A Deliberate Choice – Hip Hop or the Word of Allah (swt)?

quran_musicAllergic reaction to a dead soul

No no no, his eyes were like scorching sun.

“Stop it! Just shut it up! I can’t take it!” said Huzaifa in an irritable tone to his mother.

“Sigh! All my life I sang lullabies for you to fall asleep. Your ears are now immune to the beat that the word of Allah (swt) can no longer enter your heart. It is only Satan who flees when the Quran is recited. What have I done to you my child? I have caused your heart to rust. It is now covered with a thick layer of melody and filthy words.”

Is it not horrifying? How can you tolerate it as a mother that your child- the apple of your eye- gets closer to the extreme torture of hell fire?

Unintentional impact- little things, weigh more!

The other day, I was going somewhere where an obnoxious filthy song struck my ears. Astaghfirullah slipped from my mouth the very moment, and I put fingers in my ears to block it. But to my surprise, the lyrics captivated my heart and tongue for a week or so. The moment we come across any beat- our fingers tap, legs and head move with the rhythm, waist twists and shakes to the beat. It is the trap of Satan that he glitters dirt, so it may appeal our eyes; thus, makes us closer to the wrath of Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) says in the Quran,

And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Quran) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire).” (Luqman 31:6)

A painless hit

Laghw (vain words and actions) includes anything that is unnecessary and diverts mind from serious thinking and takes you far from the remembrance of Allah (swt). For instance, when you are endorsed in a romantic novel, you tend to forget everything around. Be it your five obligatory prayers. Is it acceptable?

Prophet Muhammad (sa)  mentioned fifteen things which when acquired by Ummah will lead to disaster. Singing and dancing is one of those fifteen habits.

Music and its repercussions

Music has horrific effects on its listeners. It is like passive smoking- causes a menace to the listener, and others to whom it is audible. Thus, it creates a chain of sinners from the producer, writer, singer, composer and listener. For those, who undermine the truth of this sin, and are addicted to songs and music- they cannot deny the unhealthy biological effects that it has on human body. It takes you closer to heedlessness, shamelessness; takes away humanity and makes you view woman as a sex object, a tissue paper that you use and throw.

Biological effects

Social effects

Music stimulates sympathetic nervous system.  Becomes unaware of surroundings.
It causes excitement and mental tension- which contribute to madness (mania- sudden laughter or non-sensical talks), ulcers, and heart diseases. Children get immune to suggestive moves and sex appealing lyrics.
It disturbs digestion and causes ulcers. Dale Carnegie said that violence, anger and mental tension cause ulcers. Gives rise to lust or illicit thoughts about the opposite gender.
Leads to abnormal secretion of hormones such as- adrenalin which causes blood clots that leads to a heart attack. It leads to adultery. The Holy Prophet (sa) said: “Singing is a ladder to adultery.”
Can cause rheumatisms- temporary/ permanent deafness. Supported by doctor Charles Lebo, of the Pacific Medical Centre. Causes crime rates to rise.
Mental stability is affected.
It may create insomnia (lack of sleep).


Music is to the soul, what words are to the mind

Singing gives rise to lust in man, which ultimately gives out bad consequences. Not only he who sings, but also, the one who listens attentively to it becomes negligent towards Allah (swt) and is ready for immoral deeds.(For more: Read the biological reactions of excited hormones, music is one of the causes- http://raymondinegypt.tripod.com/articles-04/love-chemistry.htm)

Music is an intoxicant- it makes one forget one’s surroundings; and one does not know what is happening to him or her. The following episode is a good example of the effect of music: Frank King is reported in ‘Reader’s Digest’ as saying:

“I returned home one evening and noticed a large red mark that looked like a burn on my wife’s right cheek. When I asked her what had happened she sheepishly told me the story. She set up the iron-board in the living room, so that she could watch a favourite television programme while doing the ironing. The telephone table was also near. As she was intently watching TV, the phone rang, and she reached out automatically and answered the iron.”

Music alters and tunes your thinking ability and cognition. It trains your mind to think and behave in a specific manner. They are spending millions and billions each year to promote filth, pollute minds and keep hearts away from the word of Allah (swt).

Moreover, some researches advocate that lyrics and tones have contributed to nefarious crimes such as rape and massacre. A known Indian singer YoYo Singh has been criticized on his lyrics as they depict molestation and fiendishness after the incident of December 2012 gang rape.

