Nowadays, music is becoming prevalent throughout the world. However, few pay attention to the ruling of music in Islam. I have written this post after considering many sources and spending a lot of time at first in gathering information and then in writing the following article. I hope that this clears the misconceptions among many Muslims and leads them to the truth.
Please note that the title of this post is such that it might seem to readers that the ruling of music is open for discussion. However, it should be noted that only highly qualified scholars of Islam can make the decision of permissibility and prohibition. This ruling has been decided by scholars as the real ruling of music in Islam. Therefore, this ruling is not open for discussion.
Arguments To Prove That Music is Halal and Their Reality
Many people quote the following Quranic verses and ahadith to prove the point that Music is allowed in Islam. However, as you read through the explanation, you will realize the truth.
The First Verse
"And verily, We did favour some of the prophets over others, and to Dawood We gave the Psalms.
How does this verse purport to be proof for those who claim legality? It is a common misconception of certain Muslims-especially those having a western background or living in the west-that Dawood (peace be upon him)composed the Psalms and sang them to the accompaniment of music.
There are even some commentators of English translations of the Quraan who fall prey to the same error. For example, Abdullah Yusuf Ali comments on this verse saying, "The spiritual gifts with which the prophets came, may themselves, take different forms according to the needs of the world and the times in which they lived, as judged by the wisdom of God. A striking example here given is the gift of song and music as given to David. . .
The fact is that the Psalms were not composed by Prophet Dawood(a. s) , but rather were revealed to him by Allah, the exalted, as is clearly stated in the Quraan. Additionally, now where in the Quraan or in the authentic traditions is there any support for this accompanying the psalms with musical instruments.
In order to properly understand the true nature of the psalms (az-Zaboor) , one must look to some of the dependable Quraanic commentaries(tafaseer). Ibn Katheer(Allah’s mercy be upon him), explains the meaning of the term Az-zaboor saying: "Az-Zaboor is the name of the book revealed by Allah to Dawood(a. s).
Al-aloosi further confirms this saying, "Az-Zaboor is the name of the book sent down to Dawood (a. s):it was revealed to him gradually, by installments.
As to the nature of these psalms, Al-Qurtubi states, "Az-zaboor is the book of Dawood, consisting of one hundred and fifty chapters; however, it contained no rulings of divine law on matters of prohibited or allowed things. Rather, it consisted of words and wisdom and admonishment.
Al-Aaloosi adds to this description that "the Zaboor also contained divine praises and glorification of Allah,
Prophet Dawoods captivating , melodious voice was exceedingly beautiful and effective. When he recited the Zaboor, men, jinn, birds and wild animals gathered around him.
The Second Verse
Some ignorant people claim that the following text regarding Prophet Ayoob(Job), whom Allah tested with various trials and tribulations , permits music and dancing:
Allah, the exalted and mighty, commands his messenger, Muhammad(saw)in the Quraan, "And recall Our servant, Ayoob, when he cried unto his Lord, 'Verily, Satan has afflicted me with distress and suffering . 'It was said unto him, 'Strike the ground with your foot; here is a spring for a cool bath and water to drink.'
In these verses Allah, the glorious and exalted, directs His Prophet, Ayyoob, to strike his foot upon the ground, whereupon a spring came forth. He bathed in its cool, soothing water which healed the disease afflicting the outer surface of his body. He also drank from the spring which removed the illness that afflicted his innermost body. Thus, after putting his faithful servant, Ayyoob, to excruciating tests and trials, Allah Taala judges him to be firm, patient and unwavering in his faith, saying: "Truly, we found him firm in patience and constancy; how excellent a slave. Verily, he was ever turning in repentance (to his Lord).
Regarding this verse, Al-Qurtubi mentions in his tafseer that certain ignorant ascetics and common Sufis have sought proof for the permissibility of dancing in Allah’s saying to Ayoob , "Strike the ground with your foot" accompaniment of certain ritual formulas (adhkaar) and musical instruments a form of worship(ibaadah) which brings one closer to Allah. Of course, such things are none other than bidah(blameworthy innovations and misguidance in deen). He relates the reply of some scholars to such baseless claims. Abul-Faraj Ibnul-Jowzi says, "This is an empty argument. Had there been a command for the striking of the foot as an act of joy, there might be some slight excuse for such a view, however the fact is that the command for striking the ground with the foot was in order to get the spring water to flow from it."
Ibn Aqeel gives a further rebuttal by questioning , "How is the proof of the legality of dancing deduced from the simple fact that an afflicted person is ordered as a means of miraculous healing to strike the earth with his foot in order to cause water to spring forth?", "It would also be right to interpret Allah’s saying to Moosa, "Strike the stone with your staff" as a proof for the legality of striking (rhythmically)upon (stuffed) cushions with sticks! We seek refuge in Allah from such fraudulent playing with the Shariah."
Obviously, one could make endless far-fetched analogies between certain verses of the Quraan and various, false preconceived notions which one might hope to substantiate. May Allah protect us from such evil manipulation of the divinely-revealed law.
