MUSIC in Islam? (3 of 4 parts)

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MUSIC - IS IT HARAM (Forbidden)? (3 of 4)

Hot Topic for Muslims Everywhere -
©1995 anadolu
Article may be reproduced providing full credit is given to Anadolu Bu yazi Anadolu'ya atif yapilmak kaydiyla kopyalanabilir.
This is part 3 of 4 parts dealing with the in depth study of the scholars findings and opinions regarding one of the most discussed issues in modern Muslim circles.

Part 1 of  4 parts "Music In Islam"
Part 2 of 4 parts "Music in Islam"
Part 3 of 4 parts "Music in Islam"
Part 4 of 4 parts "Music in Islam"

MUSIC - Authentic Hadeeths Forbid It?

(Part 3 of 4 parts)

What about the hadeeth about "music be prohibited" - I heard someone say,  "There's no authentic hadeeth against musical instruments" - and I heard he was a scholar or imam or something. What do you say about that?

How did the companions and early scholars understand Islam's position on music, singing & dancing? What about nasheeds (Islamic songs)? You have "99 Names of Allah" on this website - is that singing? Is it music?

Music - Halal or Haram? - The Proof
(Detailed, long version)
- Real Scholar's Rulings Based:
Critical Analysis and Expose' of Mistakes of Dr. Yusuf Qaradawi's "Al Halal Wal Haram Fee Islam" regarding hadeeths in Sahih Al-Bukhari.

The following ruling based on the work of Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi in hopes it will bring closure to the subject for the true seekers of knowledge (this is part 3 - A Study of the hadeeth in Al Bukhair)

[NOTE: We recommend converting this long file to .PDF by using the icon of the left of the 3 icons - upper right side]

Having established the authenticity of the afore mentioned narration recorded in Imam Al-Bukhari’s compilation, the meaning of his hadeeth and its stand as an indisputable proof of the unlawfulness of music may now be discussed.

Commentary On Al-Bukhari’s Hadeeth

The portion of Al-Bukhari’s hadeeth which is presently of concern is that segment whose text states: Its translation follows”:

“There will be a people of my Ummah (nation) who will seek to make lawful: fornication, the wearing of silk, wine-drinking and the use of musical instruments. . . “

The word of consequence here is the Arabic term' maazif'. In order to discover what it implies, we must turn to Arabic dictionaries (mowrid) of hadeeth terms and other scholarly works.

According to Lisaanul Arab (Tongue of Arabic) maazif is the plural of mizaf or azf and indicates objects or instruments of play or leisure which are beat upon their sound. If the singular form is used (mizaf), it specifically means a type of large wooden drum use mainly by the people of Yemen. The noun 'azf' also stands for the act of playing with 'maazif' is hand drums (duff) or other instruments which are struck upon.

Al-Juwhari, the author of the ancient dictionary, As-Sihaah, asserts that maazif signifies musical instruments, al-aazif indicates one who sings, and the azf of the wind is its voice. In the famous Taajul 'Aroos min Jawaahiril Qaaamoos, besides quoting the above mentioned meanings, the small hand drum (duff) or other such musical objects. And finally, in the small hand drum (duff) or other such musical objects.

And finally, in the famous dictionary, An-Nihaayah fee Ghareebil Hadeeth. Ibnul Atheer mentions the meaning of maazif as it is used in various hadeeths.

He comments, “By 'azf is meant playing with maazif, consisting of duff (hand drums) or other instruments which are beat upon “He also mentions the derived noun form, 'azeef, which means “sound” or voice”, while 'azeeful jinn' signifies the ringing of the jinn’s' voices. It is said that the people of the desert imagined the shrill ringing of the winds in the desert air to be the voice of jinn.

The commentaries of the scholars of hadeeth also agree on the above quoted meanings for the term maazif mentioned in Al-Bukhari narration. In Ibn Hajar’s exhaustive commentary of Saheehul Bukhari, he adds that an earlier hadeeth scholar, named Ad-Dimyaati, says that the word 'azf is also used to describe singing (ghinaa).

