prohibition on songs and music

prohibition on songs and music

Ruling on religious songs; and is it a sin to listen to songs in stores and on public transport? . Musical tunes on cell phones are haraam. Going to a hairdresser who plays music . Military music is haraam . It is not permissible to call kuffaar to Islam by means of religious songs (nasheeds) accompanied by musical instruments. Ruling on so-called “Islamic” songs with musical instruments. Singing and dancing at celebrations . Is it permissible for her to listen to music whilst exercising?. Organizing singing parties and soirees. She loves Islamic nasheeds and they take up a lot of her time. Should one kill snakes and scorpions whilst praying? . When is it permissible to beat the daff? . Ruling on music, singing and dancing.

Ruling on religious songs; and is it a sin to listen to songs in stores and on public transport?
What is the ruling on singing? What is the ruling on listening to songs? If it is haraam, what is the ruling on religious songs? What is the ruling on listening to songs unintentionally (such as on the bus or in stores)?.
Praise be to Allaah.  

If singing is accompanied by musical instruments then it is haraam to do it or to listen to it, whether it is done by a man or a woman. The only exception that is made is singing that is accompanied by the daff, done by women at weddings or on Eid, and when one who has been absent returns. We have already discussed this in detail in the answer to question no. 5000 and 20406

With regard to religious songs, if they are accompanied by music (with instruments) or if they are sung by a woman to men, then they are haraam, and calling them religious songs in this case is calling something by a name other than its real name in order to confuse and deceive people so that they will accept it. How can they be religious songs when Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) have forbidden them? 

If they are free of musical accompaniment, and are done by a man and contain good and beneficial meanings, then they are permissible, but one should not listen to them too much. 

The Standing Committee issued a detailed fatwa on the topic of Islamic nasheeds, which says the following: 

You are correct in saying that songs in the current form are haraam because they include bad words and things in which there is no good; indeed they comprise idle speech, provocation of desires, indecent meanings and tempting voices. May Allaah help us and you to do all that is good. 

It is permissible for you to replace these songs with Islamic nasheeds which contain words of wisdom and exhortation and lessons, which promote keenness to follow Islam and invoke Islamic feelings, which put one off evil and the things that promote it, and which motivate the one who “sings” them and the one who hears them to obey Allaah and discourage them to disobey Him or transgress His limits; they make one keen to protect His sharee’ah and strive in jihad for His sake. But you should not take that as a habit which one persists in, rather that should be something that is done only sometimes, on special occasions such as weddings or when travelling for jihad and so on, and when one feels low, in order to revive the spirit and motivate oneself to do good, or when one feels inclined towards evil, so listening to such nasheeds may ward that off. 

What is better than that is to take a portion of Qur’aan to recite, and a wird of saheeh dhikrs, for that is more purifying for the soul and is better for bringing peace of mind. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Allaah has sent down the Best Statement, a Book (this Qur’aan), its parts resembling each other (in goodness and truth) (and) oft‑repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allaah. That is the Guidance of Allaah. He guides therewith whom He wills; and whomever Allaah sends astray, for him there is no guide”

[al-Zumar 39:23] 

“Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allaah verily, in the remembrance of Allaah do hearts find rest.

29. Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism), and work righteousness, Tooba (all kinds of happiness or name of a tree in Paradise) is for them and a beautiful place of (final) return”

[al-Ra’d 13:28, 29] 

It was the habit of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) to focus on the Qur'aan, memorizing it, studying it and acting upon it. However they also had nasheeds and chants that they would “sing”, such as when they were digging the Ditch (al-khandaq) and when building mosques, when travelling for jihad and on other such occasions, without making that their symbol or paying too much attention to it. Rather it was something in which they would occasionally find relaxation and stir up positive feelings. With regard to the drum (tabl) and other kinds of musical instruments, it is not permissible to use them with these nasheeds, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) did not do that. And Allaah is the Guide to the Straight Path; may Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions. 

Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/532. 

With regard to hearing songs and music without intending to and without listening attentively to them, such as when a person hears them in a store and so on, there is no sin on him. What is forbidden is listening, not just hearing. But he must also try to advise others against doing evil actions. 

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: As for simply hearing without intending to or listening attentively to them, such as when a person who is walking down the street hears the sound of songs coming from shops or passing cars, or when he is in his own house and hears songs coming from his neighbours’ houses without wanting to hear it, in such cases he has no control over the situation and there is no sin on him. But he should advise others and speak out against this evil with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and he should strive to avoid it as much as possible. And Allaah does not burden any person beyond his scope.  

Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/389 

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


Musical tunes on cell phones are haraam
On many cell phones there are musical tunes. Is it permissible to select one of these tunes instead of the regular ringing?

Praise be to Allaah.

It is not permissible to use the musical tunes on telephones or any other kind of gadget, because listening to musical instruments is haraam as is indicated by the evidence of sharee’ah. We should do without them and use the regular ringing. And Allaah is the Source of strength. 

May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace. 

The Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas.  Al-Da’wah Magazine, issue no. 1795, p. 42


Going to a hairdresser who plays music
What is the ruling on going to hairdressers who play music and songs? 
Please note that I am remembering Allaah in my heart, and I do not know of any hairdresser nearby who does not play music, apart from a few whose services are not very good.
Praise be to Allaah.  

It is not permissible for you to listen to the songs when you go to such places. If they play the songs loud in the shop when you are there, you have to denounce that in a wise and good manner. Most hairdressers will respond to the one who advises them sincerely; this is something which has been tried and tested. If they respond to your request, all well and good, otherwise go to someone else. In sha Allah you will find someone who will do what you ask. Whoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty towards Him, Allaah will grant him a way out.

 And Allaah is the Source of strength.

 May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad

Islam Q&A


Military music is haraam
I am working in army. we have to do parade on the beat of band. some people say that this is haraam because of the music of band. please clarify.
Praise be to Allaah.  

It is haraam to play music or to listen to it. There is a great deal of evidence to prove that, such as the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): 

“There will be among my ummah people who permit adultery, silk, alcohol and musical instruments…” This was narrated by al-Bukhaari in a mu’allaq report, no. 5590. al-Tabaraani and al-Bayhaqi narrated it in a mawsool report. See al-Silsilah al-Saheehah by al-Albaani, 91. 

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This is a saheeh hadeeth which was narrated by al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh and quoted it as mu’allaq majzoom. 

The word used in the hadeeth is ma’aazif, which literally means musical instruments. This includes all kinds of musical instruments. See also question no. 5011

Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 1/145: 

Some contemporary scholars make an exception for military music, but there is no basis for that at all, for several reasons: 

1 – This is making an exemption from the general meaning of the hadeeth when there are no grounds for doing so, apart from personal opinion and judgement. This is invalid. 

2 – At times of war, the Muslims are obliged to turn with all their hearts to their Lord, and to ask Him to support them against their enemies.  This will bring them greater peace of mind and keep them steadfast and calm. Using music is something that will spoil that and distract them from remembering Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them and remember the Name of Allaah much (both with tongue and mind), so that you may be successful”

[al-Anfaal 8:45] 

3 – Using music is a tradition of the kaafirs, and it is not permissible for us to imitate them, especially in matters that Allaah has forbidden to us in general terms, such as music. 

