Music in Islaam
All Praise is due to Allaah, the Creator of everything, who sent
Hadhrat Muhammad, the last and final Rasul of Allaah (S.A.W). We are fortunate to have in the Ummat, pious predecessors such as the Sahaabah (R.A) – companions of Nabi (S.A.W) who displayed the practicality of Deen.
In this age of trials and tribulations we have ‘spoilers’ of Deen, who profess to be scholars of Islaam, but in reality they are those who are trying their utmost to ruin the solid concept of Islaam.
They work under the banner of research and progressiveness in order to justify their falsehood. And have become experts in projecting falsehood as truth and by professional manipulation of words trying to make Halaal that which is Haraam. One area of their nefarious activity is to justify the permissibility of music in Islaam. Fortunately, Ulama -e- Haqq , Like Hadhrat Sheikul Ahadeeth Mufti Sayed Abdul Jalil are present. Hadhrat Mufti Saheb has adequately proven the impermissibility of music from the Quraan , Ahaadith, Aimma -e- Araba. Further the valid perspective of ‘Sima’ and qawwali has been outlined.
This is concise but guiding treatise on music. For the seeker of Haqq it is sufficient. For the one who has closed his ears from listening to the truth and eyes from reading the truth, no proof, however powerful is of benefit.
Also may the Rabb accept the efforts of all included in the learning, teaching, preaching and propagating and preservation of Deen.
Islam being a Universal Deen (religion), is one of enlightenment and unbending truth. Islaam itself, means Submission – complete, total submission to Allaah Ta’ala, the Rabb (Creator) of the heavens and the earth and everything therein.
The last of all prophets is Muhammad (S.A.W), who was a guide and warner to all of mankind. He delivered and inculcated in the hearts, minds and souls of his companions ; and inevitably into every facet of their lives, this Submission to Allaah Ta’ala – the pinnacle of which, was their success in both this world and the hereafter.
Both the Quraan Sharif and the Sunnat clearly provide guidance to the entire humanity in regard to each and every avenue, facet and sphere of life in principle at times and at times in details. Every injunction, advice and exhortation is all embracing : for all times ; for all people , till the Day of Qiyamah.
Hence, concerning music , the teachings of the Shariah provide an adequate guide for a Muslim who sincerely seeks guidance and truth.
Unfortunately, due to the strong and vicious influence of the western world with all its infra – structure of corrupt ideologies and beliefs, the forces of evil have conquered many unstable hearts and souls and thus we find degeneration and evil surfacing in the Muslim Ummah.
One widespread vice and evil, which has been introduced by misleading mavericks, is the permissibility of music. An attempt has been made to prove such permissibility by false interpretations of Quraanic Ayaah and Ahaadith. Such concocted and fabricated interpretations and theories are then used to justify and promote sin.
The prohibition of music and the use of musical instruments are declared Haraam very distinctly and categorically in both the Quraan Sharif and Ahaadith and so my endeavour is to assemble and present these teachings as proof for this clear prohibition.
May Allaah Ta’ala accept this humble effort and make it a means of guidance for the entire Ummah (Aameen)
Sayed Abdul Jalil (Mufti)
Music in Islaam
QURANIC AYAAH WHEREIN ALLAAH TA’ALA HAS DECLARED THE PROHIBITATION OF MUSIC.
Allaah Ta’ala says in Surah Luqman (verse 6): “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. For such there will be a humiliating punishment.”
Hazrat Hasan Basri (R.A) states that this Ayat was revealed concerning (the prohibition of) music and (the playing of) the flute.
(Ruhul Ma’aani p67/21, Ibn Katheer p442/3, Bayaqi – Sunan -e- Kubra p223/10, Mustadrak – Hakim p211/2).
Ibn Abbas (R.A) expounds the word “Lahwalhadith” as “Hual ginau wa ashbahuhu” – i.e. music and those things which are related to it.
(3) Imam Mujahid (R.A) elucidates in similar words: “It concerns the purchasing of singers, listening to it (music) and to all such ‘baatil’ (futile playthings).”
