Music is un-Islamic

Afghan musician hopes the Taliban will go away so he can play again

sufi_musicSufi musicians/file photo

The Taliban believe music is un-Islamic. Why? Hadith Qudsi 19:5: “The Prophet said that Allah commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance.”

The Hadith Qudsi, or holy Hadith, are those in which Muhammad transmits the words of Allah, although those words are not in the Qur’an.

Muhammad also said:

(1) “Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance.”

(2) “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress.”

(3) “Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage.”

(4) “This community will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones.” Someone asked, “When will this be, O Messenger of Allah?” and he said, “When songstresses and musical instruments appear and wine is held to be lawful.”

(5) “There will be peoples of my Community who will hold fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful ….” – ‘Umdat al-Salik r40.0

“Let the music play: musician prays for Taliban demise,” by Lehaz Ali for AFP, October 23 (thanks to JW):

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan — Mohammad Akbar says he prays every day for the Pakistani army to crush the Taliban so he can make sweet music once more without fearing for his life.

“They smashed it into pieces and warned me of serious consequences if I ever played it again,” said Akbar as he recalled the day two years ago that the Islamists forced him to give a recital of his rubab — a traditional lute-like instrument that is popular in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“I recite from the Holy Koran every morning and pray for the success of the military operation and when they are defeated I will buy another rubab,” he said. […]

Akbar looked visibly distressed as he spoke about his ordeal which started two years ago when a Taliban delegation turned up at his home, following a tip-off from one of his neighbours.

Not knowing they were from the Taliban, he served them tea, played his rubab and sang for them in his living room.

And then they grabbed the instrument and smashed it.

“It was a warning from them. I was forced to stop playing an instrument that I started playing in 1981,” he said.

Pakistan has seen creeping religious conservatism over the years in parts of the northwest and in July 2007 Taliban extremists launched a bloody insurgency to impose a harsh brand of Islamic law in the Swat valley.

Memo to AFP: “religious conservatism” in the Western sense doesn’t involve smashing musical instruments, blowing up music stores and murdering musicians.

They blew up hundreds of music and DVD shops in the troubled North West Frontier Province (NWFP), calling the practice against the tenets of Islam.

Shop owners were forced to display the pro-Taliban material which ranged from tirades against the United States to gruesome clips of beheadings and bomb attacks.

Tears rolled down Akbar’s cheeks as he talked about one of his very close friends Ahmad Shah, whom he says was executed by Taliban for playing the flute.

“They slit his throat because he ignored their warning,” said Akbar.

The musician also recalled his childhood friendship with Qari Hussain, a reputed mass trainer of suicide bombers whose home town is now surrounded by the army, saying that Hussain also did not like his hobby of playing the rubab.

When he confronted Hussain, who returned to South Waziristan in 2007 after living for years in Karachi, about the Taliban’s behaviour, he received an icy reply.

“I went to him to lodge complaint but he asked me to be thankful to God that they did not kill me on his request,” he said….

What Islam Says about Music

Moe’s Jihad News

5 thoughts on “Music is un-Islamic”

  1. I can get used to banging my head on the floor five times a day. Making excuses for homicide-bombers and barbaric Islamic customs should be easy…… everyone else does it. However…….. I will not join any cult that requires me to get rid of my guitars.

  2. Better to watch Islamic tirades and beheadings then listen to music? Never to be graced with the like of Beethoven or Mozart or Chopin? Makes me despise Islam all the more.

  3. “We have to be careful what we say about music — the fundamentalists are everywhere”

    Muhammad was not a fan of music, to say the least. Musical culture has persisted or re-emerged nonetheless in many Muslim countries, or has adapted to certain strictures, because it is simply so hard to suppress such a fundamental facet of human nature in its entirety. But objections to music and violent attempts to root it out in Islamic societies far removed from one another also keep occurring because they are inspired by and are in imitation of Muhammad’s own hostility toward it.

