Wednesday 10th of August 2022
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The Holy Quran and Hadith on Music

By: A. H. Sheriff

After briefly explaining the evil effects of Music and dance, now time has come to give here some of the ayats of the Qur’an and some of the traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) and Imams (a.s.) on this subject.

Here are four Ayats of the Qur’an which forbid the Muslims from indulging into music.

"So abstain from the pollution of the idols and abstain from false vain words." [22:30].

The Arabic word "Zoor" has several meanings which include falsehood and the musical expressions. According to Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s.) "pollution of the idols" means Chess and "Vain words" means music.

See how ‘Music’ has been joined in this Ayat with the pollution of idols", only then you can appreciate the seriousness of the sin of Music.

"And of the people there is he who buys a ‘vain talk’ so that he may lead others astray from the path of Allah without (real) knowledge and takes it (the revelation of Allah) for a mockery for these shall be a disgracing chastisement (punishment)." [31:6].

‘Lahw’ means any thing which diverts the mind from serious thinking. "Vain talk" has been interpreted by the Imam as some talk, sound or thing which diverts the attention of man from the ultimate aim of his creation; in other words makes him forget Allah and His commands. For example fictions romantic stories and such useless talks. "It includes ‘Music’, intoxicants and all such diversions."[7][12]

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said: Music is among the things for which Allah has promised the Fire (of Hell). Then he recited the above Ayat[8][13].

"Indeed successful are the believers those who in their prayer are humble and those who keep themselves aloof from Vain (words and deeds)." [23:1-3].

‘Laghv’ (Vain words and actions): The first Imam, Imam Ali (a.s.) said that "all that is void of the remembrance of Allah is ‘Laghv’. According to other authentic traditions of Imams, ‘Laghv’ means all useless entertainment, wasteful of times among which music has been specifically mentioned. Also included in this term are vain games played just to while away the time.

"And the servants of the Merciful Allah are those.......... who bear not witness to what is false, and when they pass by what is vain they pass with dignity"[25:72].

The words ‘Zoor’ and ‘Laghv’ have been explained earlier. According to the traditions of Imams (a.s.), the first part may also be translated in this way: "who do not witness what is vain"! And accordingly, it has been interpreted in the exegesis of the Qur’an as "do not listen to music."

The following two traditions explain the second part:

Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s.) asked some of his companions: "Where are you staying?"

They replied: "With so and so, who has singing and dancing girls. Imam said: "You should have dignity."

They thought that Imam (a.s.) had advised them to treat that man generously. But they were not sure; so they returned to the Imam and requested him to explain his meaning to them.

Imam said: "have not you heard Allah saying `when they pass by what is vain they pass with dignity’?

Imam meant that you should not stay with a man who has singing and dancing girls.

Second tradition: Muhammad bin Abi Ibad was known to indulge in music and liquor. He once asked Imam Ali Ar-Ridha (a.s.) about listening to music.

Imam said: Some people in Hijaz have their own view about it but that view is absolutely wrong. Have you not heard the word of Allah ‘when they pass by what is vain they pass in dignity’?"

I think this much should be enough for a follower of, Muhammad (S) and Ahul ul Bait (a.s.).

Some Traditions on Music

After Ayats of the Qur’an, I mention here some of the traditions of the Holy Prophet of Islam (S) and Imams (a.s.) about musical sound, musical instruments, and musical parties.

1. The Holy Prophet (S) said: "When my Ummat (followers) will acquire fifteen habits they will be visited by disasters:

1) When the booty will be treated as personal property;

2) and trust will become like a booty of war;

3) and charity will be (disliked) like a loss;

4&5) and man will obey his wife and disobey his mother;

6&7) and will be generous to his friend and tyrant to his father;

8) and voices will be high in the mosques;

9) and a man will be respected as a safeguard against his evil;

10) and the leader of the people will be the worst of them;

11) and men will wear silk;

12) and people will keep singing and dancing girls;

13) and will keep musical instruments;

14) and will drink intoxicants;

15) and fornication will increase;

At that time expect red storms or depression of land-mass or changing your faces like the image of animals and the victory of your enemy upon you and then you will not be helped (by Allah)."