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


It is not permissible to call kuffaar to Islam by means of religious songs (nasheeds) accompanied by musical instruments
When we want to attract Christians to Islam, is it permissible to use religious songs accompanied by music? Is it permissible to have a group called a religious group because they sing religious songs accompanied by musical instruments?

Praise be to Allaah.

In my opinion there is no need to attract people in this manner; you should use permissible means such as listening to Qur’aan with proper tajweed and tarteel (correct recitation) and listening to eloquent ahaadeeth which move the listener, and beneficial, moving poems (qaseedahs) and nasheeds. You can also provide clear proof of what is good about Islam and explain its teachings and noble aims which will demonstrate that it is the religion that befits the natural inclinations of man (deen al-fitrah) and encompasses all the interests of mankind. Whoever can only be attracted by things that include forbidden elements such as singing, instruments and music is no good and I do not think that he can be attracted to Islam at all. And Allaah knows best.

From al-Lu’lu’ al-Makeen min Fataawaa Ibn Jibreen, p. 28


Ruling on so-called “Islamic” songs with musical instruments
i would like to know if muslims are allowed to lisen to islamic songs with instruments in it. please answer by using the quran and the sunnah or ijmaa.

Praise be to Allaah.

The aayaat of the Qur’aan and the Ahaadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) indicate that musical instruments are condemned, and warn us against them. The Qur’aan teaches that playing these instruments is one of the things that leads people astray and constitutes mockery of the Signs of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talk to mislead (men) from the Path of Allaah, without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allaah, 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]

Most of the scholars interpreted lahw al-hadeeth (“idle talk”) as meaning singing and musical instruments, and every voice that diverts people from the truth.

Al-Tabari (Jaami’ al-Bayaan, 15/118-119), Ibn Abi’l-Dunya (Dham al-Malaahi, 33) and Ibn al-Jawzi (Talbees Iblees, 232) all reported that concerning the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“[Allaah said to Shaytaan;] ‘And istafziz [literally means befool them gradually] those whom you can with your voice, make assaults on them with your cavalry and your infantry, mutually share with them wealth and children, and make promises to them.’ But Shaytaan promises them nothing but deceit” [al-Isra’ 17:64]

  1. Mujaahid said, “This refers to singing and flutes.”

Al-Tabari reported that al-Hasan al-Basri said:

“His voice is the tambourine.”

Ibn al-Qayyim said in Ighaathat al-Lahfaan (1/252):

“The grammatical structure here (idaafah – genitive or possessive) is used to make something specific (idaafat al-takhsees), and in all these words in the aayah it refers back to the Shaytaan [addressed here as ‘you’ by Allaah, may He be glorified]. Everyone who speaks about anything other than obedience of Allaah or plays a reed pipe, flute, tambourine or drum, all of this is the voice of Shaytaan.”

Al-Tirmidhi reported in his Sunan (no. 1005) from Ibn Abi Layla from ‘Ata’ from Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to to al-Nakhl with ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf, when his son Ibraaheem was dying. He took the child in his lap and his eyes filled with tears. ‘Abd al-Rahmaan said, ‘Are you weeping when you have forbidden us to weep?’ He said, 'I do not forbid weeping. What I have forbidden is two foolish and evil kinds of voices: voices at times of entertainment and play and the flutes of the Shaytaan, and voices at times of calamity and scratching the face and rending the garments and screaming.’”

Al-Tirmidhi said: this is a hasan hadeeth. It was also reported by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, no. 1683, al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (4/69), al-Tayaalisi in Musnad (no. 1683) and by al-Tahhaawi in Sharh al-Ma’aani, 4/29, and it was classed as hasan by al-Albaani.

Al-Nawawi said: “What is meant here is singing and musical instruments.” See Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, 4/88.

It was reported in a saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “In my ummah there will be people who allow fornication/adultery (zina), silk, wine and musical instruments [ma’aazif]. Some people will stay at the side of a mountain, and they will have flocks of sheep. When a poor person comes in the evening to ask them for something he needs, they will say. ‘Come back to us tomorrow.’ Then during the night Allaah will destroy them by causing the mountain to fall upon them, while He changes others into apes and swine. They will remain in such a state until the Day of Resurrection.’”

(Reported by al-Bukhaari in al-Saheeh mu’allaqan, 51/10. Reported mawsoolan by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra, 3/272; al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 3/319; and Ibn Hibbaan in al-Saheeh (8/265-266). Classed as saheeh by Ibn al-Salaah in ‘Uloom al-Hadeeth (32), Ibn al-Qayyim in Ighaathat al-Lahfaan (255) and Tahdheeb al-Sunan (5/270-272), al-Haafiz in al-Fath (10/51) and al-Albaani in al-Saheehah (1/140)).

Al-Haafiz said in al-Fath (10/55): Ma’aazif refers to musical instruments. Al-Qurtubi reported from al-Jawhari that ma’aazif meant singing, and what it says in his book al-Sihaah is that it refers to musical instruments. It was also said that it is the sound of musical instruments. In a footnote by al-Dimyaati it says: ma’aazif is tambourines and other kinds of drums. The word ‘azif is applied to singing and all other kinds of instruments that may be played.

Ibn al-Qayyim said in Ighaathat al-Lahfaan (1/256):

The evidence for this is that ma’aazif refers to all kinds of things used for entertainment. There is no dispute among scholars of the Arabic language on this point. If they were halaal, he would not have condemned those who permitted them, or compared permitting them to permitting wine and zina.

We may understand from the hadeeth that all kinds of musical instruments are forbidden. This is clear from the hadeeth for a number of reasons:

  1. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said “… there will be people who allow…” It is clear that the things listed here, including musical instruments, are forbidden in sharee’ah, but those people will allow them.

  2. He compared musical instruments to things that are definitely known to be haraam, namely zina and alcohol. If instruments were not haraam, he would not have made this comparison. The evidence of this hadeeth that singing is haraam is definitive. Even if no other hadeeth or aayah spoke about musical instruments, this hadeeth would be sufficient to prove that they are haraam, especially the kind of singing that is known among people nowadays, the essence of which is obscenity and foul talk, based on all kinds of musical instruments such as guitars, drums, flutes, ouds, zithers, organs, pianos, violins and other things that make it more enticing, such as the voices of these effeminate singers and whores.

(See Hukm al-Ma’aazif by al-Albaani, Tas-heeh al-Ahkta’ wa’l-Awhaam al-Waaqi’ah fi Ahaadeeth al-Nabi ‘alayhi’l-salaam by Raa’id Sabri, 1/176).

