This 2001 CD compilation introduced eight ground-breaking English language nasheed written and sung by talented Muslim artists from across North America. "Light Upon Light" was the first compilation of modern music, based on traditional "nasheed" style, to be released internationally. Featuring the Rhythm & Blues styles of Frederick Qasim Khan (Cleveland, Ohio), Irfan Makki (Toronto, Ontario), and Mehrajudeen Khan (Jacksonville, Florida) alongside touching poetry songs written by Jennifer Zaghloul & Asifa Sheikh (Toronto, Canada), Shireen Patel (Ajax, Canada) and Jawad Jafry (Toronto, Canada), the "Light Upon Light" compilation paved a way into the twenty-first century for budding Muslim artists and record labels.
"The songs are up-beat, heavy in rhythm and hold a very strong `inner-city' feel." said Dawud Wharnsby (the project's producer) at the time of its initial release. "They might not appeal to everyone because they truly represent a cross section of the North-American Muslim youth culture. For too long we have given our youth the impression that songs in Arabic and Urdu with heavy percussion and loud vocals are religiously lawful, but similar forms of expression in English are dogmatically forbidden. This type of double standard is simply not founded in authentic traditions of the Prophet Muhammad or in Islamic history. These new artists have taken an uplifting and socially aware approach to their lyrics, mixing in elements of melodic urgency and seriousness. The material reflects the great concerns and confusion evident in the minds of our Muslim youth here in major cities like New York, Toronto, L.A. and Chicago. They want answers to questions like - `who am I REALLY?',`Where do I belong and fit in?', `What is MY culture?' and `What is my faith?'. These spiritual songs address those sorts of valuable questions."
Dawud Wharnsby who began scouting North America for new and raw talent in the late 1990's, also says of "Light Upon Light", "So many young Muslim artists have been sending their material into me for so long. It is amazing to see so much creative passion and wisdom within our world's youth which is virtually untapped. My colleagues and I just knew we had to gather some of that energy and funnel it back to the kids and youth who are really in need of some inspiration and hope. We have produced this recording with great attention towards the traditional approach to nasheed, utilizing only vocals and percussion. Granted the recording does not have a traditional `Arabic' or `Asian' feel, but after all, Islam is not a religion for a certain culture - it is a way of life for ALL cultures. We are nations and tribes - let's get to know one another as the Qur'an teaches!"
Dawud Wharnsby sings two songs on the recording and provides some backing vocals to certain selections.