If there’s one YouTube channel that has had students on chokehold since the mid-2010s, it’s going to have to be Lofi Girl. The 24/7 stream developed by French musician Dmitri depicts a young girl studying on a desk on repeat, and has sponsored more work sessions than one can count. With a total amount of views well above a billion, the channel simultaneously gathered a daunting community of 12 million disciples over the course of its eight years of existence. Considered as the ultimate go-to spot to relax, focus, or simply soothe you through your daily tasks, these anime-themed videos have rocked an entire generation that is now almost hooked to this once-niche-now-mainstream kind of content online.
For those that might have missed out on one the biggest trends of the last decade or so, although we really doubt it, in essence, Lo-fi music is a blend of several different genres, ranging from hip hop to jazz and dream pop, that come together to create a unique and relaxed vibe. Perfect for any laid-back situation you might find yourself in, artists often draw inspiration from 1990s hip-hop and boom bap, using soulful samples taken from vintage jazz records to make every listener’s head bop to each beat switch or drop.
Since its inception, hundreds of iterations have come to surface, with each one bringing a new edge to the genre. Some creators will re-engineer entire discographies of certain artists for them to fit the Lo-fi mould while others will take things even further by opening entire new pockets within the already-considered pocket of music. And there’s one lately that has managed to catch our attention just in time for Ramadan.
It’s another Thursday evening, you’re at home preparing to hand in your next paper or exam but you’re struggling to focus and need a boost of luck to pass your class. Lo-fi sure does help, and so does praying—now imagine having a 2-in-1 combo of both. Enter: Lo-fi Quran, and it’s everything you think it is.
Take that same girl you usually see studying on her desk on traditional Lo-fi channels, the same pink-hued background, and dress her in modest clothing and, replace the soundtrack of chilled-out beats with Quran recitations that were specifically made to help you de-stress and calm you down.
Trending on the platform for about a year now, you can credit Brakanation for its popularity. Boasting the biggest channel out of them all, with around 200K followers, each video averages anywhere between 100K views and one million, if not more. It’s literally the same formula as usual but this time make it Muslim. And there’s just as many kinds of them that you can think of. Some have rain sounds in the background, some add instrumentals behind, while others bring new ways of recitation to the table.
It’s worth noting that according to certain interpretations of Islamic texts, music is considered to be haram, or forbidden, and for those who may have doubts about whether music is allowed or not, incorporating Quran recitations into their study routine, especially during Ramadan, can help keep their sin count as low as possible.
It’s both intriguing and captivating to witness the various ways the Muslim community is adapting to present-day culture and technology. Despite some criticisms claiming that this genre is haram or too bold compared to traditional approaches to faith, the comment sections under each video prove otherwise. Muslims and non-Muslims alike have been leaving positive comments about how calming it is to listen to these recitations and how it has a significant positive impact on their mental health. Many have also claimed that listening to these specific Quran recitations has helped them get closer to spirituality and religion— something that many people, especially the younger generation, seem to struggle with these days.
If we’re being totally honest, we believe that incorporating Quran recitations into pop culture is a cool concept. It brings a fresh perspective to a timeless tradition and practice. The popularity of Brakanation and other similar platforms shows how embracing modernity won’t affect anyone’s beliefs negatively and if anything, will trigger positive change in their behaviors and habits.
Far from compromising the core values of Islam, it’s essential to keep exploring new avenues to keep our faith relevant and accessible to people from all walks of life. The Quran is a source of guidance and wisdom, and if listening to its recitations in a modern setting can help people find peace and comfort, then it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.