General Ruling on Anaasheed (Songs) and Musical Instruments

Taken from: (search for “song” , click on this article: Ibn Baz Fatwas – Browse by volume number – Volume 3 – Evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah prohibiting and warning against singing and musical instruments ) I added some bolding and underlining.

By the late Scholar and Imam Ibn Baz – rahimahullah

I reviewed the article published by Al-Ra’id Magazine in its issues nos. (67) and (68), by Abu Turab Al-Zhahiry under the title “The Qur’an and Sunnah have not forbidden singing or playing musical instruments and listening to them.” I considered carefully the texts of Hadith and Athar (narrations from the Companions) he mentioned and relied upon in permitting singing and musical instruments, according to his Imam Abu Muhammad ibn Hazm Al-Zhahiry. I was astonished at his extreme daring following his Imam Abu Muhammad to claim that all the Hadith reported to prohibit singing and musical instruments are Da`if (weak). Even more, they claim that such reported Hadith are Mawdu` (fabricated).

I was surprised at their strange extreme daring to say that singing and all musical instruments are Halal (lawful), though there are so many Ayahs (Qur’anic verses), Hadith and reports quoted from the Salaf (righteous predecessors – may Allah be pleased with them) that forbid them. May Allah save us from speaking about Him without knowledge and daring without evidence to regard as lawful what Allah has deemed unlawful. The early scholars denied this strange daring on the part of Abu Muhammad and blamed him for that. Due to this, many ordeals befell him. May Allah forgive him, us and all Muslims!

Allah warns His Servants against attributing to Him things without knowledge. He (Glorified be He) warns them against regarding things as Halal or Haram (prohibited) without evidence. He (Glorified and Exalted be He) tells that this is driven by Satan. He (Exalted be He) says:Surah Al-A`raf, 7: 33 Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawâhish (great evil sins and every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allâh for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allâh of which you have no knowledge.”

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He (Exalted be He) says:Surah Al-Nahl, 16: 116 And say not concerning that which your tongues put forth falsely: “This is lawful and this is forbidden,” so as to invent lies against Allâh. Verily, those who invent lies against Allâh will never prosper. Surah Al-Nahl, 16: 117 A passing brief enjoyment (will be theirs), but they will have a painful torment. He (Exalted be He) also says:Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 168 O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaitan (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy. Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 169 He [Shaitân (Satan)] commands you only what is evil and Fahshâ (sinful), and that you should say against Allâh what you know not. In these Noble Ayahs, Allah (Glorified be He) warns His Servants against considering something to be Halal or Haram without knowledge. He (Glorified be He) points out that speaking about Him without knowledge is more grave than Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and that Satan likes to make people attribute things to Allah without knowledge and orders them to do this to spoil their religion, morals and societies. Every Muslim should beware of speaking about Allah without knowledge and should fear and watch Allah with regard to whatever they deem Halal or Haram. Every Muslim should try to get rid of personal whims and blind imitation. They should aim at clarifying Allah’s Ruling to people in the same way Allah pointed out in His Book and His Messenger referred to in his Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) out of sincerity to Allah and His Servants, and for fear of hiding knowledge, and to get the reward from Allah. May Allah guide us and all Muslims to the way of scholars and believers and to save us from the evils of ourselves and our misdeeds. He is Omnipotent over all things.

Here I will mention to you, dear reader, In sha’a-Allah (if Allah wills), the mistakes found in the article of Abu Turab and his Imam Abu Muhammad and will clarify to you the reported Ayahs and Sahih (authentic) Hadith

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and Athar that indicate the prohibition of singing and the means of amusements. I will also mention sufficient evidence from the reports of eminent scholars, in order to be on the straight way and to remove the doubts and suspicions that might befall whoever hears of the article of Abu Turab and similar writers. We seek the Help of Allah and put our trust in Him. There is neither might nor power except with Allah, the Most High, the Most Great.

Abu Turab said: “The verified question is that singing and musical instruments and listening to them are permissible; there is no authentic Nas (Islamic text from the Qur’an or the Sunnah) in the Shari`ah (Islamic law) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that prohibits them. Evidence should be extracted from the two fundamentals: the Qur’an and the Sunnah and anything other than them is nonsense and null and void and should be rejected. It is not permissible for a believer to transgress against the Limits of Allah…Al-Hafizh Abu Muhammad ibn Hazm said, ‘Selling chess, pipes, mandolins and musical instruments is Halal; he who breaks any of them should guarantee it, except the drawn pictures, they are not to be guaranteed by the one who spoils them, for as we mentioned before they are esteemed as money belonging to their owner.'”

