Islam religion: Is Music HARAM (Forbidden) Really?
Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Is Music HARAM (Forbidden) Really?

If the effect of music on feelings must indeed be an important need for the soul, the recitation of the Noble Quran serves that need in a much more dignified way.

Our religion has an exceptionally good view in any case, in discovering the hidden dangers which might be inherent in the sweetest and most pleasurable things. Indeed, a heavenly religion should lead to the truths which are unattainable by man himself, as this is expected in the guiding nature of the religion.

Firstly, music is a useless activity which in fact, is a state of passiveness. As we will explain in another article about gambling, the fact that such an inactivity, which is inherent in those so called professions, did not escape the attention of our religion.

Secondly, the benefit and pleasure taken from music involves a meaning of deep slavery in passion.

Since Islam is the only enemy of passiveness and slavery in passion, an important duty of Islam is to search their traces in unexpected hide-outs.

Although it might be difficult for some to realize the fact that music has a sense of passiveness, those with a subtle mind would not hesitate to accept it, as it is not possible to imagine another worldly benefit of music. As for this world, it is useless as in the idiom of "no good for stomach" [1]

One should not ask hastily: how could this be claimed while there are many singers, instrument players in the West, for example, making a living or even a fortune?

To make a living would not be proper unless it is done in a way which does not harm human dignity since it would not be at ease with conscience otherwise.

(One may think) that we are roaming from one bizarre opinion to another: Where on earth is the harm to human dignity in this?

Again, one should not be hasty. The acts of pure entertainment are considered low-level professions in the eyes of unpolluted human nature. You should not take seriously the applause and respect and perhaps requests given to the famous of these kinds of artists.

Those who pay respects and make requests do not mind doing so, since they do it, in a way, taking away a crumb of honour from the artist, by hiding this loss from him. Likewise, a lot of respect is usually paid to some ladies in order to take sexual advantage of them.

From such an entertainment point of view, it shows a quite bizarre mentality of some parents who are proud of having taught their daughters how to play an instrument. It is also bizarre to see some people wishing to marry a girl with musical training, in an attempt to imitate Western civilization which, they think, gives the utmost importance to the respect of woman.

It might be said that being able to play an instrument is not a shame for a woman as it is her natural duty to make her husband happy with her company. However, such an objection is not valid because happiness and enjoying each other's company in a marriage is a mutual benefit. Then, one can imagine how bizarre and ridiculous it would be for a man to say he is lacking the qualities for marriage just because he does not know how to play an instrument!

Compared to singers and instrument players, although composers look, to some extent, free of the hidden disgrace explained above, the art of composing could not get rid of the pros and cons of singing or playing as they depend on each other. Also, while the waves of pride and dignity rise in teaching knowledge, as opposed to an atmosphere of of frivolity spreading from the classes of composers. Of course, we all appreciate the meaning of "playing music after forty years of age"[2]

That is why it would be quite offensive to ask a man of high rank in a government to sing a song no matter how good it is as it would be an affront to his dignity. As opposed to this, teaching knowledge regardless of rank is considered a means of increasing honour and pride.

An attempt to cover up the problem above, by claiming that a composer can concentrate on teaching music without having to put himself in a frivolous and disgraceful position by shouting or singing before students would, in fact, mean to admit our claim, let alone being an argument against it.

All these problems we have tried to expose above are about those who make a living through music. As for those who see it as a hobby, playing only for friends, the passiveness and the waste of time for both player and listeners are pretty obvious, not needing a special attempt to expose it.

During listening to music, people would not be doing anything for the good of humanity. They would cause, instead, a lot of money to change hands. And, in return for the money, what do these people get? Nothing! Consider this: Suppose a shoemaker sells you a shoe. And you wear it and walk to your shop. Let us say you sell books in your shop. You both make a profit and help knowledge and science spread in your country. This way you would serve in a chain of benefits in the society by making other people too to benefit, such as those who print or write books, and the manufacturers of paper or the cotton farmers and on the other hand, there are the craftsmen who process leather for shoes and the farmers who raise animals to provide leather. When it comes to music, although those who manufacture instruments and those who offer their skills for your hearing appreciation, by playing them certainly benefit, this chain of benefits ceases at you!

Paying for music is not the same as hiring a horse-and-cart to go out for a picnic, because this way you could contribute more to your work of being a complementary part of the chain of human needs by benefitting your health in addition to helping the cart driver make a living. Besides, those carts are used for transportation at other times than those of picnic. In short, picnic is one thing and music is another. Of course, nothing could be said against music when it is a medical necessity for a patient like clean air being one of the most important necessities in treating patients. Nevertheless, it is not known yet that music is prescribed by physicians despite the fact that treatment with music has recently become a familiar term.

Now, let us talk about another face of musical pleasures, the one involving a deep indulgence in passion: Under what kind of influence are the feelings of those who are in an atmosphere which is full of emotional temptations caused by music? The effect of music can have various ways: with music, a lonely person feels his loneliness more, an orphan feels more the loss of his parents, a patient feels more sorrowful of his situation, and an aged person feels sorrier that the most of his life has already gone. Yet again, with music, a lucky person with wealth and a high ranking position feels happy more than he usually is. In short, music paints the reality in darker colours by increasing the sorrow of the the sorrowful and the happiness of the happy. And this way, the effect of music resembles that of alcohol, causing people to perceive the reality in a more stretched way than it really is. Above all of these, music has a tremendous effect in agitating the feelings of romance and love. That is why a banquet with music is usually accompanied with pretty women and alcoholic beverages. Therefore, the most intimate secrets of love are exposed first by poems, then, under the disguise of music, in a similar manner to some women making themselves more attractive under the disguise of the hijab. Or, the words that cannot be normally said by lovers can be uttered by means of music and poetry. That is why it is not considered rude, if a person who is too shy to say "I'm dying for her, I'm crazy for her" shouts the same words before others by music and poetry. Furthermore, I wonder how parents who would like to raise their daughters in chastity and modesty with wisdom allow them to sing the most intimate words of love, considering this a good quality for a girl at the age of marriage despite the fact that it is shameful (in our society) for girls to utter even the word of marriage which is lawful in Islam. If the opinion of some thinkers of this century, who said "if women are not kept busy, they would think of some other things do to", is to be taken, then women who are fond of playing instruments would have found even an irresistible guide to those kind of thoughts.

However, is dreaming love and romance a bad thing? What else is like love that makes man feel angelic and gives compassionate and elevated feelings? Love is so strong that it is not possible to remain indifferent to the whining of the lovelorn and suffering hearts. Yes, this is quite true. However, there is no other issue, as delicate as this, vulnerable to abuse. Indeed, it was not an exaggeration when Hoja Nasruddin (Juha), when asked if he ever had a love affair, said: Yes, I was just getting involved once, but we were surprised![3]

Although love cannot be but mutual, it seems shameful for women in particular. And a man esteems a woman who only loves him. Besides, he would not excuse other women being in love with other men. And the woman he loves has no importance attached to her by others.

Having said these considerations about music, it has become easier to express an opinion about love odes which form the most elegant kind of poetry. As for the poetry of eulogy or satire they are not usually commendable as the former is a kind of flattery and the latter is fault-finding. As for the poetry to uphold the moral values we have no objection. Islam's position can be summarized as accepting the good poetry and rejecting its bad kind, anyway.