    “The Persecution of Music and Musicians in the Islamic World,” by Geoffrey Clarfield for the American Thinker, September 23:

    At a recent conference on ethnomusicology held in the U.S., I met an Arab researcher. His paper on traditional Arab music was indecipherable and full of postmodern jargon. After he finished his presentation, he confided to me in private, “We have to be careful what we say about music — the fundamentalists are everywhere.” And they certainly are. The tyrannies that control the Islamic world are at war with music and musicians, and they seem to be winning.
    Jonas Otterbeck, a Swedish expert on the status of musicians in the Islamic world, writes, “States and local authorities have taken action against heavy metal musicians, female singers, music, videos and public concerts. Islamist and conservative Islamic organizations … try to disturb and breakup [sic] concerts, demand censorship on recordings, or call for the punishment of individuals for being blasphemous. At times musicians are killed or attacked physically[.]”
    When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they tried to ban all music based on a Hadith (saying of the Prophet) that states, “Those who listen to music and songs in this world will on the Day of Judgment have molten lead poured into their ears.” And so, inspired by the Taliban, a radical Islamic group kidnapped the well-known Algerian Berber singer, Younes Matoub. Before they killed him, he was told, “You are the enemy of God…you and your songs[.]”
    To insure that this banning or strict state and religious control of the arts is secure from the intrusiveness of new technologies such as satellite TV and the internet, in February 2008, 21 information ministers from Arab countries agreed on new restrictions for satellite TV. Their charter states that broadcasters should not damage “social peace and national unity and public order.” Only Qatar abstained, as its autocratic and non-democratic government is home to the notorious Al Jazeera station, staunch enemy of the West, Israel, and liberal democracies.
    Such an environment of fear allowed for the arrest of men like Saudi journalist Rabbah Al Quwai’i, who protested in print against Muslim extremists who burn books and musical instruments. He received death threats, his car was smashed, and he was arrested. The grounds for his incarceration were “destructive thoughts.”
    Less violently but perhaps more absurdly, last year the Saudi government announced that there should be no music or dancing when young girls graduate from school. And for those who thought that when King Abdullah took the throne in 2005, there would be greater artistic freedom in the kingdom, the Saudis have canceled their summer film festival.
    In Egypt the government censors and the Islamic authorities provide licenses for musicians and performers that significantly restricts their artistic freedom in countless ways. But this cannot guarantee the safety of Egyptian musicians. The most recent example was the brutal assault of 23-year-old Ramy Essam, the famous anti-government protest singer of Tahrir square, who was attacked by police and soldiers and tortured with an electric detonator.
    On May 18, 2010, Elton John, pop star and renowned gay activist, was set to play a concert in Cairo. When the authorities heard that he had said that Jesus was gay, they canceled the event. Unlike many pop stars, who endorse the craziest of causes, Sir Elton is very clear about the realities of life in the Islamic world. He has said, “Try being a gay woman in the Middle East — you are as good as dead.”
    In the West, he can say such things, and people will channel their disgust into not buying his music or watching his performances. Under Sharia, his life would in danger on so many counts.

