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The Islamic Stand on Music

by Imâm al-Madîna al-Munawarrah Salâh al-Budayr

 (The opinions expressed in this article are Imam al-Budayr’s own personal  subjecticve opinions. There are articles (posted at IRFI website) that oppose the Imam’s stand on Music. Managing Editor of


All praise is due to Allah. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, He is One and has no partner. I equally testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. May peace and blessings be upon him, his household and companions.

  “O You who believe. Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him and speak (Always) the truth.”(Al-Ahzaab 33: 70)   

Brothers in faith! Muslims live, under the shade of this great religion, a life full of honour and grace. They find that by virtue of this religion they taste the sweetness of faith, attain true peace of mind and gratification in their worship.

The teachings of this religion adopt a firm stance against any form of evil teachings and whimsical desires of corrupt people in order to protect mankind from his own caprice and lust and to put an end to his anxieties and sorrows. Who is richer than he who adheres to the religion of Allah, though he is economically underprivileged, and who is poorer than he who opposes the religion of Allah though he is financially prosperous!

Fellow Muslims! One thing that saddens the zealous Muslim is to see his brothers in faith seeking happiness through means other than Islam, thereby treating their disease with poison instead of medicine and deluding themselves into believing that satiating their lustful desires will cure them of their ailments. An example of this is the obsession of many people today with listening to music and musical instruments; they justify this unenviable habit of theirs with baseless arguments and excuses. This evil deed is only promoted by those who are already afflicted with the blind following of their lustful desires and listening to shameless female singers. Our prophet Muhammad told us about these people when he said

  , “There will be some people among my nation who will regard fornication, wearing of silk (for men), drinking of intoxicants and stringed instruments as lawful.” (Al-Bukhaaree and others)

Fellow Muslims! It is a great error on the part of anyone who claims to have knowledge and Eemaan to hold that listening to music with its instruments is permissible, considering that it contain every conceivable form of evil.

As a matter of fact, music is a satanic voice that deeply penetrates the human heart and stimulates in it destructive lustful desires, wreaks havoc on mans’ body and soul and fills his ears with obscenities.

Brothers in faith! Let us ask ourselves a question: How can a sane person plunge his noble self into acts of such shameless immorality; acts that believing souls disdain and people of sound nature reject and abhor? Jaabir narrated that the Prophet said,

  “I did not forbid you from weeping. I have only forbidden you from making two foolish and horrible noises: a noise when playing and using the instrument of Satan and a noise when you are afflicted with a calamity and you beat your faces, tear your garments and make a satanic wailing.” (Al-Haakim)

Anas narrated that the prophet said, “

  Two sounds are accursed in this world and the hereafter: (the sound of) musical instruments in time of happiness and wailing during calamity.” (Al-Bazaar)

Brothers in Islam! Music is prohibited and condemned by many Qur’anic verses. Allah says,

  “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. Music, singing etc.) to mislead men from the path of Allah without knowledge and takes it (the path of Allah, or the verses of the Qur’an) by way of mockery. For such there will be humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire).”(Luqmaan 31: 6)   

The Prophet said while commenting on this verse,

  “It is not permissible to sell singing girls nor to buy them, nor to trade in them. Their price is haraam. This verse was revealed regarding that.” (At-Tabaraanee) 

Abdullah ibn Mas’ood also commented on this verse when he said,

  “By Him beside whom no deity is worthy of worship! That (verse refers to) music,”

Dear Muslims! Music is the voice of Satan with which he instigates human beings into perpetrating evil deeds and acts of disobedience. It is therefore imperative upon every Muslim to shun him and keep away from him. Allah says in this regard,

  “And befool them gradually those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e. songs, music, and any other call for Allah’s disobedience), make assaults on them with your cavalry and infantry, share with them wealth and children (by tempting them to earn money by illegal ways – usury, or by committing illegal sexual intercourse), and make promises to them. But Satan promises them nothing but deceit.”(Al-Israa’ 17: 64)   

Fellow Muslims! Shun music and its instruments for it leads to promiscuity. It is also the trap of Satan by which he lures men to immoral acts. Zayd ibn Al-Waleed said,

  “O Omayyads! Keep away from music for it reduces modesty, increases lust and destroys man. It acts in the same way as alcohol and one who is under its influence acts like one who is drunk.”

Umar ibn Abdul-Azeez wrote to his sons’ tutor:

  “Let your first lesson for them be the hatred of musical instruments that come from Satan and end with the wrath of Allah; for it reached me from trustworthy sources that attending a place where music and its instruments are played grows hypocrisy in the heart as water makes plants grow.” 

He also wrote a letter to Umar ibn Al-Waleed part of which goes thus,

  “And your introduction of musical instruments and flutes is an innovation in Islam and I have decided to send to you those who will chop off that evil head of yours.”

