Twentieth century has seen many inventions. Technology is changing life styles bringing ease and comfort to humans but there is also other side of this story. It’s the use and not product itself which determines its advantages or disadvantages. Unfortunately, most scientific inventions are being used to fulfill nefarious designs of few people rather than serving humanity as a whole. It’s a debatable issue and many people may not agree but the World looked a better and safe place without the modern inventions. Those who don’t agree, should see the sufferings of billion of people around the world and role of technology in it.
Take the example of nuclear technology. It can serve humanity in the field of bio-medicine, agriculture and energy but also if misused; it can kill thousands of people instantly.
But today we won’t look at nuclear technology, instead, we’ll try to look at harmless looking technology i.e. communications/media and music in Islamic/Pakistani context.
Pakistan has seen a boom in this sector. During last couple of years many new mobile companies and TV channels emerged. Not long ago, VCR and dish antenna had introduced Indian movies and songs to the nation. Presently, Private TV channels, Internet and Pakistan’s Proud Piracy industry is spreading this music and Indian culture like a virus. This virus is so powerful that once it penetrates in a soul, it rapidly overtakes the immune system and after sometime the soul refuses to consider the virus as a disease.
When a person commits a sin (may Allah save us all) believing that a sin is being committed and feels regret and remorse in the heart, then this is far better then committing the sin and believing it to be lawful (halal). In the former situation, only one sin is being committed, and it is very likely that the individual may repent out of the remorse felt in the heart. In the latter case, however, in addition to the sin being committed, there is the greater sin of trying to justify it. Normally, such an individual does not receive the guidance to repent from his sin. (May Allah save us all, Ameen).
Same is true with music and unlawful singing. In the modern era, music has spread to such an extent that nobody is free from it. In many cases we are forced to listen to music even if we don’t want. It is played in all department stores while people go there just for shopping, it’s played in public transport where there is no choice for switching it off and on streets. Cars are meant for transport yet it’s considered incomplete with a music system. Mobiles are meant for communication, yet they are too being used largely for entertainment. Mobile companies are spreading the music in the form of ring tones and other material. New mobile sets( 3 G) can play videos and audios. Sony Corporation has declared huge profits thanks to the company’s new phones that can play music. It says people want to keep music, camera with them, all in one piece. The increasing spread of music poses a great threat to the Muslims.
Music is a direct ploy of the Non-Muslims. One of the main causes for the decline of the Muslims is their involvement in useless entertainment. Today we see that Muslims are involved, and at the forefront perhaps, of many immoralities and evils. The spiritual power which once was the trait of a Muslim is nowhere to be seen. One of the main reasons for this is music and useless entertainment.
Nothing has been prohibited by the Almighty Allah except that which is harmful to the Muslims and the society as a whole. There are great harms and ill-effects of music. Islam totally forbids adultery and also those things that lead to it. This is the reason why the Qurâ€™an orders Muslim Men and Women to lower their gazes. It prohibits one from being alone with someone from the opposite sex. Informal interaction with the opposite sex has also been made unlawful.
This is also one of the main reasons for the prohibition of music, as it effects oneâ€™s emotions, creates arousal, passion and excitement, and also leads to various physiological changes in the person. It is a psychological proven fact that two things are instrumental in arousing the human sexual desire, one being the voice of a female (for males) and the other music.
It is permissible for women to converse with non-Mahram men only at the time of need (and visa versa, m). However, what is not permissible is that they stretch, soften and raise their voice in a melodious wayâ€.
One of the harms of music is that it distracts one from his Creator. It serves as a temporary means of pleasure and satisfaction, which makes one forget who he really is and why he was created. He forgets the noble purpose.
Allah Most High says:
â€œI have created jinn and humans only that they serve (worship) meâ€ (Surah al-Dhariyat, 56).
Another harm of music is that it instills the ideologies of the Non-Muslims in the heart and mind. The messages of todayâ€™s music follow a general theme of love, fornication, drugs and freedom.
We find that the whole world is obsessed with the Kufr idea of unrestrained freedom, i.e. freedom of speech and movement, etcâ€¦ This idea of freedom, â€œitâ€™s my life, Iâ€™ll do what I wantâ€ is a predominant theme of music today. It is used as a means of drilling western ideologies into the hearts and minds, which are totally contrary to Islamic values and teachings.