Although poetry is perhaps the best of the literal arts, Islam's uneasiness about poetry is because it does more harm than good. Even a student's obsession of poetry is considered a sign of going astray, leaning towards laziness even by scholars of the modern times. What consists of the capital of poetry is confessed by poets themselves:

"The material of poets never runs out

No end to lies even to an end this world is brought" [4]

In ancient times when poets never made such confessions (out of their pride), the nature of their poetry was exposed by the Holy Quran:

As for poets, the erring follow them. Hast thou not seen how they stray in every valley, And how they say that which they do not?

See The Noble Quran 26:224-226

However, poetry is far more important than music as poetry sharpens the mind and can be informative.

The Wisdom Behind Its Prohibition By The Divinely Revealed Shariah

Perhaps the most salient feature of the divinely revealed shariah is its all encompassing benefit (maslahah) for the sake of mankind, regarding all aspects of their spiritual and material welfare. Thus, it is, that various ordinances in the form of divine legislation have been given to man, directing him to pious works of worship (ibaadat) and social transactions (muaamlaat).

Such works lead to spiritual peace and material prosperity. In accordance with Allah’s infinite knowledge, wisdom and mercy, it is necessary that He (glorified be his praise) should prohibit certain things whose effects are evil and harmful to His servants.

This principle is perfectly epitomized in the following authentic tradition of the Prophet, peace be upon him:

“By the One in Whose hand is my soul, there is not a thing which brings you nearer to Paradise and distances you from the Fire, except that I have directed you to it; and there is not a thing which brings you closer to the Fire while distancing you from Paradise, except that I have prohibited it for you.”

From the foregoing hadeeth, as well as other texts of the Quran and sunnah, the scholars of usul have formulated certain vital objectives (maqaasid) of the divine law. Among these is the principle that nothing has been ordained for man except that which is for his own good and benefit, while nothing has been prohibited except that which is harmful and detrimental to his welfare. With this principle in mind, one perhaps can have a general understanding of the infinite, divine wisdom behind the prohibition of music and its adjuncts. Its potential moral, spiritual and social evils are a danger to the Muslim individual as well as the Islamic community at large.

In order to convey some of the divine wisdom behind prohibition, it is useful to quote a few excerpts from the writings of the authoritative scholar, Ibnul Qayyim, who has dealt with this subject extensively. In the section which exposes Satan’s deception of those who claim “spiritual mysticism” (tasawwuf) in their dancing, singing and listening to music, he says:

“From among the artful machinations and entrapments of Allah’s enemy (Satan), with which he has snared those possessing little good sense, knowledge and deen (faith), and by which he has stalked the hearts of the false and ignorant people, there is the listening to whistling, wailing, hand clapping and song to the accompaniment of forbidden (musical) instruments.


Such things block the Quran from Peoples Hearts and make them devoted to sin and disobedience. For song (to musical accompaniment) is the Quran of Ash-Shaytan (Satan). It is a dense veil and barrier, preventing nearness to Ar-Rahman! (Allah).


By way of such song, Satan deceives vain souls, making it appear pleasing to them through his cunning appeal to their vanities. He insidiously whispers false, specious arguments suggesting the 'goodness' in song. These arguments are accepted, and as a result, the Quran becomes an object of neglect and abandonment.”

Ibnul-Qayyim describes in detail the physical and emotional change which overcomes these “Sufis “when they begin to hear such song and effeminately to the tune, they whirl around into frenzy, screaming and wailing and tearing their clothes, like donkeys around the axis of a grinding mill. Such a laughing stock is the very joy of the enemies of Islam.

Yet such people pretend that they are the very “elite” of Islam while taking their deen as an amusement and pastime. Hearing the (musical) instruments of Satan is dearer to them listening to the recitation of the Quran.

He concludes by saying that,

“The result of preoccupation with song and music is that you never find its devotee other than astray from the path of guidance, in thought and deed. Such a person develops an aversion to the Quran and a devotion to song. If he were offered a choice between listening to songs and music or the Quran, he would most certainly choose the former over latter, the audition of which is like a heavy burden upon him.”

Later on in this treatise, Ibnul-Qayyim specifies other aspects of the divine wisdom:

“Therefore know, song has particular characteristics which faint the heart, causing hypocrisy to sprout therein, just as water sprouts plants. Among its qualities is that it distracts the heart and prevents it from among contemplation and understanding of the Quran, and from applying it. This is because Quran and song can never coexist in the heart, since they are mutually contradictory.


Verily, the Quran forbids the pursuing of vanities and ordains restraint of the soul’s passions and temptations to evil.


Song, on the other hand, encourages the very opposite of these virtues, as it excites the hidden inner self and entices the soul inequity by driving it towards every shameful desire. . ."

Among the signs of hypocrisy is one's rarely remembering Allah and one's laziness in rising to prayer along with its poor performance. Seldom do you find one infatuated by song except with such blameworthy attributes.

“Furthermore, hypocrisy is based on falsehood, and song contains the falsest lyrics. It attempts to beautify the abominable and encourages it, while seeking to make ugly and discouraging that which is good. Such is the very essence of hypocrisy. A person's addiction to song peculiarly makes listening to the Quran a heavy weight upon his heart, hateful to his ears. If this is not hypocrisy, then hypocrisy has no reality.”

Needless to say, the preceding exposition highlights the negative effects of music and song upon the Muslim. These effects induce in him hypocrisy, vice, neglect, vanity and a host of other attendant evils, the worst of which is its insidious ability to turn the devotee away from remembrance of Allah, His Book and His deen.

The adverse ramifications of music and song and their various attendant evils are well known facts experienced by all enlightened, thinking believers. It is this reality which has convinced a host of prominent American and European musicians and singers who have embraced Islam to leave this vile and ignoble profession.

“And verily, Allah guides the believers to a straight path.”


[Quran 22:54]

What Did the 4 Imams Say?

The View Of The Taabieen Imams And Scholars After Them

The view held by the companionswas generally adhered to by the taabieen and their followers, the four imams and the great majority of dependable Islamic scholars up to the present time.

From among the tabieen and their followers, there are such authorities as Mujaahid, Ikrimah, An-Nakhai and Al-Hassan Al-Basri.

Imam Abu Hanifah

Imam Abu Hanifah has perhaps the harshest view from amongst the four famous Imams of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence).

His school of thought is the strictest, for he detested singing and considered it sinful. As for his disciples, they have explicitly confirmed the prohibition of listening to all musical amusements and pastimes, including wind instruments (mazamer) all types of tambourines, hand drums (duff) and even the striking of sticks (al-qadeeb).

They have asserted that such actions constitute disobedience to Allah and that the performer of such action is sinful, therefore necessitating rejection of his testimony.

They have further stated that it is incumbent upon the Muslim to struggle to avoid listening to such things, even if he were passing by or stationed near them (without any willful intention).

Abu Hanifah's closest disciple, Abu Yousuf, stated that if the sound of musical instruments (maazif) and amusements (malaahi) were heard coming from a house, the house could be entered without permission of its owners. The justification for this is that the command regarding the prohibition of abominable things (munkarat) is mandatory, and cannot be established if such entering rests upon the permission of the residents of the premises.

This is the madhab (position) of the rest of the Kufic scholars as well, such as Ibrahim An-Nakhai, Ash-Shabi Hammad and Ath-Thowri. They do not differ on this issue.

The same can be said of the general body of jurisprudence of Al-Basrah.