Such a detailed analysis of the meaning of the term maazif, as mentioned in the most authoritative dictionaries of the Arabic language , is “interpret” it in a matter suiting their pre conceived notions or opinions. It clearly has been established that the word maazif-according to correct Arabic usage-indicates a specific number of things (a) musical instruments (b) the sounds of those musical instruments (music) and (c) singing to instrumental accompaniment.

Analysis Of The Text As A Proof Of Prohibition

An analysis of the hadeeths wording clearly indicates the unlawfulness of music. In the text it is said that people from the Prophets ummah (nation) will “seek to make lawful” that which is termed “maazif.” This statement (“seek to make lawful”) is derived from the verb “yastahilloona” the first part, yasta, is the conjugated addition to the root ahalla. The conjugated form is a means to seek, try, attempt, desire, etc. While the root, ahalla, means to make lawful. Taken together, it means, “to seek to make lawful.”

Obviously, a person can only seek, desire or attempt to make something lawful if it is not already lawful. If  something is already lawful, it is nonsense for someone to try to seek to establish it as being what it already is (halal).

Other things mentioned which people will attempt to make lawful are named along maazif. These additional matters are definitely prohibited in Islam-namely; zina - illegal sexual intercourse, the drinking of wine or liquor (khamar) and the wearing of silk (for males). Had maazif not been prohibited, they never would have been associated with other prohibited objects in one and the same context.

In order to dispel the common misconception prevalent among certain Muslims that “only one hadeeth” in Al-Bukhari’s compilation stands as proof of prohibition regarding this issue, it is necessary to mention a sample of other authentic hadeeth. The fact that the majority of traditions regarding music, instruments and singing are weak and rejected (munkar) does not negate the existence of an appreciable number whose degree is saheeh(authentic) or hasan(of good, acceptable quality).

The Narration Of Ibn Maajah

There is a narration by Ibn Maajah in Kitabul Fitan in the chapter on punishments, whose sanad and text in Arabic is as follows:

The translation is:

“The messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “A people of my Ummah will drink wine, calling it by other than its real name. Merriment will be made for them through the playing of musical instruments and the singing of lady singers. Allah will cleave the earth under them and turn others into apes and swine.”

The sanad (chain of narration) is:

This is an authentic hadeeth. It was also narrated by Al-Baihaqi and Ibn Asaakir with the same wording. The renowned scholar of hadeeth and fiqh, Ibnul-Qayyim, authenticated it as mentioned in the famous hadeeth commentary of the 'allaamah, Abtut-Teeb Muhammad Shamsul-Haqq Adheem-Aabaadi Furthermore, it was given a degree of saheeh by muhaddith of our era, Shaikh Muhammad Naasiruddeen Al-Albaani, has mentioned it in detail, giving it critical evaluation and assessment in his Silsatul Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah and in his Saheehul Jaamis Sagheer.

It further mentioned and authenticated in his Ghaayatul Maraam Takhreejul Halaali wal Haraam.

The Narration Of Ahmad Bin Hanbal

There are a number of narrations proving the prohibition of music and instruments in Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s Musnad. Although many of them are weak, two of the narrations from his compilation that have been verified to authentic, follow:

The first text:

The prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah prohibited wine, gambling and al-koobah, and every intoxicant is prohibited.” Sufyan said, “I asked the narrator, Ali ibn Badheemah, “What is ‘al-koobah?’ He answered, ‘It is the drum.’”

The second text:
It is translated thus:

Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah has prohibited for my Ummah: wine, gambling, a drink distilled from corn, the drum and the lute while He supplemented me with another prayer, the witr.”

These narrations have also been related by other compilers, such as Al-Baihaqi in his Shubul Iman with an authentic isnaad and At-Tabaraani in Al-Mujam Al-Kabeer with a jayyid (good) isnaad. The detailed proof of their verified authenticity are mentioned in Al-Albani's Saheehul Jaamis Sagheer. It is further authenticated in his Mishkaatul Masaabeeh and in his work, Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah.

The Narration Of Al-Hakim And Others

It is reported by Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak that the Prophet, peace be upon him, took the hand of the companion, Abdur Rahman bin 'Owf (ra), and they proceeded to visit the Prophet’s ailing son, Ibrahim. They found the infant in the thrones of death, so the Prophet, peace be upon him, took him to his breast and held him until his spirit left him. Then he put the child down and wept, and Abdur-Rahmaan asked in astonishment,

“You are weeping, Oh Messenger of Allah, while you prohibit crying!?”

