Music in the light of Quran & Sunnah.

Question:

Is music permissible is the light in Quraan and Sunnah? What is the ruling for Islamic songs containing musical instruments?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Committing a sin while knowing and believing that such action is a sin, one will InshaAllah feel remorse and likely do repentance. However, committing a sin and upon that believing such action to be permissible and justifying it is an additional sin, and one is deprived of seeking forgiveness.  

Today, in our society music and singing has become very common. The houses, streets, vehicles and market places echo with the sound of music and T.V. songs. The television, mobile phones and technology have made it reach every corner. Occasions and social gatherings are filled with music. No matter whether someone is performing Salah at the Masjid, reciting Qur’an, making Zikr, studying, resting at home or travelling, the sounds of music reaches one. 

Hardly a place where music dose not reach one’s ears. Our youth spend hours on end with music in their ears. The result is that music being a sin has left the hearts of general Muslims and Ulamaa have become weary and are starting to discard telling people about it. Today, Muslims and their children at homes, while driving, play immoral songs without any concern. In fact now, some people regard singing and music to be essential for the mind and soul and wellbeing and are making effort to term it as permissible, which is a very dangerous condition and which can destroy one’s Imaan.

Allah is AlHakeem (The All Wise). Every order of Allah is filled with wisdom. Some of which we comprehend and most of which we cannot due to our limited intellect as humans.

Evils of Music

Muslims are aware that nothing has been prohibited by Allah except that which is harmful to the welfare of a Muslim individual and the society as a whole. The divine attribute behind the prohibition of music can be comprehended by looking into the diverse influence music can have.

Experiments have confirmed that the music of today is such that it does not only affect the brain, but affects one`s emotions, heart beat and leads to physical and physiological changes in the person.

The messages of today`s music follow a general theme of fornication, drugs and other immoralities.

A prevention

Islam does not only prohibit adultery and immoralities, but also those things that may lead to them. Music is a cause for arousing illicit desires of an individual. It leads a person to immoral acts. Therefore, Islam takes the preventive measure rather than suffer the consequences.

Islam forbids listening to the female voice with lust and desire. This is the reason why Allah Ta’ala says:

“O wives of The Prophet! You are not like other women, if you are god-fearing. So do not be soft in speech. Lest in whose heart is disease should be moved with desire.” (Al-Ahzab, v. 32)

Moreover and above everything, Shari’ah has explicitly prohibited music, and as Muslims we abide by the commands of Allah and The Prophet ﷺ without reservation.

In the Light of the Qur’an, Music is Haram (Prohibited)[1]

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ – 31:6

“Some people are such that they buy such speech which makes them negligent (of Allah), so that they can lead astray (others) from the path of Allah without understanding and so that they can take this (correct path) as a mockery. For these people, there is a disgraceful punishment.” (SurahLuqmin verse no,6)

Note: In this verse lahwal-hadith’ refers to music. Thus when * Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud Radhiallahu Anhu was asked regarding this verse he said, “I take an oath by that Being who has no other partner, it means music.”

He repeated this statement thrice (so that the questioner could understand properly).

* Ibn Abbas Radhiallahu Anhu said, “By lahwal-hadith is meant music and those types of things.”

Therefore, for such people is a disgraceful punishment. Those things in which warnings of punishment are given are not permissible. Therefore, singing and listening to music is haram (impermissible).

This is also known that from the time of Rasulullah ﷺ until now, dancing and music has been the mild pacified sword of the enemies of Islam, which they have always used to destroy Islam and the Muslims. Today, by showing programs of nudity, immoral dramas, singing and dancing, robberies and killing by means of the T.V. and satellite dishes, this purpose is being attained so that the Muslims become involved in it and become drowned in pleasures and enjoyments thus leaving their Deen (religion) and become negligent of Aakhirah (hereafter) and so that Muslims become their slaves and can never combat them.

Muslims should ensure that they save themselves from the hidden weapons and silent swords of the enemies of Islam,

Some of the sayings of Nabi regarding music are as follows:

The Purpose of Rasulullah coming:

* Ali Radhiallahu Anhu narrates that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Verily, I have been sent (In the world) to destroy flutes (i.e. musical instruments)” (Nailul-Autar)

* Umamah Bahili Radhiallahu Anhu has narrated that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Verily, Allah has sent me as a guidance and mercy for the Muslims and He has commanded me to destroy the flute, the drum, the cross and objects of jahiiiyah (the days of Ignorance). (Abu Dawud)

* Ibn Abbas Radhiallahu Anhu has narrated that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “I have been commanded to destroy the drum and the flute.” (Jamul-Jawami)

Note: It is clear from these three Ahadith that just as the purpose of Nabi’s ﷺ coming was to destroy kufr and shirk and to invite towards the tauhid (the oneness of Allah) and he was also sent to break and completely destroy drums, fiddles and all other musical instruments.