Check http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-22520583.

Play the moments, pause the memories, stop the pain

The above known quote explains why we opt for music. People choose music to nullify their pain and agony. What does it contain? It comprises of an unsuccessful lover and a lost love, description of a woman’s bodily parts, words that may easily unbalance your emotions and sexual desires. It has a tendency to alter your moods in a second. A sad song will land you in a state of sadness.  Highly motivated lyrics will make you live and die for the esteem of your country.

Silence will not protect you

Some people rigidly try not to nourish their souls by any such bash. Suppression and compression are their tools. They become silent when they encounter any musical gathering. Putting finger in your ears is not the solution. It is a slow poison that ruins our spiritual roots and character. Taming of Nafs is important on an individual level as well as communal level. It needs a whole white wash. You cannot pretend that you have controlled the extraneous factors that will dirty your soul. You may strictly ban music in your home. But, what about shopping malls, restaurants and wedding ceremonies? Will you do a social boycott? Will this influence the massive turnover generated from these instruments and songs? Might not!

A big win!

A mediocre way is to channelize the Nafs and not to tether it. Nafs is a stubborn horse- you need to train it, not leash it. It is like a rubber band- the more you stretch it, the stronger it will come back to you. This way it will hurt you harder. For instance, you might have witnessed a toddler moving along with the beat or any other rhythmic sound. It is very natural to feel angry on that. But, it would be wise to control and not to shout your head off. A better tactical approach is to distract the kids towards Islamic Nasheeds and Muslim rhymes which has no music (like Madinah Tunnabi, kids land Al-Huda). It is but natural to feel good listening to soft voices, chirping of birds or the melodious whistling of water. It is innate. It attracts you and it is a fact. Try to divert this craving to lawful things. We can opt for good Quran reciters who recite the verses and do not sing them.

Let the Quran do the Miracle

Park-Bench-SA-087-Last month, her life turned into a complete mess. Sitting on a bench in a park, she went into reminiscence of her past; she was a happy girl, leading a happy, prosperous life. She had a beautiful family comprising of her loving parents and siblings; a home, a good job with a successful career and many good friends. One day, while coming back from a family picnic, her car got into a terrible accident. Her parents and siblings died on the spot, while she got badly injured and lost her arm that made her handicapped. Due to her incapacitation, she was fired from her job; moreover, to pay for her medical expenses, she had to sell her house and move into her aunt’s home.

“Life has treated me cruelly!” she thought, while sitting on the bench, and tears started rolling down her cheeks. She felt worthless and purposeless, and found no reason to live anymore. She’d even tried committing suicide, but that too failed. The ghastly circumstances she’d seen in the last one month had made her miserable and depressed; all she wanted was some peace.
Some days later, she started working at a place, which accommodated people with disabilities. Since she was a hardworking and talented woman, she was able to buy a house soon with her earnings. She got a little stable with a decent job; yet, she did not get the peace and satisfaction that her heart yearned for.

She decided to get involved in various activities to divert her mind, hoping to get over her depression and emptiness in her heart. She started clubbing and partying, regularly attended social gatherings and visited friends. That company made her feel better, but she still did not get the peace she longed for.

Then, she joined a musical band and started listening to songs frequently on a friend’s advice, who told her that music is food for the soul; hence, it’d give her peace. She gave it a try and it felt good for some time, but then again, she felt that music gave her nothing but headache.
Afterwards, she decided to get into shopping spree; she’d spend all her time roaming in the markets. She made herself aware of the latest brands as well as the trends in fashion and shopped accordingly, stuffing her wardrobe with branded dresses, bags, shoes, jewellery and makeup. Consequently, spending all her time shopping made her forget about the sadness in her life; but, after about a week, all that felt useless. Her wardrobe, bloating with branded stuff, could not give her peace of mind and heart. It could not fill the emptiness in her heart.

Then, she started watching movies all the time. She got so absorbed in them that she’d forget all her worries; however, as soon as the movie was over, she’d start feeling restless and depressed again.

After that, she took up another job to keep herself as busy as possible, hoping it would help her get over her depression; but it was not much of a help either.

Next, she decided to go on a world tour. She had gathered enough money from her jobs, so she made a list of all the countries that she wanted to visit. Excited about the tour, she thought that it would certainly give her contentment, as she had wanted to have that tour since forever. So, she visited all the countries one by one, but to her disappointment, it couldn’t give her peace and satisfaction; her heart still felt vacant and peace less.