(Bayhaqi p225/10, Tafseer Ibn Jareer p37/2)
(4) Furthermore, Imam Makhool (R.A) states: “Due to this Ayat, I will not read the Janaza Salaah of that person who buys a singing woman in order for singing and to amuse him and continues (committing this grave sin) till he dies.”
(Tafseer Mazhari p259/7)
“And excite any of them whom you can with your voice.”
(Surah Bani Israeel: verse 64)
(1) Imam Mujahid (R.A) explain that the word “saut ” refers to music and all types of amusements,
( Ruhul Ma’aani from Allama Suyuti (R.A) Al-Ikleel-fi-Istin batit – Tanzeel p144).
(2) Imam Hasan Basri (R.A) says that this word refers to the ‘Duff’.
“Do you marvel at this statement, and laugh and do not weep, while you amuse yourselves [proudly] in vanities Surah An – Najm
(1) Imam Abu Ubaidah (R.A) and Hadhrat Ikrama (R.A) state explains that in the Himyari dialect, the word ” samud ” refers to singing and music.
(2) Ibn Abbas (R.A) explains that the word ” samud ” means singing in the Yamani dialect. The kufaar use to do this to divert themselves from listening to the recitation of the Quraan Sharif.
Allaah Ta’ala mentions, in the Quraan Sharif, one of the qualities of his special servants as: “Those who do not participate in false, vain activities and when they come across playful things, they pass by honourably.”
(1) Imam Mujahid (R.A) expounds the word ‘zoor’ as music.
(Durre Mansoor p 81/5).
(2) Imam Abu Bakr Jassas (R.A) writes in is commentary of the Quraan Sharif: “It has been reported from Abu Hanifa (R.A) that ‘zoor’ is music.”
(Ahkamul – Quraan p 427/3)
The above mentioned Ayaah and their commentaries prove the complete prohibition of music. Furthermore, the Ahaadith Mubarakah are also very explicit and clear concerning music.
The Blessed Ahaadith That Declare The Prohibition Of Music.
Nabi (S.A.W) has said: “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.”
(Bukhari – 837 /2)
Rasulullaah (S.A.W) has said: “A people of my Ummah will drink wine, calling it by other than its real name. Merry will be made for them through the playing of musical instruments and by the singing of female singers. Allaah will cleave the earth under them and turn them into apes and swines.”
(Ibn Majah p. 300, Kitab -ul- Fitan, Nayl -ul- Authaar p.98/8, Abu Dawood p.519/2)
In an explanation of the first Hadith, the word “yastahilloona” (i.e. deeming it to be lawful) is used emphasising the fact that it is Haraam (forbidden) in Shariah. The sin committed by such people is that they will consider that which is unlawful as lawful.
The playing of musical instruments is mentioned together with fornication, wine – drinking, etc, which categorises and classifies music with the sins of fornication, wine – drinking, etc. Just as these are forbidden, so too is music.
The Erroneous Interpretations
Those who advocate the permissibility of music, in order to justify their claim state that music on its own is not prohibited; but because music is associated with such other prohibited acts as wine ; fornication ; etc therefore music too is rendered prohibited.
Our Answer :
a) Such an interpretation has resulted and linked due to submission to the dictates of one’s desires, as it completely contradicts the principal and basic teachings of the Quraan Sharif and the Ahaadith Mubarakah.
Such an interpretation would lead naturally to an erroneous deduction in a similar manner and sequence i.e. fornication is permissible when committed on its own and similarly, wine – drinking on its own. (i.e. when these acts are not done together with other sins). Resulting no sin will remain a sin, when committed on its own.
b.) In this Hadith Shareef, these four sins have been mentioned with the “waa ” (and) between them ; the law for both parts connected with the ‘waa’ are the same without conditioning for this law to be applicable that the AMatuf@ and the A Matuf Alai@ must be found together at one time. As mentioned in the Quraan Sharif :
In these verses, four acts have been prohibited in each Ayat where the “conjunction” is found between each act ; yet no person proficient in the knowledge of Quraan and Ahaadith regards any one of these acts to be permissible in the absence of the other.
Rasulullaah (S.A.W) has said : “Verily there will be in the Ummah, Khasf (people will be sunk in the ground), Maskh (disfiguring in the outer form and shape) and Kazf (rains of stones will fall).”