It is essential at this point to mention that if it were established-for the sake of argument-that Dawood (peace be upon him)did in fact have musical accompaniment to his psalms: such a thing would not be proof that music, singing to musical accompaniment, etc. are followed in Islam. This is substantiated by the agreed upon principle from the science of usoolul fiqh which states that the revealed law(sharun)of those who came before us is considered applicable in so far as such law of Islam as embodied in the Quraan and the authentic sunnah.
However, as will be presented later, there is abundant authentic proof from the Islamic Shariah which prohibits music. Therefore, this prohibition by the Islamic Shariah abrogates all previously revealed law and nullifies any support it may have made for the legality of music. With this in mind, it becomes abundantly clear that the attempts of certain persons to such previously mentioned verses as proof for the permissibility of music are baseless and untenable .
Hadith no. 1
According to Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 72, it is narrated by Hadhrat Aisha (RA) that
Abu Bakr came to my house while two small Ansari girls were singing beside me the stories of the Ansar concerning the Day of Buath. And they were not singers. Abu Bakr said protestingly, "Musical instruments of Satan in the house of Allah's Apostle !" It happened on the 'Id day and Allah's Apostle said, "O Abu Bakr! There is an 'Id for every nation and this is our 'Id."
A study of this hadith leads us to the following conclusions.
1. The two girls were minors. The term jaariyataan which Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) uses to describe the girls confirms that the girls were minors (na-baaligh).
2. The girls were singing a war song.
3. Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) had sternly rebuked Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) for allowing the two minor girls to sing even the war song.
4. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) stated an exception, i.e. the Day of Eid.
5. Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) terminated the singing of the girls on the reprimand of her father, hence she indicated to the girls to depart.
6. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) made no attempt to encourage her to continue listening to the singing of the two little girls.
7. The departure of the two girls was most significant.
8. Inspite of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) having said: ‘Leave them.’, they had stopped their singing after hearing Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s rebuke. No one had made an attempt for the continuation of the singing.
It is clear from this hadith that Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) might have been aware of the prohibition of musical instruments. Therefore, he was surprised at this incident. Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad (S), with his silence, approved of the action of Hadhrat Aisha (RA) of stopping the singing and indicating the girls to leave and he did not encourage Hadhrat Aisha (RA) to keep listening.
Reference to the ‘Day of Eid’ clearly implies that this is an exception to the general rule of prohibition of musical instruments. If this is not taken as an exception it would be meaningless for the Prophet (S) to say that “It is our Eid today”.
Analysing the hadith further, we see that the Prophet (S) had turned his back to the singing girls and covered himself with a blanket. According to Islamic Shariah, this indicates non-participation of the Prophet (S). Therefore, he did not sit as an audience.
Prophet (S)’s silence indicates that he did not approve of music even on occasions on which he granted (Day of Eid and Marriages) and the proof for this is that the Prophet (S) did not permit musical instruments to be used on his marriages or on the marriages of his daughters.
Prior to this incident, the Sahaba were aware of the prohibition of musical instruments and after this incident, became aware that the Day of Eid was an exception. The reaction of the Prophet (S) was very significant. He did not counter the comments made by Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) that about the satanic musical instruments.
Furthermore, Hadhrat Aisha (RA) clarifies in Sahih Bukhari that these girls were not professional singers. Therefore, it implies that musical instruments are prohibited whether they are being used by professionals or not. Also, these people quote the ahadith that Hadhrat Aisha (RA) narrated of her childhood. If they read the statements and narrations that she made later in her life, the prohibition of music would become obvious.
Hadith no. 2
“Aamir Bin Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) said: On a marriage occasion I visited Qurzah Bin Ka’b and Abi Mas’ood Ansaari (radhiyallahu anhumaa). I saw some little girls singing. I said: ‘Both of you are the Companions of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and of the People of Badr while this (singing) is happening by you.’ He (Qurzah) replied: ‘If you wish, then listen together with us, and if you wish, go! Verily, we have been granted exemption for amusement on marriage occasions.’” (Mustadrak)
The following conclusions can be drawn from this hadith.
1. Hadhrat Aamir Bin Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) regarded singing unlawful, hence his objection and surprise.
2. The other two senior Sahaabah who were present did not claim singing to be lawful. On the contrary, they explained that they had been granted this leeway on marriage occasions.
Hadith no. 3 and 4
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“Announce this Nikah; perform it in the Musaajid and beat the duff (drum) for it.” (Tirmizi)
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“The difference between halaal (i.e. Nikah) and haraam (i.e. zina) is the duff, announcement and rising of the voices.”
These ahadith, in no way, can be used to prove that musical instruments are allowed as they mention one of the exceptions.
Hadith no. 5
The votaries of music present as grounds for their contention a narration which purports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), Hadhrat Aishah(radhiyallahu anha) and Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) had listened to a slave woman singing a song.
This hadith is considered fabricated. With regard to the status of this narration Allaamah Muhammad Taahir (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Khateeb said: In its isnaad is a disqualified narrator. He used to narrate nonsensical things. This hadith is baatil (baseless).” (Tazkaratul Maudhu-aat)
Hadith no. 6
It is also argued that a group of women and children had sung in the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah, and he did not voice any objection.