Shaykh Ibn Baaz said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 3/423-424):

“Ma’aazif refers to singing and musical instruments. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that at the end of time there will come a people who will allow these things just as they will allow alcohol, zina and silk. This is one of the signs of his Prophethood, for all of this has happened. The hadeeth indicates that [musical instruments] are haraam, and condemns those who say they are halaal, just as it condemns those who say that alcohol and zina are allowed. The aayaat and ahaadeeth that warn against singing and musical instruments are many indeed. Whoever claims that Allaah has allowed singing and musical instruments is lying and is committing a great evil. We ask Allaah to keep us from obeying our desires and the Shaytaan. Even worse and more seriously sinful than that are those who say it is mustahabb. Undoubtedly this stems from ignorance about Allaah and His Religion; it is insolent blasphemy against Allaah and lying about His Laws. What is mustahabb is to beat on the daff [simple hand drum] at weddings. This is mustahabb for women only, in order to announce the wedding and to distinguish it from fornication. There is nothing wrong with women singing amongst themselves, accompanied by the daff, so 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 there should be no mixing with men. It should also not cause any annoyance or disturbance to neighbours. What some people do, of amplifying such singing with loudspeakers is evil, because of the disturbance it causes to other Muslims, neighbours and others. It is not permissible for women, in weddings or on other occasions, to use any instrument other than the daff, such as the oud, violin, rebab (stringed instrument) and so on. This is evil, and the only concession that women are given is that they may use the daff.

As for men, it is not permissible for them to play any kind of musical instrument, whether at weddings or on any other occasion. What Allaah has prescribed for men is training in the use of instruments of war, such as target practice or learning to ride horses and competing in that, using spears, shields, tanks, airplanes and other things such as cannons, machine guns, bombs and anything else that may help jihaad for the sake of Allaah.”

Shaykh al-Islam said in al-Fataawa (11/569):

“I know that in the ‘golden age’, the first and best three centuries, in the Hijaaz, in Syria, in the Yemen, in Egypt, in the Maghreb, in Iraq, in Khorasan, none of the religious and righteous people, the ascetics and those who worshipped Allaah much, would gather to listen to this whistling and clapping and drum-beating and so on. This was innovated after that at the end of the second century, and whenever the imaams saw it, they denounced it.”

As for these anaasheed which are described as “Islamic” but are accompanied with musical instruments, giving them this name lends them some measure of legitimacy, but in fact they are singing and music, so calling them Islamic nasheeds is falsehood and deception. They cannot be a substitute for singing, as an evil thing cannot be substituted for another evil thing. We should replace something evil with something good. Listening to it on the grounds that it is Islamic and an act of worship is bid’ah, and Allaah does not allow this. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound.

For more information, see:

Talbees Iblees (237) and al-Madkhil by Ibn al-Haaj (3/109); al-Amr bi’l-Ittibaa’ wa’l-Nahy ‘an al-Ibtidaa’ by al-Suyooti (99 ff); Dham al-Malaahi by Ibn Abi’l-Dunya; al-I’laam bi-anna al-‘Azif haraam by Abu Bakr al-Jazaa’iri; Tanzeeh al-Sharee’ah ‘an al-Aghaani al-Khalee’ah wa Tahreem Aalaat al-Tarab by al-Albaani.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid


Singing and dancing at celebrations
What kind of music is permissible for woman to dance to (at marriages where no men are present)? Is it only Islamic music? With only a drum beat? What are permissible music topics?.
Praise be to Allaah.  

Firstly: 

With regard to music, the ruling is as we have explained in question no. 5011, where we stated that it is haraam to play musical instruments. Here we will explain some of the things that are permitted to women only. 

Secondly: 

It is permissible for women to beat the daff and to sing permissible songs on permissible occasions such as Eid, celebrations and the like. 

Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

It is permissible for him – the bridegroom – to allow women to announce the marriage by beating the daff only, and by singing permissible songs in which there is no description of beauty or mention of immoral phrases… then he mentioned the evidence for that. 

Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 93. 

The evidence that the Shaykh mentioned is: 

It was narrated that al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwidh said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon me on the day of my wedding and sat on my mattress as you are sitting now, and young girls were beating the daff and singing about their fathers who had been killed at the battle of Badr, until a girl said, “And among us is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not say this, but say the other things that you were saying.” 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3700. 

It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that she took a woman on her wedding night to a man from among the Ansaar, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to her, “O ‘Aa’ishah, was there any entertainment  (in the gathering)? For the Ansaar love entertainment.” 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4765. 

It was narrated that Abu Ishaaq said: I heard ‘Aamir ibn Sa’d al-Bajali say: I saw Thaabit ibn Wadee’ah and Qarazah ibn Ka’b al-Ansaari at a wedding, and there was singing. I spoke to them about that and they said that a concession had been granted allowing singing at weddings and weeping for the dead, so long as there was no wailing. 

Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 14469. 

It was narrated that Muhammad ibn Haatib al-Jamahi said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The thing that differentiates between haraam and halaal is the beating of the daff and voices.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1008; al-Nasaa’i, 3316; Ibn Maajah, 1886. Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 96. 

This is what it is permitted for women to do of singing at weddings. The only musical instrument that is permissible for them is the daff, and not others such as the tabl. The difference between them is that the tabl is covered on both sides whereas the daff is open on one side and covered on the other. 

The Standing Committee said:  

With regard to the tabl and other kinds of musical instruments, it is not permissible to use them with these anasheed, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) did not do that. 

Fataawa, no. 3259, dated 13/10/1400 AH. 

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

With regard to the tabl, it is not permissible to beat it in weddings, rather the daff only should be used. 

Fataawa Islamiyyah, 3/185. 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: 

The drum that is covered on both sides is called the tabl, and it is not permissible, because it is a kind of musical instrument and all kinds of musical instruments are haraam, except that for which there is evidence that it is halaal, which is the daff at weddings. 

Fataawa Islamiyyah, 3/186. 

Thirdly: 

With regard to dancing, it is not permissible in front of men, non-mahrams, mahrams or women, because of the fitnah that may be caused by the movements of the body. It is well known that women may feel desire for one another, and even if that is not the case, there is no guarantee that one of them will not go back to her menfolk and describe to them what she has seen of the beauty of the dancer and her movement, so this may affect the men and may cause a great deal of mischief. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade such things. 

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No woman should look at another woman then describe her to her husband so that it is as if he can see her.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4839. 

In the early days the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) allowed effeminate men to enter upon woman, but when he saw one of them describing women and disclosing their secrets, he forbade them from doing that. 

It was narrated from Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her): The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon me and there was an effeminate man with me. I heard him say to ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Umayyah, “O ‘Abd-Allaah, if Allaah should enable you to conquer al-Taa’if tomorrow you should look for the daughter of Ghaylaan…” then he described her. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “These people should not enter upon you.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3980; Muslim, 4048. 

The alluring movements of a woman are part of her ‘awrah, and it is not permissible for her to show them to anyone but her husband. 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

Dancing is makrooh in principle, but if it is done in the western manner or in imitation of the kaafir women, then it becomes haraam, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Moreover it sometimes leads to fitnah, because the dancer may be a young, beautiful woman, so the other women are tempted. Even if she is among other women, the other women may do things that indicate that they are temped by her. And whatever is a cause of fitnah is not allowed. 

Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh, q. 1085. 

And he said: 

With regard to dancing on the part of women, it is an evil action and we cannot say that it is permissible, because we have heard of incidents that have occurred among women because of it. If it is done by men that is even worse, because that is men imitating women, and the evil involved is well known. If dancing is done among a mixed group of men and women, as some of the foolish do, that is even worse because of the mixing and great fitnah involved, especially when that is done at a wedding party.”  