A person asked : “O Rasulullaah (S.A.W) ! When will that be ?”
Rasulullaah (S.A.W) replied : ” That will be when dancing girls, playing musical instruments and the drinking of wine will become common amongst you.”
Allama Mubarak Puri proves its authencity in his commentary on Tirmidhi Shareef (Tuhafatul Ahwazi p.225/3)
A similar narration has also been recorded in
[Tirmidhi p. 45/2 and Ibn Majah p.304 in Babul Khusuf.]
Rasulullaah (S.A.W) has said : “Music grows hypocrisy in the heart just as water causes the crops to grow.”
( Baihaqi P222 /10, Mishkaat P 411/ 2 )
Besides the above narration’s there are several other such authentic narration’s that prove the prohibition of both music and the playing of musical instruments.
Statements And Verdicts of The Pious Predecessors
16786.) It has been narrated from Abdullaah bin Mas’ood (R.A) that music is Haraam (prohibited).
16787.) Ibn Abbas (R.A) states : ” The (playing of, musical instruments, drums and the flute is Haraam.”
(Bayhaqi p. 220/10)
16788.) Once Hadhrat Ayesha (R.A)went to the home of her brother whose children were experiencing some difficulty. There she found a person who had been brought to sing to these children, to keep them happy.
Hadhrat Ayesha (R.A) said :”He is shaitaan. Take him out of here.” (repeating this thrice).
(Bayhaqi p. 224/10)
It is evident from the above that singing was not even allowed to keep these children happy. Added to this, the person who had been brought to sing was called a Shaitaan.
16871. Ibrahim Nakhaie (R.A) states : “We used to go searching from lane to lane to take away and tear the musical instruments away from the children.”
16872. When Hadhrat Umar -ibn- Abdul Aziz (R.A) sent his son to his Ustaad, Suhail, he wrote :
“The first lesson to be taught to him is detestment for musical instruments, which commences from shaitaan and terminates with wrath of Allaah. I have heard from reliable Ulama that to be present in gatherings of music and to listen to it causes hypocrisy to grow in the heart just as water causes grass to grow. By my soul, it is easier for an intelligent person to save himself from the evil of such places than to allow hypocrisy nourishing in the heart.
Proofs of Those Who Deem it Permissible
First Proof :
1.) Hadhrat Ayesha (R.A) has related : “Once Nabi (S.A.W) entered my home, whilst I had two girls reciting the “gina – buath@ (war song). He lay on the bed and then turned his face away. After a while my father [Hadhrat Abu Bakr (R.A) ] entered and scolded me, by saying : “A shaitaan’s flute near the Nabi of Allaah (S.A.W)!
Rasulullaah (S.A.W) turned towards Hadhrat Abu Bakr (R.A) and said : “Leave them.”
When he turned away , I then signalled to both the girls and they left. This was on the day of Eid.
(Bukhari p. 1301 /1)
Answer : Hafiz ibn Hajir (R.A) has expounded in his commentary of this Hadith that the narration following this narration is sufficient proof to refute the claim of a group of sufis who regard this as a proof for the permissibility of listening to music, since the Hadith clearly states in regard to these two girls : that they were not hired nor paid for their singing, thus removing the doubt.
Infact the word “ghina” in Arabic is also referred to reading with a loud voice, but with some melody. The Arabs also call this “nasab”. It is similarly referred to as “hadi”, but the one who practices Nasab and Hadi is not referred to as ‘Mughanni’ (singer).
A Mughani (singer) is one who stirs the emotions and desires of people by singing in low and tuned voices such songs and reciting such poetry which contain indecent words.
(Fathul – Bari p. 442/4)
He also states that the room for permissibility by Shariah, to use the duff at times of happiness does not obviously necessitate the permissibility for the general usage of musical instruments at all times.
Nabi (S.A.W) turning his face away indicates that such acts should be shunned, as also demands his lofty status. We derive, therefrom, that acts of play and amusements should be avoided and shunned.
