Mixed responses from fans to Massoud and Cairokee's Amir Eid single

Ahram Online , Wednesday 2 Nov 2016

ya rehla
Moez Masoud and Amir Eid in the music video of Ya Rehla, a new single (Photo: Still from the video)

The recently released video clip of a new song titled Ya Rehla (O'Journey), a collaborative effort between Egyptian liberal religious scholar Moez Massoud and popular Cairokee's frontman Amir Eid, has been met by mixed responses from fans.

Some viewers said the video contradicted what both Massoud and Eid stand for, expressing their displeasure on social media and in comments on Massoud's official YouTube channel.

One of the commenters on Facebook wrote "I can't believe a Daaia (Islamic preacher) who is talking about religion one day, and the next is singing and writing film scenarios, regardless of the type of content... Either be a preacher or an artist, but mixing both is unacceptable."

Another wrote "this song will be the downfall of your respected place with many people."

Some claimed Massoud's singing violated what they described as "Islam's proscription of singing as sacrilegious."

Others, however, wrote more positively saying the song is "a creative and inspiring work of art, it addresses an important segment of youth in our society, and tackles a subject rarely expressed in art in a classy way. God bless you for every person you've saved from doubts and questioning, and through your shows as well."

Another commenter said "the song is very clear and doesn't have anything shameful, or anything that deserves this amount of negative criticism. You don't have the right to be judging people...A great work and good luck [to the song's creators]."

The song's lyrics were written by both Eid and Massoud.

Existential questions on society and religion are the central subjects of the song and video, which features Massoud himself singing and playing the guitar.

The video begins with text by Massoud that reads "I dedicate this song to every human being who sought to think freely, yet was impeded by dogmatic extremists, in the name of either religion or atheism."

The video features a number of people holding signs with many common existential questions, before centering on a young boy trying to come to terms with these questions as they become overwhelming.

Moez Massoud is an Egyptian scholar and international producer who focuses on existential questions, challenges to global co-existence, and identity in the modern world.

Massoud produced the Egyptian film Clash (2016). He also produced and hosted a number of television programmes, such as Khotowat El-Shaytan (Steps of the Devil, 2014).

Massoud's work on harmonising the core spiritual philosophies of Islam with modernity and contemporary life has garnered a wide following among youth.

The Economist has previously described Massoud as one of the five most influential public presenters of the Islamic tradition in the world.

Massoud graduated from the American University in Cairo. He  has studied Islamic Theology and Sciences. He is a fellow of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought . He is also a research affiliate with the Psychology and Religion Research Group at the University of Cambridge, from where he holds an MPhil degree, and is currently pursuing a PhD.

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