Aa'shiq-al-Rasul (AAR) – meaning ‘Lovers of the Prophet’ (SAW) – formed as a nasheed group in the summer of 1998. The core members of Amran Ellahi, Sheraz Yaqub, Kamran Ellahi and Tahir Khan hail from Birmingham, England and are classically trained singers who perform an impressive repertoire of traditional nasheeds or spiritually uplifting songs, in Arabic, Urdu and English.
Their debut album ‘Blessed Mustafa’ (1998) – from which this album takes its name – received great critical acclaim and was soon followed by ‘Divine Lights’ (1999), the group’s excellent rendition of the Asma ul-Husna, or Beautiful Names of God. ‘The Chosen One’ (2001) went on to further develop their distinctive sound – a combination of rousing, powerful vocals married to exciting live percussion – that was also a feature of their fourth release, ‘Lord of the Worlds’ (2003). Each album presented cover versions of traditional material mixed with tracks developed by the group.
These albums together with their stirring live performances helped cement their reputation as a unique nasheed group and brought forth many plaudits and invitations. AAR have performed in front of thousands, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, at some of the most prestigious venues and events including Glastonbury, the International Sufi Music festival, The Muslim Millennium Festival and Birmingham Symphony Hall. They have also worked and performed with renowned nasheed artists like Yusuf Islam – featuring on two of his compilation albums – Raihan, Sabri Brothers Qawwal, Arshad Mehmood, Khaleel Muhammad, Sami Yusuf, Mecca2Madina and Zain Bhikha. Yet it is worthy of note that alongside their high profile engagements the group members make time for groups and causes dear to them; hence they are renowned for their performances in aid of charities and the community plus their school visits and workshops.
The 2004 version of ‘Blessed Mustafa’ is a compilation of tracks from their first and third albums which are no longer available. Of the nine tracks selected by the group, three are new versions (the dual title tracks: Blessed Mustafa, English and Urdu versions, plus Ya Nabi Salaam Alayka); three have been re-mixed (Talama Ashku Gharami, Ya Rafi ash-Shaani and Ya Rabbi Bil Mustafa) and three are original. All the tracks have been digitally re-mastered.