Music

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. The common elements of music are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics (loudness and softness), and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture (which are sometimes termed the "color" of a musical sound). Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements.

60760

Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 1 month ago

Any music used usually by the sinners is not permissible according to most of our leading scholars (Maraaji' of Taqleed).

Wassalam.

60959

Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 1 month ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. While the application of the criteria for halal and haram music is upon the muqallid, that does not mean that the criteria itself is completely subjective. There are some genres of music as well as songs that are clearly impermissible. At the same time, there are other genres of music and songs that are clearly permissible. But the judgement of thr muqallid is more of a factor in the grey areas, where if one person consider the criteria to apply to a specific piece of music making it haram, whereas another person may find it halal using the same criteria. It is worth mentioning that the rulings of the Maraja and the criteria they have set for halal and haram music also varies and so it is possible for a piece of music to be halal according to one criteria and haram according to another.

May you always be successful 

63177

Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 2 months ago

I'll be happy to drop a few thoughts on this.

First, it can be challenging to discuss "music in Islam", because the English-language word "music" covers anything that is tonal/rhythmic. For instance, someone who speaks English as a native language might consider a Qur'anic recitation to be "music", whereas many Muslims would find that horrifying. That being said, I can gather that by "certain music" you mean, well, certain music that we all know what it is.

Second, of course, when discussing the reasons behind shariah, unless the reasons are clearly stated in the source texts, any explanation for why it is the way it is is simply a guess. 

Third, the experience of music today is far different than it was at any other time in human history. (As indeed is the case for many things) In the past, music was a human activity; it required a musician (the self, a family member, a professional performer, a slave, etc.). It wasn't a physical commodity that could be bought and sold. It was almost unheard of to be able to listen to music on demand or 24 hours a day or on repeat.

Lastly, when we discuss reasons for things in Islam today, we often focus on material or physical effects only. While one can also discuss the physical and material effects of music (for instance, the music industry), seeing as sound/chanting is used in almost every world religion (if not every world religion), it stands to reason that different types of sound/music/chanting also have spiritual or invisible effects that are typically not addressed.

With respect to music in the time of the Prophet (S) and Imams (A), it seems that the main concerns were (a) morality, in that music was associated with immoral acts, (b) extravagance and wastefulness, since it was often associated with excesses by the elite, perhaps (c) slavery and the buying and selling of slave-musicians, and (d) filling the mind with vain diversions distracting one from more important things. However I would not negate other possibilities such as spiritual or other effects.

This was then. However the world today is far different from what most people would have imagined .As for music today, I would say the following. First, people are much more likely to accept the words and ideas that they hear in a song as opposed to hearing the words on their own. Many of the profane things that are in songs today would have been completely unacceptable to be said in polite company even a few decades ago. Over my lifetime, and the lifetimes of people older than me, there has been a gradual decay in what is acceptable to discuss in public that directly correlates to newer and more "shocking" explicit or other things said in music. Along the same lines, in some societies, there has been a corresponding decline in public morality. Correspondence doesn't prove causality but I think there is something to that. 

This is not to say that all songs have bad lyrics, as indeed some songs have very thoughtful or socially beneficial lyrics, but - for various reasons - there has been a strong move towards music promoting things which are not good from the viewpoint of Islamic ethics. (I'm sure I don't need to give examples!)

Perhaps a similar example to bring up here is the Qur'anic discussion of wine. It doesn't say that wine is entirely bad; it says there is a little good and much evil. For that reason, wine is forbidden - because the bad outweighs the good, individually and socially. 

Second - and this is something much more relevant in the modern world - music is addictive. It does affect the brain, and it is not uncommon for people to suffer addictions to music of various kinds.

At the same time, it occupies the brain and prevents you from thinking about other things. It can distract one from the reality one is living in so that it acts more as a drug that masks our circumstances rather than encouraging us to improve them. 

Third, it actually has been shown that different types of music actually do significantly affect the way that the brain functions in ways that are positive or negative (here, we are talking about music that is negative). That is, there is something about the input that causes the brain to mimic its patterns and then this affects both our thoughts and our actions. This is not to say that this is always bad; for instance, listening to Mozart has been shown to improve mathematical reasoning temporarily. However, in many cases, this effect is undesirable. (Again, I'm sure I don't need to give examples!)