Imam Malik

It is related by Ibnul-Jowzi that Ishaq bin Esaa At-Tabaa asked Imam Malik bin Anas, the leading jurisprudence of Madinah, about the view of the people of Madinah regarding singing (ghinaa). He replied,

“In fact, that is done by the sinful ones.”

Abut-teeb At-Tabari said,

“As for Malik bin Anas, he truly did prohibit singing and listening to it.”

He further related that Malik said,

“If one purchased a servant-girl and found her to be a professional singer, he could return her to the original owner for reimbursement on the claim of having found fault in the merchandise.”

The ruling of prohibition (tahreem) is generally agreed upon by the scholars of Madinah.

The Maliki jurisprudence and commentator, Al-Qurtubi, reports Ibn Khuwayz Mandad, as saying that Imam Malik had learned singing and music as a small boy until his mother encouraged him to leave it for a study of the religious sciences. He did, and his view became that such things were prohibited.

Al-Qurtubi confirmed Malik’s view by saying that the only exception to this general ruling was the type of innocent songs such as those sung to placate the camels during travel, or during hard labor or boredom or during times of festivity and joy, such as the Eid days and weddings-the latter to the accompaniment of a simple duff(hand drum).

Al-Qurtubi then said,

“As for that which is done in our day, by way of the (blameworthy) innovations (bidah) of the Sufi mystics in addition to their hearing songs to the accompaniment of melodious instruments such as flutes, string instruments etc. such is haram (forbidden)."

Imam Shafi

In the book, Adabul Qada, Imam As-Shafi is reported as saying,

“Verily, song is loathsome (makruh); it resembles the false and vain thing (al-batil). The one who partakes of it frequently is an incompetent fool whose testimony is to be rejected.”

His closest and most knowledgeable disciples clearly stipulate that his position on this issue is that of prohibition (tahreem) and they rebuke those who attribute its legality to him.

This is confirmed by the later Shafi scholar, Ibn Hajar Al-Haythami. He related that one of the Ash-Shafi’s disciples, Al-Harith Al-Muhasibi (d. 243 H) said,

“Song is haram, just as the carcass (maytah) is.”

Furthermore, the statement that singing is haram is found in the treatise, Ash-Sharh Al-Kabeer, by the authoritative Shafi Scholar, Ar-Raafiee (d. 623 H).

This is further corroborated by the accomplished Shafi jurisprudence, Imam An-Nawawi (d. 676 H) in his Rowdah).

Such is the correct view of the dependable scholars of the Shafi madhab. However, due to limited knowledge and personal fancy and desire, a few of their later day scholars disagree with this view.

Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal

Imam Ahmad’s position regarding this issue has been narrated in detail by the Hanbali jurisprudence and Quranic commentator, Abul Faraj Ibnul-Jowzi (d. 597 H.). In his treatise, “Tadlees Iblees” (Deception of Satan), he tells us that ghinaa during Ahmad’s era consisted primarily of a rhymed, rhythmical chanting (inshad) of poems whose purpose was to lead people to a pious, abstentions way of life. However, when such chanters began to vary their simple style to one of a throbbing, affected melody, the narrations regarding Ahmad began to differ.

His own son and student, Abdullah, relates that his father said,

“Singing sprouts hypocrisy in the heart; it doesn’t please me.”

The scholar, Ismael bin Ishaaq Ath-Thaqafi, reports that Ahmad was questioned regarding ones listening to those poems (qasaaid) to which he replied,

“I despise it, for it is a bidah (innovation). Don’t sit down to listen to its reciters.'

Abul-Harith relates that Ahmad said,

“At-Taghyeer is an innovation”, whereupon it was said, “But it sensitizes and softens the heart” Ahmad rejoined, “It is a bidah (blameworthy innovation).”

Yaqub Al-Hashimi narrates that Ahmad said,

“At-taghyeer is a recent innovation.”

And Yaqub bin Gayath reports him as saying that he,

"despised at-taghyeer",

and prohibited ones listening to it.

Ibnul-Jowzi then mentioned some narrations related by Abu Bakr Al-Khlallaal and Imam Ahmad’s son Salih, which indicate Imam Ahmad’s not being averse to poetry sessions. It is related that Imam Ahmad heard a singer (qawwal) and didn’t reproach him, whereupon Salih said to him,

“Oh father, didn’t you used to criticize and censure such a thing?” Ahmad replied, “That was because I was told that they were doing reproachable things, so I despised it; as for this, I do not dislike it.”

Ibnul-Jowzi commented at this point, “Some of the scholars of our (Hanbali) school mention that Abu Bakr Al-Khallaal (d. 311 H) and his disciple, Abdul-Azeez, permitted singing (ghinaa). Such a statement refers to the spiritual poems (qasaaid zuhduyyaat) which were prevalent during their time.

This is precisely the type of singing which was not disliked by Imam Ahmad (as previously mentioned).

Ahmad bin Hanbal attests to this in the instance where he was asked regarding a deceased person who left behind him a son and a professional singing servant-girl. The son then needed to sell her. Ahmad said that,

"She is not to be sold on the basis of her being a singer."

Upon this it was said to him that, (as a singer), she was worth, 30000 dirhams, whereas, if she were sold only on the basis of her being simply a servant-girl (she would be worth much less).

Ibnul Jawzi explained,

“The reason Ahmad said this is because the singing servant-girl doesn’t sing spiritual poems (qasaaid zuhdiyaat); rather she sings throbbing lyrics which incite passion in ones being.

This is proof that such singing (as this) is haram, for if it were not so, the incurred loss of the orphans’ son’s wealth would not be permissible.

Furthermore, it is reported by the jurisprudence Al-Mirwazi that Ahmad bin Hanbal said,

“The earnings of the effeminate (mukhannath) singer are foul (khabeeth) because he doesn’t sing spiritual poems, but rather, he sings erotic poetry (al-ghazal) in a licentious, cooing manner.”

Ibnul-Jowzi concluded that it is obvious from what has preceded that the variant narrations relating to Imam Ahmad’s dislike of (karahah) or permission for singing depended upon the type of singing that was meant.

As for the type of singing which is popular today, it would be forbidden according to Imam Ahmad’s view. If only he could see what the people have added to it by way of innovation.

conclusion

the general consensus of the companions, taabieen and the following generations of Islamic scholars up to the present day, including the four Imams , points to the ruling of prohibition of music and song (other than the exceptions to be mentioned later)

Did Modern Scholars Make it Halal?

Dr. Yusuf Qaradawi says - "There's nothing in Islam against music"

What do you say?

A Critical Analysis Of Quranic Texts And Commentaries

It is vital that one critically assesses the extent to which certain verses of the Quran allegedly stand as proof for against the legality of music and singing. Some of those verses which might be misconstrued to indicate that music, singing, dancing etc. are permissible are mentioned first. They are then followed with a sample of verses which certain scholars have claimed to be proof of prohibition regarding this issue.

Verses Claimed To Indicate the Legality of Music

The following verses regarding the Psalms of Dawud (prophet David), peace be upon him, is case in point.

The First Verse:

“And verily, We did favor some of the prophets over others, and to Dawood We gave the Psalms.”

How does this verse purport to be proof for those who claim legality? It is a common misconception of certain Muslims, especially those having a western background or living in the west-that Dawood (peace be upon him) composed the Psalms and sang them to the accompaniment of music.

There are even some commentators of English translations of the Quran who fall prey to the same error. For example, Abdullah Yusuf Ali comments on this verse saying, “The spiritual gifts, with which the prophets came, may themselves, take different forms according to the needs of the world and the times in which they lived, as judged by the wisdom of God. A striking example here given is the gift of song and music as given to David . . .