Her depression was gradually increasing; she even went on medication, but it did little good.Then, she got into drugs, expecting to get relief from her depression. But, it made the situation even worse! She had tried one thing after the other, but all in vain. All she wanted was peace and satisfaction of heart, mind and soul.

Then one day, she decided to visit an old friend, not knowing how this visit would change her entire life. Just as she entered her home, she heard something that captured her attention at once. It was somebody reciting the Quran. She stood there still, unable to take any step further, and listened to the words of the Quran – it was so beautiful and pleasing that it touched her heart, and she could feel the warmth of tears on her cheeks. She left the house that very moment, and felt ashamed realizing how long had it been since she had last read the Quran. All these years, she had been neglecting the Book sent by the One, Who created her!

Through Quran, she found guidance for every aspect of her existence; she implemented it in her life, found true peace and lived happily ever after.

She went home immediately, opened a cabinet that had not been opened since ages, and took out the Holy Quran, which was covered with dust. She wiped off the dust with trembling hands and watery eyes, her heart heavy with sheer embarrassment. She quickly performed ablution and sat down with the Quran in her hand. She randomly opened a page in the Quran, and the first Ayah on the page that caught her eyes was,

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah, do hearts find peace.” (Ar-Rad 13:28)

Reading this, she could not stop crying. It was as if these words were written exactly for her. All her life, she had been trying to find peace through materialistic desires, and that was the moment she felt utmost peace. In her flight for the search for peace and satisfaction, how beautifully Allah (swt) had landed her on the amazing Ayah!

She started reciting the Quran along with translation, and started obeying all of Allah’s (swt) commands in the Quran; it gave her so much peace and gratification that she could have never imagined to have. It felt as if the emptiness in her heart had finally been filled. She found contentment and satisfaction of heart, mind and soul that she had been longing for since a very long time.

Through the Quran, she realized that the death of her family, loss of job and all the other calamities were trials for her; challenges through which Allah (swt) tests His people, so that they bear patience on them and He raises their standards. The calamities and hardships of life are nothing but a blessing for us, which washes away our sins.

“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)

Through Quran, she found guidance for every aspect of her existence; she implemented it in her life, found true peace and lived happily ever after.

Dealing with False Company: Control, Alter or Delete!

ctrlaltdeleteAnother depressing day, and I didn’t know why I was sad. I really thought about my life, and I realized that I was doing things I wasn’t supposed to do. I had started listening to music, and I prayed twice a day, which was soon to abandon. It was 4 p.m. and I could hear footsteps coming towards my room. It was probably my mom coming in to force me to go to my Quran class, and yes, that was exactly what happened. I dragged my feet to the car, and grabbed my scarf in exasperation. People already regarded me as a weirdo, and hardly anyone would talk to me.

I was ten minutes late for the class, and I had already planned that I would just go to sleep, because the lecture was always boring. My teacher knew that something was wrong with me, but she didn’t say anything. The topic that day was about the influence of friends/social circle. I was least interested, as my problems seemed bigger to me than a boring lecture.

Mrs. Hamid said that wherever you are, choose your friends wisely. This was her favourite sentence. “The social circle in which you are can change your lifestyle; so choose your friends wisely.” It was not until the next day, when I started pondering over these words. I realized that my problems were due to my friends, with whom I would hangout most of the time.

“If someone in your life is a bad influence, get away from that person as soon as possible and surround yourself with people, who will support you.” These words echoed in my ears. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t due to my friends, as we had been together for the past eight years; besides, they were really good people.

It was winter break, and I had decided to observe my life without those friends of mine. Also, I tried to pray regularly and stopped listening to music. I deactivated my accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat; moreover, I didn’t talk to them on Whatsapp.

“Wake up Manahil! You have to pray.” I had asked my mom to wake me up for Fajr that I used to regret every morning. My warm, cozy comforter hugged me; and my bed was as soft as wool. I’d never felt this comfortable in thirteen and a half years! I tried to get up, but the cold morning air was another obstacle I had to face. Oh! I totally forgot about the freezing water, and within five minutes, I was fast asleep.

“Hey, listen, come to my house tomorrow. Okay? See you tomorrow! Bye.” One of my friends called and invited me to her house. All of us gathered the next day, and they decided to listen to music. “Hey, listen guys, let’s do something else. Can we not listen to music?” I asked my friends.
“We can talk while the song is playing…” replied Amna.

