Music and Religion in Islam

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Whilst dealing with questions pertaining music and religion it is necessary to make a distinction between culture and religion because there are plenty of cases where religious thought and practice is more than interpretation of religious texts in a specific milieu and thus shaped the religious understanding of Qur’an and Hadith. In the article provide, the author has chronologically undergone into the topic with two perspectives; proponents and opponents towards legislation of music, to finally conclude the matter. Because of lack of information on music in Qur’an lot of challenges have come forth to give different outcomes; from complete negation to full allowance of all sort of music.

There are certain terms that need to be understood before distinguishing what is right and wrong. “Sama” literally means listening or audition to certain type of music. This concept is related to “Ghina” means cantus. Thus, “Sama” in totality means music, it’s making and performance associated mainly with secular art music. In “Dhamm al-malahi”, Ibn abi’l-Dunya described “Malahi” as a puritanical approach to all kinds of amusement and recreation thereby concluding it to be “the instuments of diversion” extending his meaning to include every music and even forms of amusement that distract the faithful from performing religious duties. In my view, this should be true because Allah directly states in various verses of Quran that this life is just a test and humankind is made to worship Allah and do good deeds.

In this article the author explains that not even single person nonetheless of his religious or socio-economic or political rank can decide on prohibition or authorization of certain things in Islam. I’m really impressed by him with this type of attitude. He adds that the arguments should have the basis of sacred writings, or analogic exegesis. He failed to prove this possibly because he has mostly cited other’s saying but not analysed rationally on his own.

For instance: he incites the principle of sufi scholar al-Sarraj who says, the effect of melodies is comparable to a container, if the drink is pure, it confers delicacy and transparency on the container and if muddy, the it will look opaque and ugly. Not everyone here has the capability to distinguish between these two variations and of course Islam doesn’t have different laws for different mindfulness which means allowed for who is seeking goodness and prohibited for one whose intention is bad.

Although the author provides enough but not always references to ban music, he fails to provide a single proof from legal sources; sometimes he talks about Hadith referred from other book sources and articles while sometimes he talks about Sufi cultures where music and dances are prevalent. He says that the critics use the same Hadith to put different directions in legalization of music. For instance; he has not mentioned which Hadith but said that ‘Ma’azif’, instruments of music seeking person will spend the night in food, drink and diversion and Allah will send on them desolating wind.

Also, he says that Prophet Muhammad used to plug his ears after hearing mizmar (reed pipe). Also, during the time of ‘Jahiliyya’, there were singing girls called ‘qiyan/qaynat’, who were found in every houses of established Arab. They fought against the Prophet, exhorting the warriors with war songs accompanied by tambourines and improvising dirges to mourn the dead. In another hadith it comes that singing makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water makes the seed grow.

In relation to defend musical allowances, mystic dimensions are taken into considerations in the given article. The effect of music is defined by some scholars like; ‘Dhul-Nun al-Misri’ according to whom “Listening ‘sama’ is a power that creates divine influence to bring closer to Allah while ‘Al-Makki’ says that it should be first tested for it’s content whether it’s distracting. He adds that it’s distracting and must be forbidden if it expresses physical love, simple desire and futilities.

Some other scholars like ‘Spaniard Ibn al-Arabi’ have categorized into ‘Mutla- one that is free of music or soundless, ‘Muqayyad’- one that is linked-up and associated with music, ‘Ilahi’- the divine, ‘ruhani’- the spiritual, ‘Tabii’- one that is natural or sensual. The most sophisticated music and dance with mystical practices are highly formal called ‘ayn Sharif’ named after Mevelna Jalal al-din Rumi. In this type of rituals, formal dress codes are arranged with formal sort of musics, dances and instruments.

In my view, music indeed is an inspiration of Satan. It offends practitioner from performing his religion, diverges person from his own sate to it’s flow thereby deteriorating the self-concentration. Although, it depends upon person how he perceives any particular music, but music has such a power which can intervene wit personal emotions and brain functioning.

And Islam is all about being driven by what Allah has said in Qur’an and what Prohet Muhammad has guided us towards- this is more than enough to live happy and contented life, the rests are all worldly matters which only puts us in delusions and short-timed cherish. We almost all are infatuated by music, dance and movies behave as alcohol i.e. addiction to us such that we ought to give them up but we can’t so the best idea to stop it is to keep women and children free from it.


Cite this paper

Music and Religion in Islam. (2020, Dec 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/music-and-religion-in-islam/

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