2. The Holy Prophet of Islam describing the signs of the Day of Judgment said: "Verily amongst the signs of the Hour is that people will neglect prayers (will not pray in the preferred time)! And will follow their desires, and will incline towards their own preferences..................... In those days, there will be people who will learn the Qur’an for other than Allah (i.e. for earning worldly benefits) and will treat the Qur’an as musical instrument (as is happening today in Islamic countries where Qur’an is recited on the radios just to entertain the listeners) and there will be people who will study religion for other than Allah (for earning prestige or wealth as is happening today when the main purpose of study of religion is to be come a good orator, so that higher and higher fees may be demanded from the audience) and number of illegitimate children will increase and people will sing the Qur’an.......... and will adore musical instruments and will dislike enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.............These are the people who will be called unclean and dirty in the kingdom of heaven."

3. Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "Music is the nest of hypocrisy."

4. Also he said: "Music is the worst of the sounds."

5. Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s.) said: The place where music is performed, Allah does not look at its participants (with mercy).

6. Also the Imam (a.s.) said: "Listening to music and vain (sounds) grows hypocrisy as the water grows the plants.

7. Hassan (a companion of Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq a.s.) said: There was a man in my neighbourhood who had singing girls and he always remained immersed in music and dance. When I went to W.C., I used to stay a bit longer (to listen to those sounds). When I went to Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s.), he told me: O Hasan, Verily the ear, and the eye and the heart, all of them will be asked. The ear and what it listened to, the eye and what it looked at and the heart and what it intended."

Hasan says: When I heard that Ayat of the Qur’an, it was as though I had never heard it before. Then I repented (from my sin of listening to music) and made a convent with Allah not to do it again.

The Imam (a.s.) said: "Stand up have bath and pray to Allah as much as you wish. How bad would have been your position if you had died with this habit. Repent before Allah and ask His forgiveness for every evil because Allah does not dislike but evil, leaves evil for evil people because for everything are its people.

In a list of major sins which he sent to Caliph Mamun Rashid, Imam Ali Ar-Ridha (a.s.) mentioned the participation in the musical gatherings.

Music as per the companions of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)

Caliph Omar heard the sound of a flute of a shepherd and he hastily plugged his ears with his finger and turned his mouth to a different path saying: "The Prophet (S) heard the sound of a shepherd once when I was with him. He did not like it."

Abu Aamah reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet (S) that Holy Prophet (S) prohibited trade in singing slave maids and training them for singing and said that their sale proceeds were unlawful.

On the authority of the Holy Prophet (S) Hazarat Ayesha narrates that the Prophet (S) said that Almighty Allah has made unlawful the trade in singing slave maids, their training and listening to their songs.

Abdur Rahman bin Auf narrates that the Holy Prophet said that Almighty Allah has forbidden two nonsensical and wicked voices, one is melody and the other is the cry in distress.

Akramah reports the words of Ibn Abbas that the Prophet (S) said that Almighty Allah has raised me to destroy flute and the drum.

Sahl Bin Saad narrates that Holy Prophet (S) said, "Submersion below the surface of the earth, raining of stones from the sky and mutilation of figures shall come about in my ummat."

The companions asked, "O the Prophet of Allah when shall it happen?"

The Prophet (S) there upon said:" When musical instruments shall be in abundance and there shall be a large number of singing girls and shall be unlawful."

Abu Talib Tibri says that Imam Malik condemned music and forbid listening to it and said:"If you buy a slave maid and afterwards you find her to be singing girl, it shall be lawful for the buyer to restore her to the seller."

Imam Shafii said that music was an abhorrent sport. It was just like a filthy thing and the one who listens to excessive music was a fool. His evidence shall be rejected.

Abu Tayyab says: Shafii declared music as abhorrent.

Tradition on abhorrence of music has also come down from Ahmad Bin Hambal.

Abu Tayyab Tibri says that Imam Abu Hanifa considered music as abhorrent and held singing as sin. The same is the view of all the scholars of Kufa like Ibrahim, Shahabi, Hammad, Soufian Thousi and other. There is no difference even among the scholars of Basarah in respect of its being abhorrent and forbidden.

This was the reaction of the companions towards the ordinary music of past times. How forceful would have been their condemnation of music, musical bands and dance of today.

Music in the light of traditions

Holy Prophet (S) said, "I forbid you to dance and to play the flute, the drum and the tambourines."

Holy Prophet (S) said," Molten lead will be put in the ears of that person who listens attentively to music and songs.

Imam Ali Reza (a.s) said," And to listen attentively to the musical instrument (is also a greater sin )....." manufacturing, buying or selling musical instrument is forbidden, and the profits accrued from such dealings are illegal and the transaction is also null and void. Even safe keeping of musical instrument is forbidden and to destroy them is obligatory.

Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s) said," Allah has prohibited the manufacturing of such things which are used for harmful purpose. And the things which only create harm. Thus the manufacturing of harp, flute, chess, musical instruments, cross of crucification, idols is forbidden."

Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s) said: Singing is one of those sins for which Allah has reserved the punishment of Hell.

The place where songs and music are played, Allah’s wrath descends, as the following traditions say:- Imam Ali (a.s) said," And music and songs give rise to hypocrisy and is one of the ways leading towards poverty and hunger.

Holy Prophet (S) said," Molten lead will be put in the ears of that person who listens attentively to music and songs.

Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s) said," Thus to teach singing and music, to learn to play it or to receive payment for it and to indulge in any kind of musical pastime is forbidden."

Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s) said," Don’t enter a house in which Allah’s Blessings and bounties are turned away from the habitants of the house, at such a place neither the Supplications are responded nor the Angels come near such place."

Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s) said," One who has been bestowed with favours of Allah while in possession of such favours plays flute, he has been unthankful to the favours of Allah."

Music and the last Epoch

Masoomeen (a.s) said," And you will see that music will become so common that no one will forbid others. Nor will anyone find the courage to forbid anyone."

The words of Masoomeen are a proven fact as we do experience the situation in our day to day lives.

Singing and Adultery

Singing becomes the cause of Adultery as the below mentioned tradition states:- The Holy Prophet (S) said," Singing is a ladder to Adultery."

Singing gives rise to the lust in man which ultimately gives out bad consequences. Not only he who sings but also the one who listens attentively to it becomes negligent towards Allah and is ready for immoral deeds.

Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s) said," All those past times and amusement are major sins, which makes a person negligent in remembering Allah. For example people indulging in singing, music and musical gadgets.

Yes, indeed it’s a fact that music not only makes shame and modesty disappear but also destroys love, brotherhood and generousness. In short, it makes the whole environment a specimen of Hell.

Effects of music

Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a.s) said, "One who plays music in the house for forty days will be beset by a Satan named Fogander. Allah will cause that Satan to occupy each and every part of that person’s body. When this would happen then shame would depart from him and he would not care what he is saying nor what is being said about him. Then the Satan would blow unto him and after that his modesty would be completely destroyed. Then he would not feel ashamed even if the chastity of his women is being defiled."

The Holy Prophet (S) said," the playing of violin causes hypocrisy to grow in the heart in the same way as water becomes the cause of the growth of greenery."

Imam Ali (a.s) said," Angels do not enter the house which has wine, drum, tambourine or a flute. Even the innovations of the people of that house are not accepted and the fortunate blessings from them are taken away."

Imam Ali Reza (a.s) said," That person in whose house is kept for forty days a drum, flute or any other musical instrument, chess or similar things that person invokes the wrath of Allah and if that person dies during those forty days his death shall be of a transgressor and a libertine. His abode shall be Hell and what a terrible abode it is."

The Holy Prophet (S) said," A person who sings will be put in the group of those people on whom Allah will not look with grace on the Day of Judgement."

Dance halls are modern nurseries of the Divorce Courts, training shops of prostitution, and the graduating school of infamy and vice[9][14]."

I attack the modern dance as a reversion towards savagery. As a medical man, I flatly charge that modern social dancing is fundamentally sinful and evil. I charge that it is the most insidious of the manoeuvres preliminary to sex betrayal. It is nothing more or less than damnable diabolical animal physical dissipation. Do brother and sister dance like that? Father & mother? Mother & son? I tell you the basic spell of the dance is the spell of illicit physical contact..... We doctors know trial of broken homes prove this."[10][15]

Musicians Fate

The Holy Prophet (S) said," The person possessing aguiler will be brought on the Day of Judgement with a black face he would have a guitar of fire in his hand, and above him will be seventy thousand angels all carrying the maces of fire. They would be striking the maces on the head and face of that person and the singer shall arise from his grave blind, deaf and dumb and the adulterer shall also be raised from the grave in this way. And the one who plays flute shall be similarly raised and the one who plays the drum too."

The above Tradition clearly proves that all those people involving themselves in singing, committing adultery or playing musical instruments will be gathered on the Day of judgement as Deaf, Dumb and Blind.

Let us seek refuge in Allah from the temptations of Shaitaan so that he may never lead us into the disgraceful vice of listening to music. Let us make a firm resolution to keep our houses clean of this ignominy, let our children listen to sounds invocating and glorifying Allah(swt) rather than the satanic chants of music.

Let us not follow the habits promoted by the killers of Imam Hussain (a.s.).