Lastly, we usually look at these things only from the perspective of the listener (that is, the consumer) of music; one has to keep in mind that the music also needs to be produced. The professional music industry is fraught with all sorts of problems and, at the least, one can say it is not an environment that ethically uplifts most people who have to deal with it. So, one should keep the good of the performers in mind as well.

These are just a few thoughts, I am sure others will contribute as well!

63571

Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 3 months ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. The exact boundaries of what music is allowed and what is not, are dependent on the specific rulings of your Marja, which you can access on the English versions of their respective websites. The same applies to singing and what singing each Jurist sets as a limit. Most jurists allow classical types of music, and music that is not suitable for gatherings of entertainment and amusement. The actual application of the rules is left to the believer to decide if a specific track falls under halal or haram music according to the boundaries provided by their Marja.

May you always be successful

62298

Zaid Alsalami, Shaykh Dr Zaid Alsalami is an Iraqi born scholar, raised in Australia. He obtained a BA from Al-Mustafa University, Qom, and an MA from the Islamic College in London. He also obtained a PhD from... Answered 3 months ago

Bismihi ta'ala

Yes, it is allowed to listen to Na'ats and Nasheeds accompanied with musical instruments, as long as it has the rest of the shar'i requirements for 'halal music'. 

With prayers for your success. 

60769

Sayed Mahdi Modarresi, Sayed Mohammad Mahdi Al Modarresi undertook his religious education in the Islamic Seminary in Damascus, Syria, and in the Islamic Seminary of Qum, Iran. He also undertook some of his academic... Answer imported 5 months ago

60617

Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 5 months ago

Listening to music which is usually used by the sinners is not permissible. Any way of listening has the same rule.

Wassalam.

Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 5 months ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. The specifics of the answer will depend on the rulings of your Marja. According to Ayatollah Sistani (hA) music that can be played in places of entertainment and amusement is not allowed. Music that falls outside of this criteria are allowed. Here is an extract from his (hA) Code of Practice for Muslims in the West:

"Music is an art that has spread far and wide during these days. Some varieties of this art are permissible while others are forbidden; therefore, it is permissible to listen to the first while it is forbidden to listen to the latter.
Music that is permissible is the music that does not entail entertainment in gatherings held for that purpose. Forbidden music is the music that is suitable for entertainment and amusement gatherings.
The expression “the music or the song that is suitable for entertainment and amusement gatherings” does not mean that the music or the song’s tune amuses the heart or changes the mental state because there is nothing wrong in it. The expression actually means that the person listening to the music or the song’s tune —especially if he is an expert in these matters— can distinguish that this tune is used in the entertainment and amusement gatherings or that it is similar to the tunes used therein."

May you always be successful.

58106

Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 7 months ago

It is allowed to use or rent or hire for religious activities including Namaz, Majaalis, lectures etc, a place which was or is used in un-Islamic way on other times. It is like the road where we walk on, which is used by good people and bad people. Every one is responsible of his acts.

No doubt, we need to be sure about Taharat in the place of prostration (Sojood) of Namaz.

Musical instruments and alcohol related items should be removed during the religious gathering to keep the respect of the religious activity.

Wassalam.

57826

Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 7 months ago

Listening to sinful music is a sin. We should try to avoid shops and
places where music is being played. If there is no other alternative
and if we have to buy from a specific shop which is playing music, it
is good to request them to switch off the music if there is a possibility
that the shopkeeper will listen to your request. If they don’t listen
to your request, we have to be very quick to get our work done and
move away as soon as possible

Wassalaam.

53285

Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answered 7 months ago

as salam alaikum

there are scholars who have said that music which is not suitable for gathering of corruption is permissible. However other scholars have said that music is absolutely impermissible and this is the safest opinion and closer to precaution. However there are many Islamic nasheeds that are done without the use of musical instruments and are not classified as "music" which are permissible and a very good reminder of Allah, His prophets and His awlia'. Some may argue that these nasheeds/religious anthems are still to be considered as a type "music"; in such case there would be no problem in the division of music in permissible or impermissible.

With prayers for your success.

55334

Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answer updated 8 months ago

as salam alaikum

the music which is suitable for gatherings and entertainment of corruption is haram regardless its being "motivational" or not. Some scholars have considered impermissible any type of music and musical instruments which is the safest and most cautious approach.

With prayers for your success.