The incident to which this refers is the time of Hijrah (migration to Madinah). However, this may not be used as a basis for allowing musical instruments as firstly, there is some doubt on the authenticity of the hadith and secondly, the Prophet (S) was entering Madinah and the Madinites were acting according to their customs. It was not a welcoming reception arranged by the Sahaba. Also, this incident occurred five years prior to the revelation of Hijab so the singing of women in front of men cannot be justified by this hadith.
Hadith no. 7
According to Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Hadith 568, it is narrated by Abu Musa that
That the Prophet said to him, "O Abu Musa! You have been given one of the musical wind-instruments of the family of David ."
A detailed analysis of this hadith leads us to the conclusion that music cannot be considered lawful as the Prophet (S) said this because of the beautiful manner of recitation of the Quran by Abu Musa. The sound produced by humans is through the voice box which can be considered as a wind instrument.
The Evidence from the Holy Quran
Ayat no. 1
According to Surah Luqman, Chapter 31, Verses 6-7
The Qur’aan Majeed states:“And, among people are those who purchase talks of futility (lahwal Hadith) thereby misleading (others) without knowledge from the Path of Allah, and they make of it (Allah’s Path) a mockery. For such people is the disgraceful punishment. And, when Our aayaat are recited to them, he turns away in arrogance as if he did not hear it; as if there are plugs in his ears. Give him the tidings of a painful punishment.”
Tafseer of the Ayat
1. Ibn Jareer reports that Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “This aayat was revealed in regard to a man among the Quraish who had purchased a slave woman who was a singer (for the purpose of singing).”It was the practice of a certain enemy of Islam to divert people from listening to the Qur’aan Majeed with music and singing. He had purchased a slave woman for this specific purpose.The Qur’aan Shareef, in its inimitable eloquence describes this singing and music with the terms ‘lahwal Hadith’, bringing within its scope not only music and singing, but all futile activities such as play and amusement which divert man’s attention from the purpose of his creation and from the Thikr of Allah Ta’ala. In addition to the applicability of the Qur’aanic aayaat to their relevant specific incidents which occasioned their revelation, the terms employed by the Qur’aan constitute directives for all present and future exigencies having the same common effect (illat). In line with this eloquent style and the timeless nature of the Ahkaam, the Qur’aan brings music and singing within the ambit of the generical terms, lahwal Hadith. Hence, all futile, nonsensical and evil acts which divert man from Allah Ta’ala are ordained haraam by this aayat. Among the acts which have such a diversionary effect to the highest degree are music and singing. Even mubah (initially permissible) acts will become unlawful if due to excessive indulgence they divert man from Allah’s remembrance or they induce him to commit futility and haraam.
2. Narrating from Abu Salmah (radhiyallahu anhu), Imaam Baghawi (rahmatullah alayh) states:“Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘It is not lawful to teach girls to become singers and their price is haraam. In this regard was revealed the aayat: “And, among people are those who purchase lahwal Hadith….”
3. (3) Tirmizi and other Muhadditheen, narrating from Abu Umaamah (radhiyallahu anhu) said:“Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Do not sell singing girls nor purchase them, and do not teach them. There is no goodness in any trade-dealing in them. The money thus acquired is haraam….. In this regard was revealed the aayat: “And among people are those who purchase lahwal Hadith…”
4. The eminent Mufassir, Imaam Mujaahid (rahmatullah alayh) said: “The reference (of lahwal Hadith) is to singing girls and singers.” In another narration, Hadhrat Mujaahid(rahmatullah alayh) said: “It refers to singing and every play and futility.” (Ahkaamul Qur’aan)
5. In an exceptionally stern rebuke for those who indulge in singing and music, Hadhrat Makhool (rahmatullah alayh) said: “I do not perform Janaazah Salaat on him (one who indulges in music and singing) because Allah Ta’ala says (in the Qur’aan): ‘And, among people are those who purchase lahwal Hadith…” (Tafseer Mazhari)
6. (6) Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) who was a very senior Aalim among the Sahaabah, explaining this aayat said:“By Allah! Its meaning is singing.” (As-Sunanul Kubra of Baihqi) The same is mentioned in Mustadrak and Tafseer Ibn Jareer. Imaam Ibn Jareer (rahmatullah alayh) narrates in his Tafseer that when people asked Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) about the meaning of this aayat, he responded:“It refers to singing. I take oath by The Being besides Whom there is no deity but He.’ He repeated this statement thrice.” (Tafseer Ibn Jareer)
7. Explaining this aayat, Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) said:“Verily, lahwal Hadith refers to everything which diverts you from the ibaadat of Allah and from His remembrance, such as story-telling during the night, jokes, futility, singing and similar acts.” (Tafseer Ruhul Ma-aani)
8. In another narration, Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) said: “This aayat was revealed in regard to singing and musical instruments.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer)
9. Haafiz Ibn Hareer (rahmatullah alayh) states in the tafseer of this aayat: “It refers to singing and listening to it.”