The fact is that the Psalms were not composed by Prophet Dawood (David), peace be upon him, but rather were revealed to him by Allah, the exalted, as is clearly stated in the Quran. Additionally - now where in the Quran or in the authentic traditions is there any support for this accompanying the Psalms with musical instruments?

In order to properly understand the true nature of the Psalms (az-Zaboor), one must look to some of the dependable Quranic commentaries (tafaseer). Ibn Kathir (Allah’s mercy be upon him), explains the meaning of the term Az-Zaboor saying: “Az-Zaboor is the name of the book revealed by Allah to Dawood (David), peace be upon him.

Al-Aloosi further confirms this saying, “Az-Zaboor is the name of the book sent down to Dawood (David), peace be upon him: it was revealed to him gradually, by installments.”

As to the nature of these Psalms, Al-Qurtubi states, “Az-Zaboor is the book of Dawood (David), consisting of one hundred and fifty chapters; however, it contained no rulings of divine law on matters of prohibited or allowed things. Rather, it consisted of words and wisdom and admonishment.

Al-Aloosi adds to this description that, “the Zaboor also contained divine praises and glorification of Allah, Prophet Dawood’s captivating, melodious voice was exceedingly beautiful and effective. Whenever he recited the Zaboor, men, jinn, birds and wild animals gathered around him.”

The Second Verse

Some ignorant people claim that the following text regarding Prophet Ayoub (Job), peace be upon him, whom Allah tested with various trials and tribulations, permits music and dancing:

Allah, the exalted and mighty, commands his messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him, in the Quran:

“And recall Our servant, Ayoub (Job), when he cried unto his Lord, ‘Verily, Satan has afflicted me with distress and suffering.’ It was said unto him, ‘Strike the ground with your foot; here is a spring for a cool bath and water to drink.’”

In these verses Allah, the glorious and exalted, directs His Prophet, Ayoub (Job), peace be upon him, to strike his foot upon the ground, whereupon a spring came forth. He bathed in its cool, soothing water which healed the disease afflicting the outer surface of his body. He also drank from the spring which removed the illness that afflicted his innermost body.

Thus, after putting his faithful servant, Ayoub, peace be upon him, to excruciating tests and trials, Allah Judges him to be firm, patient and unwavering in his faith, saying:

“Truly, We found him firm in patience and constancy; how excellent a servant. Verily, he was ever turning in repentance (to his Lord).”

Regarding this verse, Al-Qurtubi mentions in his tafsir that certain ignorant ascetics and common Sufis have sought proof for the permissibility of dancing in Allah’s Saying to Ayoub , “Strike the ground with your foot” accompaniment of certain ritual formulas (adhkaar) and musical instruments a form of worship (ibadah) which brings one closer to Allah. Of course, such things are none other than bidah (blameworthy innovations and misguidance in deen). He relates the reply of some scholars to such baseless claims.

Abul-Faraj Ibnul-Jowzi says, “This is an empty argument. If there had been a command for the striking of the foot as an act of joy, there might be some slight excuse for such a view. However the fact is that the command for striking the ground with the foot was in order to get the spring water to flow from it.”

Ibn Aqeel gives a further rebuttal by questioning, “How is the proof of the legality of dancing deduced from the simple fact that an afflicted person is ordered as a means of miraculous healing to strike the earth with his foot in order to cause water to spring forth?” (if this were so, then), “It would also be right to interpret Allah’s saying to Musa, “Strike the stone with your staff” as a proof for the legality of striking (rhythmically) upon (stuffed) cushions with sticks! We seek refuge in Allah from such fraudulent playing with the Shariah.”

Obviously, one could make endless far-fetched analogies between certain verses of the Quran and various, false preconceived notions which one might hope to substantiate. May Allah protect us from such evil manipulation of the divinely-revealed law.

It is essential at this point to mention, for the sake of argument, if it were established that Dawood (prophet David), peace be upon him, did in fact have musical (instruments) accompaniment to his Psalms: such a thing would not be proof that music, singing to musical accompaniment, etc. are followed in Islam. This is substantiated by the agreed upon principle from the science of usulul fiqh which states that the revealed law (sharun) of those who came before us is considered applicable in so far as such law of Islam as embodied in the Quran and the authentic sunnah.

However, as will be presented later, there is abundant authentic proof from the Islamic Shariah which prohibits music.

Therefore, this prohibition by the Islamic Shariah abrogates all previously revealed law and nullifies any support it may have made for the legality of music. With this in mind, it becomes abundantly clear that the attempts of certain persons to such previously mentioned verses as proof for the permissibility of music are baseless and untenable.

Quranic Verses Alleged To Indicate Prohibition Of Music

In his tafsir, Imam Al-Qurtubi mentions that there are three verses which have been used by the ulaama as proof of the contempt for and the prohibition of singing.

The First Verse

The first of these verses appears in Surah An-Najm. Allah, the blessed and Exalted, addresses the disbelievers from the tribe of Quraysh:

“Do you marvel at this statement, and laugh and do not weep, while you amuse yourselves (proudly) in vanities? Rather, prostrate before Allah and worship (Him without partners).

The important phrase is Allah’s saying:

“Wa antum saamidoon” (While you amuse yourselves (proudly) in vanities).

Due to the root 'samada' having various interpretations in the Arabic language, the scholars differ about this phrase's meaning. As a result, different interpretations are given by the commentators of the Quran, such as the companions, taabieen (those following after the first companions of the prophet, peace be upon him) and later scholars of tafsir (exegesis of Quran).

Al-Qurtubi refers to the various derived meanings mentioned by the linguists. Among the meanings understood from the root ‘samada' is the raising of ones head up proudly or in disdain. When conjugated, the noun form 'sumood' means leisure or idle play, while saamid (the doer of the action) means one who plays idly with musical instruments or other objects of play. It is said to the singing girl, “Asmideena!” (“Amuse us with your singing!”)

However, saamid can also designate one who lifts his head in pride and haughtiness, as mentioned in the ancient dictionary, As-sihah, a further meaning derived from the root “samada”, is the notion of standing motionless or idle. This was mentioned by Al-Mathdawi one of the famous grammarians, but he added that the common, established meaning in the language points to the idea of turning away by making fun and amusement.

Finally, Al-Mubarid mentions the meaning of “saamidoon” saying, “Saamidoon” means “khaamidoon” (silent, motion less).

At-Tabari mentions in detail the various narrations traced to the “sahabah” (companions of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) and “taabieen” (followers and students of the companions).

According to Ibn Abbas, the word “saamidoon” in this verse refers to the, “mushrikeen's habit of singing and playing noisily whenever they heard the Quran being recited, in order to drown out the reciters voice so that others wouldn’t hear it.” This meaning is used by the people of Yemen.

Ibn Abbas also indicated a second, more general meaning for the word “saamidoon”; namely, that they were playing and amusing themselves and making light of the affair.

The same opinion was held by some' taabieen' (followers after the companions time period) such as Ikrimah and Ad-Dahhaak.

A third meaning given by Ibn Abbas is that they held their heads up in pride. The Taabieen have indicated certain meanings similar to the views of the preceding linguists.

Qatadah reports Al-Hasan as saying that, ‘Saamidoon is the mushrikeens (idolaters) being inattentive and negligent.’

Mujaahid says it indicates their being in a state of extreme anger or rage.

