Melodies of Hope: Arab Christian Band Pays Tribute to the Heritage of Jordanian Hymns - Word&Way

Melodies of Hope: Arab Christian Band Pays Tribute to the Heritage of Jordanian Hymns

In a beautiful and important gesture, the Alhan Al Raja (Melodies of Hope), a Jordanian Christian worship band based in Amman since 1991, revived a collection of Arabic Christian hymns written and composed by Jordanian songwriters in the middle of the 20th century.

Daoud Kuttab

Rand Haddadin, the Christian band’s leader, said that the project’s idea started in early 2023 as the band was thinking about future plans. “It had always been on our hearts to revive timeless Jordanian hymns that have blessed not only the Church in Jordan but also the Arab Churches and Christians in the Arab world and the diaspora.”

“We realized that these songs are not known by today’s generation, and therefore, we felt the burden and responsibility as an Arab Christian band to produce these old hymns so the old generation can reminisce them and the new generation learn and sing them.” Criteria for choosing the hymns that will be included in the program focused on unrecorded hymns that are not available on YouTube and social media channels and songs that were written and composed before the beginning of the third millennium.”

The research resulted in many hymns that have passed the test of time, as Rand Haddadin says. When planning the program, 15 hymns were chosen, mostly composed by the late Pastor Fawwaz Omeish, the engineer Pastor Suhail Madanat, and the poet Samir Shomali.

The program took a year of practice, which included music and vocal arrangement, and musicians and vocals/harmony training. A huge audience showed up to the concert last April in the hall of Terra Sancta College in Amman. The event was attended by Dr. Nabil Costa from Lebanon, who explained to the audience the importance and powerful effect that Jordanian hymns have had on believers in Lebanon, other Arab countries, and the world throughout the past 70 years. Also arriving in Amman from the U.S. were the sisters Lily and Samia Constantine, who are hymn writers and composers too.

A concert in Terra Sancta College auditorium (photo courtesy of Alhan Al Raja)

Rev. Suhail Madanat spoke about the story of a hymn that has become popular in many countries because it talks about living away from home. The song, “At Peace Whether at Home or Abroad,” was composed by Madanat while he was working away from his home in Jordan as an engineer with the Dar Al-Handasa firm in Yemen.

Later in May, the concert was repeated at the Amman Baptist Church, which is the church founded and pastored by the late Fawwaz Omeish. The initiative was well received by the members of the church and guests who came specially to enjoy those hymns that reflect the Jordanian Christian Evangelical heritage from the last century.

Salam, son of the late Fawwaz Omeish, said that the family was happy with the idea of reviving and teaching the new generation Pastor Fawwaz’s hymns. “What distinguishes my father’s hymns is that they are written in a simple and folk style that is easy to memorize while having a clear Biblical message.”

Salam Omeish, who is also a composer and musician in the Amman Baptist Church, says that the hymns of his father who founded the Amman Baptist Church are written in a correct poetic manner. “My dad also translated many hymns to Arabic, in addition to writing and composing original songs; he was knowledgeable of the poetic weight and the poetic perspectives, as he was composing the hymns. Although they were simple, he was composing true poetry.” Salam Omeish also said that his dad insisted on always accompanying the musical notes to the songs so that any pianist would have no problem playing the correct tune to those songs.

Salam narrates that his father encouraged the local and Arab churches to make use of the new hymns. When he was invited to preach, he would begin his sermon by teaching the church a new hymn, and thus the hymns spread in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine, and later among the Arab communities in the West.

A concert in Amman Baptist Church (photo courtesy of Alhan Al Raja)

Melodies of Hope Band consists of 20 singers and musicians. They depend on self-financing as well as on the support of some local churches. The Band felt a fervent desire to revive the original Jordanian Christian hymns and make them available to the current and future generations in addition to singing these songs in churches in Jordan and abroad.

The Christian band not only performed concerts but made sure to produce and film this heritage of songs in a high-quality way, thus assuring this project was digitalized for generations to come. The hymns will be posted on the Band’s YouTube channel and social media platforms starting next week.

Singing these timeless hymns again, in a professional and contemporary style, has been well received by the Christian locals and has made Christians proud of their hymnal heritage. The Band prays that the impact and beautiful spiritual journey of the past may be a blessing to today’s generation and an incentive to others to write new hymns. Worshiping and singing those oldies have given inspiration and encouragement to many Christians who see in them God’s glory manifest in the church and the timeless message of the Lord Jesus for all ages and to all generations.


Daoud Kuttab is a member of the Amman Baptist Church. He is the publisher of (Salt of the Earth) a website dedicated to Christians in Jordan and Palestine.