Islam’s stance(s) on music

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Most non-Muslims don’t realise that Islam is a very all-encompassing religion, with something to say on any and all topics. In Islam absolutely nothing is taboo to talk about, despite how squeamish or “proper” some of us are (hence why I discussed sexual matters with almost flippant openness in other posts, and I intend to do so again). It also has rulings, guidelines & judgements to pass on those topics. Some say this is invasive & overly difficult. Muslims, on the other hand, often say Islam isn’t a religion but a way of life; they understand the typical Western description of religion is far too limited and short-sighted.

This doesn’t mean that all Muslims agree on everything; some things are matters of personal taste and opinion. One such topic is music. As far as I can tell there are at least 3 “official” positions of music:

  1. Totally forbidden (haram) in all forms in all places at all times,
  2. Totally allowed (halal) in all forms in all places at all times,
  3. Certain types & instruments allowed in certain occasions.

(I admit I used to adhere to the first position – totally forbidden. I don’t anymore but even to this day I generally find it hard to really get into it for its own sake)

 

As for the latter two positions, there are and have for ages been different types and styles. Nashiyds (usually spelt nasheeds) are songs with moral lessons, Sufi worship services (known as dhikr, but literally translates as general remembrance of Allah) are often musical in form, mawlid music is music played during public celebrations of prophet Muhammad’s birthday (though the permissibility of celebrating birthdays is also hotly contested – might discuss in another post), and ancient Arabs were well-known for their beautiful poetry recitals both pre- & post-Islam. Of course this list is not exhaustive.

The first position of total prohibition is upheld not due to any Qur’anic stipulation, but because of certain ahadiyth in which the prophet forbade it. However, there are others that explicitly mention the prophet himself listening to it at certain occasions (e.g. weddings), and allowing his followers to.

Some Muslims try to claim the Qur’an directly forbids music, because it prohibits lagwa. This is a LIE, because lagwa does not mean music. It means vain or idle talk/ gossip, which is forbidden. However, all three positions are in agreement (as far as I know!) that other things that often accompany music in Western cultures are absolutely forbidden, e.g. taking booze/ other intoxicants, lewd dancing, dancing with non-mahrams*, lewd/ offensive lyrics, that sort of thing.

* Mahrams are people that we’d Islamically be forbidden from marrying and therefore wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) gain sexual attraction to, e.g. siblings, parents, children and others. Non-mahrams are therefore people outside this category.

Wut? Them therr Mozlems be high on some noo s*** right?

No Lil Wayne, that’s completely serious. Islam is an all-encompassing religion that’s meant to have guidance on every aspect of human endeavours & behaviour. 

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