Music & Singing

In the modern era, music has spread to such an extent that nobody is free from it. Individuals are confronted with situations where they are forced to listen to music. It is played nearly in all department stores and supermarkets. If you sit in a taxi, make a phone call or even walk down the street, you will not be saved from this evil. Young Muslims drive around in their cars with the music fully blasted. The increasing popularity of music, which is prevalent in our society, 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.

Harms and effects of music

We should be aware that nothing has been prohibited by the Almighty Creator 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. Allah Most High says:

“And do not (even) come near to adultery, for it is a shameful deed and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).” (al-Isra, 32)

Islam does not only prohibit adultery and fornication, but also those things that may lead to it. This is the reason why the Qur’an orders Muslim men and women to lower their gazes. It prohibits one from being alone with someone of the opposite sex (khalwa). 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 one’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.

This is the reason why Allah Most High says:

“O wives of the prophet! You are not like other women, if you are god-fearing. So do not be soft in speech. Lest in whose heart is disease should be moved with desire.” (Surah al-Ahzab, v. 32)

Thus, Islam forbids listening to the female voice with lust and desire. The great Hanafi Jurist, Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“It is permissible for women to converse with non-Mahram men at the time of need (and vice versa). However, what is not permissible is that they stretch, soften and raise their voice in a melodious way.” (Radd al-Muhtar, V.1, P. 406)

Similarly, it is also unlawful for women to listen to the voice of non-Mahram men with lust and desire. One of the great western thinkers said: “The voice is one of the quickest ways that make a woman fall in love with a man. This is the reason why many women adore singers.”

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was also wary of this fact when he said to the Companion Bara ibn Malik: “O Bara! Let not the women here your voice.” (Kanz al-Ummal, 7/322) The same has also been reported from the Companion Anjasha (Allah be pleased with him).

Physical Effect of Music

Experiments carried out by doctors and researchers confirm that music is such that it does not only affect the brain, but each and every organ of the body. There is a close relationship between music and bodily movements.

It is also proved that music affects one’s emotions, increases arousal in terms of alertness and excitement and also leads to various psychological changes in the person. In a psychological experiment, it was found that listening to moderate type of music increased one’s normal heart beat, whilst listening to rock music the heart beat increased even further, yet people claim that music has no effect.

In conclusion, music and the instruments used for singing are a cause for arousing the sexual desire of an individual. It could lead a person to adultery and fornication. Therefore, Islam takes the preventive measure rather than suffer the consequences. This is also one of the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, namely ‘blocking the means’ (sadd al-dhara'i). This is based on the idea of preventing an evil before it actually materializes, and is taken from the heart of the guidance of the Qur’an and Sunnah that, “Preventing harm is given precedence even to achieving possible benefits.”