Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

A disproportionate reward?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Hope you are doing good by the grace and blessings of Allah(SWT).

I was asked this question by one of my friends recently and he asked me whether life in paradise is finite or eternal? I gave him the answer saying eternal. But then he put forward a question saying, when this life we live for(say about 60-70yrs) is finite, then how come righteous people are rewarded with infinite time in the paradise? I had given it a thought and I did derive at an answer. But I would like to hear it from you too brother.

Secondly, I would like to know about Islamic rulings on Movies? And related to Music, Is melody, slow songs, love songs, songs that stir your emotions allowed?

Usually, this question is asked about the flip side: is punishment of the hellfire disproportionate? The answer to both sides of this question is no, for the simple reason that “God does not do a spec’s weight of injustice” (4:40).

One may look at a good deed and think that it is rather minor, but God sees it as fabulous, and because He does, He rewards it more generously than the person who did it ever hoped for. The flip side of this is also true: one may say or do something that he doesn’t think is too bad, but God sees it as a grave sin, and because He does, He punishes it far more severely than the person who committed it ever feared.

To give you an example. God says in the holy Quran, “Did you not see how God strikes a parable of a good word like a good tree: its foundation is firm and its branch is in the sky. It delivers its food every season with the permission of its Lord!” (14:24-25). Did you get the reason for the seemingly disproportionate reward? It is a deed that constantly breeds good deeds. Its benevolent effect does not only positively touch the lives of many contemporary people, but goes on and on for all generations to come. That is why God rewards it so much. And bear in mind that the good deed referred to in this verse appears minor. It is just a good word!

As for your question about music, songs and stirring of emotions, it depends on the environment where the music is played, the lyrics of the songs and the emotion that is stirred and what that leads to. Music is neither good nor bad on its own, as Sheikh Shaarawi once said, may God bless his soul. If it is accompanied by lewd or violent acts or lyrics then it’s forbidden. Otherwise, how can it be bad, when we know that it soothes the soul, puts one in a good mood, a romantic mood or a patriotic mood? Documented evidence is plenty that music speeds up healing of wounds and calms the nerves of patients about to undergo surgery! See the Music category for more posts about this.

Likewise are love songs and love movies. It depends on whether they contain indecent lyrics or scenes. The emotions stirred by music, poetry, motion pictures, or art works in general can be benign and can be malicious. Art is neither good nor bad in the absolute. Art stems from love of beauty and awe at God’s creation and it is in fact an unconscious desire to connect with God, as the late President of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegović wrote in his book “Islam and the West.”

Can one sell one’s soul to Satan?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Do you know Lady Gaga? I heard that she worships, or sold her soul to satan and that’s why she’s successful. Is there really something that you sell your soul and become successful? Doesn’t success comes ONLY from Allah (SWT)? Please don’t talk about Lady Gaga at all and that all forms of music is haraam. I want to talk about people being successful by worshiping Shaytan. This not about Lady Gaga but applies to others to.

Not all forms of music is haraam (forbidden). See the Music category for explanation.

“Selling one’s soul to Satan” is a metaphor. It means following Satan’s whispers in violation of God’s teachings. The Quran calls this “being an ally of Satan”, e.g.,

“[Abraham speaking to his father], ‘O my father, do not worship Satan. Indeed Satan has ever been, to the Beneficent, disobedient.
O my father, verily, I fear that there will touch you torment from the Beneficent so you would be to Satan an ally.’ ” (19:44-45)

Abraham’s father did not, to the best of our knowledge, sell his soul to Satan, or engage in what is commonly known as Satanic rituals. However, he worshiped idols. This is what prompted Abraham to plead with his father to stop that blasphemy and follow him instead in worshiping the only true God. Abraham equated worshiping idols to worshiping Satan.