The following is the Prophet’s reply:

“Verily, I did not prohibit weeping [per se] but rather, I forbade two voices [sowtayn] which embellish (ahmaq) and sinfully shameless[faajir]:one, voice [singing] to the accompaniment of musical amusement [lahw]and Satan’s[wind]instruments; the other, a voice [wailing] due to some calamity, accompanied by striking of the face and tearing of garments. But this [weeping of mine] stems from compassion, and whosoever does not show compassion will not receive it.”

This hadeeths degree is hasan (good) and it has been strengthened by another narration related by Abu Bakr Ash-Shafi in his work, Ar-Rubaiyat. Its abbreviated text follows:

The Narration Of Abu Bakr Ash-Shafi:

Anas bin Malik related from the Prophet, peace be upon him, that “Two cursed sounds are that of the [wind] instrument [mizmaar] played on the occasion of joy and grace, and woeful wailing of joy and grace, and woeful wailing upon the occurrence of adversity.”

A similar text with slightly different wording is related by Al-Bazaar in his collection of hadeeths.

Al-Hafidh Nuradeen Al-Haythami mentioned it in his Majma' Az-Zawaid and indicated that the narrators of this isnaad are all dependable.

Thus, these last three narrations prove the illegality of music and singing to musical accompaniment, especially wind instruments (mazamer), which are referred to as “flutes of Satan” in the tradition related by Al-Hakim.

The traditions quoted are not the only available authentic hadeeths which establish prohibition, there are others. However the scope of this treatise does not allow a more detailed exposition.

The sample mentioned is sufficient proof, for “Verily therein is a reminder for any who has a heart or who gives ear and earnestly witnesses [the truth].”

Consensus Of The Companions, Taabieen, Imams And Other Fuqahaa

No doubt, the companions (sahabah) of the Prophet, peace be upon him, were the best people after the Messengers of Allah. The companions received the knowledge of Islam from the Prophet, peace be upon him, and faithfully conveyed it to us.

Therefore, it is useful to know their views regarding the subject of this treatise, for their consensus (ijtimaa) carries absolute weight in this matter and clarifies the correct view, removing any lingering doubts in the hearts of those who have not yet been graced with the gift of surety (yaqeen) and conviction.

In order to further strengthen the view previously established , it is necessary to review the opinions of the tabieen (followers of the companions of the prophet, peace be upon him), the four imams and other accomplished scholars of Islam.

One of the attributes of sound Islamic methodology is the reference to the views and positions held by the pious predecessors of the Islamic ummah and the respectful consideration with which one approaches them. However, their views, as with the views of all, must be subjected to the criterion of Allah’s Book and the authentically related prophetic traditions.
Since the prohibition of music has already been established beyond the slightest doubt through detailed proof from the authentic sunnah, this section of the treatise is presented merely for the sake of the reader’s knowledge and Islamic awareness.

The Position Of The Companions On This Issue

A few of the late Shafi scholars related Ibn Tahirs claim that the sahaabah and taabieen unanimously agreed upon the permissibility or singing (ghinaa); therefore, those who came after them have no right to challenge their authority.

The Shafi scholar, Ibn Hajar Al-Haythami Makki (909-974 H), mentioned that some went so far as to claim the supposed consensus of ahlul Medina (the people of Medina) on this question. They even accused 24 scholars from among the sahaabah, as well as innumerable tabieen, their followers, and the four imams and their disciples of singing and listening to songs.

However, regarding the previously mentioned claim by Ibn Tahir and those who indiscriminately followed him – Shihaabuddeen Al-Adhraai (708-783 AH), an authority on Shafi scholarship, refuted such facile reports and insisted that Ibn Tahir’s book Safwatut Tasawwuf (The vanguard of Sufism) and his treatise, As-Sammaa (Listening) [to music, singing, etc.], one finds disgraceful, scandalous things along with ugly instances of fraudulent presentations of material (in defense of his (Ibn Tahir’s) position on this issue.