Fataawa Islamiyyah, 3/187. 

Fourthly: 

With regard to permissible words in songs, they are those that do not contain any haraam descriptions, or provoke desire, or words that are forbidden in sharee’ah, or some innovated adhkaar, and other haraam things.  

There are sufficient permissible things that may be sung about, such as encouraging good morals, the pursuit of knowledge, giving up haraam things, and so on. 

The Standing Committee said: 

You are correct in your ruling that songs of the modern type are haraam, because they include immoral words and things that are no good, and they include idle leisure and provocation of sexual desire, and promiscuity, and the voice has a quality that inspires evil thoughts in the mind of the listener. May Allaah help us and you to do that which pleases Him. 

It is permissible for you to replace these songs with Islamic nasheeds which contain rulings, exhortation and teaching, which will increase people’s keenness and pride in their religion, and promote Islamic feelings and put people off evil and what leads to it. 

Fatwa no. 3295, dated 13/10/1400 AH 

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


Is it permissible for her to listen to music whilst exercising?
I exercise in a gym that is for women only. I have many health and psychological problems, but when I exercise, in addition to reading Qur’aan and reciting du’aa’, I feel much better than I did before. 
My question is: 
Is it permissible to exercise knowing that they put on music for exercising, which has a rhythm that is suited to what the trainer is doing, or what should I do? I am confused about this as I like to exercise, and there is no gym where they do exercises without music.
Praise be to Allaah.

There is nothing wrong with a woman doing exercise if it is in a place that is only for women, where men cannot see them, so long as that is done to a limited extent and it does not distract her from something that is obligatory, and it does not lead to her missing prayers or delaying them until their time is over, or neglecting other duties. 

Among the haraam things that may accompany exercise in some gyms is using music and listening to it. Al-Bukhaari narrated that Abu Maalik al-Ash’ari (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There will be people among my ummah who regard as permissible zina, silk, alcohol and musical instruments.” 

From this hadeeth the ruling on musical instruments is clear, which is that it is haraam. The fact that they are mentioned alongside other haraam things, namely silk, alcohol and zina, reinforces the fact that they are haraam. 

There is no difference of opinion among the four Imams that musical instruments are haraam. 

Shaykh al-Islam 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 (11/576, 577). 

Music destroys the heart and distracts people from the truth; it generates hypocrisy in the heart. It cannot soothe the nerves or be a remedy. 

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

 Music and other kinds of entertainment are all evil, but they are things that the Shaytaan makes appear attractive and enjoyable, and he calls people to them so as to distract them from the truth by means of falsehood, and so that he can lead them away from that which Allaah loves, towards that which Allaah hates and has decreed haraam. Music, the ‘ood (a kind of stringed instrument) and all musical instruments are an evil and it is not permissible to listen to them. It is narrated in a saheeh report that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There will be people among my ummah who regard as permissible zina, silk, alcohol and musical instruments.” End quote. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (3/346).

 The Shaykh also said: 

As for using music as a remedy, there is no basis for this, rather it is the work of fools. Music is not a remedy, but it is a disease. It is a kind of entertainment which cause sickness in the heart and leads to deviation of morals. The beneficial remedy that can calm the nerves is making the sick people listen to recitation of Qur’aan, beneficial exhortations and beneficial hadeeth. Using music as a remedy is something that gets people accustomed to falsehood and makes them even sicker. It makes listening to the Qur’aan and Sunnah and useful exhortations burdensome for them. Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (there is no power and no strength except with Allaah).” End quote. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (9/429) 

See also the answers to questions no. 43736, 5000 and 5011 for more information.   

Based on this, you should advise these people and tell them that listening to music is forbidden in Islam and that there is no need for this haraam deed. There are many gyms which pay attention to that and they avoid playing music, which makes more people come to them. If they do not respond, then at least ask them not to use it whilst you are in the gym, so that you will not be a partner in this sin, remaining silent about an evil which you are obliged to denounce. 

If you cannot do that, then you have to leave this gym: either look for another one, or look for another solution such as buying some equipment to use for exercising at home, which is better for you.

Islam Q&A


Organizing singing parties and soirees
In 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.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid


She loves Islamic nasheeds and they take up a lot of her time
I used to be one of those who listen to songs all the time, to such an extent that I memorized them, but praise be to Allaah, for nine years I have not listened to them. But there is another problem; I started to love Islamic nasheeds very much and they take up a considerable amount of my time. Is there any sin in that?.
Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly: 

Songs which are accompanied by musical instruments or which contain words of love or provoke desire, are undoubtedly haraam, because of a great deal of evidence to that effect, which you will find in the answers to questions no. 5000 and 20406

So we praise Allaah for having enabled you to give up listening to songs and turned your heart away from them. 

Secondly: 

There is nothing wrong with listening to Islamic nasheeds which contain words of wisdom, exhortation, encouragement to do good, and promotion of noble attitudes, so long as there are no musical instruments and the voices do not provoke fitnah or incite one to do haraam deeds, and so long as one does not listen to them a great deal. 

The Standing Committee issued a detailed fatwa concerning the ruling on Islamic nasheeds, which states the following: 

You have spoken the truth concerning the prohibition on songs as they exist nowadays, because they include immoral and indecent words, and they include things in which there is nothing good. Indeed, they are full of idle talk and provocation of desire, sexual urges and promiscuity, and softening of the voice in such a way that it tempts the listener to evil. May Allaah help us and you to do that which pleases Him. 

It is permissible, as an alternative to these songs, for you to listen to Islamic nasheeds which include wisdom, exhortation and words that promote enthusiasm and protective jealousy for Islam, and stir up Islamic feelings, and put one off evil and the things that lead to it, to motivate the one who “sings” the nasheeds and the one who listens to them to obey Allaah and deter them from sin and transgressing the sacred limits of Allaah, and encourage them to live life within the framework of sharee’ah and to strive in jihad for His sake. But he should not regard that as a “wird” that he must adhere to, or a habit in which he engages on a continual basis, rather it should be something that he listens to from time to time on appropriate occasions when there is a need for it, such as at weddings, when travelling for jihad, and so on, or when he is feeling listless and needs something to revive his spirits and encourage him to do good, or when he feels inclined towards evil so he listens to it to deter himself from it. 

Even better than that is committing oneself to reasing a portion of Qur’aan on a daily basis, or a wird of dhikrs that are narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). That is purer for his soul and is more effective in bringing comfort to the heart. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Allaah has sent down the Best Statement, a Book (this Qur’aan), its parts resembling each other (in goodness and truth) (and) oft‑repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allaah. That is the Guidance of Allaah. He guides therewith whom He wills; and whomever Allaah sends astray, for him there is no guide”

[al-Zumar 39:23] 

“Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allaah verily, in the remembrance of Allaah do hearts find rest.

29. Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism), and work righteousness, Tûbâ (all kinds of happiness or name of a tree in Paradise) is for them and a beautiful place of (final) return”

[al-Ra’d 13:28, 29] 

The way of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) was to pay particular attention to the Qur’aan and Sunnah, memorizing it, studying it and acting upon it. Along with that they also had nasheeds and chants which they would recite, such as when digging the ditch and building mosques, and when travelling for jihad, and on other such occasions, without making that their habit or focusing all their attention on it; it was simply something with which they would relax occasionally or stir their emotions.   

