100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40
Sun 19 Apr 2015 05:23 AM
Maher Zain

Maher Zain

Industry: Culture and society

Designation: Islamic music star

Country: Sweden (Lebanon)

Citizenship: @MaherZain

Age: 33

With 23.5 million Facebook fans, there is no disputing the global popularity of Islamic musician Maher Zain. In only six years since releasing his first album, the R&B singer has amassed a following from Morocco to Malaysia.

Zain, whose family emigrated to Sweden when he was just eight, entered the music industry as a producer working alongside Grammy award-winning music executive RedOne, famous for his work with the likes of Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Lopez.

But in 2009 he returned to his Islamic roots and focused on writing and singing his own contemporary R&B music with a strong Muslim influence. His first album, ‘Thank You Allah’, was released on November 1, 2009, by Awakening Records. It became the highest-selling album of 2010 in Malaysia and went multi-platinum in Malaysia and Indonesia, where he has had his biggest successes.  His second album ‘Forgive Me’ released in April, 2012, also went multi-platinum in Malaysia.

Zain sings mainly in English but has released some of his most popular songs in languages such as French, Arabic, Turkish, Malay and Indonesian.

He also supports UNHCR — the UN Refugee Agency and last year visited Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, where he performed a concert.