The singing imam who sees music as a gift from God

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The singing imam who sees music as a gift from God

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It could be any Turkish pop video, but the music of the band FiRock is rather different because lead singer Ahmet Muhsin Tuzer is an Islamic imam.

A fan of iron Maiden, Pink Floyd and Metallica, he sees no contradiction in being a musician and a religious man, describing his music as a “meeting of your soul with God”.

“If the music you are creating is affecting people in a spiritually good way it might count as worshiping. That’s why the Sufi Mystic Rumi was advising people to listen to music and whirl with music. Whirling is a divine dance,” he said.

During a recording session at a studio in Istanbul Tuzer sings a traditional Islamic song. It dates back 1,400 years but he is mixing it with rock guitar and percussion beats.

He explained: “We want to show people in today’s world what Islam means. Islam is a global and very social religion that embraces, loves and respects all of humanity.”

In his day job as a village imam, Tuzer sings the call to prayer.

But while his followers are happy with his musical sideline, the religious authorities are less so.

Ahmet Celik is in charge of the mosques in the region. The Sunni Islamic scholar said they are investigating: “It is not about his art but his official duties. He is an official and he gave a concert. We are investigating if he’s got the necessary permissions or not, as well to find out if he had financial benefits or not.”

Following the success of single Mevlana Gel on YouTube, FiRock’s first album Time of Change is set to be released soon in Turkey and the band is also preparing for a tour in the United States.

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