It is interesting to note that other major commentaries of “ahkamul Quran” (the jurisprudential rulings derived from the Quranic texts) do not even mention this verse as proof for the prohibition of music, etc. For example, see the works of Al-Jassaas, Ibnul-Arabi and Ilkeeyaa Al-Harraasi.

Clearly, the term “saamidoon” has various possible meanings, e.g.; those referred to have been singing noisily and amusing themselves with music and idle play, that they were holding their heads in pride, or that they were exhibiting extreme anger and hatred for what they heard of the Quran and the message of Islam.

Furthermore, it could indicate that they were indifferent, negligent and rejecting in their attitude.

All of these meanings are possible, and are not-in essence-contradictory. Most likely, saamidoon is a comprehensive description of their different reactions upon hearing the verses of the Quran and the new message of tawheed.

However, it must be said that when a Quranic term yields a number of different possible meanings and we have no clear, authentically-reported statement from the Prophet defining it in a strict sense, then such a verse containing the said term cannot be used as an unequivocal, decisive proof (daleelun qatee) of any particular meaning.

Thus, this verse cannot stand alone as an incontestable proof of the prohibition of singing, music, etc. Rather, other evidence, either from the Quran itself or from the authentic sunnah, must prove such a position.

The Second Verse

Another verse alleged to be proof of the illegality of music, singing, etc. is mentioned in Surah Al-Israa (chapter 17) as follows: After Iblees (Satan) refuses to bow before Adam as ordered, he requests that Allah grant him respite until the day of resurrection, so that he may misguide all but a few of the descendants of Adam (peace be upon him).

Allah, the Glorious and exalted, addresses Satan thus,

“And excite any of them whom you can with your voice. Assault them with your cavalry and infantry, be a partner with them in their wealth and children, and make them promises. But Satan promises them nothing except deceit.”

It is related that some of the commentators from the generation of the taabieen, such as Mujahid and Dahhaak interpreted Satan’s exciting mankind with his voice to mean through the use of music, song and amusement.

Ad-Dahhaak said it was the sound of wind instruments.

However, according to Ibn Abbas, the voice mentioned in the verse refers to every form of invitation which calls to disobedience to Allah, the Exalted.

After mentioning the various interpretations of the commentators, At-Tabari says, “The most correct of these views expresses that verily, Allah, the blessed and Exalted, said to Iblees, “Excite whosoever of Adam's progeny you can with your voice” and he did not specify any particular type of voice.

Thus, every voice which is not an invitation to Allah’s worship and to his obedience is included in the meaning of Satan’s 'voice which is referred to in the Quranic verse.

In conclusion, this verse, like the preceding one, is too general in its meaning , and is not by itself an explicit and unequivocal proof of the prohibition of music and singing , except in the case that such singing and music invites or leads to disobedience to Allah.

Therefore, one must look at other unambiguous texts which clearly show music, singing, etc. to be prohibited intrinsically and not due to some extraneous variable.

The Third Verse

The final verse and the one most often presented as proof of prohibition is located in Surah Luqmaan. Allah, the exalted says:

“And there are among men those who purchase “lahwal hadeeth” idle talk in order to mislead others from Allah’s path without knowledge, and who throw ridicule upon it. For such there will be a humiliating punishment.”

After mentioning the condition of the felicitous (those who are guided by Allah’s Book and who benefit from listening to it), Allah, the glorious and Exalted, reveals the condition of the miserable ones who refuse to benefit from hearing the word of God. They only devote themselves avidly to idle and foul talk, empty amusements and all other false works and deeds whose purposes are to turn others away from Allah’s path and to make it the butt of mockery.

Ibn Jeerer At-Tabari, in his Jamiul Bayan , mentions that the interpreters of the Quran differed as to the meaning of the term “lahwal hadeeth” (idle talk) which occurs in the above quoted verse. Their views regarding its meaning can be formulated into three basic categories.

1st Category

The first category defines the term “lahwal hadeeth”:

• A) singing and listening to songs

• B) the purchasing of professional male or female singers

• C) the purchase of instruments; namely, the drum(tabla)

The elements of this category revolve around reference to the blameworthy usage of instruments of amusement, in short, music and song. This view was held by a number of companions such as Ibn Masud, Jabir and Ibn Abbas. It is related that the former was questioned regarding the meaning of the verse under discussion to which he replied, “I swear by the One other than whom there is no god that it refers to singing(ghinaa)”; He repeated it three times to emphasize his position.

It is related that Ibn Abbas said it referred to “singing and the like”.

Jabir is reported to view its meaning to signify singing and listening to songs. This general view pointing to censure of music and song was also held by a great number of taabieen, such as Ikrimah, Mujaahid, Makhul and Umar bin Shuayb, to name only a few.

2nd Category

The second category of interpretation centers around the idea that “lahwal hadeeth” indicates conversation inviting to or consisting of shirk (polytheism). This view was the view of some tafsir scholars from the generation after the companions, such as Ad-Dahhaak and Abdur-Rahmaan bin Zayd bin Aslam.

3rd Category

The third category conveys the meaning of all false talk, actions or deeds, whose nature it is to divert people from Allah’s path and from His worship and remembrance. For example, Al-Aloosi relates that Al-Hasan Al Basri was reported as saying that “lahwal hadeeth” includes “everything which distracts one from worship and the remembrance of Allah such as whiling the night away in idle conversation or entertainment, jokes, superstitious, tales, songs and the likes thereof” Al-Aloosi supports this view, saying that the verse should be interpreted to include all such blameworthy words and deeds which divert one from Allah’s path.

After having conveyed the previously mentioned categories of tafsir, Ibn Jeerer relates the commentary of Ibn Zayd about the verse,

“And there are among men those who purchase idle talk in order to mislead others from Allah’s path without knowledge, and who throw ridicule upon it.”

Ibn Zayd said, “The people referred to (in this verse) are the disbelievers. Don’t you see that it says (in the immediately following verse)?

“And when our revelations are recited to such a person he turns away in pride as if he hadn’t heard them, as if there was deafness in his ears.”

The people of Islam are not as those described here, although some say the verse refers to Muslims (as well). The verse refers to the disbelievers who pitched their voices in a tumultuous clatter to drown out the hearing of the Quran.”

At-Tabari concludes by offering his own weighted preference for the general, inclusive meaning as conveyed in this final category.

He states, “The most correct view regarding the meaning of (lahwal hadeeth) is the one which indicates every form of conversation which diverts from Allah’s path-the hearing of which has been prohibited by Allah or his messenger, peace be upon him. This is because the statement by Allah, the exalted, is general and inclusive, and does not exclude certain forms of conversation. Therefore, His statement remains in its general context unless proof which specifies it appears and singing and polytheism (shirk) are included in this general statement.”

From what has preceded, it is to be understood that a specific or exclusive meaning such as singing or shirk cannot be proven; rather, the verse and particularly the phrase (lahwal hadeeth) should be interpreted as anything which diverts one from Allah’s path.

Music, singing, etc.(since they occupy peoples attention and distract them from Allah’s worship and remembrance and invite to His disobedience), no doubt fall under the general censure, blame and rebuke cast upon those who fall into this category.

However, this verse is not itself an explicit, unequivocal proof for the prohibition of music, singing, etc. Rather, its prohibition is conditional and incidental as stated above.

Thus, this issue requires other external proofs which are both clear and categorical, so as not to leave the least bit of doubt in the mind of the conscientious, truth seeking believer. In order to achieve such a lofty, yet absolutely vital objective, it is necessary to turn to the second source of the Islamic shariah, the authentic sunnah of Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him.