Now, your question was about whether dedication to Satan can result in success. If you define success as material wealth, fame, etc., then the answer is yes! We learn that from the holy Quran,

“So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair.” (6:44)

The Quran teaches us to never be impressed with abundance of worldly goods, regardless of its source,

“And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring.” (20:131)

And that goes double if the source of the wealth is unlawful,

“Say, ‘Not equal are the filthy and the pure, although the abundance of the filthy might impress you.’ So fear God, O you of understanding, that you may be successful.” (5:100)

God teaches us to seek what is good in both this life and the Hereafter, not just what is good in this life. He says,

“…And of the people are [some] who say, ‘Our Lord, give us in [this] the nearest [life]’; they will not have in the lasting [life] not a share.
And of them are [some] who say, ‘Our Lord, give us in [this] the nearest [life] good and in the lasting [life] good, and shield us from the torment of Hell.
Those will have a share of what they have earned, and God is swift in account.” (2:200-202)

The fuss about music

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Talk to me about music. I love music. I love dance, to watch it and more to simply dance.
I am so confused about it. My family’s Desi background can not help but celebrate by dancing.
I recall many years ago meeting tribal clans in the Western regions of Pakistan who would dance by the setting sun with their swords illuminated by fires.
I was stirred in my youth by the vocals of the singers of protest and peace.
I think you get the picture and bam: the haram police take over.

I know that the female voice can stir up wow emotions. I think of the singer Sade.

I know the Prophet allowed Aisha to watch the Nubian dancers.
I know the Prophet said there will come a time when musicians will play the flute to hearing of the Quran.

Why the confusion over something all men love?
And of course wherein lies the balance?

Many Muslims have a big fuss about music, and some believe it’s all forbidden. There is no basis for that conclusion. The ruling that forbids it is deeply flawed, both in evidence and in reasoning.

Music, by itself, is neither evil nor good. Play it well and it’s soothing, cheering, consoling or exciting. Play it badly and it’s antagonizing, distracting, or noise.

I don’t know the hadeeth you referred to (about the flute), but the hadeeth anti-music scholars rely on is the one narrated by Abu-Hurayra (RA) and others and reported by At-Tirmizhi in which the Prophet (PBUH) says, “When female singers and musical instruments become common and people drink alcoholic beverages [and he mentioned many other signs], then watch for a red wind, earthquake, destruction, deformation, …etc.”

The scholars see the bundling of female singers and musical instruments with the list of other terrible signs of the latter day decline, they see that as evidence that it is as bad as the rest of them.

To begin with, the hadeeth was rated “strange” by At-Tirmizhi. Thus, it’s not authentic. But even if it was, it does not prove that music is forbidden. It only proves that the spread of “female singers and musical instruments” is what’s wrong. The reason it is wrong is because that’s what makes a night club! The Prophet (PBUH) was referring to the night club scene, not to Rachmaninoff’s second Piano concerto played by the Vienna Philharmonic!

And that is also what Ibn Abbaas, may God have been pleased with him, must have been thinking about when he interpreted verse 31:6 as referring to music. He never knew music except as it was played in Arabia: in night clubs, where females sing and dance lewdly and men drink alcohol. Of course, that’s forbidden. But it’s not the fault of music.

Dancing is different, because it can be seductive and it can involve body contact. That is only allowed between a husband and his wife.

Is there consensus that music is forbidden?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I am told by many Muslims that music is forbidden in Islam and that this is a consensus of all Muslim scholars. Is it true? Can you name scholars who ruled that music is NOT forbidden?

Sure. Four very prominent names come to mind: Sha`raawi, Qaradhaawi, Tantaawi and Hilaali.

M.M. Ash-Sha`raawi, may God bless his soul, was the foremost scholar of the Twentieth Century. He said that music is only forbidden if it distracts one from required worship and duties, or if it is accompanied by bad lyrics. Otherwise it is allowed.

Dr. Sa`d-ud-Deen Al-Hilaali is a Professor of comparative jurisprudence and he added to what Sha`raawi said that music is never forbidden on its own; only for what accompanies it or what it leads to. If bad lyrics, lewd dancing or drinking alcohol accompany it, then it is forbidden. That is exactly the point I made in another post.

Dr. Ali Tantaawi was a renowned Professor, judge and author in Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Dr. Al-Qaradhaawi is the President of the Global Union of Muslim Scholars.

Is music forbidden?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Is it really haraam (forbidden) to listen to music? I am from a culture that is rich in music and I am living in a culture that expresses itself through music.

It’s a popular fatwa (religious opinion) that is deeply flawed. Its basis is two pieces of evidence:

1. The interpretation of Ibn Abbaas, may God have been pleased with him, of verse 31:6. What’s wrong with it is that it is his interpretation only and not something the Prophet, peace be upon him, said. It also makes no sense since music is not discourse.