10. The eminent Sahaabi, Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “It means singing.” (Ighaathatul Luhfaan) This Qur’aanic aayat which severely criticizes lahwal Hadith, while it brings all forms of futility and nonsensical activities within its scope, specifically refers to singing and music. This is the unanimous tafseer of the authorities of the Shariah – the Sahaabah, Taabieen and Tab-e-Taabieen.
Ayat no. 2
According to Surah al-Furqan, Chapter 25, Verse 72
“They (the Mu’mineen) do not attend zoor. And when they pass by futility, they pass by with dignity.”
Tafseer of the Ayat
1. Commenting on the meaning of this aayat, Hadhrat Muhammad Bin Hanafi (rahmatullah alayh) said:“Az-zoor here means singing. Laith said so on the authority of Mujaahid…………And, az-zoor is baseless talk and it also applies to baseless acts. Singing is of the greatest acts of zoor.” (Shawaahidut Tafseer)
2. (2) Imaam Abu Bakr Jassaas, commenting on this aayat said: “It has been narrated from Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) that az-zoor is singing.”
Ayat no. 3
I do not know the reference of this verse so I request whoever knows of its reference, please inform me.
“And hound from among them with your voice whomever you are able to gain control over.”
Context of this Ayat
When shaitaan was ignominiously expelled from Jannat, he vowed to mislead the servants of Allah Ta’ala. In response, Allah Ta’ala made the aforementioned proclamation.
Tafseer of the Ayat
1. The Mufassireen of the Qur’aan say that the meaning of ‘your voice’ in the context of this aayat refers to singing. Shaitaan has been given the ability of singing. He inspires his myriads of followers with his art of music and singing, thereby gaining an effective grip over their brains and hearts. With his voice (singing and music), shaitaan casts his spell over human beings. With music and singing, he deposits them into the dregs of immorality, futility and falsehood. Smitten by the spell of music and singing, people wander aimlessly in lands of fantasy and imagination. They are separated from reality and truth by the nifaaq which music and singing implant into the heart. Allah Ta’ala therefore, in this aayat, proclaims to shaitaan to proceed with his evil work using his voice.
2. Hadhrat Mujaahid (rahmatullah alayh) in his tafseer of the aayat says: “With your voice, i.e. with singing.” (Ruhul Ma-aani)
3. Allaamah Suyuti (rahmatullah alayh) states:“Mujaahid said: ‘It means singing and musical instruments.’
4. Hadhrat Dhuh-haaq (rahmatullah alayh) comments: “It is the sound of the flute.” (Tafseer Qurtubi)
5. (4) Ibn Abu Haatim (rahmatullah alayh) narrates in his tafseer of this aayat that Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) said:“It refers to every act which invites to sin. It is well-known that singing is among the greatest acts inviting towards sin. Precisely for this reason has it been described as the voice of shaitaan.” (Ighaathatul Luhfaan)
Ayat no. 3
According to Surah an-Najm, Chapter 53, Verses 59-61
Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Majeed:“What! Are you surprised at this speech (the Qur’aan)? You laugh, do not cry and you sing.”
Tafseer of the Ayat
1. Imaam Abu Ubaid said that in the dialect of Hameer the word samood (from which the term saamidoon’ in this aayat is derived) refers to singing. Hadhrat Ikramah also tenders the same explanation. (Ruhul Ma-aani)
2. Allaamah Ibn Manzoor says: “It is narrated from Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) that he said: ‘Samood is singing in the dialect of Hameer.’” (Lisaanul Arab)
3. Abdur Razzaaq, Bazzaar, Ibn Jareer and Baihaqi narrated that Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) said in the tafseer of this aayat: “It is singing in the Yamaani dialect. When they (the mushrikeen) would hear the Qur’aan, they would sing to show their disdain.” (Ruhul Ma-aani)In these verses, the Qur’aan Majeed criticizes singing. It describes singing and music variously with the terms lahwal Hadith, samood and zoor. In one aayat it is described as the voice of shaitaan. All the authorities of the Shariah from the very time of the Sahaabah, unanimously claim that the Qur’aan prohibits music. There can, therefore, be no scope for difference on this issue. Any difference attributed to an accepted personality of Islam is undoubtedly an error of judgement.
The Evidence from the Ahadith of the Prophet (S)
Hadith no. 1 and 2
According to Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Hadith 494B, it is narrated by Abu Musa Ashari that
he heard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) say:“Most certainly, there will be in my Ummah people who will make lawful fornication, silk, liquor and musical instruments…”
In another version of this narration,
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Most certainly, people from my Ummah will consume liquor which they will describe with some other name. Over their heads will be playing musical instruments and singing girls. Allah will cause the earth to swallow them, and from among them He will transform into apes and pigs.” (Ibn Maajah)
In argument to this hadith, many people have claimed that the collective act leads to evil and that music is lawful, if used on its own. However, the reality of this absurd argument can be realized by applying the same to the other things mentioned in the hadith. According to this illogical argument, fornication, if committed in isolation with the deeds mentioned, is lawful and similar is the case with silk and liquor. Therefore, this argument is invalid.