“Can’t we pray first?” I asked, trying to avoid music.

when there is a ‘knock knock’ in your heart, and you realize that you were on the wrong path, ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness and start doing the right thing.

“Oh my God, Manahil! What has happened to you?! Don’t be too Islamic.”

“Yeah, we are here to enjoy, so, please!”

“Okay fine…” I couldn’t say anything else. I don’t know why, but I started feeling very uncomfortable with them. I sent a message to my mom to pick me up in five minutes. “Mrs. Hamid was right…” I told myself. Winter break was way better than school days, because I was far from my so-called ‘best friends’.

“Yes, Mrs. Hamid, I don’t know why, but I wasn’t comfortable. I always had a lot of fun, when I used to hang out with them but…” I narrated the whole incident to her.

“I’m glad you realized. Always remember – when there is a ‘knock knock’ in your heart, and you realize that you were on the wrong path, ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness and start doing the right thing. It’s a golden opportunity for you. Let me tell you one thing – most of the people today are listening to music; how beloved you will be to Allah (swt), if you don’t listen to it! Try to leave those friends – you can only be betrayed by the people you trust. Choose your friends wisely. The company you keep defines you and your level of faith. Also, you don’t become what you want; instead, you become like the ones you hang out with. The Holy Prophet (sa) described the good and bad companions when he said: ‘The example of a good companion is that of the bearer of musk, and the worker on the bellows. The bearer of musk would give you some of the perfume- you either buy it, or smell its fragrance. The worker on the bellows, on the other hand- either burns your body or your clothes, or you smell a bad odour from him.’ So choose your friends wisely.”

No Time to Waste

Photo credit: *USB* / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: *USB* / Foter / CC BY-SA

The Prophet (sa) said: “Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become preoccupied, and your life, before your death.” This Hadeeth teaches us the importance of time and its right use. Every day is a precious gift to us by Allah (swt) and we should make the best use of it- remembering the ultimate goal of pleasing Allah (swt) and not letting a minute to be wasted. This is not to say that we should constantly work and pray, because Islam teaches us to find the right balance and we have the right to rest. Rather, wastefulness is giving time to things and activities that take us further from Allah (swt) and lower our Iman. And some of the most common time thieves nowadays are- watching TV and listening to popular music.

TV – the vital or the virus?

One might ask, “What is wrong with the TV? Why to vilify it, when it’s so common it has practically become part of our lives?” The TV box may be on constantly, and we would hardly give it any thought – just letting it become the not-so-silent background to our day-to-day activities. Yet, if we have young children at home, we should certainly give it more than a fleeting thought, as TV has a profound effect on shaping the mind and it is rarely a positive effect. Even though there are some worthy channels with some content of benefit; the TV in general is full of violence, inappropriate images of genders and gender relations, foul language and un-Islamic ideology.

Also, the TV is addictive, especially for small children who may throw tantrums the moment someone changes their favourite cartoon channel; its content is beyond our control and by watching TV we simply become passive consumers of the broadcast. Getting used to this passive reception also leads to laziness and makes the traditional ways of acquiring knowledge such as reading, seem tiresome and difficult.

Some people may think that if they give up on TV, they would miss out on latest news, newest dramas, everything people might be talking about. But the truth is just the opposite for we miss out on real life, meaningful activities and authentic human interaction, because we spent too much time watching the telly. And same goes for children. Yes, they might learn their phonics and counting quicker from the TV cartoons, but they will miss out on learning good habits and socialising with other family members and guests. Considering all these arguments, I decided that my family would be better off without the TV, but how to make the switch off painless for children (and everybody else)?

Watching TV easily becomes an addiction and breaking off the habit may be more difficult than just turning off the set. It might be a little easier for the grown-ups, once they realize that spending time in front of TV or listening to useless songs really diverts our mind from worthy activities and thoughts and lowers our productivity.

It’s never too late to change

When trying to make a change, it’s always a good idea to replace a bad habit with a good one. For example- if we are used to watching the TV in the afternoon to relax and rest, we might instead reach out for a book or go for a walk. If we get into the habit of listening to music while doing kitchen work or any other household chore, we could instead turn on the CD with the Quran recitation or get busy with Dhikr. Just keeping in mind, why we want to make a change should be enough to keep us motivated through the difficult early stages.

