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Music
According to Quran and Sunnah

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The Prohibition

The Noble Qur'an - Luqman 31:6

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 Qur'an) by way of mockery.  For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-Fire).

Ibn Masood (ra) said about this verse "I swear by the One other than Whom there is no God that it refers to singing [ghinaa].", and he repeated this three times. Ibn Abbaas (ra) said it refered to 'singing and the like' while Jaabir (ra) is reported to view its meaning to signify singing and listening to songs. Many taabi'oon such as Mujaahid, Ikrimah, Mak-hool and Umar ibn Shu'ayb viewed it as a censure of music and song.


Hadith - Bukhari (#787)  [Also related by Tabari]

Sa'id ibn Jbayr reported that Ibn 'Abbas said about the verse:  "And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks" (31:6), that, "ldle talks means singing and the like."

The Noble Qur'an - Al-Isra 17:64

"And Istafiz [literally means: befool them gradually] those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e. songs, music, and other call for Allah's disobedience)..."

Hadith - Bukhari 7:494

Narrated Abu 'Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash'ari that he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks, and the use of musical instruments as lawful.  And (from them), there will be some who will stay near the side of a mountain, and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, 'Return to us tomorrow.' Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and Allah will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection."


The Noble Qur'an - An-Najm 53:57-62

The Day of Resurrection draws near, None besides Allah can avert it, (or advance it, or delay it).  Do you then wonder at this recital (the Qur'an)?  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, and worship Him (Alone).

  • ‘Ikrimah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: it was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that al-sumood [verbal noun from saamidoon, translated here as “Wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (singing)”] means “singing”, in the dialect of Himyar; it might be said “Ismidi lanaa” [‘sing for us’ – from the same root as saamidoon/sumood] meaning “ghaniy” [sing]. And he said (may Allaah have mercy on him): When they [the kuffaar] heard the Qur’aan, they would sing, then this aayah was revealed.

  • Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Allah says (interpretation of the meaning) “Wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (singing)” – Sufyaan al-Thawri said, narrating from his father from Ibn ‘Abbaas: (this means) singing. This is Yemeni (dialect): ismad lana means ghan lana [sing to us]. This was also the view of ‘Ikrimah. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer).


Use of a Simple Drum


Use of the "duff" (simple drum) is permitted in Islam for a practical purpose (such as establishing a simple beat for exercise, rowing, and other labors), but not to be done by a Muslim for entertainment or idleness. In such instances, it must not be played as music, such as by enhancing rhythm, whistling a tune and whatnot. Ibn al-Qayyim said in Ighaathat al-Lahfaan (1/256) that the prohibition against the use of instruments refers to "all kinds of things used for entertainment."

According to the Sunnah, females can sing and beat the duff on the two 'Eids (specific Muslim celebrations) and to announce a Muslim wedding amongst themselves, and their voices shouldn't be raised loud enough or near enough to be heard by the men.

Poetry is also permitted, but it must not contain shirk (the major sin of associating a partner in worship with Allah, i.e. trinity, major or minor shirk, etc.).

The woman's voice should not be used in an attractive way around non-mahram men and to them it must be limited to necessity (physical necessity such as asking for something at the store, not emotional 'necessity' such as social conversation). Men and women must not engage in idle or social conversations with non-mahrams (those not related as specified in The Quran). Muslim men should avoid listening to a non-related (i.e. non-mahram) female voice (such as pop singers, etc.) except when it is unavoidable or due to her speaking out of necessity and not socializing.


The Noble Qur'an - An-Najm 53:57-62

The Prophet came to me after consuming his marriage with me and sat down on my bed as you (the sub-narrator) are sitting now, and small girls were beating the duff* and singing in lamentation of my father who had been killed on the day of the battle of Badr. Then one of the girls said, "There is a Prophet amongst us who knows what will happen tomorrow." The Prophet [saaws] said (to her),"Do not say this, but go on saying what you have spoken before."

* duff /daff- a one-sided drum made of animal skin.

The Noble Qur'an - Al-Ahzab 33:32
O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allâh), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.


Explanation from Sheikh Ibn Baz

Shaykh Ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 3/423-424:

"Ma'aazif refers to singing and musical instruments. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that at the end of time there will come a people who will allow these things just as they will allow alcohol, zina and silk. This is one of the signs of his Prophethood, for all of this has happened. The hadeeth indicates that [musical instruments] are haram (prohibited), and condemns those who say they are halal (permissible), just as it condemns those who say that alcohol and zina are allowed. The aayaat and ahaadeeth that warn against singing and musical instruments are many indeed. Whoever claims that Allaah has allowed singing and musical instruments is lying and is committing a great evil. We ask Allaah to keep us from obeying our desires and the Shaytaan. Even worse and more seriously sinful than that are those who say it is mustahabb. Undoubtedly this stems from ignorance about Allaah and His Religion; it is insolent blasphemy against Allaah and lying about His Laws.

