Digging The Rights of Islamic Treasure!

We brought to readers once, but now looking at this as serious matter regarding the copyright claims can easily made by almost anybody, we seeks for more Muslim to understand what is the issue for our future adzan, Quran recitations, zikrs melodies, sholawat, mawlids, etc. that been recorded and streamed within the technologies of today and next.

  1. In the past, there were many Islamic scholars and the Sufis had created zikir songs, spoken melodies or phrases, dua munajat, sholawat, nasyid and qasidah in their learning methods which are still in use, renewed and used throughout the ages. These include the azan and iqamah and recitation of the Quran, there are many styles of tarannum created or traditionally created and reinvented or redo.
  2. At that time of period, almost all of them don’t care about the Intellectual Property as they created that for the sake of fisabilillah for dakwah and ummah education.
  3. But currently it’s a law of the worldwide that every content has to be codes, to be known who the creators and whois the publisher also performers, producers, etc . Since it has been used by many of Muslim performers and producers (and by non-Muslim producers, labels and recording companies too), we don’t know who is claiming these copyrights, and where the royalties collection went to!

We can see some of the Islamic content which refers to the above had already been claimed or been announced by many parties that claims they are the legal owners of the contents, especially in Youtube, Spotify, etc. Do we as Muslims creative content industry players has to keep silent of this matters? Hoping that anybody or any Collective Management of Copyright to solve this matter?

To recouped this issue, IslamicTunes has made a try to alert all the Muslim’s industry players. But this move can’t be done by a single group. It has to be a collective efforts with the support of Muslim’s celebrities and governments leaders. The main issues is the silences of us or maybe having no awareness about this matter!

Flashback: This article was first published on LinkedIn by Rosli Sabtu, who was IslamicTunes’ Business Consultant based on our thought!

Till today, I’m wondering who composed the melody of this song (nasyeed), Tala‘ al-Badru ‘Alaynā , a traditional Islamic poem that the Ansar (residents of Madinah) sang for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) upon his arrival at Medina. The song is currently over 1450 years old, and one of the oldest in the Islamic culture.

Many sources claim it was first sung as he sought refuge there after being forced to leave his hometown of Mecca. Some others, disagree by saying the second line reads “From the valley of Wada”, the valley of Wada was the place where people would walk with their loved ones who were travelling and say goodbye. It is located north of Medina and Mecca is south and the Prophet arrived at Quba which is south, so it is geographically impossible that it was sung at the Hijrah.  (refer to the song, Tala‘ al-Badru ‘Alaynā  that you can easily view in youtube or the other streaming hubs available),

Put aside the difference of view about where or when was this song performed or presented. Back then and even today, it’s as usual, Khilaf, debate, disagree etc. Do we have nothing better to do? My only concern is who composed the melody. Referring to the poetic words, we can classify it as a poem. As a poem it can be recite or by singing with melody. Who can authenticate how it was presented?  The alternative opinion mainly put forth by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani is that it was sung for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) upon his arrival at Medina, to welcome him after completing the Battle of Tabuk. Therefore, if it is sung, I will classify it as a song.

As a song, obviously there is melody. And if there is melody, it must have been inspired and composed by somebody individually or collaborate with someone else or more.  Not like the back days, as a content creator, one should know or realize the existents of what was termed as intellectual property. With the vast development of digital technology, intellectual properties in the form of creative works of arts such as songs, designs and visual productions are being monetized as copyrights. It’s not anymore the absolute physical world where revenues are calculated according to the quantity of physical selling. There are other means of income,  in the virtual market.

More questions!  Is there anybody claiming the proceeds of the song that I mentioned earlier?  If so, who and on what basis do they have the rights to claim for it. Are they entitled to do so? It is said that there are activities of claiming upon this song.

This is just one example. There are lots more. To name some the selawat, qasidah, marhabban, zikir and many more that are hummed in a form of song, with the traditional classical melody. Like I’ve said, if there’s melody there must be a composer.  These songs are being performed and practice throughout the ages, from generation to generation with the original melodies.

Most probably, to do research, to find and to identify the true melody creators of those historical art pieces is a Mission Impossible.  It will be like finding an antique jewel size of a grain in the Pacific Ocean. Or even worst, there are no traces or trails that could lead to what’s we’re looking for. The possibility of success is like one to infinity.  For a while, I thought this is like a treasure hunt, a priceless treasure that belongs to the Islamic society. Wallahualam. Anyway, nothing is impossible. If Allah wills it, everything is in His power.

In the case if the true composers is nowhere to be identified, where should the proceeds in the form of royalty be streamed to? What if, it should be privileged to the Muslims, specifically for the arts and ideas community?  Just a spontaneous thought, can we consider it as waqaf. May Allah grant His blessings upon them. Back to the claiming issue, we heard, it’s plentiful and a lot of money.  Just imagine what we can do with it. What I can think of right now is the development and enhancement of the Islamic arts and contents activities. You might also have some good ideas. But, who’s going to manage and monitor it? It’s another problem! We’ll think about it later.

We, at the Islamictunes (take a browse at www.islamictunes.net) are putting in efforts to search for the unidentified and undiscovered Islamic arts materials, focusing on songs and music and planning to organized talks and discussions pertaining to the matters. But before that, we have to gather as much information as we could get to have enough materials and topics to talk about. LOL. It’s not an easy mission. These are works of historians, archeologist or surely can be done by big boys like The National Geography. We need collaborations and support in various forms. To whomever that comes across this outburst of mind, you can contribute by sharing informations, discoveries or even thesis and studies. Then only we can set our strategies to begin the journey of discoveries.

Above of all, that is not the main intention. Especially as a Muslim content maker, it must not totally be about money, profits and revenues. Sincerity and nawaitu because of Allah is placed at the plateau of every deed. But, we must also not just ignore the facts. We should be more motivated and not left out or disclaimed.  We must be aggressively pro-active about what is the going-ons in the contents and art industry. Islamic concept creative works can be the propagator of good teachings. So, we need to continue producing and publishing more works of these elements.  To achieve this, we need to be more knowledgeable about the yields and ways of claiming the fruits.  It’s just simple economy of arts and arts for economy.  Don’t waste our saliva just to be rigid and punitive about things that are not so damaging.  Contents maker and especially here, the Muslims, must know their rights!

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