Junaid Jamshed and the “Born Again Muslim” Phenomenon

junaid-jamshed-singing-dil-dil-pakistan-at-maria-wasti-showBy Raza Habib Raja.

Junaid Jamshed’s untimely death has saddened us all but at the same time also revealed deep schisms in our society. Many are mourning the singer Junaid Jamshed and among them  some are also explicitly mentioning that they do not approve of his misogynist and regressive comments, he made when he turned religious. Many on the other hand are mourning the religious Junaid Jamshed and applauding his decision to quit music and dedicate his life to preaching.

Personally I belong to the first type. I grew up loving Junaid Jamshed’s music but it was hard for me to like him when he turned preacher. I don’t have anything against people who turn religious but the kind of views Junaid started to air were extremely regressive and misogynist.

His drastic transformation is something which is worth examining. He was what is called “a born again Muslim”. This type is an interesting type which rediscovers religiosity at a later stage in life. Nothing wrong with becoming religious as for many religion is a way to find inner calm and some people become kinder and better when they become religious. However, what I have noticed about many “born again” types, is that when they become religious they often become extremely conservative as well.

One of my close friends also recently has become more religious and with that he has started to espouse extremely conservative views. Before his transformation, he used to be fairly secular in his general way of living. As I have mentioned earlier that nothing wrong with becoming religious as it is one’s connection to God and some  people become better humans when they find that connection to God.

However, his transformation is quite radical. He has started supporting a beard and made his wife (who till then had been a fairly moderate and outgoing person) wear the hijab. Since she has practically disappeared from sight there is no way for me to know whether she was forced to take it or she also shares his new found conviction.

But supporting a beard and donning a hijab are still personal choice (though the latter can be forced), the real and worrisome change has started to come into his general outlook. He is increasingly voicing misogynist views and now firmly believes that women’s place is in the home and they are subservient to men. He has started to vehemently criticize the entertainment industry and thinks that music is forbidden in Islam. He often gets into violent arguments whenever the topic of Islamic fundamentalism comes up and thinks that most of it has either been orchestrated by foreign powers to “malign” Islam or is the reaction to their “atrocities”. Naturally he has become virulently anti-USA, Israel and India.

Moreover, he has become extremely critical of the way Muslims generally practice Islam. Whereas previously he was largely indifferent with respect to the way Muslims practiced their faith, now he is extremely observant and always judging various sects and their practices negatively. He thinks that Ahmedis (a sect within Islam) are heretics and Shiites are not “true” Muslims.

It is the development of these symptoms which are worrisome. Why these born again types often start espousing extremely conservative and even regressive views? Why can’t their religiosity be of kinder and mild sort?

Late Junaid Jamshed’s some of the views were also unfortunately very conservative and even regressive. Once he made a condition to appear in a talk show that the  female anchor and all the women in the audience wore Hijab. Just to make him appear in the show, the anchor and all the females sitting in the audience had to wear hijab!

Subsequently Mr. Junaid Jamshed was once again in the news for stating that women should not drive. Then again he caused an uproar by saying that God did not like women’s name to be mentioned in the Holy Quran and therefore they are not mentioned in it.

It was these views which disgusted many moderates and liberals, who today at his death are only trying to remember his pre-transformation days.

The central question is that what makes this type so conservative? I think that  “rebirth” often comes out of personal conviction, the level of commitment to religion is quite strong. Secondly and perhaps more importantly there is also a desire in them to actually prove HOW MUCH they have changed. This often results in overcompensation for their earlier “misdeeds.”

Moreover, they become extremely expressive to make sure that others find out the extent of their transformation. They develop the tendency to wear religion on their sleeves and conduct efforts to convince others of their beliefs.

They often become too vocal and at times turn into preachers. In the case of famous individuals, the desire to spread this newfound conviction is augmented by their fame which ensures a considerable media coverage and sizable captive audience. Their impact is often considerable and some impressionable youngsters get really fascinated by their “amazing” transformations. Some even end up emulating their examples.

I personally think that this is a serious matter because becoming religious should not essentially lead to these kind of transformation which are regressive in nature.

  • AA_Southpaw

    Only one woman is mentioned in the Quran by name i.e. Maryam(as).

    Not several.

