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Is Music Haram?

Is Music Haram?

Is Music Haram in Islam?

 The answer to whether music is haram or halal has a strong debate when it comes to Islamic scholars.

Some would say that music is haram in general, some consider only music instruments are haram, while others say that it differs according to the type of instrument used or the type of music.

However, some believe that musical instruments and music are halal. So, as you see there are many viewpoints when it comes to this topic in general. That’s why in order to answer your question we have made a thoroughly investigation. Let’s get started.


Why Is Music Haram?

According to some scholars music is haram, but why is that? They say that because of a  hadith telling that music instruments are haram.

Although, some say that the modern music of our time carries bad messages and ideas that cause bad behavior. In which leading to committing something haram, therefore it should be avoided.  

The same question, is listening to music haram in Islam, were asked to a Mufti lately in a session and his answer was that according to his understanding, yes, listening to music is haram.

Additionally, he said that even the scholars that consider listening to music is halal still say that modern music is haram. Because modern music leads to haram thoughts and hides a specific message after it.

Also, Zakir Naik, a renowned Islamic scholar and President of the Islamic Research Foundation gave his answer to whether music is haram or halal in an interview. Here is the key point of discussion:

“There is no verse in the Quran directly prohibiting music but there are indications.” – Dr. Zakir Naik.

According to Dr. Zakir Naik, there is no straight verse in the Quran telling us that listening to music is haram. However he did say that there are many ahadith forbidding listening to music or musical instruments.

According to his saying, specific instruments are halal as said in hadith, like the tambourine. In the end of the discussion, Dr. Naik cited the following hadith:

The Prophet (ﷺ) came to me the night my marriage was consummated and sat down on my bed as you (the sub-narrator) are sitting now, and small girls were beating the tambourine and singing in lamentation of my father who had been killed on the day of the battle of Badr.

Then one of the girls said, “There is a Prophet amongst us who knows what will happen tomorrow.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to her),” Do not say this, but go on saying what you have spoken before.” Sahih al-Bukhari.

Does the Quran say that listening to music is haram?

“Among them, there are those people who purchase idle tales without knowledge and without meaning and they mislead the people away from the path of Allah and they ridicule the path of Allah. These are the people who receive a humiliating punishment” Surah Luqman.

According to Dr. Naik the tafseer of this verse differs from a scholar to another. Saying that “idle tales without knowledge and without meaning” means listening to music instruments or any un-Islamic songs.

However, scholars clarify that the Quran didn’t forbid listening to music, and that there are no Quranic verses about that.

As we said Dr.Naik said there are many tafseer to this verse, and here is another one saying the same thing about music.

“Al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) said: this aayah was revealed concerning singing and musical instruments (lit. woodwind instruments). “

What the second tafseer tells us is that this verse does mean that music and musical instruments are haram.

However, there is no evidence that all the music and instrumental music are haram or forbidden for Muslims to listen to. And Dr.Naik did say that some instruments are halal.

Here is another Tafseer regarding the Quranic verse:

“Al-Sa’di (may Allah have mercy on him) said: this includes all manner of haram 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.”

According to this tafseer, the verse only refers to any music or instrument that leads to no spiritual benefits. On the contrary it urges people to sin.


Is there a hadith saying that music is haram? Did Prophet Muhammed Say that Music Is Haram?

According to scholars there are many ahadith telling us that playing musical instruments or listening to it is haram in Islam. And here is one of the ahadith they refer to.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari that (The Messenger of Allah said: “Among my ummah there will certainly be people who permit zinaa, silk, alcohol and musical instruments…”

According to what Islamic authorities interpretation to this hadith, the hadith show us that music is haram in two ways, which are:

  •         First, the site commented that “who permit” indicates that they are allowing something which is forbidden.
  •         Second, they mentioned that musical instruments are discussed alongside actions and substances that are forbidden, i.e. zina, silk, and alcohol.

However, there is a US Islamic researcher, Ikram Hawrami, who says that the hadith is not supported. Plus there is another hadith showing the tolerance of the prophet for music. He also says that this unsupported hadith doesn’t override the other ahadith showing that the prophet didn’t forbid music.