    This year the Iranian government adopted a new censorship rule that bans love poetry that is secular, while also making the musical use of traditional Sufi love poems difficult for musicians to record or perform in public. This strikes at the heart of the Iranian musical tradition, which has been immersed in Sufism and Sufi mystical poetry for centuries. The Iranians also have a rule against female soloists. Female voices must make Iranian men very, very upset (or excited).
    Before their resounding electoral success, the Islamic government of Turkey promised musicians continued freedom of artistic expression. However, they seem to have made a major exception when it comes to Turkish citizens of Kurdish culture.
    Singer Ferhant Tunc received a 25-day jail sentence for comments that he made during a performance. Other performers like Pinar Sag and Mehmet Ozcan were sentenced to ten months in prison for comments that they made during performances. Three members of the Kurdish band Koma Aheng got ten months each for comments that they have made.
    In the case of Pinar Sag, the Istanbul branch of the Contemporary Lawyer’s Association have accused the state of “judicial terror,” which is not a bad way of characterizing the rule of sharia law in the modern world. In countries like Saudi Arabia, judicial terror is a way of life. If the average Turk thinks that his new government is not headed in that direction, then he is living in a dream.
    So where do Arabs and other Muslims turn to when their tyrannical governments have uprooted the wellsprings of their music? Israel, of course. The rallying cry of the Syrian opposition to dictator Bashir el Assad is a song called “Zini Zini,” written by the Israeli singer-songwriter Amir Benayoun.
    Benayoun is an orthodox Jew whose family moved to Israel after the Algerian war of independence, during which Arab nationalists assassinated the great Algerian Jewish musician Sheikh Raymond Leyris (father-in-law of French pop star Enrico Masias) and which some say triggered the Algerian Jewish migration to Israel that caused Benayoun’s parents to emigrate.
    Since the early days of the state, Israel has had a thriving Near Eastern and Arabic musical culture. Some of the most famous classical Arab musicians from Iraq and Kuwait were Jews. When they came to Israel in the 1950s, many of the best got jobs with the Arabic orchestra of Israeli state radio. One of the most famous was Daudi Al Kuwaiti (David the Kuwaiti), whose broadcasts of Arabic music on Israeli national radio during the sixties and seventies were listened to by millions of Arabs across the Middle East.
    Israel’s annual oud (Arabo Turkish lute) festival is a draw for those musicians from the Islamic world who know that the only free musical country in the Middle East is the state of Israel. Israel also allows Arab protest singers to write and sing about “the occupation.”
    Israeli archives are full of Arab and Near Eastern music from Israel itself and all of the neighboring Islamic states. It is also a world center for the free practice of ethnomusicology. If the Arabs lose their broadcasting and other musical archives — which is a distinct possibility, given current trends — the Israelis, like the Irish monks of the middle ages, will preserve Arab and Islamic music for them in their archives and concert halls until the time when their Arab cousins reclaim their common Near Eastern cultural heritage. On that day, the musicians of the Islamic world will finally be free.
    But do not despair. There is a silver lining to this story. The Saudis adamantly defend the broadcast of the song “Jingle Bells” on their airwaves, for their religious authorities have ruled that the song contains no hint of Christian religious symbolism.

  4. “If the other party puts you on hold on the phone, then try not to listen to the music as much as possible. Beware of actively enjoying the music, and seek the forgiveness of Allaah”

    “Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.” —

    Ayatollah Khomeini

    Hadith Qudsi 19:5: “The Prophet said that Allah commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance.” (The Hadith Qudsi, or holy Hadith, are those in which Muhammad transmits the words of Allah, although those words are not in the Qur’an.)

    Muhammad also said:

    (1) “Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance.”

    (2) “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress.”

    (3) “Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage.”

    (4) “This community will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones.” Someone asked, “When will this be, O Messenger of Allah?” and he said, “When songstresses and musical instruments appear and wine is held to be lawful.”

    (5) “There will be peoples of my Community who will hold fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful ….” — ‘Umdat al-Salik r40.0

    Today’s fatwa helps the pious Muslim deal with music that cannot be avoided. Sharia Alert from Islam QA: “Listening to music when one is put on hold,” from Islam QA (thanks to Mark):

    My Muslim brother asks: “At my job site the disbelievers play music over the intercom. I want to know whether I am responsible for this. Insha Allah!”
    Praise be to Allaah.

    If you have the choice and are able to remove this evil, then do so. If the matter is beyond your control, then you will not be held accountable, so long as you do not deliberately listen and enjoy that, because music is haraam (see Question #5011). The same applies to singing, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing) to mislead (men) from the path of Allaah without knowledge…” [Luqmaan 31:6]

    Ibn Mas’ood said: This refers to singing. Similar views were narrated from others among the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them all) and the Salaf. Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) differentiated between listening for the purpose of enjoyment enjoyment, and unintentional hearing where one has no choice in the matter. In the latter case there is no blame or sin involved, and Allaah does not burden a soul beyond its scope. If the other party puts you on hold on the phone, then try not to listen to the music as much as possible. Beware of actively enjoying the music, and seek the forgiveness of Allaah, for Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
    Islam Q&A
    Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

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