Now let us ponder that the personality, who we believe in and whose name we take, was sent to destroy music and singing, whereas we are involved in singing, dancing and music, thus going contrary to the very purpose of Nabi’s ﷺ coming. How sad and dangerous is this! Our Iman and Deen demands from us that while following in the footsteps of Nabiﷺ , we abstain from listening to any type of music and singing and we should totally discard this pastime.

Forms Will Be Changed

* Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu Anhu has narrated that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Close to Qiyamah, the forms of some people of my Ummah will be transformed and changed into that of monkeys and swines.” The Sahabah  asked, “O Rasulullah ﷺ Will these  people be Muslims? Nabiﷺ said, “Yes, they will testify that there is none worthy of worship but Allah and that I am Allah’s messenger and they will also fast. The Sahabah asked, “O Rasulullah ﷺ Then why will this happen to them? Nab? ﷺ said, “The people will become accustomed to musical instruments and singing girls and they will drink wine. One night, they will be Involved in drinking wine and in futilities and amusements. In the morning, their features will be transformed.” (ibn Hibban)

* Sahl bin Sa’d Radhiallahu Anhu has narrated that Nabi ﷺ said, “In this Ummah, there will be incidents of people being swallowed in the ground, forms changing and rain of stones. Someone asked, O Rasulullah ﷺWhen will this happen?” Rasulullah ﷺ said, “When singing girls become common and wine is regarded as halal.” (ibn majah)

In these Ahadith, what severe warnings have been mentioned regarding singing and listening to music! In the previous Ummahs, due to the disobedience of the Bani Israeel, they were punished by being changed into monkeys and swines. Warning of this punishment, (or at least the qualities of monkeys and swines) has been sounded for those who sing and who listen to music from the Ummah of Nabi ﷺ!

Saving Oneself from the Sounds of Music

Nafi, narrates that Ibn Umar Radhiallahu Anhu once heard the sound of a flute being played by a shepherd. He placed his fingers in both his ears and turned his conveyance from the path. He then continued to ask, “Can the sound be heard?” until I said to him, “Now there no sound can be heard.” He then removed his fingers from his ears and came back on that path. He then said, “I saw Nabi ﷺ doing the same when he heard the sound of the shepherd’s flute.” (Abu Dawud)

The Instruments of Music are Haram (Prohibited)

* ‘Abdullah Ibn Umar Radhiallahu Anhu narrates that Nabi ﷺsaid, “Verily Allah  has made wine, gambling, drums and guitars haram. Also, every intoxicant is haram.” (Abu Dawud)

* Ibn Abbas Radhiallahu Anhu  narrates that Rasufuflah ﷺ said, “Verily Allah  has made wine, gambling and drums haram. Also, every intoxicant is haram.” (Abu Dawud)

From these Ahadith, we learn that the usage of drums, guitars and flutes are haram. These instruments have only been mentioned as an example.

To Take Enjoyment from Music is Kufr

* Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu Anhu has narrated that Nabi ﷺ said, Listening to music is a sin, and to sit in gatherings of music is disobedience and to take enjoyment from it is kufr” (Nailul Autar}

Hypocrisy is created due to Music

* Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud Radhiallahu Anhu narrates that Rasulullahﷺsaid, “Music creates hypocrisy in the heart just as water causes crops to grow. (Baihaqi)

* Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu Anhu narrates that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “The love of music creates hypocrisy in the heart just as water causes crops to grow’ (Dailami)

Prohibition of Using Bells

* Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu Anhu narrates that Rasulullah ﷺsaid, “Bells are the flutes of Shaytan.” (Muslim, Abu Dawud)

* Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu Anhu narrates that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “The angels do not accompany such a group in which there is a dog or bell.” (ibid)

The Proofs which hold no Weight of those who regard Music as Permissible

1) The Permissibility of Singing on the Day of Eid

* Aishah Radhiallahu Anha says that Rasulullah ﷺ came to me. At this time, two small girls were sitting by me and were singing a song regarding the battle of Bughath, Rasulullah ﷺ lay on the bed and turned his face away. In the meanwhile, * Abu Bakr Radhiallahu Anhu came. He began reprimanding me and said, “This shaytini song in front of Nabf ﷺ?” Nabi ﷺ turned to him and said, ”Leave them”. When * Abu Bakr Radhiallahu Anhu began doing other work, I made a sign to these two girls, who then went out. This was the day of Eid.” (Bukhari)

Note; Some people regard singing and listening to music as permissible based on the above Ahadith. They say that on the day of eid, in the house of Rasulullah ﷺ, girls were singing and he gave permission, so it will be permissible for us to listen to music and sing at marriage ceremonies and occasions of joy.

