some cities and regions it is very common to people to organize singing
parties and soirees where they listen to songs and trilling songs or
verses from the local area and elsewhere, or to stage series of plays in
some literary clubs, to which they invite singers and actors from all
over. Sometimes entrance to these events is by tickets which are sold, and
sometimes these events are free.
My question, O Shaykh, is: what is the ruling on organizing these parties and soirees, and what is the ruling on attending them for the purpose of relaxation and leisure? Is it permissible for me to join in with them in singing these songs etc.? Please give us a fatwaa, may Allaah reward you, because this is a confusing matter. Some people say that there is nothing wrong with this because it is only entertainment, and others say that it is haraam and is not permitted. May Allaah bless you and benefit Islam through you. Wa’l-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allaah wa barakaatuhu.
Praise be to Allaah.
Everyone must fear Allaah and realize that He is watching them in private and in public. They should know that He can see them and that nothing at all is hidden from Him on the earth or in the heavens. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness). So fear Me, O men of understanding!” [al-Baqarah 2:197] – i.e., O you whose minds are aware and whose hearts are alive, strive to please Allaah by doing that which will bring you benefits in this world and in the Hereafter. Those who are not “men of understanding” are those who waste their efforts and their minds in things that earn the wrath of Allaah.
What the questioner has asked about, organizing singing parties and soirees to which singers and actors from all over are invited, to which entrance is free or there is a charge, and attending or watching these events, or taking part in them or supporting them – all of that is haraam and is not permitted, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing) to mislead (men) from the path of Allaah without knowledge, and takes it (the path of Allaah, or the Verses of the Qur’aan) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire).” [Luqmaan 31:6]
Ibn Mas’ood – may Allaah be pleased with him – used to swear that what this referred to was singing, because undoubtedly singing misleads people far away from the path of Allaah by wasting their time. It was reported from Abu ‘Aamir and Ibn Maalik al-Ash’ari (may Allaah be pleased with them) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There will be among my ummah people who will permit illegal sexual activity (zinaa), silk, alcohol and musical instruments…” (narrated by al-Bukhaari). The meaning of the phrase “[they] will permit illegal sexual activity (zinaa), silk, alcohol and musical instruments…” is that these things are basically haraam. The word translated as “there will be” refers to something which will happen in the future. What this means is that there will be people who regard as halaal and allow themselves things that are haraam, such as zinaa, silk and musical instruments.
It was reported from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) in a marfoo’ report: “In this ummah there will be landslides, stones falling from heaven and transformation (of humans into monkeys, etc.). This will happen when alcohol is drunk, when people bring in female singers and play musical instruments.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi).
No doubt the things that bring about these punishments are haraam, and are in fact major sins – laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (there is no strength and no power except with Allaah). The earlier scholars, such as Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) stated that musical instruments – such as the ‘ood (lute), tanboor (long-necked stringed instrument similar to a mandolin), shabbaab (reed flute) and rabaab (stringed instrument resembling a fiddle) – are haraam, so the instruments that are known nowadays, which cause far more fitnah (temptation) are even more haraam than those which were known to the earlier scholars. Therefore: it is haraam to organize singing parties such as these. Let those who organize them fear Allaah, and let those who are in positions of authority fear Allaah and not take their children and families to these places. Let them realize that they are sinning by doing so, and tomorrow they will be asked about what they have done. Let them know that they can find relaxation in obeying Allaah and adhering to His Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), by fasting, visiting the Haramayn (Makkah and Madeenah), and by striving in jihaad for the sake of Allaah, spreading the religion of Allaah and calling others to Islam, and other kinds of good and righteous deeds. They can also find relaxation in other permissible activities, such as learning to swim, shoot and ride horses, as well as sailing, going to gardens and parks, etc., so long as they observe Islamic etiquette and good manners. May Allaah help us all to do what is good and right, and keep us away from the things that will earn His wrath and painful punishment. And Allaah knows best.