Is Music Haram? Learn the Truth
First thing we must do in order to fully understand the ruling is to look at the definition of “music” in context to history and current states.
In Arabic Ma’azif is the plural of mi’zafah, and refers to musical instruments, instruments which are played. Al-Qurtubi narrated from al-Jawhari that ma’azif means singing as well.
So What Does the Quran Say About Music?
Allah says in Surah Luqman (interpretation of the meaning):
“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing) to mislead (men) from the path of Allah…” [Luqman 31:6]
The scholar of the ummah, Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: this means singing . Mujahid (may Allah have mercy on him) said: this means playing the drum (tabl). (Tafsir al-Tabari, 21/40)
Al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) said: this ayah was revealed concerning singing and musical instruments (lit. woodwind instruments). (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 3/451)
Al-Sa’di (may Allah have mercy on him) said: this includes all manner of haram speech, all idle talk and falsehood, and all nonsense that encourages kufr and disobedience; the words of those who say things to refute the truth and argue in support of falsehood to defeat the truth; and backbiting, slander, lies, insults and curses; the singing and musical instruments of the Shaytan; and musical instruments which are of no spiritual or worldly benefit. (Tafsir al-Sa’di, 6/150)
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Do you then wonder at this recitation (the Quran)? And you laugh at it and weep not, Wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (singing)” [al-Najm 53:59-61]
So Why Do Some Muslims Say Music is Permissible?
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Among my ummah there will certainly be people who permit zina, silk, alcohol and musical instruments…” (Narrated by al-Bukhari ta’liqan, no. 5590; narrated as mawsul by al-Tabarani and al-Bayhaqi. See al-Silsilah al-Sahihah by al-Albani, 91)
This hadith indicates in two ways that musical instruments and enjoyment of listening to music are haram.
The first is the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “[they] permit” which clearly indicates that the things mentioned, including musical instruments, are haram according to shari’ah, but those people will permit them.
The second is the fact that musical instruments are mentioned alongside things which are definitely known to be haram, i.e., zina and alcohol: if they (musical instruments) were not haram, why would they be mentioned alongside these things? (adapted from al-Silsilah al-Sahihah by al-Albani, 1/140-141)
Can Music Be Permitted on Celebrations?
Shaykh al-Islam (may Allah have mercy on him) said: But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made allowances for certain types of musical instruments at weddings and the like, and he made allowances for women to play the daff at weddings and on other joyful occasions. But the men at his time did not play the daff or clap with their hands.
Perhaps – for fair-minded and objective readers – this summary will make it clear that the view that music is permissible has no firm basis. There are no two views on this matter. So we must advise in the best manner, and then take it step by step and denounce music, if we are able to do so.