Critical Analysis Of The Hadeeth Literature

A meticulous, critical analysis of the relevant texts from the hadeeth literature reveals that contrary to the commonly held belief, there are a number of authentic narrations from the prophetic sunnah which clearly point to the INDISPUTABLE fact that:

Music, instruments, singing to accompaniment, etc. are objects prohibited by the Islamic Shariah.

The exceptions to this general rule are specific, limited types of innocent singing or chanting without any instrumental accompaniment of the simple hand drum (duff) on certain occasions designated by the sunnah. Their details require discussion later.

Unfortunately, due to certain modern scholar’s blind imitation (taqleed) of a few earlier scholars, many Muslims entertain the misconception that all the hadeeths relating to music, singing, musical instruments, etc. are either weak (daeef) or forged (mowdu'a). A critical analysis of the available hadeeth literature clearly reveals that this is an untenable position. In order to substantiate this claim and to dispel such false notions, it is necessary to quote a number of authentic traditions along with the translation of their meanings.

A translation of the hadeeth follows:

“The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

“There will be (at some future time) people from my ummah (community of Muslims) who will seek to make lawful: fornication, the wearing of silk, wine-drinking and the use of musical instruments (ma'azif). Some people will stay at the side of the mountain and when their shepherd comes in the evening to ask them for his needs, they will say, 'Return to us tomorrow ‘Then Allah will destroy them during the night by causing the mountain to fall upon them, while He changes others into apes and swine. They will remain in such a state until the Day of Resurrection.” (hadeeth #494B in Vol. 6, Sahih Al-Bukhari)

A Critical Discussion Of The Isnaad Of The Hadeeth:

Prior to a discussion of the meaning of the part of this hadeeth relevant to this treatise, it is necessary to refute certain unfounded criticisms of its authenticity directed at it by a few scholars of the past and present, struggling under unfortunate misconceptions.

At the beginning of the isnaad, Imam Al-Bukhari related, “Qaala Hishaamu-bnu Ammaar”(“Hisham the son of Ammaar said . .“) This statement was misconstrued by Ibn Hazm to indicate that there is a missing link between Al-Bukhari and the next narrator i.e. Hisham, implying that the hadeeths isnaad is disconnected (munqati) and therefore not valid as proof in the prohibition of music, song, musical instruments, etc. This type of isnaad, termed muallaq, contains a missing link.

However, Shaikh Ibnus-Sallah, in his celebrated work, Ul-Umul Hadeeth, (his treatise on the science or methodology of hadeeth criticism and assessment), in his commentary of Sahih Al Bukhari, entitled Fathul Baari, Ibn Hajar mentioned Ibnus Salaahs meticulous refutation of Ibn Hazms statement.

Among the other great critical scholars of hadeeth, who mentioned that the Isnaad is soundly connected (mowsool) is Ibn Hajar's sheikh, Al Hafidh Al-Iraqi. He stated that the isnaad (chain of narration) is found connected in Al Ismaeli’s work, entitled Al-Mustakhraj, which collects together other chains of narrators (or similar ones) for the same hadeeths mentioned in Al-Bukhari's collection.

And finally, there is Ibn Hajar’s distinctive work, Taghleequt Taleeq. This is a rare and stupendous masterpiece, which brings together connected, authentic chains (asaneed) of transmitters for those traditions which appear in Al-Bukhari’s compilation in the form of the disconnected (mualliq) type of hadeeth.

This dispels accrued misconceptions regarding the claim of “weak” hadeeths occurring in the text (matn) of Al-Jaamis As-saheeh).

After quoting other complete, authentic chains for the tradition under study, along with the sources wherein such chains of transmitters are mentioned, Ibn Hajar concludes by emphasizing (in reference to Al-Bukhari’s narration):

“This is an authentic hadeeth. It has no deficiency or defect, and there is no point of weakness for any attack to be made on it. Abu Muhammad Ibn Hazam labeled it a defective by virtue of his claim that there is a break (intiqaa) in the chain between Al-Bukhari and Sadaqah bin Khalid and because of the difference of opinion regarding the name of Abu Malik. As you've seen, I have quoted nine fully connected chains of transmission (asaneed) whose narrators are thoroughly dependable. As for the difference regarding the kunyah of the companions, they are all of impeccable repute. Further more, in Ibn Hibban's narration; the transmitter stated that he heard from both of them. I have in my possession even more chains of narration which could be presented here, however, I would not like to prolong this subject further by mentioning them. In what we have stated there is enough proof for the sensible, thinking person. And Allah is the grantor of success.”

In short, this particular narration of Al-Bukhari is authentic and consequently constitutes a valid and binding text to be referred to in determining the hukm (ruling) regarding music.

It should be mentioned that certain modern-day writers, who blindly imitate previous scholars by quoting their views without applying the critical sciences of hadeeth research, have merely parroted the position of Ibn Hazm, and due to this, have caused many unwary persons to go astray regarding this issue.

For example Yusuf Al-Qardaawi, in his popular book, entitled Al-Halal wal Haram fil Islam says in regard to the extant hadeeths on music

“As for what has been mentioned by way of prophetic traditions (relating to the subject of music), all of these have been assessed to have some point or another of weakness according to the fuqahaa of hadeeth and its scholars. And the Qaadi Abu Bakr Ibnul-Arabi said, 'There is no authentic hadeeth prohibiting singing'. And Ibn Hazm said, 'Every hadeeth related (prohibiting music and singing) is false and forged.”

Unfortunately, the statement that “all” the narrations are weak, according to “scholars of hadeeth” is a gross error on Dr. Al-Qardaawi’s part and is not the result of meticulous critical research. Rather, it is due to an uncritical, blind acceptance of the words of Ibn Hazm and Ibnul Arabi. Ibn Hazm was no doubt a virtuous, sharp-minded scholar. However, in the area of hadeeth assessment and verification (as in the case in many aspects of his school of Dhaahiri fiqh), he has certain untenable and unfounded, even some very abnormal views.

The accomplished hadeeth scholar and student of Ibn Taimiyyah, Al-Hafidh Ibn Abdul-Hadi, says of Ibn Hazm,

“He often errs in his critical assessment of the degrees of traditions and on the conditions of their narrators. In fact, there is unanimous consensus among the most reputable critical scholars of hadeeth regarding Ibn Hazm's erroneous assignment of a ruling of daeef (weakness) to Al-Bukhari’s hadeeth.”

Regarding the degree of this hadeeth, the views of Ibnus Salah, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani and Al-Hafidh Al-Iraqi have already been mentioned.

Among the qualified scholars who also agree with his assessment are the great scholars, Ibnul Qayyim and Ibn Taimiyyah. Ibnul-Arabi is similar to Ibn Hazm in that he is quick to give a ruling of forgery or weakness on a hadeeth, without the necessary, detailed analysis and synthesis of all extant chains of narration relating to the subject. If he had executed such an analysis, undoubtedly he would have arrived at a sound decision and avoided much blame and censure.

Authentic Hadeeths Forbid It?

Commentary On Al-Bukhari’s Hadeeth

The portion of Al-Bukhari’s hadeeth which is presently of concern is that segment whose text states: Its translation follows”:

“There will be a people of my Ummah (nation) who will seek to make lawful: fornication, the wearing of silk, wine-drinking and the use of musical instruments. . . “

The word of consequence here is the Arabic term' maazif'. In order to discover what it implies, we must turn to Arabic dictionaries (mowrid) of hadeeth terms and other scholarly works.