With regard to the tabl drum and other musical instruments, it is not permissible to use them with these nasheeds, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) did not do that. 

Allaah is the Guide to the Straight Path. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon his family and companions. End quote from Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/532 

Thirdly: 

You should remember Allaah a great deal (dhikr) and read Qur’aan; set yourself a daily wird to memorize and review. Also keep yourself busy listening to some lessons and lectures, because this is the best means of reducing the amount of nasheed you listen to, and making use of your time with something that is beneficial and useful. 

It is very unfortunate that the one who listens to nasheed a great deal finds it difficult to read Qur’aan or even to listen to it; this is something harmful which should not be taken lightly. Even if the harm is only causing him to miss out on a great deal of reward, that is should be sufficient deterrent for the people of faith from becoming attached to nasheeds and always listening to them. 

It is well known that if a believer spends an hour reading Qur’aan, thousands of hasanaat will be recorded for him, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever reads one letter of the Book of Allaah will have one hasanah for that, and a hasanah brings a tenfold reward. I do not say that alif-laam-meem is a letter, rather alif is a letter, laam is a letter, meem is a letter.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2910; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi

One hour is sufficient to read twenty pages of Qur’aan, in which there are no less than nine thousand letters. 

How can a person let listening to nasheeds distract him from listening to the Book of Allaah and reciting it? 

Strive to reduce the amount of time you spend listening to these nasheeds as much as you can, so that you only listen to them during weddings, Eid and so on, and make the best use of your time so that you may rise in status. Soon, by Allaah’s leave, you will find delight in reading Qur’aan, and the joy of worship and the sweetness of faith, with the words of the Most Merciful. 

We ask Allaah to help us and you to do that which He loves and which pleases Him. 

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


Should one kill snakes and scorpions whilst praying?
If a man starts to pray, and this prayer is one of the obligatory prayers, and he sees a snake or scorpion in front of him, can he stop his prayer and kill that thing, or should he complete his prayer?

Praise be to Allaah. 

Yes, he can stop his prayer and kill the snake or scorpion, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Kill the two black ones during prayer, the snake and the scorpion.”

(Narrated by the authors of Sunan and classed as saheeh by Ibn Hibbaan).

If you can kill it whilst still praying, without moving more than what is regarded as acceptable, then this is OK and the prayer is still valid.

And Allaah is the source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.

Al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Iftaa, 7/31


When is it permissible to beat the daff?
This question is about the instrument called "the duff". This is, I believe the only instrument that was made halal for muslims to listen to. Recently I have read that there are restrictions to listening to it, such as, only women can liten to it, it should only be played at weddings and 'Eid and that in all other circumstances it is Haram. The places where I read this didn't really have any proofs or evidences. Are these true restructions and are there any more?.
Praise be to Allaah.  

Firstly: 

Al-Bukhaari narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There will be among my ummah people who will regard adultery, silk, alcohol and musical instruments as permissible.” 

This hadeeth indicates that all musical instruments are haraam, including the daff. 

‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The daff is haraam, stringed instruments are haraam, drums are haraam and flutes are haraam. Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 10/222 

But there are some ahaadeeth which indicate that it is permissible to beat the daff in some circumstances, which are: 

Eid, weddings, and when one who has been away returns. 

The evidence is given below. 

1 – It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) entered upon her and there were two girls with her during the days of Mina beating the daff, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was covering himself with his garment. Abu Bakr rebuked them, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) uncovered his face and said, “Leave them alone, O Abu Bakr, for these are the days of Eid.” That was during the days of Mina. 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 944; Muslim, 892 

2 – It was narrated that al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwidh ibn ‘Afra’ said: “After the consummation of my marriage, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came and sat on my bed as far from me as you are sitting now, and our little girls started beating the daff and reciting verses mourning my father, who had been killed in the battle of Badr. One of them said, ‘Among us is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow.’ On that the Prophet said, ‘Omit this (saying) and keep on saying the verses which you had been saying before.’” 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4852). 

3 – It was narrated that Buraydah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out on one of his military campaigns, and when he came back, a black slave woman came and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I vowed that if Allaah brought you back safe and sound, I would beat the daff before you and sing. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “If you vowed that, then do it, otherwise do not do it.’” So she started to beat the daff, and Abu Bakr came in whilst she was doing so. Then ‘Ali came in whilst she was beating the daff, then ‘Uthmaan came in whilst she was beating the daff, then ‘Umar came in and she threw the daff beneath her and sat on it. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “The Shaytaan is afraid of you, O ‘Umar. I was sitting and she was beating the daff, then Abu Bakr came in when she was beating the daff; then ‘Ali came in when she was beating the daff; then ‘Uthmaan came in when she was beating the daff, but when you came in, O ‘Umar, she put the daff down.” 

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3690; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2913. 

These ahaadeeth indicate that it is permissible to beat the daff in these three situations. Apart from that, the principle remains that it is haraam. Some scholars made the matter broader and said that it is permissible to beat the daff when a child is born and when he is circumcised; others take the matter further and say that it is permissible on all occasions that are a cause for expressing joy, such as the recovery of a sick person and the like. 

See al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 38/169 

But it is better to limit ourselves to what was narrated in the text. And Allaah knows best. 

Secondly: 

The correct view is that it is not permissible to beat the daff except for women. If a man does that, he is imitating women, which is a major sin. 

Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah – may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

In general, it is a well known principle of the Islamic religion that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not prescribe that the righteous men, devoted worshippers and ascetics of this ummah should gather to listen to verses of poetry chanted to the accompaniment of handclapping, rhythm sticks or daffs. It is not permissible for anyone to go beyond the limits of Islam and follow something other than that which was narrated in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, whether that has to do with inward matters or outward, whether for the common man or the elite. But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) granted a concession for some kinds of entertainment on the occasion of weddings and the like, and he also granted a concession to women allowing them to beat the daff at weddings and on other joyous occasions. But with regard to the men of his time, none of them used to beat the daff or clap his hands, rather it was proven in al-Saheeh that he said, ‘Clapping is for women, and Tasbeeh is for men,’ and he cursed women who imitate men and men who imitate women. 

Because singing, beating the daff and clapping the hands are actions of women, the salaf used to call a man who did that mukhannath (effeminate), and they used to call male singers makhaaneeth (pl. of mukhannath). This is well known. 

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 11/565, 566 

Ibn Hajar said: 

The strong (qawiy) ahaadeeth indicate that this is permissible for women, but that does not include men, because of the general meaning of the prohibition on men imitating women. 

Fath al-Baari, 9/226 

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

Rather the concession allowing women to use the daff is for them only. With regard to men, it is not permissible for them to do any of that, whether on weddings or on other occasions. Rather Allaah has prescribed for men to train in the instruments of war and skills needed for battle, such as shooting and horse riding, and competing in that. 