Let us make a firm determination to eradicate this sin from our society completely.

Influence of Music

Often people are heard saying: "But music has so much influence upon our feelings; so why such a thing should be forbidden?" But it is precisely because of its great influence upon heart and mind that it is forbidden. There would have been no need to ban it if it were with out any effect. The thing which is to be decided is whether its influence is good or bad. And it has been shown in the previous pages that music and dance have harmful effects physiologically, spiritually and ethically upon human beings.

Music is like intoxicants in that it makes one forget one’s surroundings and one does not know what is happening to him or her. The following episode is a good example of the effect of music:

Frank King is reported in ‘Reader’s Digest’[11][16] as saying:- "I returned home one evening and noticed a large red mark that looked like a burn on my wife’s right cheek. When I asked her what had happened she sheepishly told me the story. She set up the iron-board in the living room so that she could watch a favourite television programme while doing the ironing, the telephone table was also near at hand. As she was intently watching TV, the phone rang and she reached out automatically and answered the iron."

Another interesting story was published in the Tanganyika Standard[12][17] some 23 years ago. A pregnant woman attended a musical programme in a local cinema. She became so much engrossed in it that she gave birth to a baby on the spot without realizing what was happening to her. ‘Was it a cinema hall or maternity home?’ asked the paper.

Realizing the importance of this engrossing quality of music, the scientists are trying to use it as an aid in surgery. Reader’s Digest[13][18] writes: "Audio-analgesia or painkilling by sound is one of modern science’s newest discoveries. The combination of music and other sounds have alleviated pain in dentistry, surgery and childbirth. Nobody can predict how widely the technique will be used but those who have experienced it entertained high hopes —like the new mother who wheeled from the delivery room exclaiming, `What a wonderful experience! I’ll always remember south pacific.

Palcetry Galiard while on the operation table asked for one of his own musical tapes to be played in the room. The effect was a spate of grief which made all present cry and the operation was performed without any anaesthetic.

All this goes a long way to prove that the music has the same effect on nerves and mind as the anaesthesia. Nobody in his right mind would suggest that chloroform should be daily used by the general public because it is such a good thing in the operation theatre. If music is a good anaesthetic let it be used in surgery and deliveries of children. But can that use ever justify its common use in every home at all times and in all circumstances?

Television, A Blessing or a curse?

All quotations in this article unless stated or otherwise, have been taken from "Eternity " October, 1971 and July, 1972 Issues.

If a child is afraid of something expose him to it often and his fears will diminish or disappear.

Dr. Victor B. Cline, a University of Utah (U.S.A.) Psychologist and four year research assistant, wrote, "Psychologists have for years demonstrated for example that you can overcome a person’s fear of snakes by gradually exposing him to others who casually play with snakes."

He then adds, "It stands to reason that you can also change attitudes and emotional responses to violence, sex and various antisocial behaviour by repeated exposure."

Everyone, especially a Muslim, should seriously consider the effect before he exposes himself or his children to anti-religious behaviour.

These days it is a sign of "Education" and "intelligentsia" to have Television at home giving little thought to its long-term effect especially on children.

Much research has been done in the United States of America on the effect of Television on its viewers. President Nixon had appointed a Commission to study Causes and Prevention of Violence. The commission in its Report published in 1970 said that Television networks were "pandering to a public preoccupation with violence that television itself has helped to generate." The Commission concluded that on the basis of many experimental studies "observed violence stimulates aggressive behaviour."

Dr. Robert M. Liepert of the State University of New York at Stony Brook (U.S.A.) after considerable research concluded: "There is a link between televised violence and aggressive behaviour for the majority of normal children." Although it has previously been assumed that only abnormal children would be affected by viewing scenes of violence, Liepert strongly disagreed. He writes, "The data show no evidence that only a minority is influenced. This is a factual error."

Dr. Victor B. Cline, the Psychologist, says that "The media are powerful teachers of values and ethical behaviour and sometimes may play a more significant role than the Church."

To this "Newsweek" commentator, Joseph Morgenstern, adds: "If the effect of Television violence on children has been finally demonstrated, it’s not un reasonable to assume that ultra-violence in the movie has some effect on adults."

The real danger of films shown on Television lies in the philosophy of life or value system that they propagate very subtly in many cases. This underlying system does not get edited out for television, as do most of the sex scenes and profanity.

And one cannot switch off the set as soon as something objectionable appears because often the viewer does not even realise the subtle moral implication of the film. Even an intelligent and educated person can easily be affected by such films.

