Ruling on Music, Singing and Dancing
حكم الغناء والمعازف والرقص في الإسلام
Ruling on Music, Singing and Dancing
Singing is the use of the human voice to produce Music and to say poetry or certain words to attract people, it increases love of opposite sex and mostly drags to fornication, it hurts the faith of the Muslim and lessens love of the Quran, it grows hypocrisy in hearts, and it is the Quran of Satan (shaitan)
Poetry is condemned unless for the service of Islam and Muslim’s nobles issues
Allah says in soorat Ashu-araa:
(وَالشُّعَرَاءُ يَتَّبِعُهُم الغَاوُونَ (224) أَلَم تَرَى أَنَّهُم فِي كُلِّ وَادٍ يَهِيمُونَ (225) وَأَنَّهُم يَقُولُونَ مَا لاَ يَفعَلُونَ (226) إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَانتَصَرُوا مِن بَعدِ مَا ظُلِمُوا وَسَيَعلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنقَلَبٍ يَنقَلِبُونَ) (227) سورة الشعراء
"And the poets – [only] the deviators follow them; Do you not see that in every valley they roam, and that they say what they do not do? Except those [poets] who believe and do righteous deeds and remember Allah often and defend [the Muslims] after they were wronged. 19:224-227
Evidence of prohibition in the Quraan and Sunnah:
Allaah says in Soorat Luqmaan:
)وَمِن النَّاسِ مَن يَشتَرِي لَهوَ الحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيرِ عِلمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا أُولَئِكَ لَهُم عََذابٌ مُهِينٌ( (6)
“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing) to mislead (men) from the path of Allaah…”
The scholar of Islam, Ibn ‘Abbaas said: this means - singing. (Tafseer al-Tabari, 21/40).
Ibn Mas'ud say: I heard the apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) say: Singing produces hypocrisy in the heart.Abu Dawood, #4909
Al-Hasan al-Basri said: this verse was revealed concerning singing and musical instruments (lit. woodwind instruments). (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 3/451).
Al-Sa’di said: this includes all manner of prohibited speech, all idle talk and falsehood, and all nonsense that encourages disobedience; the words of those who say things to refute the truth and argue in support of falsehood to defeat the truth; and backbiting, slander, lies, insults and curses; the singing and musical instruments of Satan. (Tafseer al-Sa’di, 6/150)
Ibn al-Qayyim said: The interpretation of the prophet’s companions and their followers, that ‘idle talk’ refers to singing, is sufficient. This was reported with authentic narration from Ibn ‘Abbaas
Ibn Mas’ood was asked about the interpretation of that verse,“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks’ . He said: By Allaah, besides Whom there is no other god, this means singing – and he repeated it three times. It was also reported same saying from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) that this means singing. There is no contradiction between the interpretation of “idle talk” as meaning singing and the interpretation of it as meaning, stories of the Persians and their kings, and the kings of the Romans, and so on, such as al-Nadr ibn al-Haarith used to tell to the people of Makkah to distract them from the Qur’aan. Both of them are idle talk. Hence Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “Idle talk” is falsehood and singing. Singing may lead to Adultery and makes hypocrisy grow (in the heart); it is the trap of the Satan, and it clouds the mind. The way in which it blocks people from the Qur’aan is worse than the way in which other kinds of false talk block them, because people are naturally inclined towards it and tend to want to listen to it. The above verse condemn replacing the Qur’aan with idle talk in order to mislead (men) from the path of Allaah without knowledge and taking it as a joke, because when a verse of the Qur’aan is recited to such a person, he turns his back as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in his ear. If he hears anything of it, he makes fun of it. All of this happens only in the case of the people who are most stubbornly disbelievers and if some of it happens to singers and those who listen to them, they both have a share of this blame.