Yet, the children may not be so easily persuaded. It might be much harder for them to understand why watching cartoon is bad and in the first stages they might express lots of negative feelings or even throw tantrums about not being allowed to turn on the TV. It is our role as parents to make the transition easier for them, while at the same time remaining firm about our goals. And this might be actually the hardest part for us as parents, because children occupied with watching TV shows makes the parenting job easier; giving mums a break from watching over kids when they are very busy.

Be there for your child

Yet, we should remind ourselves that the easiest option is not always the best; and bringing up children as good Muslims is our most important job and we should primarily focus our efforts and time on the right education. Once we switch off the TV, the children will turn to us to find them something to do and keep them busy. Expecting this, we should try to find for them activities that would be not only more meaningful, but also more fun for the kids. It would be perfect if we could manage to occupy our children’s time in a way that would be more attractive to them than watching TV. And if we put a little effort, they might not even demand for cartoons at all, preferring instead to spend time playing and learning with their parents and other family members.

Children who spend lots of time watching TV often have no contact with books and see reading as a boring activity. But, we should try to instil the love of reading in our kids from the early age; and that’s why, it is a good idea to build a family library and share stories together every day. Little children love listening to the stories told by their parents and looking at the colourful illustrations in children’s books. Little elder children are often interested in activity books and stories about other children. There is a lot of choice of good literature for children at all ages, and it doesn’t have to be very expensive to build the right collection for them with so many shops with good quality second-hand books available.

Sometimes, we do have a lot of work and we cannot give children our full attention, but there are lots of activities to keep them busy and entertained other than watching TV. Doing crafts, painting and colouring are some of the things all the kids love. Otherwise, we might try to engage the elder children in our own activities, teaching them to help in the kitchen or with any other household work.

I believe that with Allah’s (swt) help, the right intention and a bit of determination, we can give up the unproductive activities and make better use of every minute of our time. Insha’Allah.

The Mountain Peak

jannah-paradiseHow honorable is dwelling with mates,

In Paradise and that’s indeed the best company,

How great is neighborhood to persons of repute,

They will have the pleasure of seeing the Lord,

And listen with delight to His Sublime Word,

With silk brocade being their main garment,

They have their heads crowned with finest crowns,

Inlaid with ornate pearls and rare moonstones,

Or silver that is made of only pure gold

And golden rings and bracelets molded,

Of silver and prettily adorned forearms

Their served food is soft bird meat

The finest of camel that feed on all sorts

And bowls of precious pearls and gold,

Strewn, as seventy thousand, on a thousand tables,

If you feel a thirst and desirous for these,

As much as an exile who yearns for home,

Be as charitable as you can and then you will

Be rewarded for good with that which is best

Prepare for the Gardens of Eden and all

The blessings of it that surely never cease,

Observe fast always and rise in prayer,

For both are indeed acceptable deeds,

Wake in the night and recite Qur’an,

And have little sleep as an anxious one,

Perhaps, your death knell once suddenly tolls,

Your coffin then, not bed, will be the place to rest, How great to shed tears at night,

Due to the fear of the Lord, the Ever Compassionate,

So, lower your gaze and always avoid,

Any forbidden looks and strain to be modest,

Strive and beware of all women’s temptations,

You get them as mates as many hours in Paradise,

Blessed is life there and all its pleasures,

With all kinds of fruit as served in pairs,

Belittle you never any venial sin,

As fire begins with little sparks

Once you sin, be quick to repent,

For fear of sudden death, with no delay,

Sate not your whims and never be excessive,

Allah surely hates greedy persons,

The one who gives in to lust and appetite,

Will suffer forever their two-forked yoke,

So, fast by day to drink your fill

On the day people will be parched with thirst,

There is no good at all in musical instruments,

Or dancing or similar forms of merry-making,

The devout are always afraid of their Lord,

Avoiding listening to music and singing,

They rather recite the Glorious Qur’an,

Especially with melodious and tuneful to ears,

At night, than all those flutes and fifes,

If you just perceive the Doomsday’s horrors,

You would surely flee from kinfolk and home,

Due to its horrors, the skies would crack,

The infant’s hair will turn grey,

Austere and distressful that day will be,

And highly burdensome for humans at all,

that day the devout are driven to their Lord,

With finest of mounts carrying them all,

The wretched, however, are driven to Hell,

Where they will suffer the parching thirst,

So, Heaven and Hellfire respectively will be

For the devout and wicked an eternal abode.