Al-Adhraai further clarified that what has been attributed to the companions could not be established by authentically related narrations (aathaar), but rather, their assertions were based on reports of certain companions listening to poetry, chants or songs.

This does not substantiate their allegations, for such things are permitted by consensus and fall outside the realm of this area of dispute.

Clearly, it was related that some companions performed permitted aspects of singing etc.; however, these actions were distorted out of context by such persons to include every type of singing, without specification or restriction.

Al-Adhari then quoted an authoritative Shafi imam, Abdul-Qasim Ad-Duwlaqi, who clarifies in his book As-Sammaa (the listening, i.e.; to music, singing, etc.), the vital point which is at the crux of this issue.

He says (about the prophet, peace be upon him),

“It has (not) been related regarding any one of the companions that he, peace be upon him, ever listened to the sort of singing which is of the disputed type nor is it related that gatherings for song were organized for him, nor that he, peace be upon him, praised such singing; rather, it was the companions' habit to censure and blame such gatherings for the purpose of listening to it.”

Ibn Hajar Al-Haythami concludes his discourse by pointing out that,

It is clear from what has preceded that it is not permissible to blindly adhere to Ibn Tahir’s views, because he has deviated in both the point of view of his narrations (naql), and his personal opinions (aql). He was also a liar, innovator and a libertine.

As for those who relate that the companions and others permitted the disputed types of song, they have committed an ugly mistake and they have fallen prey to gross error.

The issue of song and music is of two types: The first type is permitted by consensus, and the second type is disputed about as to its prohibition.

To imply that the companions' type (is both) is invalid arbitrariness and is not based on the principles of jurisprudence and hadeeth science.

Such principles clearly indicate that we must interpret whatever has been related on this issue regarding the companions as that type of song permitted by consensus.

Regarding this particular issue, Yousuf Al-Qardaawi makes a bold and misleading statement. It reads:

“It is related a large number of companions and taabieen, that they used to listen to song (ghinaa), and they didn’t see any harm in that.”

This assertion is misleading for a number of reasons.

Firstly, he claims that it has been “related”, however, he brings no valid proof of such a statement-not even a single pertinent tradition (athar) related to the companions.

Secondly, he leads the reader to believe that the sahabah listened to all types of songs. This accomplishes with the general wording “used to listen to songs.”

In reality, they only listened to particular types, as specified lawful in the sunnah. These types are restricted as to who may sing and who may listen on what occasion they are allowed and in what manner they are to be delivered. The difference between what Qardaawi has intimated and what really occurred is like night and day.

In reality, the companions unanimously agreed upon the prohibition of music and song but allowed particular exceptions specified by the authentic sunnah.

Many authentic narrations (aathaar) traced to the various sahaabah bear witness to this.

For example, it is authentically related by Al-Baihaqi, that the famous memorizer of Quran and companion of the prophet, peace be upon him, Abdullah bin Masud said,

“Singing sprouts hypocrisy in the heart as rain sprouts herbs and greens.”

As was related in an earlier portion of this treatise, when he was questioned regarding the meaning of the words [lahwal hadeeth], he replied,

“I swear by Him besides Whom there is no other god that it refers to singing.”

He repeated it three times over to emphasize his belief that the words from the Quran were a rebuke and censure of singing.

In addition to this, the same view was held by the four rightly guided caliphs, the fuqahaa (scholars of fiqh - Islamic jurisprudence) among the sahaabah such as Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Abdullah Ibn Umar and Jabir bin Abdullah, as well as the general body of sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them all).

Any one who claims differently is requested to bring proof. It is further requested that it be an authentically reported, clear and unambiguous text that it relate specifically to the point of dispute (mahallun nizaa).


MUSIC - IS IT HARAM (Forbidden)? (3 of 4)
Hot Topic for Muslims Everywhere -
©1995 anadolu
Article may be reproduced providing full credit is given to Anadolu Bu yazi Anadolu'ya atif yapilmak kaydiyla kopyalanabilir.

MUSIC - Yes or No? (Part 3 of 4 parts)
(go to part 4)

Part 1 of  4 parts "Music In Islam"
Part 2 of 4 parts "Music in Islam"
Part 3 of 4 parts "Music in Islam"
Part 4 of 4 parts "Music in Islam"

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