By the time he turned twenty he was already playing solo gigs across southern Ontario, both singly and in groups. The first group in which he played, for pay, Crakenthrope's Teapot, played on the street corners in Wharnsby, their local town.

By 1994 Warnsby had performed as a busker, also overseas in England and Scotland, he had formed his 'Three Keyed Maple Seeds' independent recording business. Then he renamed the company 'Three Keyed Maple Seeds,' and registered it with the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).

A Short History of Dawud Wharnsby

Dawud Wharnsby is known worldwide. A prime focus of his career is performing for, and working with children, youth and folks of all ages, to spread a social consciousness through the use of music.

photo by Jafri Salman

Wharnsby's strong convictions inform all his works, including performances in renowned theaters and performance halls, solo albums, and both joint-productions with other artists, and sound tracks. He writes about the calming and gentling effect of the beats of music and puts his beliefs to work in truly walking his talk.

Additionally, he both writes and performs musical pieces based on Islamic teachings from the Qur'an, originals that mesh with his philosophy. Nasheeds are widely appreciated especially by Muslims and Dawud Wharnsby even concentrates some of his works on the very young.

He develops and presents educational conferences and workshops which propagate a similar spirit of reverence for life in congregations and educational settings. I find them motivating and often play them as I paint.

Creativity, with the written, spoken and sung word is especially attractive to new generations of earth's citizens who value the God given environment, and regard it as a responsibility of our to maintain. Islam teaches that humans are the caretakers of the natural world, and responsible to respect the rights of all beings.

In all his work Wharnsby fosters the attitude that art is valuable for its contribution to nurturing our societies, striving for Justice.

And he strives to live simply, revamping his living arrangements and drawing together his family into an enriching lifestyle, primarily in Canada, a few months per year in Pakistan.

Dawud and his family reside seasonally between their homes in Canada and Pakistan.

Is Simple Living Simple?

"It is my opinion

that the popular catch phrase

Simple Living

should never

be taken as synonymous


Easy Living.

Dawud Wharnsby

Wharnsby Says

He Became "Dawud" Wharnsby in early 90s

Wharnsby completed his transition to life as a muslim in 1990s and adopted "Dawud" (Arabic for David) as his first name. He uses his gift with English language poetry and his music-making abilities to craft meaningful songs that transcend the generations. He has a propensity for writing memorable lyrics, pairing them with compelling rhythms, for children; hence he frequently performs for and engages with children's schools in workshops.

Dawud sat on the Soundvision creative team for more than six years before beginning his Enter Into Peace world-music label. He accompanies his voice with, in addition to the guitar - mandolin, banjo, bazouki, oud, bodhran, bongos, djembe, clarinet, tin whistles - with proficiency.

I am Just a Rock Super Music From Muslims like Dawud Wharnsby - can't help it - I love love love this

The Prophet's Hands

Prophet's Hands
Prophet's Hands

A delightful selection with a graceful melody.


Does Dawud Wharnsby Remind You of Yusuf Islam - songs and philosophy

Have you heard or read performances by Dawud Wharnsby?

English Language Nasheeds sung by Dawud Wharnsby for dua' and praise

Wharnsby attributed a dawning awakening on his part, that his ego overplayed his folk music intentions, to the impetus for his switch from the folk music stage, to his development of English language nasheeds.

He never claimed any ownership of the nasheed genre, recognizing it's ancient beginnings, but continues to express his growing knowledge of Qur'anic teachings, and their relationship with life on the contemporary scene.

A whole section of his music making has been directed towards children, both teaching and encouraging them.

The Crazy Spots I've Prayed - what can I say, it's like remembering marching around as a kid

Bismillah - Dawud Wharnsby's Super Music

The Opening / Bismillah
The Opening / Bismillah

Like all his nasheeds, I especially enjoy the captivating beats beneath the songs.



"Put all our pride away,

always find a gentle word to say,

you know we shouldn't be full of ourselves


we should be full of humility."

Dawud Wharnsby


Wings Against My Window - recalling the glory of dawn

Wings Against my Window - for-dua-and-praise

Wings Against My Window
Wings Against My Window

I find this spoken rhythm compellingly meditative.


Why are the Drums so Silent

Classical Daf Hand Drum & New Styled Daf - the old standard & the new lighter daf

Meinl Percussion FD20D-TF 20-Inch Daf With Synthetic Head, African Brown
Meinl Percussion FD20D-TF 20-Inch Daf With Synthetic Head, African Brown

Classical Persian frame drum has ring snares around the inside - played with a lot of movement. New style Daf to suit the modern player!