Allaah says in the Quraan:
“Allaah said to Satan, And befool them gradually those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e. songs, music, and any other call for Allaah’s disobedience)…”
It was narrated that Mujaahid said: “And befool them gradually those whom you can among them with your voice” – his voice [the voice of Satan] is singing and falsehood. Ibn al-Qayyim said: This possessive or genitive construction, i.e., your voice, serves to make the meaning specific, as with the phrases [translated as] “your cavalry” and “your infantry” [later in the same verse]. Everyone who speaks in any way that is not obedient to Allaah, everyone who blows into a flute or other woodwind instrument, or who plays any prohibited kind of instrument; this is the voice of the Satan. Everyone who walks to commit some act of disobedience towards Allaah is part of his [the Satan’s] infantry, and anyone who rides to commit sin is part of his cavalry. This is the view of the previous scholars.
Allaah says in the Quraan:
“Do you then wonder at this recitation (the Qur’aan)? And you laugh at it and weep not, Wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (singing)”
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“"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 permissible. And there will be some people 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 He will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari)
This Hadeeth indicates in two ways that musical instruments and enjoyment of listening to music are prohibited. The first is the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “[they] permit” which clearly indicates that the things mentioned, including musical instruments, are prohibited according to Islam, but those people will permit them. The second is the fact that musical instruments are mentioned alongside things which are definitely known to be prohibited, i.e., adultery, silk for men and alcohol.
It was narrated that Naafi said: Ibn ‘Umar heard a woodwind instrument, and he put his fingers in his ears and kept away from that path. He said to me, O Naafi, can you hear anything? I said, No. So he took his fingers away from his ears and said: I was with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he heard something like this, and he did the same thing. (Saheeh Abi Dawood). Some insignificant person said that this Hadeeth does not prove that musical instruments are haraam, because if that were so, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have instructed Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) to put his fingers in his ears as well, and Ibn ‘Umar would have instructed Naafi to do likewise! The response to this is: He was not listening to it, but he could hear it. There is a difference between listening and hearing. Shaykh al-Islam (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).
The views of the scholars (imaams) of Islam
Al-Hasan Albasri said: if there is music involved in a dinner invitation (waleemah), do not accept the invitation.
Al-Albaani said: The four madhhabs are agreed that all musical instruments are haraam. (al-Saheehah, 1/145).
Ibn al-Qayyim said: The madhhab of Abu Haneefah is the strictest in this regard; his companions clearly stated that it is haraam to listen to all musical instruments. They stated that it is a sin which implies that a person is a faasiq (rebellious evil doer) whose witness should be rejected. (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, 1/425).
Imaam Maalik 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.
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said: Among the types of earnings which are haraam by scholarly consensus are usury, the fee of a prostitute, anything forbidden, bribes, payment for wailing over the dead and singing, payments to fortune-tellers and those who claim to know the unseen and astrologers, payments for playing flutes, and all kinds of gambling.
Al-Baghawi stated in a fatwa that it is haraam 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)
An appropriate exception:
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made it allowed for weddings and for women to play the dof at weddings or during Eid.
The exception to the above is the dof – without any rings (i.e., a hand-drum which looks like a tambourine, but without any rattles) – when used by women on Eid and at weddings. There is nothing wrong with women singing amongst themselves, accompanied by the dof , as 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 their voices must not be heard by men nor mixing with men. It should also not cause any annoyance or disturbance to neighbors. What some people do, of amplifying such singing with loudspeakers is evil, because of the disturbance it causes to other Muslims, neighbors and others. It is not permissible for women, in weddings or on other occasions, to use any instrument other than the dof.