However, to deduce proof of permissibility from these Ahadith is not correct since there is no clear mention of music in these Ahadith, Mention is only made of reciting the hymns and poems of the battle of Bughath with tune. These poems have nothing to do with music. The battle of Bughath is the name of that battle which took place between the Aws and Khazraj tribes, three years before Nabi ﷺ migrated to Madinah Munawwarah. The poems which these girls were reciting were those which used to raise the spirits of bravery and manliness, which is beneficial in one way and an aid in war. Also, these girls were still immature and not mukallaf (liable), nor were they paid singing girls. For this reason, Rasulullah ﷺ did not prohibit them. If these poems included impermissible and erotic contents, like music, then Nabi ﷺwould never have remained silent, but would have definitely stopped them. * Abu Bakr Radhiallahu Anhu stopped these girls as it was common knowledge amongst the Sahabah that singing was impermissible and a satanic act. He therefore felt that these poems were similar to songs and prevented them, upon which Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Leave them. Today is the day of Eid. Overlook them”.

The crux of this is that the permissibility of music cannot be proven from here.

Announcing a Nikah by means of a Duff (Tambourine)

* Rubayyi’ Radhiallahu Anha says, “When my rukhsati (departure of bride to her husband’s home) took place, then Nabi ﷺ came and sat in the same manner as you are sitting in front of me. During this time, some of our girls started hitting the duff and began reciting a eulogy of my father and grandfather who had been killed. While doing this, one girl recited the following verse (the translation of which is) “And we have such a Nabi m who knows the matters of tomorrow’ Nabi ﷺ on hearing this said, “Leave out this. Continue what you were saying before,” (Bukhari)

* Aishah radiallahu anha narrates that Rasulullah ﷺ said, “Announce the Nikah, perform the Nikah in the Masjid and at this time, strike the duff.” (Tirmidhi)

Note: In these two Ahadith and some other Ahadith, mention is made of striking the duff at the time of Nikah. The purpose of this was to announce and inform of the Nikah. For this reason, the Ulama have stated that at the occasion of Nikah, it is permissible to strike the duff to inform of the Nikah, as long as no impermissible act is committed with It. The duff should be struck giving off such a sound by which the necessity of announcing the Nikah will be fulfilled. It is also not necessary to announce the Nikah by striking the duff. If by any other means, people can be informed, this will be sufficient. In fact, some Ulama have also prohibited announcing the Nikah by striking the duff. (imdadul Fatawa vol. 2 p 238) This is why there is precaution m not using the duff for the announcement of Nikah. Anyhow, all this detail is with regard to striking the duff at the time of announcing the Nikah.

Some people, due to the permission regarding the usage of the duff at the time of Nikah, have made an analogy to present day musical instruments such as drums, guitars etc. and have regarded them as permissible. This is completely incorrect because singing and musical instruments, in the light of the Shari’ah, are haram, and there is special emphasis to abstain from them, as has already passed. The permission of the duff is for the purpose of announcing the Nikah. Therefore to base one’s deductions on this is not correct.

Participation in such Gatherings in which there is Music

Today, music and singing has become so common that in most wedding ceremonies and other happy occasions, music is played. In fact, in some areas, music is played so loudly on these occasions that it echoes throughout the area and all the residents of that area become involved in this unexpected calamity. By causing harm to others in his manner is an additional sin and is haram (prohibited). It is not permissible to attend such functions, no matter how bad the organizers of the function feel. One should not care about them, since it is not permissible to make any person happy by displeasing Allah.

The Reward of Not Listening To Music

* Ibn Abbas Radhiallahu Anhu has narrated that Nabi ﷺ said, on the day of Qiyamah, Allah  will say, Where are those people who (in the world) protected their ears hearing satanic music and their eyes from looking at singers/musicians?

Separate them from all the people. The angels will separate them and seat them on mounts of musk and amber. Thereafter Allah will command the angels, “Let them hear My pure and Majestic hymns!” The angels will then recite to them the Zikr of Allah m in such a beautiful (and melodious) voice which they never heard before/’ (Jam’ul Fawaid)[2]

Islamic songs containing musical instruments

All musical instruments are prohibited in Islam irrespective of what it is played for or song played with it. In the light of the above Ahadith, it is not permissible to listen to Islamic songs with the sound of musical instruments, drums in the background.

Computer/software generated music.

Music generated from musical instruments are Haram because of the musical sounds, regardless of the instrument.

Accordingly, sounds created by any other means to mimic the actual musical sounds will be impermissible.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net


[1] Ayaats and Ahaadith with their explanations is an excerpt from Singing and listening to Music, by Mufti Abdur Rauf Sakhrawi.

[2] Excerpt from Singing and listening to Music, by Mufti Abdur Rauf Sakhrawi.