Majallat al-Jaami’ah al-Islamiyyah (Magazine of the Islamic University in al-Madeenah al-Munawwarah), 3rd edition, 2nd year, Muharram, 1390 AH, p. 185, 186 

And he also said: 

With regard to weddings, it is prescribed to beat the daff and sing regular songs which do not call for or praise anything that is haraam. This is to be done at night, by women only, to announce the wedding and to emphasize the difference between this legitimate marriage and zina (adultery) which is done in secret, as was narrated in the saheeh Sunnah from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

 Al-Tabarruj wa Khataruhu (Wanton display and its dangers)

 And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


Ruling on music, singing and dancing
I have always heard that music, singing and dancing are haram in Islam. I went to this other site for the first time,XXX, and typed in music and all of these articles appeared which said music,dancing, and singing in Islam is halal??? They said "as long as the 2 sexes are not close together and their is no drinking going on" etc. and they even have hadiths that try to prove our Prophet Muhammed s.a.w was ok with this??? I am very confused now... Could you PLEASE give a full, detailed explanation about the Islamic ruling on music, singing and dancing and when it is allowed, if it is even allowed at all.

Praise be to Allaah. 

Ma’aazif is the plural of mi’zafah, and refers to musical instruments (Fath al-Baari, 10/55), instruments which are played (al-Majmoo’, 11/577). Al-Qurtubi (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated from al-Jawhari (may Allaah have mercy on him) that ma’aazif means singing. In his Sihaah  it says that it means musical instruments. It was also said that it refers to the sound of the instruments. In al-Hawaashi by al-Dimyaati (may Allaah have mercy on him) it says: ma’aazif means drums (dufoof, sing. daff) and other instruments which are struck or beaten (Fath al-Baari, 10/55).

 Evidence of prohibition in the Qur’aan and Sunnah:

 Allaah says in Soorat Luqmaan (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…” [Luqmaan 31:6]

 The scholar of the ummah, Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: this means singing. Mujaahid (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: this means playing the drum (tabl). (Tafseer al-Tabari, 21/40).

 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, 3/451).

 Al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: this includes all manner of haraam speech, all idle talk and falsehood, and all nonsense that encourages kufr and 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 the Shaytaan; and musical instruments which are of no spiritual or worldly benefit. (Tafseer al-Sa’di, 6/150)

 Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The interpretation of the Sahaabah and Taabi’in, that ‘idle talk’ refers to singing, is sufficient. This was reported with saheeh isnaads from Ibn ‘Abbaas and Ibn Mas’ood. 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. It was also reported with a saheeh isnaad 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. Some of the Sahaabah said one and some said the other, and some said both. Singing is worse and more harmful than stories of kings, because it leads to zinaa and makes hypocrisy grow (in the heart); it is the trap of the Shaytaan, 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 aayaat 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 an aayah 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 kaafirs and if some of it happens to singers and those who listen to them, they both have a share of this blame. (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, 1/258-259).

 Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

 “[Allaah said to Iblees:] 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)…” [al-Israa’ 17:64]

 It was narrated that Mujaahid (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “And befool them gradually those whom you can among them with your voice” – his voice [the voice of Iblees/Shaytaan] is singing and falsehood. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This idaafah [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 aayah]. 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 haraam kind of drum, this is the voice of the Shaytaan. Everyone who walks to commit some act of disobedience towards Allaah is part of his [the Shaytaan’s] infantry, and anyone who rides to commit sin is part of his cavalry. This is the view of the Salaf, as Ibn ‘Abi Haatim narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas: his infantry is everyone who walks to disobey Allaah. (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan).

 Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

 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)”

[al-Najm 53:59-61]

  ‘Ikrimah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: it was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that al-sumood [verbal noun from saamidoon, translated here as Wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (singing)”] means “singing”, in the dialect of Himyar; it might be said “Ismidi lanaa” [‘sing for us’ – from the same root as saamidoon/sumood] meaning “ghaniy” [sing]. And he said (may Allaah have mercy on him): When they [the kuffaar] heard the Qur’aan, they would sing, then this aayah was revealed. 

Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning) “Wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (singing)” – Sufyaan al-Thawri said, narrating from his father from Ibn ‘Abbaas: (this means) singing. This is Yemeni (dialect): ismad lana means ghan lana [sing to us]. This was also the view of ‘Ikrimah. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer).

 It was reported from Abu Umaamah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not sell singing slave women, do not buy them and do not teach them. There is nothing good in this trade, and their price is haraam. Concerning such things as this the aayah was revealed (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…’ [Luqmaan 31:6].” (Hasan hadeeth)

 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 ta’leeqan, no. 5590; narrated as mawsool by al-Tabaraani and al-Bayhaqi. See al-Silsilah al-Saheehah by al-Albaani, 91).

 Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This is a saheeh hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh, where he quoted it as evidence and stated that it is mu’allaq and majzoom. He said: Chapter on what was narrated concerning those who permit alcohol and call it by another name.

 This hadeeth indicates in two ways that musical instruments and enjoyment of listening to music are haraam. 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 haraam according to sharee’ah, but those people will permit them. The second is the fact that musical instruments are mentioned alongside things which are definitely known to be haraam, i.e., zinaa and alcohol: if they (musical instruments) were not haraam, why would they be mentioned alongside these things? (adapted from al-Silsilah al-Saheehah by al-Albaani, 1/140-141)

Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This hadeeth indicates that ma’aazif are haraam, and ma’aazif means musical instruments according to the scholars of (Arabic) language. This word includes all such instruments. (al-Majmoo’, 11/535).

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: And concerning the same topic similar comments were narrated from Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saa’idi, ‘Imraan ibn Husayn, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Umaamah al-Baahili, ‘Aa’ishah Umm al-Mu’mineen, ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, Anas ibn Maalik, ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Saabit and al-Ghaazi ibn Rabee’ah. Then he mentioned it in Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, and it indicates that they (musical instruments) are haraam.

It was narrated that Naafi’ (may Allaah have mercy on him) 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).

Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: the listener is the one who intends to hear, which was not the case with Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both); what happened in his case was hearing. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) needed to know when the sound stopped because he had moved away from that path and blocked his ears. So he did not want to go back to that path or unblock his ears until the noise had stopped, so when he allowed Ibn ‘Umar to continue hearing it, this was because of necessity. (al-Mughni, 10/173)

 (Even though the hearing referred to in the comments of the two imaams is makrooh, it was permitted because of necessity, as we will see below in the comments of Imaam Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him). And Allaah knows best).

 The views of the scholars (imaams) of Islam

Al-Qaasim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Singing is part of falsehood. Al-Hasan (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: if there is music involved in a dinner invitation (waleemah), do not accept the invitation (al-Jaami by al-Qayrawaani, p. 262-263).

 Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The view of the four Imaams is that all kinds of musical instruments are haraam. It was reported 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 would allow zinaa, silk, alcohol and musical instruments, and he said that they would be transformed into monkeys and pigs… None of the followers of the imaams mentioned any dispute concerning the matter of music. (al-Majmoo’, 11/576).

Al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The four madhhabs are agreed that all musical instruments are haraam. (al-Saheehah, 1/145).

