An Islamic Nasheed artist has made history by reaching number six in the official iTunes UK chart with an album called ‘Allah and his Beloved'.

Omar Esa was born in Essex and moved to London as a child and surprisingly, had no interest in music whatsoever while growing up.

He said: “I only loved football and dropped out of school. My family sent me to America where my father owned a few shops so I could make something of my life.

“After coming back from the U.S I became interested in music after watching the X Factor. My friends encouraged me and complimented my singing skills. I was faced with the question of what to do with my life so I searched for an instructor online.

“I eventually went to a singing class and impressed everyone with my abilities. They asked me where I had learned about controlling the pitch and tone of my voice. I told them I had only started to sing recently. The instructors were amazed.

“I bought a guitar for £30 and started to attend college and progressed onto a degree in music and media. Influential DJs recognised me and I was played on the radio including on BBC 1 Extra. I soon became a Pop/ RnB singer.

“At this point I began to read the Quran and the biography of Prophet Muhammad (s). As a result I experienced a paradigm shift and my outlook on life changed. In 2011 I left music completely for Islamic reasons. I got rid of all my musical instruments and my large music collection.

“My friend introduced me to Nasheeds which are vocal-only Islamic songs. I sang my first Nasheed in late 2011.”

His new journey began with a simple dream, to show the world the beauty of Islam through singing Nasheeds.

Omar added: “Since leaving mainstream music I have been tempted to return to it many times, but Allah gave me the strength to resist. My life is Islam and I am completely independent. I write all the English lyrics of my songs but use Urdu and Arabic lyrics too. I sing and compose all my own material.”

He is completely self financed but makes money from performances and album sales.

His latest album has 15 songs. He hopes everyone will identify with the lyrics in their own way.

“I wish that my songs will allow for people to connect with Allah and his Prophet (s).”

Fame and fortune has not changed him, although he has been known for Nasheeds for a long time but in the past few days he has been able to compete with heavyweight musicians and hold his own with his alternative brand of entertainment. He says he is the same person he was before becoming famous.

He added: “My motivation is to provide Muslims with a Halaal substitute to music which can also be enjoyed. The tracks are upbeat and motivational and spiritual.

“I have worked hard for this success and with the help of Allah I will become bigger and better. No other Nasheed artist has been able to do so well in the iTunes chart. The national UK chart will be revealed on Thursday so we are all praying for more good news.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am right now, Taylor Swift is number one, we are coming for you Taylor. I’m over the moon. I’m so emotional right now.”

Majority of his fans are Muslims but he gets many messages from non-Muslims who praise his lyrics and his voice.

He plans to launch a children’s animation platform called ‘Alif Baa Taa Kids’ to show Islamic cartoons. He advises the younger generation that as Muslims, “you will always come back to Islam.”

He strongly believes that Muslims and especially the youth need an alternative to mainstream music.

He has coined the phrase: “Anything music can do, so can the voice - my voice is my instrument.”

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