I hold the view that Abu Muhammad was wrong and so was Abu Turab after him, for deeming as Halal singing and musical instruments which Allah has prohibited. They have opened the door to great evil and opposed the way of the believers who memorize the Sunnah and Qur’an among the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) and their followers in righteousness. This leads to grave consequences. May Allah save us and all Muslims from deviation of hearts, power of sins, and insinuations of Satan. He is the Most Generous, Most Kind.

The majority of Muslim scholars hold the view that singing and all musical instruments are Haram. They deemed it obligatory to break musical instruments and said that there is no guarantee over the spoiler. They hold the view that if singing is accompanied by musical instruments, such as drums, pipes, lutes, and so on, it is Haram according to Ijma` (consensus of scholars), with the exception of the Duff (a tambourine-like instrument without bells) when played by women at weddings, as will be pointed out later In sha’a-Allah.

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It was reported by Abu `Amr ibn Al-Salah that the Muslim scholars unanimously agreed that singing and musical instruments are Haram if accompanied together as we will mention in the following the full text of his speech as reported by the eminent scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah be merciful with him). This is because singing and musical instruments result in ruthlessness of heart and deviate it from listening to the Ever-Glorious Qur’an and useful sciences. Undoubtedly, this is one of the tricks of Satan by which he tries to deceive the people who lack knowledge and religion, so that they prefer listening to the “Qu’ran” of Satan – namely songs – to listening to the Qur’an of Allah and the Hadith of His Messenger (peace be upon him). The Salaf rebuked severely those who occupied themselves with singing and musical instrument, described them with insolence and Fisq (flagrant violation of Islamic law), and did not accept their testimony as will be explained later, In sha’a-Allah. This is because preoccupation with singing and musical instruments leads to weakness of Iman (Faith/belief) and lack of shyness and piety. Even more, it results in belittling the Commands and Prohibitions of Allah. Moreover, the people preoccupied with singing and musical instruments become in a state of heedlessness, recline to falsehood, become sluggish to perform Salah (Prayer) and acts of charity, but active in doing evils which signing drives to, such as Zina (premarital sexual intercourse and/or adultery), sodomy, drinking Khamr (intoxicant) and having sex with women, except those whom Allah saved.

The different kinds of evil and corruption that are consequent upon these actions, which constitute a means to diversion and deviation, are well-known to mindful people. Here, dear reader, are some of the proofs which support the prohibition of singing and musical instruments from the Ever-Glorious Qur’an and Hadith. Allah (Exalted be He) says:Surah Luqman, 31: 6 And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allâh without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allâh, or the Verses of the Qur’ân) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire). Surah Luqman, 31: 7 And when Our Verses (of the Qur’ân) are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not – as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful torment. Al-Hafizh Ibn Kathir (may Allah be merciful with him), in his Tafsir (explanation/exegesis of the meanings of the Qur’an) of these two Ayahs, said: “When He mentioned

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the status of the blessed people who are guided by the Qur’an and avail themselves of listening to it, as He (Exalted be He) says:Surah Al-Zumar, 39: 23 Allâh has sent down the Best Statement, a Book (this Qur’ân), its parts resembling each other (in goodness and truth) (and) oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allâh. He used a conjunction to state the status of the wretched who turn away from benefiting from the Speech of Allah and turn to listening to singing and musical instruments. Ibn Mas`ud said about Allah’s Saying:Surah Luqman, 31: 6 And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allâh “By Allah, it (idle talks) is singing.” It was reported by Ibn Jarir from Yunus ibn `Abdul-A`la from Ibn Wahb from Yazid ibn Yunus from Abu Sakhr from Abu Mu`awiyyah Al-Bajaly from Sa`id ibn Jubayr from Abu Al-Sahba’ Al-Bakry that he heard `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud when asked about this Ayah:Surah Luqman, 31: 6 And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allâh he (`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud) said, “It is singing, by Allah Who is the Only One worthy of worship.” He repeated it three times. It was narrated by `Amr ibn `Aly from Safwan ibn `Isa from Humayd Al-Kharrat from `Ammar from Sa`id ibn Jubayr from Abu Al-Sahba’ that he asked Ibn Mas`ud about Allah’s Saying:Surah Luqman, 31: 6 And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) and he (Ibn Mas`ud) said, “It is singing.” The same was said by Ibn `Abbas, Jabir, `Ikrimah, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Mujahid, Makhul, `Amr ibn Shu`ayb and `Aly ibn Budaymah. Al-Hasan Al-Basry said, “This AyahSurah Luqman, 31: 6 And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allâh without knowledge was revealed with regard to singing and pipes. Qatadah said about His Saying:Surah Luqman, 31: 6 And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allâh without knowledge “By Allah, it may not mean spending money to purchase it, but purchasing here means preferring it. It is sufficient to be considered an act of misguidance that a person