Even if this Hadith were to denote any allowance, or any sort of permissibility then too it will be allowed only in such circumstances and according to the nature and restrictions as mentioned above. (no instruments, for war, on certain occasions of happiness, no set tune or rythm, no voice modulation, etc.)
(Fathul – Bari p. 443/4)
Points to Be Kept in Mind
The essence what has been explained in the commentary is that to cite this narration as a proof for the permissibility of music is totally and grossly incorrect. The following has to be taken into consideration,
1.)The girls who were singing were immature.
2.) In the Arabic language, the word “jaria” is generally used for a young, immature girl (who has not reached the age of puberty as yet).
3.) These two girls were reciting poetry of war and not that of illicit love or poetry. Which have contents that which are not permissible.
(commentary of Muslim by Nawawi p. 291/1).
4.) Even before the occurrence of this incident, it was well known amongst the Arabs that music is an act of shaitaan, hence not permissible (as denoted from the statement made by Hadhrat Abu Bakr (R.A) ). This fact is also understood from the statement of Hadhrat Ayesha (R.A) about the two girls.
5.) It was part of the practice of the Arabs that they used to refer to their poems and “hadi” as “ghina” when these poems were read with some modulation which was also read in the presence of Nabi (S.A.W) .
(commentary of Muslim by Nawai p.291/1).
The usage of “ghina” differs according to the circumstancial practice. In present times “ghina” refers to poems of illicit love, sung according to the laws of music which cause excitement, restlessness and agitation to the listeners. This is Haraam (forbidden).
Second Proof :
Once Nabi (S.A.W) said to Abdullaah bin Rawahah (R.A) : “Stir up the people.” Abdullaah bin Rawahah (R.A) thus began to make “rajaz”
Answer : Hafiz ibn Hajar (R.A) states in Fathul – Bari (p. 112/2) that “rajaz” means the recitation of those poems permitted by the Shariah. For example, the Arabs used this in times to boost the zeal and vigour of their fighters.
Thus, this proof cannot be used to substantiate the permissibility of the present day music .
The Reconciliation Between the Different Narrations
Thus far you read, two different narrations ; these being :
1.) That which asserts the total prohibition of all musical instruments e.g. the flute, drum, etc.
2.) That which seems to indicate the permissibility of certain instruments and to a certain limit.
The reconciliation is as follows :
1.) Shah Waliyullaah Muhaddith Dehlawi (R.A) states in his famous Kitaab, Hujjatullaah-il- Baligah, that instruments of entertainment are of two types :
a) Musical instruments which are Haraam.
b) Instruments which we are allowed to use on occasions of happiness e.g. Walimas, etc
(Chapter of clothes and Zeenat p. 192/2)
2.) Hafiz ibn Hajar (R.A) , a commentator of Bhukhari Shareef, states that the permissibility of the usage of the “duff” on certain occasions does not necessitate the general permissibility of musical instruments.
(Fathul – Bari p. 443/2)
The permissibility has been restricted to those non- musical
instruments mentioned in the Ahaadith and to those occasions
when they were used by the Sahabah (R.A)
3.) “ghina” is used for songs accompanied by musical instruments, which is forbidden. It is also used for poetry, reading with a good voice, etc which is permitted, as is shown in many
Rasulullaah (S.A.W) has said :
“Whosoever does not recite the Quraan in a good voice is not of us.”
“Beautify the Quraan with your voice.”
(p. 1126/2 Bukhari)
Nabi (S.A.W) praised Abu Musa Ash’ari (R.A)’s beautiful voice :
AYou have been given a flute (good voice) from amongst the ‘Mazam’eers (melodious voices) of the family of Dawood (A.S).”
Verdicts of The Jurists
The Hanafi Ulema
1.) Allamah Sarakhshi (R.A) states : The testimony of a singer, who gathers people and is accompanied by people for the purpose of such entertainment, will not be accepted.
2.) Allamah ibn Humam (R.A) states in Fathul – Qadeer : The singing of a woman is more detested due to her need to raise her voice for such entertainment, which is Haraam (forbidden).
(p. 581/6, p. 96/7 Al Bahru – Raiq)
The Shafi Ulema
3.) The law of Shafi Ulema is : When singing (ghina) becomes a means of omitting Waajib (compulsory) acts or is associated with some abominable or forbidden act, it is Haraam (forbidden).
