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Islamic Culture (03 Aug 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Is Music Prohibited In Islam?

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 either.

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 verses:

(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.

Self-prohibition of 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.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-culture/naseer-ahmed,-new-age-islam/is-music-prohibited-in-islam?/d/104146


  • GM
    "Practicing ijtihad requires courage, but without ijtihad no religion can survive."
    but are you not courageous enough? will you hide yourself behind being irreligious?
    who is religious in your view? no threat no ijtehad. no attack no ijtihad.

    the voice of ijtihad is being raised because there is a threat.
    if everything is just fine, everything is praised, no voice of complain, why there will be any need of ijtihad.

    ijtihad is difficult if not impossible because of nature of religions. it is not limited to religions. but since other ideologies are secular or man made they are comparatively easy of reform.
    religions being believed as from God are hard to reform.

    Islam's case is different. it is projected as only truth. being with it being successful. being against it is unsuccessful.

    success and failure no problem but punishment for not being with is basic to Islam hence problematic.

    at least in theory Hinduism accepts other truths valid. it at least acknowledges personal discovery of truth. In Islam it is impossible. because in Islam revealed truth on some person called prophet is only truth one has to accept and bow before.

    these are the hard facts, you want to confront with nitpicking.
    no matter how many articles and books naseer saheb writes on kufr but the basic pricipal of Islam is one. that is belief in one god, belief in prophets(including final prophet), and day of judgement day. any person who rejects this plain truth of Islam is condemnable and punishable.

    it is the real spirit of Islam and all Muslims believe in it.
    and that is why you see silence on his work.
    it is not truth of the Qur'an.
    it could have been good if allah had emphasized on good actions not on beliefs.
    mentioning beliefs in unseen first and actions as second  automatically rejects all non-Muslims.

    non-Muslims and apostates are not against ijtihad. they are doubtful of its success in the case of Islam keeping in mind all theological and practical aspects.
    now if somebody thinks it is attack on Islam, let it be. they too have rights to attack because they don't believe it is an attack.
    producing counter argument is not an attack. but Muslims think it is they want its acknowledgement from the tongues of producers of counter arguments.
    in frustration they start name calling, finding psychological reasons in the persons, throwing lies etc.
    i understand the frustration of believers that is why their name calling, insults have not stopped me from calling spade a spade.

    now you will as a slave of nitpicking pick a sentence from my comment.
    you are a highly qualified, sincere moderate, member of CAIR, you can write to political and religious heads.
    Being a member of CAIR you should not worry about Saudi Arabia.
    do you think defeating 'rational' will add some feathers to your crown?

    By rational - 8/7/2015 10:40:07 PM

  • Rational says, "The answer is inthe Quran and Hadith which has stopped in upgradation of Muslims." . . . .

    Practicing ijtihad requires courage, but without ijtihad no religion can survive.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/7/2015 1:19:55 AM

  • GM The answer is inthe Quran and Hadith which has stopped in upgradation of Muslims.
    it made jahilana practices Sunna of the prophet and Sunna is imposed by the Quran.

    By rational - 8/6/2015 8:06:12 PM

  • Rational asks, " How do you expect such non-senses from the prophets?" . . . . .

    Wrong question! Why have Muslims not kept their belief systems uptodate? What should we do about it now?

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/6/2015 2:34:36 PM

  • Naseer ahmed
    first you need not to answer any irrational question.
    Second if yopu don't believe in abrogation that is just fine. but saying there is no abrogation is untruth. this is  the fact all
    Muslims believe in.
    those who don't believe can be counted on fingers and they don't have solid arguments.
    Muslims say there is abrogation. you say it is not.
    that doesn't mean your answer is acceptable.

    By rational - 8/6/2015 2:12:19 AM

  • Naseer ahmed
    first you need not to answer any irrational question.
    Second if yopu don't believe in abrogation that is just fine. but saying there is no abrogation is untruth. this is  the fact all
    Muslims believe in.
    those who don't believe can be counted on fingers and they don't have solid arguments.
    Muslims say there is abrogation. you say it is not.
    that doesn't mean your answer is acceptable.

    By rational - 8/6/2015 2:06:06 AM

  • Naseer ahmed
    first you need not to answer any irrational question.
    Second if yopu don't believe in abrogation that is just fine. but saying there is no abrogation is untruth. this is  the fact all
    Muslims believe in.
    those who don't believe can be counted on fingers and they don't have solid arguments.
    Muslims say there is abrogation. you say it is not.
    that doesn't mean your answer is acceptable.

    By rational - 8/6/2015 2:01:41 AM

  • Rational,

    When it comes to memory, there is a limit on what one can remember. One remembers what one considers important to remember. Somebody may choose to remember the slights and insults and forget all the positive instances and another may choose quite the opposite.