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prefers the talk of falsehood to the talk of Al-Haqq (the Truth) and what brings about harm to what brings about benefit.” End of quote.

Dear reader, think about these two Noble Ayahs and their interpretations by the Imam and the reports quoted from the eminent Salaf. Accordingly, it is quite clear to you that the people of singing and the means of distraction commit grave sins. You will come to know that the Noble Ayah clearly criticizes and dispraises them and that their purchase and selection of idle talk is a means of misguidance and going astray, even if they do not intend or know that. This is because Allah (Glorified be He) praises the people of the Qur’an at the beginning of the Surah (Qur’anic chapter) and describes them properly, telling that they are the people of guidance and success. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “Bismillah Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim [In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful]”Surah Luqman, 31: 1 Alif-Lâm-Mîm. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’ân, and none but Allâh (Alone) knows their meanings]. Surah Luqman, 31: 2 These are Verses of the Wise Book (the Qur’ân). Surah Luqman, 31: 3 A guide and a mercy for the Muhsinûn (good-doers). Surah Luqman, 31: 4 Those who perform As-Salât (Iqamat-as-Salât) and give Zakât and they have faith in the Hereafter with certainty. Surah Luqman, 31: 5 Such are on guidance from their Lord, and such are the successful. Then He (Glorified be He) says:Surah Luqman, 31: 6 And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allâh without knowledge This indicates that Allah dispraises those purchasers, who have gone astray after being guided. That which is a means of misguidance and distraction is dispraised as well and should be avoided. What Al-Hafizh Ibn Kathir said in the Tafsir of this Ayah is the same view held by many Mufassirs (exegetes of the Qur’an), such as Ibn Jarir, Al-Bughy, Al-Qurtuby and many others. Al-Wahidy said in his Tafsir that most Mufassirs held the view that idle talk is singing, while others interpreted it as Shirk. Still others interpreted it as the reports of non-Arabs and the false reports that keep away from Al-Haqq. All these Tafsir are correct and involve no contradiction. The Noble Ayah dispraises whoever gets accustomed to whatever turns away from the Way of Allah and distracts from His Book. Undoubtedly,

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songs and musical instruments are considered some of the most abominable idle talk that turn people away from the Qur’an and Way of Allah. Abu Ja`far ibn Jarir (may Allah be merciful with him) said, in his Tafsir when mentioning the sayings of Mufassirs regarding idle talk, “The correct view in this regard is to say that it means any talk that distracts away from the Way of Allah, and which Allah or His Messenger prohibited hearing it. Allah (Exalted be He) uses generalization in His Saying:Surah Luqman, 31: 6 idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) He does not specify some things other than others. Accordingly, this generalization applies unless there is evidence that specifies the meaning. This includes singing and Shirk.” End of quote.

Al-Qurtuby, in his Tafsir of Allah’s Saying:Surah Luqman, 31: 6 And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) said: “Min (of) is in the position of the subject of a nominal sentence; “idle talk” is singing according to Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas and others.” Then he went on interpreting this Ayah until he said:

“The second question is the ordinary singing of the celebrities that touches feelings, arouses desires, flirtation and impudence, and moves the silent spirits. If this kind is found in poems that describe vividly the charms of women and mention Khamr and forbidden acts, it is undoubtedly Haram, for this is the cursed singing and idle talk according to Ijma`. However, if singing is free from this, the little of which is permissible at times of happiness, such as wedding parties and `Eids (Festivals) and when encouraging people to do hard work, as in the case of digging the trench and the prompting singing to the camels by Anjashah and Salmah ibn Al-Akwa`. With regard to what is innovated by Sufis today, who are addicted to hearing songs accompanied with different musical instruments, this is Haram.” End of quote.