Furthermore, the Prophet (S) must have referred to something unlawful that will be made lawful. It is meaningless to say that a lawful act would be made lawful.
Also, some people have made attempts to assail the authenticity of this hadith. However, it should be kept in mind that this hadith is highly authentic. Some people claim that Imam Bukhari knew that this hadith is inauthentic. However, if it was inauthentic, he would not have added it to his collection as he rejected many others that seemed authentic but there was some doubt in their authenticity.
There is also Ibn Hajars distinctive work, Taghleequt Taleeq, a rare and stupendous masterpiece, which brings together connected, authentic chains (asaneed) of transmitters for those traditions which appear in Al-Bukhaaris compilation in the form of the disconnected (mualliq) type of hadeeth, thereby dispelling accrued misconceptions regarding the claim of "weak" hadeeths occurring in the text(matn) of Al-Jaamis As-saheeh). After quoting other complete, authentic chains for the tradition under study, along with the sources wherein such chains of transmitters are mentioned. Ibn Hajar concludes by emphasizing(in reference to Al-Bukhaaris narration):
"This is an authentic hadeeth. It has no deficiency or defect, and there is no point of weakness for any attack to be made on it. Abu Muhammad Ibn Hazam labeled it a defective by virtue of his claim that there is a break (intiqaa) in the chain between Al-Bukhaari and Sadaqah bin Khaalid and because of the difference of opinion regarding the name of Abu Maalik. As you've seen , I have quoted nine fully connected chains of transmission (asaneed) whose narrators are thoroughly dependable. As for the difference regarding the kunyah of the companions , they are all of impeccable repute. Further more, in Ibn Hibbaans narration, the transmitter stated that he heard from both of them. . . I have in my possession yet of the chains which could be presented here, however, I would not like to prolong this subject further by mentioning them. In what we have stated there is enough proof for the sensible, thinking person. And Allah is the grantor of success".
In short, this particular narration of Al-Bukhaari is authentic and consequently constitutes a valid and binding text to be referred to in determining the ruling (hukm) regarding music.
It should be mentioned that certain modern-day writers, who blindly imitate previous scholars by quoting their views without applying the critical sciences of hadeeth research, have merely parroted the position of Ibn Hazm, and due to this, have caused many unwary persons to go astray regarding this issue. For example Yusuf Al-Qardaawi, in his popular book, entitled Al-Halaal wal Haraam fil Islam says in regard to the extant hadeeths on music: "As for what has been mentioned by way of prophetic traditions (relating to the subject of music), all of these have been assessed to have some point or another of weakness according to the fuqahaa of hadeeth and its scholars. The Qaadi Abu Bakr Ibnul-Arabi said, 'There is no authentic hadeeth and its scholars. The Qaadi Abu Bakr Ibnul-Arabi said, "There is no authentic hadeeth prohibiting singing. 'And Abu Bakr Ibnul-Arabi said, 'There is no authentic hadeeth prohibiting singing'. And Ibn Hazm said, 'Every hadeeth related (prohibiting music and singing) is false and forged." Unfortunately, the statement that "all" the narrations are weal according to" scholars of hadeeth "is a gross error on Al-Qardaawi’s part and is not the result of meticulous critical research. Rather, It is due to an uncritical, blind acceptance of the words of Ibn Hazm and Ibnul Arabi. Ibn Hazm was no doubt a virtuous , sharp -minded scholar: however, in the area of hadeeth assessment and verification(as in the case in many aspects of his school of Dhaahiri fiqh), he has certain untenable and unfounded, even some very abnormal views. The accomplished hadeeth scholar and student of Ibn Taymiyyah, Al-Haafidh Ibn Abdul-Haadi, says of Ibn Hazm that "he often errs in his critical assessment of the degrees of traditions and on the conditions of their narrators. In fact, there is unanimous consensus among the most reputable critical scholars of hadeeth regarding Ibn Hazms erroneous assignment of a ruling of daif(weakness) to Al-Bukhaaris hadeeth. Regarding the degree of this hadeeth, the views of Ibnus Salaah, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalaani and Al-Haafidh Al-Iraaqi have already been mentioned . Among the qualified scholars who also agree with his assessment are the great scholars, Ibnul_Qayyim and Ibn Taymiyyah. Ibnul-Arabi is similar to Ibn Hazm in that he is quick to give a ruling of forgery or weakness on a hadeeth, without the necessary, detailed analysis and synthesis of all extant chains of narration relating to the subject. Had he executed such an analysis, undoubtedly he would have arrived at a sound decision decision and avoided much blame and censure.
