By Naseer Ahmed,
New Age Islam
03 august, 2015
There is no verse in
the Quran that discourages or bans music and yet, based on several Ahadith that
contradict each other, it is commonly believed that music is allowed only in a
limited way and on special occasions or by some as even banned in Islam. What
is the true position? If we go by the Ahadith, then there are several Ahadith
which together give an unclear picture but there is no Hadith banning music
We must therefore rely
on the Quran and since there isn’t a single verse on the subject, we should
take it that the Quran does not prohibit music or even discourage it. This
however will not satisfy those who choose to be guided by the Ahadith. We must
therefore see how we may get an answer from the Quran on a subject that the
Quran is silent on.
Apart from the fact
that the Quran specifically allows us to eat the flesh of certain animals, a
good argument put forth against those who argue for vegetarianism and against
eating of the flesh of animals is that nature or God has bestowed us with a
digestive system that can digest both vegetarian and cooked non-vegetarian food
and a set of teeth that can grind and a set of teeth that can tear flesh.
Animals have teeth that are suited to eating either plant or meat or both. The
herbivores have strong and flat molars that are made for grinding leaves.
Carnivores have canine teeth for tearing at meat Omnivores, because they eat
both meat and plants; have a combination of sharp front teeth and molars for
grinding. Human beings are omnivores and therefore nature or God meant us to
eat both plant and meat.
What has the above
argument got to do with music? Musical ability is not found among all human
beings equally. Some are born tone deaf and others can name perfect pitch.
Studies have established that mere practice and training cannot make a person
who is born without talent for music a good singer or musician. We also know
from the true stories of child prodigies that the talent for Music is in-born
or a God given gift. Science has further established that genetic factors play
a major role. Training and persistence is rewarded by improving the technical skills
and nothing more. One can get oneself to play a musical score but to play it
musically or expressively requires talent. Whether it is music, poetry, art,
mathematics or the sciences, natural talent or genetic factors play a major
role. Not everyone has a talent for mathematics, logic, art, music, a
particular sport or athletics. Cognitive neuroscience further confirms that the
brains of those talented musically are different. We see or hear only what our
brains are capable of comprehending and the keenness or sharpness with which we
see, hear, smell, feel or taste is what gives us the different talents. Our
ability for focusing or paying attention is also determined by our cognitive
abilities or what our brain is able to make of the stimuli.
Now if God or nature
has given some people musical ability and great natural talent for it, then God
or nature has meant it to be used. The Quran clearly frowns on people who
prohibit to themselves what God has not prohibited. Consider the following
(3:93) All food was
lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Israel Made unlawful for itself,
before the Law (of Moses) was revealed. Say: "Bring ye the Law and study
it, if ye be men of truth."(94) If any, after this, invent a lie and
attribute it to Allah, they are indeed unjust wrong-doers.
When God has not
prohibited music, man by prohibiting it to himself and attributing the
prohibition to God becomes a Zalim or wrong-doer.
(5:87) O ye who
believe! make not unlawful the good things which Allah hath made lawful for
you, but commit no excess: for Allah loveth not those given to excess.
(16:116) But say not -
for any false thing that your tongues may put forth,- "This is lawful, and
this is forbidden," so as to ascribe false things to Allah. For those who
ascribe false things to Allah, will never prosper.
music, when musical ability and talent is clearly a gift from God, and the
Quran does not prohibit it, amounts to ascribing falsehood to God and makes one
a zalim (wrong-doer), and therefore someone who will never prosper. By excising
a part of what makes us human we become sub-human to that extent.
Unfortunately, we have cultures, societies and countries that have prohibited
music depriving their people the opportunity to attain their full potential as
human beings as intended by God.
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT
Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the
Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He
is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com.