What is said by Al-Qurtuby is a good view, which is supported by the reports mentioned in this regard. This includes what is authentically reported inthe Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim)on the authority of `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said: “The Prophet entered upon me and there were two young girls with me who were singing the verses that the Ansar (Helpers, inhabitants of Madinah who supported the Prophet) had said on the day of Bu’ath.In another narration by Muslim: The Messenger of Allah said, “O Abu Bakr, every nation has its `Eid and this is our (the people of Islam) `Eid.” In another narration by Muslim also, he (the Messenger) said, “Let them, O Abu Bakr, these are days of `Eid.” In another narration by Muslim also: “Two girls were playing upon a duff.” This Hadith indicates that the reprehensibility and disapproval of singing and calling it the pipe of Satan were well-known matters agreed upon by the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them). Therefore, Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq rebuked `Aishah for having two girls singing in her house and called this singing “the pipe of Satan.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not object to that description and did not say to him that singing and Duff are permissible; rather, he just ordered him to leave the two girls alone, justifying that they were on days of `Eid. This gives evidence to the fact that this kind of singing is to be tolerable on the part of young girls on the days of `Eid, for they are days of happiness and joy and because the two girls chanted the song of the Ansar which they sang on the Day of Bu`ath. The song was related to courage and war, unlike the present songs which male and female singers sing. The singing of today arouses sexual desires and calls to adoration of pictures and to Fitnah (temptation), which diverts hearts from glorifying Allah and respecting His Right. So how could a reasonable person makes Qiyas (analogy) between them? Whoever ponders on this Hadith will come to know that whatever goes beyond the action of these two girls is Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) and should be avoided and warned against in order to put an end to the means of corruption and to protect hearts against what turns them away from Al-Haqq and diverts them from reciting the Qur’an.

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He laid on the bed and turned his face away from them. Then Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) entered and rebuked me, saying, ‘The pipe of Satan in the Prophet’s house!’ Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘Leave them alone.’ So when he lost attention, I winked to them to get out.”

With regard to the claim of Abu Turab that this Hadith is a supporting evidence for the absolute permissibility of singing, this is a false claim based upon what we have pointed out earlier and the aforementioned Ayahs, Hadith and reports which indicate the invalidity of his claim.

There is also the Hadith narrated by Sufyan Al-Thawry from Abu Ishaq Al-Subay`y on the authority of `Amir ibn Sa`d Al-Bajaly that he saw Abu Mas`ud Al-Badry, Qurzah ibn Ka`b

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and Thabit ibn Yazid at a wedding party where there was singing. He said to them: “You do this while you are the Companions of the Messenger of Allah!” They said: “A Rukhsah (concession) had been granted allowing singing at weddings and weeping for the dead, so long as there is no wailing.” This Hadith is not a supporting evidence for the absolute permissibility of singing; it indicates that it is permissible at weddings to announce marriage. Whoever ponders on this Hadith will come to realize that it is rather a proof that singing is forbidden and not that it is permissible, for since they are granted Rukhsah allowing singing at weddings for known wisdom, this indicates that singing is forbidden elsewhere unless there is a specific evidence that permits it, just as granting the traveler a Rukhsah to shorten the four-Rak`ah (unit of Prayer) Salah indicates that any one other than the traveler is not allowed to shorten Salah. Similarly, granting a Rukhsah to the menstruating woman and the newly-delivered woman to quit Tawaf-ul-Wada` (circumambulation around the Ka`bah on leaving Makkah) indicates that any woman other than them is not allowed to do this. There are many other examples to the same effect. Besides, `Amir ibn Sa`d’s disapproval of singing on the part of those Sahabah and their admission of this is further evidence that the reprehensibility of singing is a matter agreed upon by the Sahabah and Tabi`un (Followers, the generation after the Companions of the Prophet), which they knew from the Prophet (peace be upon him). Allah is the One Who is sought for help.

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