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Hajj and Umrah

Is music permissible in Islaam?

All praises be to Allaah, Lord and Sustainer of the worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and upon his family and companions.

Neither music nor musical instruments are allowed for the Muslims, for a number of reasons:

1. Allaah Subhaanahu-wa-Ta'alaa created us for one purpose only and that is to worship Him:

"And I (Allâh) created not the jinns and mankind except they should worship Me (Alone).."

[Adh-dhaariyaat: 56]

2. He gave us Deen-al-Islaam to follow and informed us that this is a serious matter and not amusement:

"Verily this (the Qur'ân) is the Word that separates (the truth from falsehood). And it is not a thing for amusement."

[At-Taariq: 13-14]

3. We are required to take the Deen of Allaah with firmness:

"Hold fast to that which We have given you, and remember that which is therein so that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious)..."

[Al-Baqarah: 63]

4. Therefore we are required to stay away from every thing that distract us from our main function in this life i.e. the worship of Allaah. Allaah says in soorah Luqmaan:

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing) to mislead (mankind) from the path of Allaah…”

[Luqmaan 31:6]

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: "this means singing"and Mujaahid (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "this means playing the drum (tabl)." (Tafseer al-Tabari)

Al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "this aayah was revealed concerning singing and musical instruments (lit. woodwind instruments)." (Tafseer Ibn Katheer).

Abu'l-Sahbaa' said: "I asked Ibn Mas'ood about the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), 'And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks' [Luqmaan 31:6]. He said: By Allaah, besides Whom there is no other god, this means singing – and he repeated it three times. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer)

So, it is clear from this explanation that the aayah is referring primarily to music, and that music distracts a person from the path of Allaah.

5. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Among my ummah there will certainly be people who permit zinaa, silk, alcohol and musical instruments.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari)

Every sensible Muslim would notice that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said “there will certainly be people who permit,” which means that these things which are mentioned here are not permitted.

And of course no one has doubt about the prohibition of zinaa, silk (for Muslim men) and alcohol, so why doubt about musical instruments which are mentioned in the same category?

6. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was also reported to have said:

"Two sounds are cursed in this world and the hereafter, flute on happiness and wailing on calamity."

(Repoted by Al-Bazarr)

7. Al-Tirmidhi (2212) narrated from ‘Imraan ibn Husayn that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Among this ummah, people will be transformed into monkeys and pigs, swallowed up in the earth, and pelted with stones.” A man among the Muslims said, “O Messenger of Allaah, when will that be?” He said, “When singing-girls and musical instruments become widespread and wine is drunk. ”

The words of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) " musical instruments will become widespread" are proven to be true, to the extent that the latest music on the ringers of cell phones is heard even inside the mosques, which are places only for the worship of Allaah alone, may Allaah protect us.

Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

"Whoever plays these instruments as a form of worship is undoubtedly misguided and ignorant. But if he does it as a form of entertainment, then the view of the four imams is that all musical instruments are haraam. It is proven in Saheeh al-Bukhaari and elsewhere that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that there would be among his ummah those who regarded zina, silk, alcohol and musical instruments as halaal, and he said that they would be transformed into monkeys and pigs." (Majmoo' al-Fataawa) 

The only exception to the musical instruments is the " daff" – without any rings or rattles, when used by women among women on Eids and weddings where non-mahram men are not able to hear them. This is indicated by the well known hadeeth of ‘Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) in which she told about the two young girls of Ansar who were with her on Eid day singing some songs about the bravery of their people.

For someone to use this hadith in support of using musical instruments or listening to music is a real distortion, as this hadith in fact is one of the strongest proofs against them.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “I am amazed that you quote as evidence for allowing listening to sophisticated songs the report which we mentioned about how two young girls who were below the age of puberty sang to a young woman on the day of Eid some verses of Arab poetry about bravery in war and other noble characteristics. How can you compare this to that? What is strange is that this hadeeth is one of the strongest proofs against them. The greatest speaker of the truth [Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq] called them musical instruments of the Shaytaan, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) approved of that comment, but he made an exception in the case of these two young girls who had not yet reached the age of responsibility and the words of whose songs could not corrupt anyone who listened to them. Can this be used as evidence to allow what you do and what you know of listening (to music) which includes (bad) things which are not hidden?! Subhaan Allaah! How people can be led astray.” (Madaarij al-Saalikeen)

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "A group of the Sufis used this hadeeth – the hadeeth about the two young girls – as evidence that singing is allowed and it is allowed to listen to it, whether it is accompanied by instruments or not. This view is sufficiently refuted by the clear statement of ‘Aa'ishah in the hadeeth, where she says, “They were not singers.” She made it clear that they were not singers as such, although this may be understood from the wording of the report. So we should limit it to what was narrated in the text as regards the occasion and the manner, so as to reduce the risk of going against the principle, i.e., the hadeeth. And Allaah knows best." (Fath al-Baari)

Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "‘Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) was young at that time; nothing was transmitted from her after she reached the age of puberty except condemnation of singing. Her brother's son, al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad, condemned singing and said that it was not allowed to listen to it, and he took his knowledge from her." (Talbees Iblees)

What is even worse nowadays is to teach music at schools, and justify this by saying that the prohibition regarding music is not applicable to children.

Since when did Islamic shari'ah provide evidence that music is something that should be taught and children should be trained in this?

Something that is not permitted for adults may be permissible for children because of a need, and the fact that they have not yet reached the age of responsibility, so, if children do such an action it can be ignored in certain situations, such as 'Eid day. However, to have arrangement to teach and train children for such actions can not be justified. And of course to teach them, there has to be a teacher who is an adult and is not permitted to perform this action. Or do people have some evidence from the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that he appointed some people to teach children how to sing?

Indeed it is not difficult at all to argue about something and turn the haraam into the halaal, as was done by previous nations. Muslims should aim for the best attitude towards the rulings which have the "difference of opinion," especially when it concerns the development of their next generation, and they should take the safest opinion based on the most sound evidence.

Teaching children music and singing at school is a serious educational issue, because of the immense effect this has on children's development and character. 

At this stage, the heart and mind of the child is like a blank page; nothing crosses it but it leaves a lasting imprint. 

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Tuhfat al-Mawdood

"One thing that the child desperately needs is for care to be taken with regard to his morals and attitude, for he will grow up with whatever the one who is raising him accustoms him to when he is small, and when he grows older it becomes difficult for him to change what he has got used to; these attitudes and characteristics that have become deeply ingrained in him, even if he tries to suppress them, they will always surface and expose him."

Music and singing destroys the heart and distracts people from the truth; it generates hypocrisy in the heart and is not permissible. As for the nasheeds these days, if there are no musical instruments involved and good words are used e.g. praising Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa, His Messenger or His Deen, then there is no harm in listening to them once in a while, although this should not become an essential part of one's life, nor should it be taught as part of educational curriculum. A Muslim should give preference to the Book of Allaah and should be attached to its recitation, rather than any other statement, no matter how pleasant it sounds.

And Allaah is the one whose help and guidance we seek as he can guide us to do all that He is pleased with and his Peace and blessings be upon His last Prophet Muhammad

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