(Ihya -ul- Uloom p.281 as referenced in Islam Aur Musiqi).
4.) Allamah Ibn Qayyim (R.A) states : Listening to the music of a strange women and a beardless youth is one of the greatest prohibited acts. Imam Shafi (R.A) states in regards to the owner of a female slave; that if he gathers the people to listen to her then he is a foolish person whose testimony will not be accepted and above this, he is regarded as a ‘Dayyoos’ (cuckold).
(Ighasatul – Mal hoof p. 229/1).
The Maliki Ulema
5.) Imam Qurtubi Maliki (R.A) states : The addiction of the sufis to the listening of music with melodious instruments, like the reed flutes, tambourines, strings(of the musical instrument) and the piano, which has been innovated by them is Haraam. (p. 54/4 Tafseer Qurtubi).
The Hanbali Ulema
6.) Allamah Ibn Hanbali (R.A) states in Talbees -e- Iblees : According to Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (R.A), the music which has become famous today is forbidden.
Had he known about the new inventions of these times, then only Allaah knows as to what he would have said . (p. 297).
7.) Allamah Ali bin Sulaiman Mardawi (R.A) , a famous Hanbali scholar, states : It is abominable to listen to music and it is Haraam to mourn with instruments. (Al – Insaaf p. 5/12)
It can be clearly understood from the above-mentioned narrations of the four (4) Imams that singing and the use of musical instruments (especially the inventions of today’s times) is Haraam.
The testimony of such a person, involved in the above acts, will be rejected. Infact, certain Imams do not hold a person liable (i.e. to pay back its value ) after one destroys a musical instrument. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbali (R.A), himself used to destroy musical instruments.
” Sima ”
Allamah Saharwardi, who is one of the famous elders of the sufis, states in his Kitaab, Awariful – Ma’arif : After having explained the case and the limits of ‘Sima’ , the following points should be considered :
1.) Widespread Fitnah is caused through Sima.
2.) People do not have true capability of it.
3.) Time is wasted in this way.
4.) The enjoyment in acts of worship diminish, due to one becoming desirous of pacifying his passions and deriving enjoyment by way of listening to musicians who arrange such gatherings. Hence one fails to realise that such gatherings are even not permissible according to the sufis.
Sima is not allowed except for one who is an “aarif makin” (established knower of Allaah ), it is especially not permitted for a beginner.
Hadhrat Haji Imadadullah (R.A) said, in an answer to a question with regards to Sima :
“There is no need for it for a accomplished person and it is harmful to a beginner ”
Gist: The mas’ala of Sima is( a matter upon which the Ulema have differed in regards to its permissibility ), but none have permitted it with musical instruments or in way whereby the limits and boundaries of Shariah are transgressed.
Those Ulema who have permitted it have laid down conditions for its permissibility. Hence to use this as a proof to the permissibility of the use of musical instruments is totally invalid.
Sheikh Ali bin Muhammad Jandar (R.A) , one of the Khalifahs of Hadhrat Nizamudeen Auliya (Quddisa Sirruhu ), states in “Durar – Nizamiya” : Hadhrat Nizamudeen Auliya has classified Sima into four 4 categories:
8.) Mubaah, for which certain conditions need to be fulfilled.
a.) The singer must be a man ; neither a beardless youth nor a woman.
b.) The listener should be a pious , Allaah – fearing person ; not a follower of his nafs and desires.
c.) The contents must be permitted by Shariah. It must not be obscene.
d.) Musical instruments must not be used in conjunction thereof.
(As – Sunnatul Jaliyya p.85)
The qawwali that takes place nowadays at the urs and mazaars in the light of the Quraan and Hadith is totally impermissible, in which women are specially called to sing, all types of musical instruments are played and men and women freely intermingling. The singers, organisers and all those who take part in any way are all great sinners.
It has been stated in Fatawa Rahimiyah p. 323/2 that qawwali is totally undoubtedly Haraam (forbidden).
Rasulullaah (S.A.W) has mentioned : ” Close to Qiyamat, Allaah Ta’ala will transform one group of my Ummat into apes and swines.”