On U.S.A. T.V. a film "Easy Rider" was shown which made heroes of two young men who "earned their freedom to take a cross-country motorcycle tour by smuggling heroin into the United States from Mexico. No criticism of their offense or even of their own indulgence in drugs was implied in the film. In fact, smoking marijuana was portrayed as perfectly normal and very agreeable and even the use of hard drugs left no ill-effects. When these points were discussed with a group of College freshmen-all of them from highly religious homes admitted that the film had left them confused about using drugs. "It (the film) made it look so nice, "he said”[14][19].

In some films the main characters are portrayed as sweet, gentle, loving and admirable young people, in spite of the fact that they are in bed with partners whose names they do not know. Even a person with firmly grounded sexual morals and little temptation to change them begins to sympathize with these gentle youngsters and to feel that, after all, such behaviour is not particularly damaging.

When children are exposed to such films, it gradually changes their attitude and undoes what the poor Mulla or Maulana has been trying to instil in them.

Almost every evening he sees ngomas, dances, kissing, dating, violence, scenes of night clubs and eventually he accepts all these things as normal and starts considering all those who oppose these things as "abnormal".

It might be argued that not much violence or immoral films are shown on local Television. It should, however, be borne in mind that poison, however small the dose, seeps in and does damage.

Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that the standard of morality of those who control showing of television programmes is different from ours. Things which in their eyes are "innocent" are most objectionable from our point of view. Drinking, dating, dancing, kissing, etcetera, may be "innocent" to them but we would not like our children to accept these ideas and follow them.

Even with much noise being made by those in authority about guarding the morality of the public, quite often extremely objectionable films, even from their own point of view are shown on television. Once such a highly objectionable film was shown on Nairobi television about which "East African Standard" had to write as follows:- "The `Nana’ controversy is just dying out the film having now been "deported" to Mombasa. But another `Nana’ in the name of `Celestina’ appeared on V.O.K. television last Wednesday, as the Midweek movie.

Part of this otherwise excellent drama depicts Celestina’s husband indulging in massage treatment to a charming and highly romantic young girl.

The exercise develops into proper romance when Celestina’s husband starts undressing the girl, and she obliges. The bedroom scene continues until: Enter Celestina, looking furious.

Having suspected what was taking place she picks up a knife and drives it into her husband’s heart. I would not mind seeing this film, and particularly the sex scene, in a cinema, as it would be my individual decision to see it by paying for it.

What V.O.K. has done is to bring right in our homes such a film with highly romantic scenes. What are we expected to do in our houses with children around? Just look at such scenes and laugh them off? One wonders what sort of society we are trying to build."[15][20]

The "Perry Mason" and "Falk" series films which are often shown on our television are American films showing violence, immorality, etc, which is likely to have an effect, specially on children. Some of these films propagate "ends justify the means" slogan.

In a film called "Evening Rider" shown on Cost television, a teenager was shown married to a man her father’s age and being tempted by the husband’s own son of the same age.[16][21] . It left one with the impression that adultery, for such a teenager was justified.

"Grab Game" was shown on Nairobi television which showed a person looking for a job attacking the manager of the firm and the manager tells him in fear to "come next Thursday"[17][22] it was nothing but propagation of "Might is right".

That such films have an effect on even adults car be judged from the reviews of these programmes from accredited journalists who are not only intelligent but highly educated.

A reviewer of Television of East African Standard once wrote, "I have in mind the fact that a procrastinating father finds himself sharing a girl friend with his own son. One may turn round and blame the poor girl for having extended both hands, but what about difficult time when the father, and I bet he was doing it without the knowledge of his perhaps halfway starving family, offers assistance, including paying overseas academic fees and all that goes with it. ?[18][23]

It can be seen that instead of revolting against the immorality of the girl viewers are made to sympathize with her and condone her actions.

The censor Boards controlling showing of programmes on television change and we may see a time when the Board is more lax and permissive. We may then see highly objectionable films being shown on our television which have brought chaos in the United States of America.

It will then be difficult to tell our children to stop viewing TV when we have introduced it to them and made them its addict.

However strict we may be at home in trying to control what programme our children should see, but once they are addicted to it they will see even the highly objectionable programmes as and when they get an opportunity. We shall be held responsible before God for introducing televisions to them and weakening their moral fibre. God says in Quran,

"O ye who believe, save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones." (66.7)

Let us not expose our children to immoral behaviour and turn them into fuel of fire.

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