Brothers in faith! Beware of things that lead to Allah’s wrath. Appearance of music and stringed instruments is a cause of Allah’s wrath and His chastisement. Aboo Maalik Al-Ash’aree narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,

  “There will be a group of people among my nation who will drink alcohol calling it by other names and upon their heads stringed instruments will be played and in their presence songstresses will sing, Allah will cause the earth to swallow them and He will turn them into monkeys and pigs.” 

‘Imraan narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,

  “In this nation there will be humiliation, corruption and slander. The companions asked, “When will that happen O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “When songstresses and stringed instruments appear and when alcohol is consumed.” (At-Tirmidhee)

Brothers in Islam! Indeed the essence of music, its causes, goals and effects all revolve around the songs of corrupt and immoral people, for music contains commendation of that which Allah detests, boasting about perpetration of what He dislikes and forbids and maybe even exceeding this with music which extols sacrilegious ideas.

If you consider the havoc that songs and instruments have wreaked on the lives of those musicians and their fans you will realise what a terrible impact it has. It leaves clear visible effects on their faces, their speech and their conditions.

When Maalik ibn Anas was asked about what some men in his time regarded as permissible music, he answered,

  “It is only the sinful people who do that here.”


Fellow Muslims! Listening to music is one of the greatest traps of Satan that he sets to divert people’s attention from the Qur’an. Ash-Shaafiee said,

  “I left behind in Baghdad something that heretics introduced which they called Taghbeer with which they distract people from the Qur’an.”

Allahu Akbar! This saying of Ash-Shaafiee was about Taghbeer which is poetry which encourages an ascetic life, sung by one while he strikes a rod against a dried skin or something like that, what then will one say about a type of music that is parallel to intoxicants in its effect? Music is nothing more than lustful words that give not peace of mind nor calm the nerves. Glory be to Allah! How easily people get misled!

Brothers in faith! The sense of hearing is a great trust and a huge favour from Allah. He has commanded His slaves to preserve this sense and tells them that they will be held responsible for it. Therefore, using this sense to listen to music and stringed instruments amounts to abuse of this favour. Aboo Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said,

  “The fornication of the tongue is uttering immoral utterances, fornication of the hands is touching and fornication of the feet is walking (unto what is forbidden). The heart desires and wishes but it is the private parts that confirms or denies them.”(Muslim)

Fellow Muslims! Extolling music and stringed instruments and regarding musicians as leaders of society means calling people unto error and driving them away from the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet. The Prophet said   , “Whoever calls unto an error will have the sin equal to that of those who follow him without deducting anything of their own sins.” (Muslim)

Brothers in Islam! It is quite disheartening to see a nation which is being persecuted, whose people are being killed, whose honour, lands, and sacred places are being desecrated and who yet still find time to sing and play music as if nothing had happened! We seek refuge with Allah from having such dead unfeeling hearts!

Dear Muslims! Clean yourselves and your ears from idle talk and stringed instruments of Satan and replace them with the Gardens of Paradise that are to be found in Qur’anic reading and Sunnah study circles, you will reap the everlasting fruits, have guidance and find a cure for all diseases of the heart, mind and soul. Be among those whom Allah describes thus:

  “And if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass it by with dignity.”(Al-Furqaan 25: 72)   

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allah and be conscious of Him and obey Him. “O you who believe! Fear Allah and be among the truthful.”

Brothers in faith! Allah allows the beating of tambourines in marriage ceremonies along with songs that contain no description of women or any other immoral message. That is in order to make the marriage publicised and distinguish between lawful and unlawful marriages. The Prophet said,

  “The difference between the lawful and unlawful marriage is the beating of the tambourine and the proclamation of the marriage.”

In Saheeh Al-Bukharee, Rubayyia bint Mu’awiyyah said – after her marriage had been consummated –

  “Some girls were beating a tambourine and praising those of their fathers who had been killed during the Battle of Badr.” 

Ibn Hajar said,

  “In the sound hadeeths there is permission for women to do that exclusively. Men should not join with them in that because of the general ruling that forbids men from imitating women.”

It is therefore pitiful that some overstep the bounds of this permission by hiring musicians and songstresses who sing immoral songs and play on their musical instruments. These people who hire them spend a huge amount of money in doing so, thereby hurting themselves and disturbing and hurting their neighbours with the noise of that music. They also commit other atrocities like giving the women an avenue to imitate those shameless dances, causing the mixing of the two sexes, wasting time and neglecting prayers among other things.

Brothers and sisters in Islam! Let us therefore shun this type of gathering. Al-Imaam Al-Awzaa’ee said,

  “Do not attend a marriage ceremony in which there is drum beating and stringed instruments.”

Fellow Muslims! Repent and turn back to Allah. Adhere to the manners of your religion, reform yourselves and hold fast unto the Book of your Lord and the Sunnah of your Prophet and you will prosper and succeed. 

Say (O Muhammad ): "O Allah! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do all things.

You make the night to enter into the day, and You make the day to enter into the night (i.e. increase and decrease in the hours of the night and the day during winter and summer), You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give wealth and sustenance to whom You will, without limit (measure or account). (3:26,27)

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