What is mustahabb (recommended) is to beat on the daff [simple hand drum] at weddings. This is mustahabb for women only, in order to announce the wedding and to distinguish it from fornication. There is nothing wrong with women singing amongst themselves, accompanied by the daff, so long as the songs contain no words that encourage evil or distract people from their duties. It is also a condition that this should take place among women only, and there should be no mixing with men. It should also not cause any annoyance or disturbance to neighbours. What some people do, of amplifying such singing with loudspeakers is evil, because of the disturbance it causes to other Muslims, neighbours and others. It is not permissible for women, in weddings or on other occasions, to use any instrument other than the daff, such as the oud, violin, rebab (stringed instrument) and so on. This is evil, and the only concession that women are given is that they may use the daff.

As for men, it is not permissible for them to play any kind of musical instrument, whether at weddings or on any other occasion. What Allaah has prescribed for men is training in the use of instruments of war, such as target practice or learning to ride horses and competing in that, using spears, shields, tanks, airplanes and other things such as cannons, machine guns, bombs and anything else that may help jihaad for the sake of Allaah."


Hadith - Sunan of Abu Dawood, #4909, Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'ud

Salam ibn Miskin, quoting an old man who witnessed AbuWa'il in a wedding feast, said: They began to play, amuse and sing. He united the support of his hand round his knees that were drawn up, and said: I heard Abdullah (ibn Mas'ud) say: I heard the apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) say: Singing produces hypocrisy in the heart.


Intentions as it Relates to Hearing Music

Shaykh Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Concerning (music) which a person does not intend to listen to, there is no prohibition or blame, according to scholarly consensus. Hence blame or praise is connected to listening, not to hearing. The one who listens to the Qur'aan will be rewarded for it, whereas the one who hears it without intending or wanting to will not be rewarded for that, because actions are judged by intentions. The same applies to musical instruments which are forbidden: if a person hears them without intending to, that does not matter. (al-Majmoo', 10/78).

Imaam Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about playing the drum or flute, if a person happens to hear the sound and enjoy it whilst he is walking or sitting. He said: He should get up if he finds that he enjoys it, unless he is sitting down for a need or is unable to get up. If he is on the road, he should either go back or move on. (al-Jaami' by al-Qayrawaani, 262). He (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "The only people who do things like that, in our view, are faasiq's." (Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 14/55).

Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: It is not permissible to make musical instruments. (al-Majmoo', 22/140). And he said: According to the majority of fuqahaa', it is permissible to destroy musical instruments, such as the tanboor [a stringed instrument similar to a mandolin]. This is the view of Maalik and is the more famous of the two views narrated from Ahmad. (al-Majmoo', 28/113).  Ibn Abi Shaybah (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that a man broke a mandolin belonging to another man, and the latter took his case to Shurayh. But Shurayh did not award him any compensation, i.e., he did not make the first man pay the cost of the mandolin, because it was haram and had no value. (al-Musannaf, 5/395).


A Haram (Prohibited) Profession

It is haram (prohibited) to be work as a salesperson in a store that sells musical instruments. It is permissible to sell an instrument for its parts, such as to have it melted down, etc. It is of course, as shown by the evidences above, haram to be a musician.

Al-Baghawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) stated in a fatwa that it is haram to sell all kinds of musical instruments such as mandolins, flutes, etc. Then he said: If the images are erased and the musical instruments are altered, then it is permissible to sell their parts, whether they are silver, iron, wood or whatever. (Sharh al-Sunnah, 8/28)


Effeminate Men

Shaykh Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made allowances for certain types of musical instruments at weddings and the like, and he made allowances for women to play the daff at weddings and on other joyful occasions. But the men at his time did not play the daff or clap with their hands. It was narrated in al-Saheeh that he said: "Clapping is for women and tasbeeh (saying Subhaan Allaah) is for men." And he cursed women who imitate men and men who imitate women.

Because singing and playing the daff are things that women do, the Salaf (men of the far past) used to call any man who did that a mukhannath (effeminate man), and they used to call male singers effeminate - and how many of them there are nowadays! It is well known that the Salaf said this.


Related Links:
Listening to Music and Singing
Music is Haram
The Four Imams on Music


Action Items for the Muttaqun:

  • Get rid of those Michael Jackson CD's

    • If you had a large music collection as a kaffir, have a collection just as large, but instead fill your library with Islamic audio tapes and lectures.

    • Think about how many hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars you've spent on music cd's and tapes that you could now spend on a home Islamic library.

  • Spend your valuable time studying Qur'an, learning to perfect your salah, engaged in ibadah, spreading dawah.

Remember... Allah, subhana watala, sees everything we do!


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