Allah Most High says:
â€œAnd there are among men, those that purchase idle tales, to mislead (men) from the path of Allah and throw ridicule. For such there will be a humiliating punishmentâ€ (Surah Luqman, V. 6).
â€œThis verse was revealed in relation to singing and musical instrumentsâ€ (Tafsir ibn Kathir, 3/442)
The above verse of the Qurâ€™an is clear in the prohibition of music. It also serves as a severe warning for those who are involved in the trade of music in any way, shape or form, as Allah warned them of â€œHumiliating punishmentâ€.
Allah Most High says whilst describing the attributes of the servants of the Most Compassionate (ibad al-Rahman):
â€œThose who witness no falsehood, and if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honourable avoidanceâ€ (Surah al-Furqan, V. 72).
Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas relates from Sayyiduna Imam Abu Hanifah (Allah be pleased with him) that the meaning of â€œfalsehood (zur)â€ is music & song, (Ahkam al-Qurâ€™an, 3/428).
The are many Ahadith of the blessed Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) which prohibit music and the usage of musical instruments to the extent that some scholars have gathered approximately forty Ahadith, of which the chain of transmission of some is sound (sahih), some good (hasan) and some weak (daâ€™if). We will only mention a few here:
Sayyiduna Abu Malik al-Ashâ€™ari (Allah be pleased with him) reports that he heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) say: â€œThere will appear people in my Ummah, who will hold adultery, silk, alcohol and musical instruments to be lawfulâ€ (Sahih al-Bukhari)
Abu Malik al-Ashâ€™ari (Allah be pleased with him) narrates a similar type of Hadith, but a different wording. He reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: â€œSoon there will be people from my Ummah who will consume alcohol, they will change its name (by regarding it permissible. m), on there heads will be instruments of music and singing. Allah will make the ground swallow them up, and turn them into monkeys and swineâ€ (Sahih Ibn Hibban & Sunan Ibn Majah, with a sound chain of narration).
Abd Allah Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: â€œVerily Allah has forbidden alcohol, gambling, drum and guitar, and every intoxicant is haramâ€ (Musnad Ahmad & Sunan Abu Dawud).
Abd Allah ibn Masâ€™ud (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: â€œSong makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbageâ€ (Sunan al-Bayhaqi).
There are many more narrations of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give peace) in prohibition of musical instruments and unlawful singing.
By mentioning music with the likes of adultery and alcohol just shows how severe the sin is. The one who attempts to permit music is similar to the one who permits alcohol or adultery.â€™
However, songs that are free from such unlawful things and they consist of descriptions of the natural things, such as flowers and streams, etcâ€¦ will be permissible. Yes, if they are accompanied by musical instruments, then it will be unlawful even if the song is full of advice and wisdom, not because of what the songs consist of, rather due to the musical instruments that are played with it.
It is stated in Khulasat al-Fatawa:
â€œListening to the sound of musical instruments is unlawful (haram), as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: â€œListening to songs is a sinâ€ (4/345).
Ibn Humam, the great Hanafi Mujtahid makes a decisive statement in his famous Fath al-Qadir:
â€œUnlawful (haram) singing is when the theme of the song consists of unlawful things, such as the description of a particular living personâ€™s beauty and features, the virtues of wine that provoke wine-drinking, the details and particulars of family affairs or those songs that mock and ridicule others.
As for those who hold music to be lawful usually present the Hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari in which two girls were singing in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and Sayyida Aâ€™isha (Allah be pleased with her).
However, the permissibility of music can not be justified with this Hadith. The Hadith expert, Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani has refuted this claim in length in his Fath al-Bari, 2/345).
Firstly, theses young girls were singing without any unlawful musical instruments and secondly, the content of the song was regarding war, thus perfectly lawful. Also, they were not professional singers as the words of the Hadith clearly indicate.
Some try to justify music with the Hadith in which the permissibility of playing the tambourine (daf) is mentioned.
However, as stated in the works of the Fuqaha, to play the tambourine is permissible at weddings, as it is not designed for sole entertainment and pleasure, rather for announcement, etc.
Complete fatwa on music could be read at: http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=1786&CATE=142