Hadith no. 3
Imraan Bin Husain (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“In this Ummah will be earthquakes, disfiguration (of faces which will be transformed into apes and pigs) and showers of stone (descending on them from the heaven).” A man from among the Muslimeen said: “O Rasulullah! When will this be?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “When singing girls and musical instruments will become profuse and when liquor will be consumed (in abundance).”(Tirmizi)
Hadith no. 4
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“During the last of ages (in close proximity to Qiyaamah) a nation from my Ummah will be disfigured (and transformed) into apes and pigs.” The Sahaabah said: “O Rasulullah! Will they be Muslim?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Yes. They will be testifying that there is no deity but Allah and that I am His Rasool, and they will be fasting (in the month of Ramadhaan).” The Sahaabah asked: “O Rasulullah! What will be their condition (to warrant such chastisement)?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“They will be indulging in musical instruments, singing girls, musical drums, and they will be consuming liquor. They will one night go to sleep after their liquor and amusement. When they arise in the morning, they will have been disfigured (and transformed into apes and pigs).” (Kaf-fur Ruaa’)
It is apparent from this Hadith that the musical drum (the tablah of the qawwaals) and similar other kinds of musical drums are not the duff mentioned in the Ahaadith. Musical drums have been declared haraam unanimously by all authorities from the very age of the Sahaabah.
Hadith no. 5
According to another Hadith, also narrated by Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu), Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“I take oath by The Being Who has sent me with the Haqq (Truth)! The world will not come to an end until earthquakes, the descent of showers of stones (from the heaven) and disfigurement of faces (which will be transformed into apes and swines) had not taken place.’ The Sahaabah said: ‘When will that happen, O Rasulullah?’ He replied: ‘When you see women seated on saddles ; when singing girls are to be found in profusion; when false testimony becomes rampant, and when homosexuality and lesbianism become prevalent.”(Bazzaar and Tibraani)
Hadith no. 6
Hadhrat Ali Bin Abi Taalib (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“When my Ummah indulges in fifteen misdeeds, calamities will settle on them. Among these are singing girls and musical instruments.” (Tirmizi)
Hadith no. 7
Sahl Bin Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“There will befall this Ummat earthquakes, disfigurement of faces and showers of stones.’ It was said: ‘O Rasulullah! When will this happen?’ Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘When singing girls become in profusion and liquor is made lawful.” (Ibn Maajah)
Numerous Sahaabah have narrated Ahaadith in which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) warned of disasters overwhelming the Ummah as a consequence of the profusion of music, singing and singing girls. Among these Sahaabah are: Hadhrat Abu Maalik Ash’ari, Hadhrat Imraan Bin Husain, Hadhrat Abu Hurairah, Hadhrat Ali, Hadhrat Sahl Bin Sa’d As-Saaidi, Hadhrat Ubaadah Bin Saamit, Hadhrat Abu Umaamah, Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas, Hadhrat Saeed Bin Khudri, Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Bishr, Hadhrat Anas, Hadhrat Abdur Rahmaan Bin Saabit and Hadhrat Aishah (ridhwaanullaahi alayhim aj-maeen).
Hadith no. 8
Hadhrat Naafi’ (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:“Once when Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) heard the sound of a shepherd’s flute, he placed his fingers in both ears (to block the sound of the music), and he diverted his mount from that path. (As they rode on), he would say: ‘O Naafi’, can you still hear (the sound)?’ I would say: ‘Yes.’ He would then continue riding. Only when I said: ‘I can no longer hear it’, did he remove his fingers from his ears. Then he returned to the road. He then said: ‘I saw Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) doing like this when he had heard the flute of a shepherd.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawood)
Hadith no. 9
Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: “Verily, Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) made haraam liquor, gambling, the musical drum and the tambourine. And, every intoxicant is haraam.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawood)
Hadith no. 10
Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“Verily, Allah has made haraam liquor, gambling, the musical drum, and every intoxicant is haraam.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Baihqi, etc.)
Hadith no. 11
Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated:“The musical drum (tablah) is haraam. Liquor is haraam, and musical instruments are haraam.” (Kaf-fur Ruaa’)
Hadith no. 12
Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated:“Verily, Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) heard a man singing one night. He then said: ‘His Salaat is unacceptable! His Salaat is unacceptable! His Salaat is unacceptable!” (Nailul Autaar)
Hadith no. 13
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Listening to music and singing is sinful. Sitting at such gatherings is fisq (immoral transgression). Deriving pleasure from it is kufr.” (Nailul Autaar)
Hadith no. 14
Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“I have been sent (by Allah) to destroy musical instruments……..The earning of a male singer and a female singer is haraam. The earning of zina is haraam. It is incumbent on Allah not to allow a body nourished by haraam, entry into Jahannum.” (Kaf-fur Ruaa’)
Hadith no. 15
Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“I have been sent (by Allah Ta’ala) to destroy the musical drum (tablah) and the flute.” (Jam’ul Jawaami’)
The tablah and other forms of musical drums are not to be confused with the duff for which there is permissibility.
