The Islamic Ruling on Music and Singing ―Ibn Bāz, Al-Albāni, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim and the Four Madhhabs

Is music and singing permissible in Islam?

Listening to songs is prohibited (harām) due to the saying of Allah:

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ – 31:6

“And of the people is he who buys the amusement of speech to mislead others from the way of Allah without knowledge and who takes it in ridicule. Those will have a humiliating punishment.” (Luqmān: 6) The “amusement of speech’ is singing as was explained by a group of the Sahābah such as Ibn Mas’ūd (radiyallāhu ‘anhu).

There is a hadeeth reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhāri (no. 5590) that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “There will be a people at the end of time who will make permissible fornication, silk (for men), wine and musical instruments ―Allah will cause the earth to swallow them up.” The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) put musical instruments alongside fornication, wearing of silk for men and the drinking of wine (alcohol) ―all of these things are harām. So this proves that music is harām ―that includes musical instruments and singing. (See Al-Jāmi’ fī Fiqhil-‘Allāmah Ibn Bāz, p. 1203)

Allah stated: “And of the people is he who buys the amusement of speech to mislead others from the way of Allah without knowledge and who takes it in ridicule. Those will have a humiliating punishment.” (Luqmān: 6) Ibn ‘Abbās said: “It refers to singing.” (Tafsīr At-Tabari) Hasan Al-Basrī: said: “The verse was revealed concerning flutes and singing.” (Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr) Ibn Mas’ūd said: “By Allah besides whom there is none worthy of worship, it refers to singing.” And he repeated it three times. And the same was reported from Ibn ‘Umar. (See Ighāthatul-Luhfān of Ibn Al-Qayyim)

Shaikh Al-Albānī explained that the hadeeths forbidding musical instruments are clearcut without ambiguity, except for the simple drum that is played by women at weddings or on ‘Eid. The Four Imāms: Abu Hanīfah, Mālik, Shāfi’i and Ahmad are in agreement upon this forbiddance. (See As-Saheehah 1/145)

An-Nahās (rahimahullah) stated: “It (music and singing) is forbidden by the Book and Sunnah.” At-Tabaree stated: “The scholars of the various lands are in agreement regarding the dislike of singing (and music) and it’s prohibition.” Imām Al-Awzā’ee stated: “Do not enter a waleemah (wedding) where there is singing and music.”

Shaikhul-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah stated: “The position of the Imāms of the Four Schools of Jurisprudence is that all musical instruments are harām… and it is not narrated from any of the followers of the Imāms that they disputed concerning this.” (Majmū’ al-Fatawa)

The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) said: “There will be people from my Ummah who will make fornication, wearing silk, intoxicants and musical instruments halāl… Allah will destroy them during the night, causing the mountain to fall on them, transforming others into monkeys and pigs..” (Bukhārī no. 5590)

Al-Awzā’ī said that ‘Umar b. ‘Abdul-‘Azīz (d. 101AH) wrote to ‘Umar b. Al-Walīd stating at the end, “Your openly allowing musical instruments and flutes is an innovation in Islam. I was considering sending someone to cut off your evil forelock of hair!” (Nasā’ī no. 4135, Sahīh)

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