According to Lisaanul Arab (Tongue of Arabic) maazif is the plural of mizaf or azf and indicates objects or instruments of play or leisure which are beat upon their sound. If the singular form is used (mizaf), it specifically means a type of large wooden drum use mainly by the people of Yemen. The noun 'azf' also stands for the act of playing with 'maazif' is hand drums (duff) or other instruments which are struck upon.

Al-Juwhari, the author of the ancient dictionary, As-Sihaah, asserts that maazif signifies musical instruments, al-aazif indicates one who sings, and the azf of the wind is its voice. In the famous Taajul 'Aroos min Jawaahiril Qaaamoos, besides quoting the above mentioned meanings, the small hand drum (duff) or other such musical objects. And finally, in the small hand drum (duff) or other such musical objects.

And finally, in the famous dictionary, An-Nihaayah fee Ghareebil Hadeeth. Ibnul Atheer mentions the meaning of maazif as it is used in various hadeeths.

He comments, “By 'azf is meant playing with maazif, consisting of duff (hand drums) or other instruments which are beat upon “He also mentions the derived noun form, 'azeef, which means “sound” or voice”, while 'azeeful jinn' signifies the ringing of the jinn’s' voices. It is said that the people of the desert imagined the shrill ringing of the winds in the desert air to be the voice of jinn.

The commentaries of the scholars of hadeeth also agree on the above quoted meanings for the term maazif mentioned in Al-Bukhari narration. In Ibn Hajar’s exhaustive commentary of Saheehul Bukhari, he adds that an earlier hadeeth scholar, named Ad-Dimyaati, says that the word 'azf is also used to describe singing (ghinaa).

Such a detailed analysis of the meaning of the term maazif, as mentioned in the most authoritative dictionaries of the Arabic language , is “interpret” it in a matter suiting their pre conceived notions or opinions. It clearly has been established that the word maazif-according to correct Arabic usage-indicates a specific number of things (a) musical instruments (b) the sounds of those musical instruments (music) and (c) singing to instrumental accompaniment.

Analysis Of The Text As A Proof Of Prohibition

An analysis of the hadeeths wording clearly indicates the unlawfulness of music. In the text it is said that people from the Prophets ummah (nation) will “seek to make lawful” that which is termed “maazif.” This statement (“seek to make lawful”) is derived from the verb “yastahilloona” the first part, yasta, is the conjugated addition to the root ahalla. The conjugated form is a means to seek, try, attempt, desire, etc. While the root, ahalla, means to make lawful. Taken together, it means, “to seek to make lawful.”

Obviously, a person can only seek, desire or attempt to make something lawful if it is not already lawful. If something is already lawful, it is nonsense for someone to try to seek to establish it as being what it already is (halal).

Other things mentioned which people will attempt to make lawful are named along maazif. These additional matters are definitely prohibited in Islam-namely; zina - illegal sexual intercourse, the drinking of wine or liquor (khamar) and the wearing of silk (for males). Had maazif not been prohibited, they never would have been associated with other prohibited objects in one and the same context.

In order to dispel the common misconception prevalent among certain Muslims that “only one hadeeth” in Al-Bukhari’s compilation stands as proof of prohibition regarding this issue, it is necessary to mention a sample of other authentic hadeeth. The fact that the majority of traditions regarding music, instruments and singing are weak and rejected (munkar) does not negate the existence of an appreciable number whose degree is saheeh(authentic) or hasan(of good, acceptable quality).

The Narration Of Ibn Maajah

There is a narration by Ibn Maajah in Kitabul Fitan in the chapter on punishments, whose sanad and text in Arabic is as follows:

The translation is:

“The messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “A people of my Ummah will drink wine, calling it by other than its real name. Merriment will be made for them through the playing of musical instruments and the singing of lady singers. Allah will cleave the earth under them and turn others into apes and swine.”

The sanad (chain of narration) is:

This is an authentic hadeeth. It was also narrated by Al-Baihaqi and Ibn Asaakir with the same wording. The renowned scholar of hadeeth and fiqh, Ibnul-Qayyim, authenticated it as mentioned in the famous hadeeth commentary of the 'allaamah, Abtut-Teeb Muhammad Shamsul-Haqq Adheem-Aabaadi Furthermore, it was given a degree of saheeh by muhaddith of our era, Shaikh Muhammad Naasiruddeen Al-Albaani, has mentioned it in detail, giving it critical evaluation and assessment in his Silsatul Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah and in his Saheehul Jaamis Sagheer.

It further mentioned and authenticated in his Ghaayatul Maraam Takhreejul Halaali wal Haraam.

The Narration Of Ahmad Bin Hanbal

There are a number of narrations proving the prohibition of music and instruments in Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s Musnad. Although many of them are weak, two of the narrations from his compilation that have been verified to authentic, follow:

The first text:

The prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah prohibited wine, gambling and al-koobah, and every intoxicant is prohibited.” Sufyan said, “I asked the narrator, Ali ibn Badheemah, “What is ‘al-koobah?’ He answered, ‘It is the drum.’”

The second text:

It is translated thus:

Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah has prohibited for my Ummah: wine, gambling, a drink distilled from corn, the drum and the lute while He supplemented me with another prayer, the witr.”

These narrations have also been related by other compilers, such as Al-Baihaqi in his Shubul Iman with an authentic isnaad and At-Tabaraani in Al-Mujam Al-Kabeer with a jayyid (good) isnaad. The detailed proof of their verified authenticity are mentioned in Al-Albani's Saheehul Jaamis Sagheer. It is further authenticated in his Mishkaatul Masaabeeh and in his work, Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah.

The Narration Of Al-Hakim And Others

It is reported by Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak that the Prophet, peace be upon him, took the hand of the companion, Abdur Rahman bin 'Owf (ra), and they proceeded to visit the Prophet’s ailing son, Ibrahim. They found the infant in the thrones of death, so the Prophet, peace be upon him, took him to his breast and held him until his spirit left him. Then he put the child down and wept, and Abdur-Rahmaan asked in astonishment,

“You are weeping, Oh Messenger of Allah, while you prohibit crying!?”

The following is the Prophet’s reply:

“Verily, I did not prohibit weeping [per se] but rather, I forbade two voices [sowtayn] which embellish (ahmaq) and sinfully shameless[faajir]:one, voice [singing] to the accompaniment of musical amusement [lahw]and Satan’s[wind]instruments; the other, a voice [wailing] due to some calamity, accompanied by striking of the face and tearing of garments. But this [weeping of mine] stems from compassion, and whosoever does not show compassion will not receive it.”

This hadeeths degree is hasan (good) and it has been strengthened by another narration related by Abu Bakr Ash-Shafi in his work, Ar-Rubaiyat. Its abbreviated text follows:

The Narration Of Abu Bakr Ash-Shafi:

Anas bin Malik related from the Prophet, peace be upon him, that “Two cursed sounds are that of the [wind] instrument [mizmaar] played on the occasion of joy and grace, and woeful wailing of joy and grace, and woeful wailing upon the occurrence of adversity.”

A similar text with slightly different wording is related by Al-Bazaar in his collection of hadeeths.

Al-Hafidh Nuradeen Al-Haythami mentioned it in his Majma' Az-Zawaid and indicated that the narrators of this isnaad are all dependable.