Hadith no. 16
Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“The earning of a singer is haraam and her singing is haraam.” (Nailul Autaar)
Hadith no. 17
Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“Whoever sits and listens to a singing girl, Allah will pour molten lead into his ears on the Day of Qiyaamah.” (Ibn Asaakir)
Hadith no. 18
Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“Whoever dies while he has a singing slave girl, do not perform Janaazah Salaat for him.” (Haakim)
Hadith no. 19
Safwaan Bin Umayyah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Amr Bin Qurrah said (to Rasulullah – sallallahu alayhi wasallam): “I am very unfortunate. I do not see any way for acquiring my rizq except by means of singing. Therefore, grant me permission to sing such songs which will be devoid of any immorality (evil).’ Rasulullah(sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied: “I do not give you permission. There is no honour and no goodness (in what you are saying). O enemy of Allah! You are a liar. Most certainly, Allah has ordained for you halaal rizq, but you have chosen what Allah has made haraam for you in place of what He has made halaal for you of the sustenance He has decreed for you.” (Baihqi, Tibraani, Dailmi)
It is clear from this hadith that is haram to listen to “good songs” which are devoid of immoral content if they are accompanied by musical instruments.
Hadith no. 20
Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“On the Day of Qiyaamah, Allah Azza Wa Jal will proclaim:“Where are those who had protected their ears and their eyes from the musical instruments of shaitaan?” (Allah Ta’ala will instruct the Malaaikah):“Separate them (from the multitudes of people).” They (the Angels) will separate them, and have them seated on dunes of musk and ambergris then Allah Ta’ala will say to the Malaaikah: “Recite to them My Tasbeeh and My Tamjeed.” The Malaaikah will then recite to them with such beautiful voices, the likes of which no one had ever heard.”
This Hadith has been narrated by Allaamah Ibn Hajar Makki from Dailmi. The Sahaabi narrating it is Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu). Allaamah Ali Muttaqi also narrates this Hadith, but from the Sahaabi, Hadhrat Jaabir (radhiyallahu anhu)—Kanzul Ummaal. Allamah Muhammad Bin Muhammad Maghribi narrates this Hadith from Hadhrat Bin Al-Munkadir (Jam’ul Fawaaid). Imaam Tha-aalabi also narrates it from Muhammad Bin Al-Munkadir, but from Ibn Wahab. – (Jawaahirul Hassaan)
Hadith no. 21
Hadhrat Abu Musa Ash’ari (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“Whoever listens to the sound of singing, he will not be given permission to listen to the (beautiful) voices of the Ruhaaniyyeen in Jannat.” When it was asked: ‘Who are the Ruhaaniyyeen?’ Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The Qaaris of Jannat.” (Kanzul Ummaal)
In his Tafseer, Imaam Qurtubi comments: “We have mentioned this Hadith in Kitaabut Tathkirah along with other similar examples. Thus, he who consumes wine will be denied the pure drink (of Jannat) in the Aakhirah. He who wears silk will not wear silk in the Aakhirah, etc. All this is correct in meaning……”
Hadith no. 22
Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:“Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited singing and listening to singing, and (he also prohibited) gossip.”(Kaf-fur Ruaa’)
Hadith no. 23
Zaid Bin Arqam (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:“Once a youth while singing passed by Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) who was walking in a street of Madinah. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Alas! O young man! Why do you not sing with the Qur’aan (i.e. recite it beautifully instead of singing songs)?’ He repeated this statement several times.” (Dailmi)
Hadith no. 24
Hadhrat Abu Umaamah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “When someone raises his voice with singing, Allah sends two shaitaans who sit on his shoulders striking his breast with their heels until he stops (singing).” (Tibraani)
Hadith no. 24
Hadhrat Abdur Rahmaan Bin Auf (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “I have forbidden two ignorant immoral voices: (The first)- the sounds of futility at the time of merrymaking, and the musical instruments of shaitaan. (The second)- the wailing sounds at the time of calamity when the face is struck and the garments are torn.” (Haakim in Mustadrak)
Hadith no. 25
According to Sahih Muslim, Hadith 995, it is narrated by Abu Hurairah that
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: The bell is the musical instrument of the Satan.
Hadith no. 26
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The bell is among the musical instruments of shaitaan.” (Abu Dawood)
Hadith no. 27
Kisaan narrates that Hadhrat Muaawiyyah (radhiyallahu anhu) stated in his Khutbah:“Verily, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade seven things, and I too forbid you from these things. Know that these things are: Loud wailing (on occasions of death), singing, pictures………” (Tibraani)
Hadith no. 28
In a lengthy Hadith narrated by Hadhrat Abu Umaamah (radhiyallahu anhu), it is mentioned that on the occasion of the expulsion of shaitaan from the heaven and his exile to earth, he (Iblees) supplicated to Allah Ta’ala: “O my Rabb! You have exiled me to earth and you have made me accursed………Now, therefore bestow to me a caller (who can call to my path).’ Allah Ta’ala said: “(Your caller) is musical instruments………..” (Tibraani)
Hadith no. 29
Allaamah Qurtubi, in his Tafseer, narrates the following Hadith: “Verily, once when Abdullah Bin Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) heard someone singing, he hastily left the place. This reached Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He thereupon commented: ‘Indeed, Ibn Umm Abd(i.e. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud) is an honourable abd (slave of Allah).”
Two conclusions can be made from this hadith. Firstly, Hadhrat Abdullah bin Masud knew of the prohibition of music and secondly, Prophet (S) approved of his action and commended it.