  • RHR

    Thanks for the correction. I will amend it

  • Purushottam Kulkarni

    He must have listened to zakir naik ‘s sermons.such people are brainwashed by hardliners and use them.

  • k_rash

    A very good article and agree with the sentiments expressed in it.

    One good thing to explore in a future article would be what is missing in a person’s previous lifestyle that drives them to be born-again and if that shortcoming can be addressed in a manner that doesn’t lead to regressive and misogynist behavior.

    Also, a small nitpick,
    “he used to be fairly secular in his general way of living”
    It is this loose use of the word ‘secular’ (and also ‘liberal’) that associates it with a certain lifestyle that undermines its true political meaning.

  • Nuree

    Problem is not only Junaid Jamshed or some Mullahs. Problem is all over the world and most of these problem creators are not Mullahs, they are normal Muslims.
    This problem will continue to grow until and unless the genuine liberal Muslims don’t target the source.

    US Filmmaker Flies to Sweden to Interview Muslim “Refugees” in “no-go” zones – Gets Punched, Kicked, Choked.


  • RHR

    k-rash what I meant was that before that his life was not guided by religious beliefs. So the word secular here is used not in political sense but in terms of personal conduct. But I think I should have used some other word

  • Nuree

    Egypt: Muslim woman in rejoices at the terrorist attack on St. Marks Cathedral in #Cairo. 25 dead.

    This has nothing to do Junaid Jamshed or any hate spewing Mullahs. Problem is the ideology.
    Attack the source from where this hateful ideology has emerged.

  • Nuree
  • Asadi

    Septic tanky khotay, I see you still pen crap. How is your sorry attempt at getting a PhD by wiping the asses of the imperialists going? Update please.

  • Nuree

    Genesis 2.17 God tells Adam, not Eve, not to eat from the tree. Eve wasn’t even created then.

    Genesis 3.12 However, when questioned by God, Adam blamed Eve and denied liability.

    And so it began ……… Religion, man made for men.

  • Kamath

    there is saying which says,’ a covert or in the new context is more catholic than pope himself.; These new born Muslims are really formidable stuff! Pakistan has to put up with these chaps,

  • Nuree

    Looks like Pakistan is going to create history not in Kashmir but in Australia.

  • Nuree

    This is not the first time that Pakistan has failed outside their home country. They have been failing in J&K too since 1947.

  • Nuree

    PIA goes for goat sacrifice before take off to counter black magic. Better pilot training could have actually helped.


  • Nuree

    #FLASH: #BerlinAttack German Christmas Market suspect is a 23 year old from Pakistan: German Newspaper Bild

  • Kamath

    Your info. is wrong. The suspect is a N. African!

  • Studebaker

    African, Pakistani or American, in almost every case it is a Muslim.

  • Harun

    Hindu girl snatched away, converted to Islam and married as payment for a family debt


  • Harun

    The Chinese government has destroyed thousands of mosques over the past three months in the restive Xinjiang region in Beijing’s latest attempt to “rectify” the largely Muslim population there, RFA’s Uyghur Service has learned.

    Under the “Mosque Rectification” campaign launched by the Chinese Central Ethnic-Religious Affairs Department and overseen by the local police, the mosques were demolished as a way to sort out dilapidated buildings that allegedly posed a safety threat for worshippers in the Uyghur Autonomous Region, officials told RFA.

    “Convincing the people that one of the purposes for demolishing the mosques was for the safety of the worshipers was a bit difficult,” said Eysajan Yaqup, a police officer in Toqquzaq township. “Some of them laughed at us when we explained the purpose, and some of them stared at us to show their disagreement.”

    Eysajan Yaqup said he and other officials ignored the laughter and the stares and “most of the prayers were silenced.”

    “We successfully completed our duty within three months,” he said.

    China estimates that it is home to 23 million Muslims, although some independent sources claim as many as 50 million Muslims live in the country.

    Beijing blames Uyghur extremists for a string of violent attacks and clashes in recent years. But critics say the government has exaggerated the threat from the Uyghurs, and that repressive domestic policies are responsible for violence that has left hundreds dead since 2009.

    China has vowed to crack down on what it calls religious extremism in Xinjiang, and regularly conducts “strike hard” campaigns that include random, nighttime police raids on Uyghur households, restrictions on Islamic practices, and curbs on the culture and language of the Uyghur people, including clothing and personal appearance.