The Sahabah (R.A) then asked : ‘ O Rasulullaah ! Will these people be believers in the Kalima, Laa illaha illahu Muhammadur Rasulullaah (S.A.W) ‘
Nabi (S.A.W) replied in the affirmative.
They then asked in regards to the cause of this punishment.
Rasulullaah (S.A.W) replied : ” Due to them being involved in singing, music, etc. (they will be punished in this way.) ”
Nabi (S.A.W) further went onto say : ” Listening to music is a major sin, sitting (at a place where it is being played) is open transgression and attaining enjoyment from it is (tantamount to) kufr (disbelief).”
(Masnad – ibn- Abid – Dinar – Shami p . 306/5)
Ahmed Raza Khan in regards to qawwali (to convince his A Fatawa of Moulana followers)
Question : (Moulana’s one visitor writes) : Immediately after I left you, I went to the Musjid for Maghrib Namaaz. After Namaaz, a friend of mine took me to an “urs” where I saw a lot of people listening to few qawwals who were reciting poems, songs and playing the sarangi (fiddles) and a drum.
Will Rasulullaah (S.A.W) and the Auliyah (Pious predecessors) be happy with such an action or not ?
Is such qawwali permissible or not ?
If it is permissible, then in which way ?
Such qawwali is HARAAM. All those present are sinful and their sin is upon the organisers and the qawwals. h3(p. 33/1 Ahkam -e- Shariat)
Second Fatawa of Moulana Ahmed Raza Khan Saheb.
Question : – Is this narration correct that Hadhrat Muhboob Ilahi (R.A) stood up bare – head in his grave, cursing the singers ?
Answer : – This incident is of Hadhrat Khuwaja Qutbuddeen Bakhtiyar Kaki (R.A) when qawwalli was taking place in the Majlis – Sima at his Mazaar Shareef. Nowadays people have invented and added on many forms of entertainment in it like dancing, etc whereas in those days there were no musical instruments. Hadhrat Sayed Ibrahim Ameerji (R.A) (a buzrugh of the silsila of our elders) was once seated outside / away from the Majlise – Sima. A pious person requested him to present himself at the Majlise – Sima, Hadhrat replied : Focus or turn your attention towards the Buzrugh (the grave soul of Khuwaja Quthbuddeen Bakhtiyar Kaki (R.A) ). If he is pleased then I will join you. Thus when he made muraqabah (mediation)
towards the Mazaar, he saw that Hadhrat is perturbed in the grave and he is indicating towards the qawwals saying : “These evil people have caused me to be perturbed .”
Upon his return, Hadhrat Ameerji (R.A) told him before he could say anything : ‘Did you see ?
(Malfoozat p. 90/1) (Abstract of Fatawa Rahimiyah p. 330/2)
It is clearly understood from the above two Fatawas of Moulana Ahmed Raza Khan Saheb:
(1) It is not permissible to sing, listen, organise and present ourselves at gatherings of qawwali.
(2) This point is also clearly understood from Moulana Ahmad Raza Khan Saheb’s Fatawa that the burden of every one=s sins is upon the organisers of such gatherings. Hence whatever monies were spent therein will be to total waste.
(3) Such gatherings become a means of causing harm and restlessness to our Buzrughs (Awliyaa Pious predecessors ) rather than pleasing them.
May Allaah Ta’ala save all Muslims from all such acts that cause his anger and wrath, Aameen.
1.) In the light of the Quraan and Hadith, listening, playing music and playing any type of musical instrument is totally HARAAM (forbidden).
2.) To adopt singing, music as ones profession or a means of ones income and livelihood in any form e.g. selling musical cassettes, records, etc is totally forbidden (Haraam).
3.) The statement or action of an individual cannot be taken to be an argument when it contradicts the Quraan, Hadith, Ijma (consensus of the Ummat) and Qiyas.
4.) Organising, listening to, attending, donating towards gatherings of qawwawli and urs or offering any other form of assistance towards them is totally not permissible.
By Mufti Sayed Abdul Jaleel Saheb Sheikh – ul- Hadith Madressah Talimuddeen