Hadith no. 30
Hadhrat Abu Burzah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated:“We were with the Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on a journey when he heard two men singing. The one was responding to the other. Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then said: ‘Look who these two are.’ They (the Sahaabah) said: ‘They are so and so (naming them).’ Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then cursed, saying: ‘O Allah! Cast them upside down in Jahannum.” (Majmauz Zawaaid)
Hadith no. 31
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“Verily, Allah Ta’ala sent me as a Mercy and a Guide to the worlds, and He has commanded me to destroy musical instruments……”
Hadith no. 32
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:“The Malaaikah do no associate with a group in which there is a dog or a bell.” (Muslim and Abu Dawood)
Hadith no. 33
Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) narrated:“Verily, Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) instructed that all bells be cut off from the necks of the camels on the Day of Badr.” (Musnad Ahmad)
Hadith no. 34
Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated: “I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saying:“Verily, with every bell is a shaitaan.” (Abu Dawood)
Statements of the Sahaba
All the ahadith of the Prophet (S) have been narrated by the Sahaba. Therefore, to interpret the ahadith, the interpretation of the Sahaba needs to be examined as they were closest to the Prophet (S) and he informed them of the interpretations of the various ayahs of the Quran and ahadith. Following are the statements of the Sahaba with regard to musical instruments.
Statement no. 1
Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “When a person mounts an animal (or a vehicle) without reciting Bismillaah, shaitaan becomes his companion (along the route), and encourages him to sing. If he is not a good singer, shaitaan urges him to at least wish to be a good singer.” (Baihqi)
Statement no. 2
Hadhrat Jaabir (radhiyallahu anhu) said:“Beware of singing, for verily, it is from Iblees. It is like shirk by Allah. None but the shaitaan sings.” (Umdatul Qaari from Dailmi)
Since singing is the voice of shaitaan and the trap with which he lures people into slavery of the nafs, singers are likened to shaitaan by Hadhrat Jaabir (radhiyallahu anhu). To emphasise the gravity of the prohibition, Hadhrat Jaabir (radhiyallahu anhu) equates singing to shirk. A principle of Hadith regulating statements of the Sahaabah is that issues which cannot be determined by man’s intelligence, but which require Wahi for substantiation, are attributable to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). In otherwords, statements of the Sahaabah regarding thawaab and the Hereafter, are in actual fact what they had heard directly from Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
Statement no. 3
Once when Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) visited the home of her brother to see his sick children, she found a man with long hair singing to amuse the children. Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) immediately exclaimed: “He is shaitaan! Expel him! Expel him! Expel him!”(Sunan Kubra of Baihqi)
Those who cite Hadhrat Aishah’s childhood incident of having listened to a little girl beating the duff, should not ignore her attitude and castigation of the singer whose expulsion from the home she commanded.
Statement no. 4
Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) was invited to a Walimah (marriage feast). When he arrived at the house he heard singing. He halted at the door. He was asked:‘Why have you halted?’ He replied: “I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) say: ‘He who increases the number of a crowd is of them. He who is pleased with an act of the people is a partner in its commission.” Al-Mataalibul Aaliyah)
Statement no. 5
Hadhrat Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) said:“Since the time I pledged allegiance to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), I never sang nor spoke a lie nor ever touched my private organ with my right hand.” (Awaariful Ma-aarif)
Statement no. 6
Once when Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) passed by a group of people, a singer was singing to them. Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) cursed them, saying that Allah Ta’ala should make them deaf.
Statement no. 7
A similar incident occurred with Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Umar (Hadhrat Umar’s son). He too cursed in the same way his father had cursed. (Ihya-ul Uloom)
Statement no. 8
Once Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) passed by a little girl who was singing. He commented: “If ever shaitaan would leave (unmolested) anyone, he would have left this (little girl).” (Baihqi)
Statement no. 9
Once a little girl with jingling bells on her was brought to Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha). She exclaimed:“Never ever bring her to me except after you have cut off the bells. I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saying: ‘The Malaaikah do not enter a home in which there is a bell.’” (Abu Dawood)
The Deception of Da’eef Ahadith
Da’eef hadith are those ahadith that have a flaw in their chain of transmitters or text. However, that does not mean that the hadith should be rejected. Many da’eef ahadith may be found in this post. However, they have only been included as they are supported by many Sahih and Hassan (approved) ahadith.
Many people have this misconception that all da’eef ahadith should be rejected but this concept is incorrect. However, if fabrication of a hadith that I quoted above has been proved then I would be more than happy to remove it.
Even though there are many other proofs from the Salf-e-Saliheen and from the different schools of thought. However, since this post is getting too long, I am not including them. However, I would be happy to include them in another article if requested.
Even though most scholars agree with the view of the prohibition of music, there are still some who disagree with it. However, in such a case, the arbitrator must be the Islamic Shariah, in which the Quran and the Ahadith of the Prophet (S) are primary sources while after that comes the Ijma (consensus) of Mujtahideen and then Qiyas (analogy).
According to all the proofs given above, the only conclusion that can be made is that musical instruments are prohibited in Islam. Even drums, that many people consider lawful, are prohibited. However, the duff (a kind of drum) is allowed.
Any honest person in search of Haqq (truth) would not fail to accept this conclusion.
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