(Published with permission from “On the Mountain Peak” by Dr. Muhammad Al-‘Areefi. Publisher: “Darussalam”)

Music in Islam


By Alia Adil – Freelance writer

Music has always topped the list whenever it comes to so-called ‘controversial’ issues. Some simply hush up anything even remotely related to it, terming it Haram, whereas others have declared it to be permissible. For a layman, there is always confusion as to what is right and what is wrong. In an attempt to clear the fog, let us take a look at what is mentioned in our Shariah regarding singing and music.

In Surah Al-Isra, Allah (swt) mentions the time when Shaitan was granted respite until the Last Day to misguide mankind. Allah (swt) allowed him to use all weapons he could for this purpose, including his voice, Sawt: “And Istafziz [literally means: befool them gradually] those, whom you can among them with your voice (i.e. songs, music, and any other call for Allah’s disobedience)…” (Al-Isra 17:64)

According to Ibn Abbas (rta), Sawt (voice) mentioned in this verse refers to every form of invitation, which calls to disobedience to Allah (swt). Ad-Dahhak said it was the sound of wind instruments. Mujahid interpreted Sawt as Ghina (singing to cause enchantment or sensual pleasure), Mazamir (wind instruments) and Lahw (distraction from important matters).

Then Allah (swt) says:“And of mankind is he, who purchases idle talks (i.e., music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the path of Allah, the Verses of the Quran) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire).” (Luqman 31:6)

According to Imam Qurtubi, this is one of the three verses, from which scholars have deduced the dislike and prohibition of Ghina(the third one being An-Najm, 53:59-61). The keyword here is Lahw Al-Hadeeth (idle talks).

Abdullah Ibn Masud (rtam) said: “I swear by the One other than Whom there is no god, Lahw al Hadeeth refers to Ghina.” Ibn Abbas said: “It means Ghina and the like.” Mujahid said: “It means Ghina and listening to it.” Hasan Al-Basri said: “This verse was revealed in relation to Ghina and musical instruments.”

Abu Malik Al-Ashari narrated that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “There will be groups of people from my Ummah, who will seek to declare fornication, adultery, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful.” (Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad (sa) also 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 (swt) will cleave the earth under them and turn them and others into apes and swine.” (Ibn-Majah and Bayhaqi)

Moreover, it is recorded that Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf (rta) reported: “The Prophet (sa) took my hand and I went with him to visit his (ailing) son Ibrahim. He was in the throes of death. The Prophet (sa) took him to his breast and held him until he breathed his last. Then he put the child down and wept. I asked: “You are weeping, O Messenger of Allah, while you prohibit crying?” The Prophet (sa) replied: “Verily, I did not prohibit weeping but rather, I forbade two sounds that are foolish and sinful: the sound of musical amusement and Shaitan’s Mazamir in time of joy and blessing; and the sound (of wailing) at the time of adversity accompanied by striking the face and tearing of garments. But this (weeping of mine) stems from compassion, and whoever does not show compassion will not receive it.” (Al-Hakim)

Ibn Taymiyah writes: “This is among the best Ahadeeth that are used to show the prohibition of Ghina.”

Thus, it is clear beyond doubt that Islam establishes a general ruling of Tahreem (prohibition), when it comes to music. However, Islam, being a balanced religion, gives room for amusement and sport that is free from sin and evil consequences. There are some occasions, such as weddings and the days of Eid, where singing and use of Duff (one-sided drum without bells) are permissible (women and girls only). It is recorded that Muhammad Ibn Hatib (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “Duff and singing in weddings distinguish the permissible from the prohibited.” (Bukhari)

Likewise, singing is allowed in order to gain strength at the time of Jihad and to ease laborious work, as was done by Prophet (sa) and his companions, while digging the trench around Madinah, in preparation for the Battle of Trench. To determine all such occasions and the extent of their permissibility, one must refer to authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (sa).

Instrument-free singing is permissible by consensus, provided certain conditions are met: it must be for a rightful purpose, it must comprise pure, non-erotic lyrics, and one must not excessively indulge in it. Moreover, one can occasionally enjoy Islamic Nasheeds, as long as the content is wholesome, virtuous, and free from polytheism and use of musical instruments.

Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyah 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, and by which he has stalked the hearts of the false and ignorant people, there is the listening to whistling, wailing, handclapping and song to the accompaniment of forbidden (musical) instruments. Such things block the Quran from people’s hearts and make them devoted to sin and disobedience. For song (to musical accompaniment) is the Quran (recital) of Ash-Shaytan. It is a dense veil and barrier, preventing nearness to Ar-Rahman.”

Later on in his treatise, he says: “Therefore know that songs have 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 contemplation and understanding of the Quran and from applying it. This is because the Quran and song can never coexist in the heart, since they are mutually contradictory…”

It is often said that music leads to tranquility of the soul. However, the tranquility that one acquires from remembering Allah (swt) is entirely different from the one experienced through music. Allah (swt) says in the Quran “… Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”(Ar-Rad 13:28)

Dear Haadia

Question: What is the place of music in Islam?

Answer: There is considerate confusion concerning music in Islam, which necessitates an explanation. In his Tafseer, Imam Al-Qurtabi mentions that there are three verses, which have been used by the Ullema as proofs of the contempt for and the prohibition of music.

The first of these verses appears in Surah Najam (53:59-62): “Do you then wonder at this recital (the Quran)? And you laugh at it and weep not, wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (singing, etc.). So fall you down in prostration to Allah (swt) and worship Him (Alone).” The important phrase here is “wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements” (Wa Antum Saamidoon). ‘Saamid’ means ‘one who plays idly with musical instruments or other objects of play.’

According to Ibn Abbaas, the word ‘Saamidoon’ refers to the Mushrikeen’s habit of singing and playing noisily, whenever they heard the Quran recited, in order to drown out the reciter’s voice, so that others would not hear it.

The second verse is from Surah Bani Israel (17: 64): “And befool them gradually, those whom you can among them with your voice, make assaults on them with your cavalry and infantry, mutually share with them wealth and children and make promises to them. But Satan promises them nothing but deceit.” After refusing to bow before Adam (as), Satan requested Allah (swt) to grant him respite until the Day of Resurrection, so that he may misguide the descendants of Adam (as). Thus, Allah (swt) addressed Satan with the above verses.

Some commentators among the Taabieen, such as Mujaahid and Ad-Dahhaak, interpreted Satan’s exciting mankind with his voice to mean through music, songs, and amusement.

The third verse is from Surah Luqman (31: 6): “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah (swt) without knowledge, and takes it by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating punishment.”

Here Allah (swt) reveals the condition of the miserable ones, who refuse to benefit from hearing the word of Allah (swt) and devote themselves to idle talk and empty amusements. The term ‘Lahwal Hadeeth’ (idle talk) means:

(a) singing and listening to songs;

(b) purchasing of professional singers;

(c) purchasing of idle amusement instruments, in short, music and songs.

This view has been held by a number of companions, such as Ibn Masood, Jaabir, and Ibn Abbas. When questioned regarding the meaning of this verse, Ibn Abbas replied: “I swear by the One, other than Whom there is no God, it refers to singing (Ghinna),” and he repeated this thrice. Music and singing distracts people from Allah’s (swt) remembrance, thereby inviting them to His disobedience.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated: “From among my followers, there will be some people, who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk (for men), the drinking of alcoholic drinks, and the use of musical instruments as lawful…” (Bukhari) Analysis of the Hadeeth’s wording clearly indicates the unlawfulness of music.

The Prophet (sa) said: “Indeed, Allah (swt) prohibited wine, gambling, and Al-Koobah; and every intoxicant is prohibited.” When the narrator Ali Bin Badheemah was asked: “What is Al-Koobah?” he answered: “It is the drum.” (Ahmad)

However, songs minus the music, whose lyrics heighten spiritual consciousness and encourage people to pious works, are praiseworthy, but these too must encompass proper decorum. Upon the Prophet’s (sa) arrival to Madinah and his return from the battle of Tabuk, joy was expressed by the Ansar in praise of the Prophet (sa). They sang: “The full moon has risen on us over the hills of Waada.”

Therefore, it is incumbent of every Muslim to strive his utmost to find lawful alternatives to the prohibited forms of music. He may recite and listen to the Quran as the Prophet (sa) said: “Adorn the Quran with your voices.” (Abu Dawood) Remembrance of Allah (swt), brings tranquility to the human soul, as opposed to music, which is fleeting and superficial.