Enables the player to develop new techniques. The MEINL Daf comes with our great sounding and super-stable True Feel synthetic head.

Remo TA022100-313 Daf Drum
Remo TA022100-313 Daf Drum

Modernized version of the drum played in the Classical Sufi traditions produces rich tek tones and full bass tones while also featuring hundreds of shimmering chrome metal rings attached on the inner wall of the shell in interlocked sets of four rings.


Illustrated Instruction in Daf Playing - traditional accompaniment to nasheed

Amouzeshe Daf (Learning Daf)
Amouzeshe Daf (Learning Daf)

A daf (Persian) is a large-sized frame drum used to accompany both popular and classical music in Iran, Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kuhistoni Badakhshon of Tajikistan and other regions of the Middle East. The earliest evidence of the daf dates back to Sassanid Iran. This book contains many illustrations showing how to play the daf, including positioning and hand movements.

Persian Music: How to Play Daf (Volume 1)
Persian Music: How to Play Daf (Volume 1)

The daf is a type of large drum that is a common feature of Central Asian classical music. This book provides instruction with an emphasis on Persian classical music. The text is entirely in Persian (Farsi).


People of the Boxes - super-music-from-muslims-like-dawud-wharnsby - for dua' and praise

For Whom the Troubadour Sings - Words for Contemplation - super-music-from-muslims-like-dawud-wharnsby

For Whom the Troubadour Sings
For Whom the Troubadour Sings

"Wharnsby's message is substantive, and his vocals are compelling-similar in style to Peter Yarrow and Paul Simon."-Dallas Morning News

Dawud Wharnsby's unconventional approach to writing and religion challenges how we look at our lives and the world through which we all journey.

There was nothing more to say.

There was sun-snow as I drove away.

Back home was the only place to go,

and I did not know,

I would never see her after that day.

Canadian-born Dawud Wharnsby began writing poetry, composing music, and performing in his teens. Since then he has become a voice for socially conscious and spiritually minded individuals in the twenty-first century.


The Letter sung by Nadel Kahn - written and originally performed by Dawud Wharnsby

This reaches to the heart to unlock the purse of greed in the realization that all that we have is a trust from the Almighty.

The Qur'an, for Those Who are Inquisive

The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)
The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)

If you are like a friend of mine who thinks that an educated person in 2013 must want to learn, to read up on, one of the world's great Monotheistic religions, to get a realistic picture of the Qur'an's draw for singer-songwriter Dawud Wharnsby.


Don't Talk About Muhammad

Wharnsby sings nasheed in concert and closes by asking us to get along with our neighbors, and how can we do that if we don't listen!

The Colors of Islam - music-from-muslims-like-dawud-wharnsby

The Colors of Islam (Audio CD)
The Colors of Islam (Audio CD)

Feel the richness of the melody in the simple story lyrics in this abum by Dawud Wharnsby


First Time I Saw Rachel - in memory of Rachel Corrie

Eat & Live Simply - Eat & Live Well

I first heard of the Stevia plant's natural sweetening qualities, from researching about the singer. He had enjoyed a sweetened dish while staying with a friend in Asia. What he learned about the plant intrigued him and led to his actually growing the plant himself.

Using a natural sweetener, processed moderately, or merely bruised and immersed in a cup of hot tea, suited his burgeoning consciousness, that to live simply can be to live healthily. Wharnsby earnesty works to integrate his spiritual beliefs in living simply, and in incorporating unadulterated foods into his lifestyle.

In his 9/4/11 blog entry he elaborates on this meaning, using as an example a dinner visit to the home of an entrepreneur in richly natural foodstuffs, from research to distribution:

His entertaining host served up a traditional rice dessert (reminding me of the rice pudding of my childhood) and explained that only two tablespoons of stevia leaf sweetened the huge dish. He was struck by the contrast between a scant 2T and the alternative of a couple cups of processed bleached sugar, and Wharnsby related:

Though the stivia plant is not indigenous to south-eastern Asia, our visionary host explained to my wife and I how he had been given a few seeds by a friend ~ one of which germinated. Through cloning, his laboratory now grows the plants and he utilizes their sweet extract in many of his products.

Wharnsby's Blog

Stevia plant photo Ethel Aardvark

Kalima - Hadiqa Kiani & Dawud Wharnsby

Are You Familiar With Dawud Wharnsby's Music and Philosophy? Please Share

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