Beside the above, renowned scholars like:

 Imam Ghazzali Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi, Ibn al-Qaisarani, Rumi, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, and Ibn Hazm. They all say that listening to music halal.

Imam Ghazzali stated: “All these Ahadith are reported by al-Bukhari, and singing and playing are not haram.”


Hadith About whether listening to music is Halal or Haram:

We have seen together the hadith that scholars refer to when they say that music is haram. Many of them say that musical instruments are haram. While others say that it is halal to listen to music when it comes to occasions. Such as, festivals and celebrations.

Here are the hadith they refer to:   

(Narrated By’ Aisha : That once Abu Bakr came to her on the day of ‘Eid-ul-Fitr or ‘Eid ul Adha while the Prophet was with her and there were two girl singers with her, singing songs of the Ansar about the day of Buath. Abu Bakr said twice. “Musical instrument of Satan!” But the Prophet said, “Leave them Abu Bakr, for every nation has an ‘Id (i.e. festival) and this day is our ‘Id.”) Sahih Bukhari.

Is Playing Musical Instruments Haram In Islam?

The opinions differ from scholars to another when it comes to this too. Some say that listening to music and playing musical instruments are both haram. Whilst others say that listening to music is halal while playing instruments is haram.

Minority Islamic books say that both are halal. Furthermore, Dr. Zakir Naik, said that music and instrumental music is haram but he did say that some instruments are not forbidden such as:

  •         The Daf (a traditional drum with one side).
  •         The tambourine.

He got the understanding of this from his tafseer to ahadith, especially  the ones told by Sahih al-Bukhari.

Is classical music haram? What Kind Of Music Is Haram In Islam?

Some Islamic books of knowledge show that all music is haram, while some show that some of them not all are haram.

Some muslims consider that playing musical instruments is halal as long as it doesn’t urge people to do what’s wrong. Or it is halal if we are using it for worshiping.

In the Yusuf al-Qaradawi book, The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, stated that singing and listening to music is generally halal. You could buy the book from Islam store in addition to other important Islamic books like “arabic at your hands”.

However, the Egyptian scholars say that there are conditions to determine whether listening to music is haram or not. Here are the conditions:

  • If the songs encourage the listener to do sins. Like promoting alcohol.
  •  When the song contains sexual messages and contains sexual moves then its haram.
  • If the song leads to doing what’s wrong or urging to do what’s haram.
  • When it leads you to get involved in the entertainment so much that you forgot to pray, or you miss it. And causing you to neglect prayer times and worship acts.
  • If the listener is engaged in haram activities simultaneously, like listening to music at a drinking party.

The mufti discussed the opinion of scholars that say that listening to music generally is halal. However these scholars consider modern music to be haram because it leads to sin. Or it encourages people to commit sins and bad behavior.     

The Mufti clarified that modern music is suggestive and leads to haram.

Is it haram to listen to music in Ramadan?

As you can see there are different points of views and opinions when it comes to listening to music in general. And the answer to this question will not differ either.

According to what Dubai published under the name “A Beginner’s Guide to Ramadan.” Here is what they said about music.

 “People in general must refrain from listening to music loudly during the Holy Month, as it may offend those who are fasting. However, it is acceptable to listen to music on your smartphone or iPod with the aid of headphones.” They also recommend not playing music loudly when driving.

Another guide was published in BBC telling that listening to music or watching tv during the holy month Ramadan are forbidden.

However, there are some instruments that are considered to be halal and acceptable like drum-based music. The use of this music is shown in Islamic poetry.

An example of this is the work of Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), who has released a number of albums following those guidelines.

As you see there is no straight answer telling you if listening to music during Ramadan is forbidden or not. So the choice is yours to make. Do what you feel like it’s right to do. You could stop listening to music during the holy month if you think that it’s part of fasting. If you consider it is not haram and won’t affect your fasting then listen to music. But keep in mind; don’t play music in high volume so that you won’t disturb others

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