I listen to a lot of Islamic lectures and the Quran on tapes. The problem is that many people criticise me and say: “How do you listen to songs and Islamic materials? Like if you do not understand what you listen to, and committing a sin by listening and not benefiting”, they also say that I should choose whether to listen to music and songs or to Islamic lectures and the Quran. “It is wrong to listen to both” they said. I am confused, I feel secular or like a man who advises others while he is sinful himself, I feel like a hypocrite.
Praise be to Allah
We begin by thanking you for your honesty and your eagerness to do good and ask about religious matters. We ask Allah to bless you with guidance and help you to do that which is good.
You should understand that your friends’ warning you not to listen to tapes of the Quran or religious lectures and other things that bring you closer to goodness on the grounds that you also listen to music is a serious error on their part. The believer who has the inclination to fall into some sins is still required to do whatever he can of good deeds, and he is still required to avoid all sins and actions that lead to doom so long as he believes in Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion and Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as his Prophet and Messenger.
If he commits any shortcoming by failing to do some obligatory deeds, this is not a justification for omitting other obligatory actions too; rather he must hasten to repent from his shortcomings with regard to these duties, and continue doing whatever Allah has enabled him to do of other acts of obedience. Similarly, the fact that he has fallen into one sin is not a justification for him committing other sins; rather he must hasten to repent from his shortcomings. If he cannot give up some sins because his desire is too great and he is too weak to resist, then he should strive to do acts of worship and obedience, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e. small sins).”
Hence it is conceivable that a believer may do both acts of obedience and acts of disobedience, and this is not hypocrisy or secularism at all, so long as the person is not concealing corruption in his heart and he admits that what he is doing is wrong, and he asks Allah for forgiveness and strives to avoid sin.
Perhaps your keenness to listen to the Quran and religious lectures may be a cause of your stopping listening to haram music, because:
“Verily, this Quran guides to that which is most just and right.”
If we assume that you continue as you are, that is undoubtedly better than stopping listening to the Quran and good things, because you know that Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it.
And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it.”
“Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a small ant), but if there is any good (done), He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward.”
On the Day of Resurrection, people’s deeds will be weighed:
“Then as for him whose Balance (of good deeds) will be heavy,
He will live a pleasant life (in Paradise).
But as for him whose Balance (of good deeds) will be light,
He will have his home in Hawiyah (pit, i.e. Hell).
And what will make you know what it is?
(It is) a fiercely blazing Fire!”
So you should strive to do all that which will make the balance of your good deeds heavy, such as good deeds and acts of worship, even if it is a little, for Allah is most generous, most forgiving and most merciful. And He will multiply a little until it is like a mountain or greater, so “Do not think little of any act of kindness, even if it is greeting your brother with a cheerful countenance” and “Your smiling at your brother is an act of charity” as our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught us in the saheeh hadeeths (authentic narrations).
This does not mean that we approve of your listening to music, but if there is no alternative then be one of those:
“... who have acknowledged their sins, they have mixed a deed that was righteous with another that was evil. Perhaps Allah will turn unto them in forgiveness. Surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
You have to beware of everything that could cause your balance of good deeds to be lighter, such as sins and evil deeds, because Allah is stern in punishment of those who disobey Him and transgress His sacred limits. So hasten to repent sincerely and ask Allah to help you in that.
Persist in doing good deeds and do as much of them as you can; advise your friends to fear Allah and hasten to do good deeds and give up evil deeds.
Finally, we advise you to seek good companions who can help you to do good and make it dear to you, and keep away from bad companions who make evil appear attractive to you and keep you from doing good. You should also pray to Allah and ask Him to guide you and them and help you to repent. Allah is the One Whom we ask to enable us all to repent sincerely, expiate our sins and guide our hearts, for He is the best one to ask.
And Allah knows best.