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The madhhab of Abu Haneefah is the strictest in this regard, and his comments are among the harshest. His companions clearly stated that it is haraam to listen to all musical instruments such as the flute and the drum, even tapping a stick. They stated that it is a sin which implies that a person is a faasiq (rebellious evil doer) whose testimony should be rejected. They went further than that and said that listening to music is fisq (rebellion, evildoing) and enjoying it is kufr (disbelief). This is their words. They narrated in support of that a hadeeth which could not be attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). They said: he should try not to hear it if he passes by it or it is in his vicinity. Abu Yoosuf said, concerning a house from which could be heard the sound of musical instruments: Go in without their permission, because forbidding evil actions is obligatory, and if it were not allowed to enter without permission, people could not have fulfilled the obligatory duty (of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil). (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, 1/425).

 Imaam Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him) 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. (al-Jaami’ by al-Qayrawaani, 262). He (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The only people who do things like that, in our view, are faasiqs.” (Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 14/55).

 Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Among the types of earnings which are haraam by scholarly consensus are ribaa, 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-Kaafi).

 Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, explaining the view of Imaam al-Shaafa'i: His companions who know his madhhab (point of view) stated that it is haraam and denounced those who said that he permitted it. (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, 1/425).

 The author of Kifaayat al-Akhbaar, who was one of the Shaafa’is, counted musical instruments such as flutes and others, as being munkar (evil), and the one who is present (where they are being played) should denounce them. (He cannot be excused by the fact that there are bad scholars, because they are corrupting the sharee’ah, or evil faqeers – meaning the Sufis, because they call themselves fuqaraa’ or faqeers – because they are ignorant and follow anyone who makes noise; they are not guided by the light of knowledge; rather they are blown about by every wind. (Kifaayat al-Akhbaar, 2/128).

 Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: With regard to the view of Imaam Ahmad, his son ‘Abd-Allaah said: I asked my father about singing. He said: Singing makes hypocrisy grow in the heart; I do not like it. Then he mentioned the words of Maalik: the evildoers (faasiqs) among us do that. (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan).

 Ibn Qudaamah, the researcher of the Hanbali madhhab – (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Musical instruments are of three types which are haraam. These are the strings and all kinds of flute, and the lute, drum and rabaab (stringed instrument) and so on. Whoever persists in listening to them, his testimony should be rejected. (al-Mughni, 10/173). And he said (may Allaah have mercy on him); If a person is invited to a gathering in which there is something objectionable, such as wine and musical instruments, and he is able to denounce it, then he should attend and speak out against it, because then he will be combining two obligatory duties. If he is not able to do that, then he should not attend. (al-Kaafi, 3/118)

 Al-Tabari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The scholars of all regions are agreed that singing is makrooh and should be prevented. Although Ibraaheem ibn Sa’d and ‘Ubayd-Allaah al-‘Anbari differed from the majority, (it should be noted that) the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Adhere to the majority.” And whoever dies differing from the majority, dies as a jaahili. (Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 14/56). In earlier generations, the word “makrooh” was used to mean haraam, then it took on the meaning of “disliked”. But this is to be understood as meaning that it is forbidden, because he [al-Tabari] said “it should be prevented”, and nothing is to be prevented except that which is haraam; and because in the two hadeeths quoted, music is denounced in the strongest terms. Al-Qurtubi (may Allaah have mercy on him) is the one who narrated this report, then he said: Abu’l-Faraj and al-Qaffaal among our companions said: the testimony of the singer and the dancer is not to be accepted. I say: if it is proven that this matter is not permissible, then accepting payment for it is not permissible either.

 Shaykh al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said: What Ibraaheem ibn Sa’d and ‘Ubayd-Allaah al-‘Anbari said about singing is not like the kind of singing that is known nowadays, for they would never have allowed this kind of singing which is the utmost in immorality and obscenity. (al-I’laam)

 Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: It is not permissible to make musical instruments. (al-Majmoo’, 22/140). And he said: According to the majority of fuqahaa’, it is permissible to destroy musical instruments, such as the tanboor [a stringed instrument similar to a mandolin]. This is the view of Maalik and is the more famous of the two views narrated from Ahmad. (al-Majmoo’, 28/113). And he said: …Ibn al-Mundhir mentioned that the scholars were agreed that it is not permissible to pay people to sing and wail… the consensus of all the scholars whose views we have learned about is that wailing and singing are not allowed. Al-Shu’bi, al-Nakha’i and Maalik regarded that as makrooh [i.e., haraam]. Abu Thawr, al-Nu’maan – Abu Haneefah (may Allaah have mercy on him) – and Ya’qoob and Muhammad, two of the students of Abu Haneefah said: it is not permissible to pay anything for singing and wailing. This is our view. And he said: musical instruments are the wine of the soul, and what it does to the soul is worse than what intoxicating drinks do. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 10/417).

 Ibn Abi Shaybah (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that a man broke a mandolin belonging to another man, and the latter took his case to Shurayh. But Shurayh did not award him any compensation – i.e., he did not make the first man pay the cost of the mandolin, because it was haraam and had no value. (al-Musannaf, 5/395).

 Al-Baghawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) 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

 The exception to the above is the daff – without any rings (i.e., a hand-drum which looks like a tambourine, but without any rattles) – when used by women on Eids and at weddings. This is indicated by saheeh reports. Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made allowances for certain types of musical instruments at weddings and the like, and he made allowances for women to play the daff at weddings and on other joyful occasions. But the men at his time did not play the daff or clap with their hands. It was narrated in al-Saheeh that he said: “Clapping is for women and tasbeeh (saying Subhaan Allaah) is for men.” And he cursed women who imitate men and men who imitate women. Because singing and playing the daff are things that women do, the Salaf used to call any man who did that a mukhannath (effeminate man), and they used to call male singers effeminate – and how many of them there are nowadays! It is well known that the Salaf said this.

 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 the verses that the Ansaar had said on the day of Bu’aath – and any sensible person will know what people say about war. Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Musical instruments of the Shaytaan 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 the Shaytaan”. 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.” This indicates that the reason why this was permitted was because it was the time of Eid, and the prohibition remained in effect at times other than Eid, apart from the exceptions made for weddings in other ahaadeeth. 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 will know that in our religion there is room for relaxation.” There is no indication in the hadeeth about the two young girls that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was listening to them. The commands and prohibitions have to do with listening, not merely hearing, just as in the case of seeing, the rules have to do with intentionally looking and not what happens by accident. So it is clear that this is for women only. Imaam Abu ‘Ubayd (may Allaah have mercy on him) defined the daff as “that which is played by women.” (Ghareeb al-Hadeeth, 3/64).