In a similar vein is the Hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), when her father (may Allaah be pleased with him) entered upon her at the time of Eid, and there were two young girls with her who were singing. Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Musical instruments of Satan in the house of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)!” The Messenger of Allaah had turned away from them and was facing the wall – hence some scholars said that Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) would not tell anybody off in front of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), but he thought that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was not paying attention to what was happening. And Allaah knows best. He (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Leave them alone, O Abu Bakr, for every nation has its Eid, and this is our Eid, the people of Islam.” This Hadeeth shows that it was not the habit of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions to gather to listen to singing, hence Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq called it “the musical instruments of Satan”. And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) approved of this appellation and did not deny it when he said, “Leave them alone, for every nation has its Eid and this is our Eid.” Narrated by Al-bukhari
This indicates that the reason why this was permitted was because it was the time of Eid and the words were good and constructive, Shaykh al-Albaani explained this in his valuable book Tahreem Aalaat al-Tarab (the Prohibition of Musical Instruments). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) approved of young girls singing at Eid, as stated in the hadeeth: “So that the mushrikeen (polytheist) will know that in our religion there is room for relaxation.”
Some of them use as evidence to permit forbidden singing and musical instruments the hadeeth about the singing of the two young girls, which we have discussed above, but we will quote what Ibn al-Qayyim 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 appellation, but he made an exception in the case of these two young girls who had not yet reached the age of puberty 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, 1/493).
Some soofee people said that singing is a form of worship if the intention is for it to help one to obey Allaah! But Ibn al-Qayyim said: How strange! What type of faith, light, insight, guidance and knowledge can be gained from listening to tuneful verses and music in which most of what is said is prohibited and deserves the wrath and punishment of Allaah ? … How can anyone who has the least amount of insight and faith in his heart draw near to Allaah and increase his faith by enjoying something which is hated by Him, and He detests the one who says it and the one who accepts it? (Madaarij al-Saalikeen, 1/485)
Some say that music and musical instruments have the effect of softening people’s hearts and creating gentle feelings. This is not true, because it provokes physical desires and whims. If it really did what they say, it would have softened the hearts of the musicians and made their attitude and behavior better, but most of them, as we know, are astray and behave badly.
Concerning what is known as Islamic Nasheed, it should be noted that the recitation of poetry is something that has long existed in Islam. Yet, what we see today from the exaggeration of this is certainly a form of transgression. The following guidelines are to be observed when it comes to Anaasheed:
1- The words should be free of haraam and worthless content.
2- The nasheed should not be accompanied by musical instruments. No musical instruments are permissible except the daff for women on specific occasions.
3- It should be free of vocal effects that imitate the sound of musical instruments.
4- The nasheed should not be a habit for the listener, or waste his time, or affect his obligatory duties or mustahabb actions, such as affecting his reading of Qur’aan and calling people to Allaah.
5- The performer should not be a woman in front of men, or a man in front of women.
6- One should avoid listening to people with soft voices or who move rhythmically when performing, because all of that is fitnah and an imitation of immoral people.
7- One should avoid the images that are put on their cassette cases, and more importantly one should avoid showing them in video clips of their nasheeds, especially images of provocative movements and imitations of immoral singers.
8- The focus of the nasheed should be the words, not the tune.
Perhaps – for fair-minded and objective readers – singing is prohibited but if the words are decent and constructive and without music or dancing, then it takes another name which is known as chanting (HEDAA or NASHEED) which is permitted, but it is clear that the view that music is permissible has no firm basis. There are no two views on this matter. So we must advise in the best manner, and then take it step by step and denounce music, if we are able to do so. We should not be deceived by the fame of a man in our own times in which the people who are truly committed to Islam have become strangers.
Dear Muslims, Strive to learn your Islam from the Book of your Lord and the Hadeeth of your Prophet (Peace Be upon Him). Do not say, So-and-so said, for you cannot learn the truth only from men. Learn the truth and then measure people against it. This should be enough for the one who controls his whims and submits himself to All-mighty Allaah.
May what we have written above heal the hearts of the believers and dispel the whispers in the hearts of those who are stricken with insinuating whispers.
May Allaah bless and grant peace to His Messenger who made clear the path of the believers, and to his companions and those who follow them in truth until the Day of Judgment.
Collected and Revised
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