[b]Sami Yusuf, largely unknown to the Western world, is dubbed ‘Islam’s Biggest Rock Star’ by Time magazine.[/b]
He was born in Tehran but grew up in London in a family of musicians and started composing music at a very young age. He later studied classical oriental music in London, alongside renowned composers and musicians including composers from the Royal Academy of Music in London, which is one of the world’s most prestigious music institutions. He has also studied Islam and Arabic from Al-Azhar University in
Egypt and is able to sing in Urdu, Arabic, English, Turkish and Persian.
His music deals with social, humanitarian and religious issues. Having sold one million copies of his first album and four million copies of his second album, he is now preparing for the release of his third album in 2008. He has performed in the UK, United States, Canada, Saudia Arabia, Germany, Egypt, France, Sweden, Turkey, Syria, Yemen, Morocco and many other countries.
The Revival has chosen Sami Yusuf for the Revival Personality of 2007 because he is a practicing Muslim who through his music promotes the message of Islam and encourages the youth to be proud of their religion and identity. His songs also offer a cool and Halaal alternative to the Muslim world.
His recent concert in Wembly which was organised to help the victims of the Darfur crisis gathered more than 10,000 Muslims in the arena. Unlike a lot of other Muslims around the world, Sami Yusuf didn’t just think about the victims from the comfort of his own home, but he was part of a Foreign Office-backed Muslim delegation and travelled to Darfur to talk to victims of the violence, refugees, tribal leaders and government officials. According to the Guardian, at least £40,000 was raised in just five minutes!
This sell-out event was the rst of its kind to ever take place at the venue and drew artists and fans from all around the world. However, Sami Yusuf doesn’t let all his fame get to his head – the Muslim pop scene's biggest star has often spoken about how uncomfortable he feels with hero worship and adulation and describes it as un-Islamic.
He is often criticised by Muslims who perceive his music and concerts as ‘un-Islamic’ however, he remains unfazed by all these attacks and gets on with what he does best. He has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for oppressed Muslims all over the world, he presents a positive image of Islam and Muslims to the Western World, he’s a practising Muslim who doesn’t let negative comments faze him and he remains down to Earth despite having released smash hit albums which have sold millions of copies all over the world. So this is why Sami Yusuf gets our award for The Revival Personality of 2007!