An inappropriate exception

 Some of them make an exception for drums at times of war, and consequentially some modern scholars have said that military music is allowed. But there is no basis for this at all, for a number of reasons, the first of which is that this is making an exception with no clear evidence, apart from mere opinion and thinking that it is good, and this is wrong. The second reason is that what the Muslims should do at times of war is to turn their hearts towards their Lord. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“They ask you (O Muhammad) about the spoils of war. Say: ‘The spoils are for Allaah and the Messenger.’ So fear Allaah and adjust all matters of difference among you…” [al-Anfaal 8:1]. But using music is the opposite of this idea of taqwa and  it would distract them from remembering their Lord. Thirdly, using music is one of the customs of the kuffaar, and it is not permitted to imitate them, especially with regard to something that Allaah has forbidden to us in general, such as music. (al-Saheehah, 1/145)

 “No people go astray after having been guided except they developed arguments amongst themselves.” (Saheeh)

 Some of them used the hadeeth about the Abyssinians playing in the mosque of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) as evidence that singing is allowed! Al-Bukhaari included this hadeeth in his Saheeh under the heading Baab al-Hiraab wa’l-Daraq Yawm al-‘Eid (Chapter on Spears and Shields on the Day of Eid). Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This indicates that it is permissible to play with weapons and the like in the mosque, and he applied that to other activities connected with jihaad. (Sharh Muslim). But as al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: whoever speaks about something which is not his profession will come up with weird ideas such as these.

 Some of them use as evidence the hadeeth about the singing of the two young girls, which we have discussed above, but we will quote what Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, because it is valuable:

 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 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, 1/493).

 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, 229). 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 following 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, 2/442-443).

 Some people even have the nerve to suggest that the Sahaabah and Taabi’een listened to singing, and that they saw nothing wrong with it!

 Al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said: We demand them to show us saheeh isnaads going back to these Sahaabah and Taabi’een, proving what they attribute to them.  Then he said: Imaam Muslim mentioned in his introduction to his Saheeh that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Mubaarak said: The isnaad is part of religion. Were it not for the isnaad, whoever wanted to could say whatever he wanted to.

 Some of them said that the ahaadeeth which forbid music are full of faults. No hadeeth was free of being criticized by some of the scholars. Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The ahaadeeth which were narrated concerning music being haraam are not full of faults as has been claimed. Some of them are in Saheeh al-Bukhaari which is the soundest of books after the Book of Allaah, and some of them are hasan and some are da’eef. But because they are so many, with different isnaads, they constitute definitive proof that singing and musical instruments are haraam. 

All the imaams agreed on the soundness of the ahaadeeth which forbid singing and musical instruments, apart from Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali, but al-Ghazzaali did not have knowledge of hadeeth; and Ibn Hazam, but al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) explained where Ibn Hazam went wrong, and Ibn Hazam himself said that if any of (these ahaadeeth) were saheeh, he would follow that. But now they have proof that these reports are saheeh because there are so many books by the scholars which state that these ahaadeeth are saheeh, but they turn their backs on that. They are far more extreme than Ibn Hazam and they are nothing like him, for they are not qualified and cannot be referred to.

 Some of them said that the scholars forbade singing because it is mentioned alongside gatherings in which alcohol is drunk and where people stay up late at night for evil purposes.

 Al-Shawkaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The response to this is that mentioning these things in conjunction does not only mean that what is haraam is what is joined together in this manner. Otherwise this would mean that zinaa, as mentioned in the ahaadeeth, is not haraam unless it is accompanied by alcohol and the use of musical instruments. By the same token, an aayah such as the following (interpretation of the meaning):

Verily, he used not to believe in Allaah, the Most Great,

And urged not on the feeding of Al‑Miskeen (the poor).”

[al-Haaqqah 69:33-34]

would imply that it is not haraam to disbelieve in Allaah unless that is accompanied by not encouraging the feeding of the poor. If it is said that the prohibition of such things one at a time is proven from other reports, the response to that is that the prohibition of musical instruments is also known from other evidence, as mentioned above. (Nayl al-Awtaar, 8/107).

 Some of them said that “idle talk” does not refer to singing; the refutation of that has been mentioned above. Al-Qurtubi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This – the view that it means singing – is the best that has been said concerning this aayah, and Ibn Mas’ood swore three times by Allaah besides Whom there is no other god, that it does refer to singing. Then he mentioned other imaams who said the same thing. Then he mentioned other views concerning the matter. Then he said: The first view is the best of all that has been said on this matter, because of the marfoo’ hadeeth, and because of the view of the Sahaabah and the Taabi’een. (Tafseer al-Qurtubi).

 Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him), after quoting this Tafseer, said: Al-Haakim Abu ‘Abd-Allaah said in the Tafseer of Kitaab al-Mustadrak: Let the one who is seeking this knowledge know that the Tafseer of a Sahaabi who witnessed the revelation is a hadeeth with isnaad according to the two Shaykhs (al-Bukhaari and Muslim). Elsewhere in his book, he said: In our view this hadeeth has the same strength as a marfoo’ report. Although their tafseer is still subject to further examination, it is still more readily acceptable than the tafseer of those who came after them, because they are the most knowledgeable among this ummah of what Allaah meant in his Book. It was revealed among them and they were the first people to be addressed by it. They heard the tafseer from the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in word and in deed. And they were Arabs who understood the true meanings of (Arabic) words, so Muslims should avoid resorting to any other interpretation as much as possible.

 Some of them said that singing is a form of worship if the intention is for it to help one to obey Allaah!

 Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) 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 haraam and deserves the wrath and punishment of Allaah and His Messenger? … 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)

 Shaykh al-Islam said, discussing the state of the person who has gotten used to listening to singing: Hence you find that those who have gotten used to it and for whom it is like food and drink will never have the desire to listen to the Qur’aan or feel joy when they hear it, and they never find in listening to its verses the same feeling that they find when listening to poetry. Indeed, if they hear the Qur’aan, they hear it with an inattentive heart and talk whilst it is being recited, but if they hear whistling and clapping of hands, they lower their voices and keep still, and pay attention. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 11/557 ff)

 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 behaviour better, but most of them, as we know, are astray and behave badly.

 Conclusion

 Perhaps – for fair-minded and objective readers – this summary will make it 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. The one who says that singing and musical instruments are permitted is simply supporting the whims of people nowadays, as if the masses were issuing fatwas and he is simply signing them! If a matter arises, they will look at the views of fuqahaa’ on this matter, then they will take the easiest view, as they claim. Then they will look for evidence, or just specious arguments which are worth no more than a lump of dead meat. How often have these people approved things in the name of sharee’ah which in fact have nothing to do with Islam!

 Strive to learn your Islam from the Book of your Lord and the Sunnah of your Prophet. 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 his Lord. 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 it expose everyone who is deviating from the path of Revelation and taking the easiest options, thinking that he has come up with something which  none of the earlier generations ever achieved, and speaking about Allaah without knowledge. They sought to avoid fisq (evildoing) and ended up committing bid’ah – may Allaah not bless them in it. It would have been better for them to follow the path of the believers.

 And Allaah knows best. 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 Judgement.

 Summary of a paper entitled al-Darb bi’l-Nawa li man abaaha al-Ma’aazif li’l-Hawa by Shaykh Sa’d al-Deen ibn Muhammad al-Kibbi.

 For more information, please see:

 Al-I’laam bi Naqd Kitaab al-Halaal wa’l-Haraam, by Shaykh al-‘Allaamah Saalih ibn Fawzaan al-Fawzaan

 Al-Samaa’ by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn al-Qayyim

Tahreem Aalaat al-Tarab, by Shaykh Muhammad Naasir al-Deen al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him)

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
prohibition on songs and music