    You keep repeating your questions and attacks on Islam and forget the answers because you are not interested in the answers. The answers are merely a nuisance for you and therefore you quickly jump to other questions when you have been answered and you cannot say anything further on the subject.

    What you are good at remembering and what you are good at forgetting is the issue. Your standard excuse for repeating your question is that you have not agreed to the previous answer. You do not disagree either but just move to other questions and you refuse closure on any topic.

    The Quran does not reproach the Prophet for forgetting any part but says that it is Allah who made him forget what was no longer necessary which was perhaps covered more comprehensively in a fresh Surah and the earlier part that provided immediate guidance to deal with the question was no longer necessary. 

    You argue with others on what they say. Have you forgotten that I do not hold any part of the Quran that we have received as abrogated? As far as progressive revelation is concerned, it is not a matter of opinion since the Quran itself confirms that for every period there is a Book and for different people a different way of life or deen is prescribed. This has been discussed before..

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/6/2015 12:37:46 AM

  • Naseer Ahmed
    the issue was my memory. then you turned it into inconstancy. 
    First lets us have one more verse of the Quran so there is no doubt in the faulty memory of the prophet.

    The abrogation was introduced to cover the inconsistencies of the Quran but now it is clear that it didn't sole the problem. rather it complicated it further.
    but majority of Islamic scholars believe in abrogation.
    why there was any need of abrogation if the Quran was thoroughly consistent.
    your progressive revelation theory has loop holes. it is contradictory to reality.
    i will come to it again.

    By rational - 8/5/2015 9:25:17 PM

  • Naseer ahmed

    i brought the verse of the Quran which is proof of weak memory of the prophet. Since this question is on the prophet's memory and the proof is the Quran you are diverting the issue.
    Allah was aware that prophet had weak memory so he ensured him against his weak memory that He will help him.

    my personal weakness you stress have little consequences. but weaknesses of the prophets can't be ignored because of their unlimited consequences. this is the reason you have started attacking my weaknesses.
    you can point out them endlessly. i have no problem if it can end your agonies.
    i am a common man full of many weaknesses. i don't claim any perfection.
    however you can't get rid off yourself from such questions.

    By rational - 8/5/2015 8:46:48 PM

  • "Rational your arguments are irrational."
    don't try to divert the attention away from the faulty memory of the prophet.
    inconsistencies are part and parcel of your sacred books which are responsible for behavior of Muslims.
    you easily targeted Ahadith but when the verse of the Quran is quoted you are diverting attention by  diluting memory issue and bringing inconsistency.
    Why didn't God stopped this jahil practice the prophets adopted from their cultures?

    By rational - 8/5/2015 8:26:52 PM

  • GM
    is it not the nitpicking on comments related to a practice of every Muslim in 21st century?
    your comment could be of some value if  it were the practice of one or two Muslims. it could be valid if i was behind  this practice. 
    Muslims practice circumcision because some prophets made it sunna. How do you expect such non-senses from the prophets?
    you must do psychoanalysis of those prophets who adopted this jahil practice and asked their followers to do it.

    By rational - 8/5/2015 8:18:35 PM

  • Rational says to Naseersaab, "you neglected the verse i quoted in the reference of the memory of the prophet? why does it happen?" and "i never said that circumcision was commanded by God. The question is Why God let it go?" . . . .

    Aren't these the kinds of questions that a 12 year old boy would ask?

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/5/2015 1:38:21 PM

  • Rational your arguments are irrational. You cannot make a distinction between forgetting and remembering incorrectly. The Prophet did not make false assertions like you do based on your kind of forgetfulness which is not on account of poor memory but inconsistency. You argue even when you know that your question has been answered before like you brought up 4:89 once again within a couple of days. Was this due to amnesia? With such an attitude no wonder your memory is a jumble full of contradictory remembrances.
    By naseer ahmed - 8/5/2015 10:35:26 AM

  • Naseer ahmed
    coming back to music.
    you can't say the prophet allowed music or enjoyed music. there are contradictory reports.
    In Islam other than remembrance of Allah everything comes under idle talk.
    for example Tablighi Jamat stops the followers from the music of any kind. first thing members of tablighi jamat they do is changing dress and stop listen to music.
    In Sufi circles it is limited to sufi shrines where Qwalis are sung with musical instruments.
    more close a Sufi is to Shariah he denounces the music. i can give example of Chiragh Dehlvi a khalifa of khwaja nizamuddin.
    no doubt ameer khusro was a musician and poet but he was deprived of khilfat for his love for music.
    chiragh dehlvi won the khilafat and music is not played on his mazar in his respect.
    Those religions who considered music a gift, a way to please the God, made it part of their rituals. Himdus are examples.

    Can you cite an example where the music is considered noble in Islam?
    and remember i enjoy music day and night.

    By rational - 8/5/2015 6:37:45 AM

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