Thus, these last three narrations prove the illegality of music and singing to musical accompaniment, especially wind instruments (mazamer), which are referred to as “flutes of Satan” in the tradition related by Al-Hakim.

The traditions quoted are not the only available authentic hadeeths which establish prohibition, there are others. However the scope of this treatise does not allow a more detailed exposition.

The sample mentioned is sufficient proof, for “Verily therein is a reminder for any who has a heart or who gives ear and earnestly witnesses [the truth].”

Consensus Of The Companions, Taabieen, Imams And Other Fuqahaa

No doubt, the companions (sahabah) of the Prophet, peace be upon him, were the best people after the Messengers of Allah. The companions received the knowledge of Islam from the Prophet, peace be upon him, and faithfully conveyed it to us.

Therefore, it is useful to know their views regarding the subject of this treatise, for their consensus (ijtimaa) carries absolute weight in this matter and clarifies the correct view, removing any lingering doubts in the hearts of those who have not yet been graced with the gift of surety (yaqeen) and conviction.

In order to further strengthen the view previously established , it is necessary to review the opinions of the tabieen (followers of the companions of the prophet, peace be upon him), the four imams and other accomplished scholars of Islam.

One of the attributes of sound Islamic methodology is the reference to the views and positions held by the pious predecessors of the Islamic ummah and the respectful consideration with which one approaches them. However, their views, as with the views of all, must be subjected to the criterion of Allah’s Book and the authentically related prophetic traditions.

Since the prohibition of music has already been established beyond the slightest doubt through detailed proof from the authentic sunnah, this section of the treatise is presented merely for the sake of the reader’s knowledge and Islamic awareness.

The Position Of The Companions On This Issue

A few of the late Shafi scholars related Ibn Tahirs claim that the sahaabah and taabieen unanimously agreed upon the permissibility or singing (ghinaa); therefore, those who came after them have no right to challenge their authority.

The Shafi scholar, Ibn Hajar Al-Haythami Makki (909-974 H), mentioned that some went so far as to claim the supposed consensus of ahlul Medina (the people of Medina) on this question. They even accused 24 scholars from among the sahaabah, as well as innumerable tabieen, their followers, and the four imams and their disciples of singing and listening to songs

However, regarding the previously mentioned claim by Ibn Tahir and those who indiscriminately followed him – Shihaabuddeen Al-Adhraai (708-783 AH), an authority on Shafi scholarship, refuted such facile reports and insisted that Ibn Tahir’s book Safwatut Tasawwuf (The vanguard of Sufism) and his treatise, As-Sammaa (Listening) [to music, singing, etc.], one finds disgraceful, scandalous things along with ugly instances of fraudulent presentations of material (in defense of his (Ibn Tahir’s) position on this issue.

Al-Adhraai further clarified that what has been attributed to the companions could not be established by authentically related narrations (aathaar), but rather, their assertions were based on reports of certain companions listening to poetry, chants or songs.

This does not substantiate their allegations, for such things are permitted by consensus and fall outside the realm of this area of dispute.

Clearly, it was related that some companions performed permitted aspects of singing etc.; however, these actions were distorted out of context by such persons to include every type of singing, without specification or restriction.

Al-Adhari then quoted an authoritative Shafi imam, Abdul-Qasim Ad-Duwlaqi, who clarifies in his book As-Sammaa (the listening, i.e.; to music, singing, etc.), the vital point which is at the crux of this issue.

He says (about the prophet, peace be upon him),

“It has (not) been related regarding any one of the companions that he, peace be upon him, ever listened to the sort of singing which is of the disputed type nor is it related that gatherings for song were organized for him, nor that he, peace be upon him, praised such singing; rather, it was the companions' habit to censure and blame such gatherings for the purpose of listening to it.”

Ibn Hajar Al-Haythami concludes his discourse by pointing out that,

It is clear from what has preceded that it is not permissible to blindly adhere to Ibn Tahir’s views, because he has deviated in both the point of view of his narrations (naql), and his personal opinions (aql). He was also a liar, innovator and a libertine.

As for those who relate that the companions and others permitted the disputed types of song, they have committed an ugly mistake and they have fallen prey to gross error.

The issue of song and music is of two types: The first type is permitted by consensus, and the second type is disputed about as to its prohibition.

To imply that the companions' type (is both) is invalid arbitrariness and is not based on the principles of jurisprudence and hadeeth science.

Such principles clearly indicate that we must interpret whatever has been related on this issue regarding the companions as that type of song permitted by consensus.

Regarding this particular issue, Yousuf Al-Qardaawi makes a bold and misleading statement. It reads

“It is related a large number of companions and taabieen, that they used to listen to song (ghinaa), and they didn’t see any harm in that.”

This assertion is misleading for a number of reasons.

Firstly, he claims that it has been “related”, however, he brings no valid proof of such a statement-not even a single pertinent tradition (athar) related to the companions.

Secondly, he leads the reader to believe that the sahabah listened to all types of songs. This accomplishes with the general wording “used to listen to songs.”

In reality, they only listened to particular types, as specified lawful in the sunnah. These types are restricted as to who may sing and who may listen on what occasion they are allowed and in what manner they are to be delivered. The difference between what Qardaawi has intimated and what really occurred is like night and day.

In reality, the companions unanimously agreed upon the prohibition of music and song but allowed particular exceptions specified by the authentic sunnah.

Many authentic narrations (aathaar) traced to the various sahaabah bear witness to this.

For example, it is authentically related by Al-Baihaqi, that the famous memorizer of Quran and companion of the prophet, peace be upon him, Abdullah bin Masud said,

“Singing sprouts hypocrisy in the heart as rain sprouts herbs and greens.”

As was related in an earlier portion of this treatise, when he was questioned regarding the meaning of the words [lahwal hadeeth], he replied,

“I swear by Him besides Whom there is no other god that it refers to singing.”

He repeated it three times over to emphasize his belief that the words from the Quran were a rebuke and censure of singing.

In addition to this, the same view was held by the four rightly guided caliphs, the fuqahaa (scholars of fiqh - Islamic jurisprudence) among the sahaabah such as Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Abdullah Ibn Umar and Jabir bin Abdullah, as well as the general body of sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them all).

Any one who claims differently is requested to bring proof. It is further requested that it be an authentically reported, clear and unambiguous text that it relate specifically to the point of dispute (mahallun nizaa).

Footnotes:

[1] This is a Turkish idiom used for professions which are no good to make a living.

[2] This is a Turkish idiom implying that a person does not behave as mature as his age requires.

The reader should bear in mind the Islamic and traditional values prevailing in his time among the Ottomans, while reading this article. With Western values about dignity and music, his opinions might become quite difficult to understand.

[3] This is a famous remark attributed to the well known folk figure, Hoja Nasreddin, indicating that love affairs can reach dangerous levels very quickly, no matter how innocently they begin.

[4] This is a Turkish poem in the original text. No reference for it is given.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Assalamu'alaikum brother...it's a little confusing me but for the first step,i'll listen songs which depends on the lyrics...as long as it's good and not contains of haraam words...
By : Ashri from Indonesia

Eng.Yassin Shalaby said...

Wa alikom Al salam wa rahmit allah Wa barakato

in sha allah No confusing .

Great Step Ashri From Beautiful Indonesia

i see from time to time Indonesians here Study

in El Azhar Al sharief About islam and learn

arabic.Nice To read your comment Ashri.

Take care

Voice Instructor san matio said...

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