2. A hadeeth without a narration chain (Mu`allaq) that Al-Bukhaari mentions as a comment, not as one of the authentic hadeeths in his book. The hadeeth bundles music bands and female dancers at parties with drunks. Clearly the reference in that hadeeth is to night-club type parties, not to music per se. That could very well be the reason Ibn Abbaas interpreted 31:6 that way: he never knew music in any context other than wild parties.

Nobody who has said that music is forbidden has ever bothered to say why, or to refute the documented evidence that music can be beneficial and healing. Nobody has ever explained what possible evil can come from listening to Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto!

Can people express themselves in Islam?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

How can people express themselves fully or explore their creativity in Islam when there seems to be only very specific things that are allowed? For example, in music, I heard that rap music is haram (forbidden)? I also heard that it is not allowed to write love letters to the opposite sex. Not to mention prohibitions regarding taking pictures, painting/drawing objects and regulations regarding what sort of clothes to wear. Islam seems to enclose its followers to certain emotions they should/ could only feel. I don’t know.

If Muslims could not express their creativity, there wouldn’t have been the Blue Mosque, Taj Mahal, Arabesque, abstract art, calligraphy, etc.

Not all Muslims agree that all music is forbidden. Music that invites lewdness or violence is. Furthermore, it’s the lyrics that need to be watched. In Islam, expression and speech are allowed but within limits of decency. Lewdness, lies, profanity, insults and blasphemy are not allowed in order to protect society from those ills.

Love letters are allowed between couples who have been formally engaged or are married, not before that because they can quickly get out of hand. Again, the principle is to protect people from sin without constricting them.

Painting is allowed but not of lewd images or of living creatures. The prohibition against painting or sculpting living creatures is to protect people from developing pagan tendencies. Even in this modern day of ours, people bow down before statues as if these statues can actually benefit them in the least. In Islam, you only bow before God.

Clothes can easily be a source of seduction. Fashion designers actually depend on it! Seduction leads to sin and that’s why Islam controls dress. It’s not to limit freedom, it’s to protect people from sin.

The word Islam means surrender to God. When you accept Islam, you willingly and lovingly agree to comply by God’s rules not by man’s. Why? Because you can trust that God knows what’s best for you and man doesn’t. Man is only guessing and he has been wrong more often than he has been right and when he was wrong horrendous things happened.

I do not know why I’m still not satisfied. If I were Muslim I’d be a disobedient little sinner. Perhaps that’s why I’m not?

It’s not easy.  Just like relationships need work and patience, your relationship with God, the one who loves you the most, needs work and patience.

However I think we as humans should be able to express or explore themselves fully, or explore the extent of our  creative prowess.

If people explore the effects of drugs fully, they can be addicted. If they explore sex fully, they may catch a fatal disease. If they speed up on the highway to experience the thrill, they may kill themselves and others! Full exploration is not necessarily a good thing. The right limits have been set by the only one who has the full picture: God.

How would we be able to fully know outselves?

There is no reason you can’t. But you don’t have to kill yourself or others to find out! When you raise your child, you prevent him or her from full exploration if it’s going to hurt them, don’t you? That’s how God, the Beneficent, the Merciful, guides us to what is good and forbids us what is bad. Only He knows which is which.

With regards to music, and clothing, I think in general if people have a good idea of themselves, or have good internal control, external sources, which could cause them to sin shouldn’t be a problem?

That’s a big if! Do people have a good idea of themselves, or internal control? If that were true then how come they ruin their lives and the lives of millions? It’s precisely because they don’t have sufficient controls that the world is in such a mess. Only by following God’s guidance can the world come back to balance. God says in the holy Quran,
“And do not corrupt in the earth after it has been put in order!” (7:56) and,
“And if they are told: Do not corrupt in the earth, they reply: But we are doing good!” (2:11)

Why are art and music banned in Islam?

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Absolutely no music, no song, no dance, no enjoyment, is the Islamic way of life. And art is utterly banned. What kind of culture is that?

Islamic art is renowned for its beauty. It is manifested in buildings, architecture, calligraphy, arabesque, etc. The art that is not allowed is that which depicts living creatures, profanity or blasphemy. Music is not forbidden. Dancing is allowed in the privacy of people’s homes. Only vulgar or blasphemous lyrics and dancing are not allowed. Islam wants to protect people from sin without depriving them of good fun.