Music is generally considered as a time wasting activity in Islam. People gathering together, singing and beating instruments to amuse the audience is deemed as idle talk. However, singing and chanting praiseworthy poems with instruments such as Daff is a permissible deed, when done in moderation, while not getting extreme over it. Any song that is free from falsity, obscenity and blasphemous lyrics is considered amongst the permissible songs, even if certain instruments are used while composing them. This is the majority view amongst various schools of thoughts in Islam. However, some scholars only limited to the use of Daff, the percussion used with one sided skin. While others permitted other instruments too. So the bottom-line is, these songs must inspire religious and righteous motives that are motivating and inspiring the people who recite and listen to them. And these can be sung at certain occasions to mellow down one’s stress. It is aimed at providing comfort and recreation for a people who are tired of mundane activities. However, the scholars have warned of overdoing it. People who forsake regular prayers, daily incantations and Qur’an classes by over indulging in recreation activities are considered blameworthy and sinners. And when recreation leads to such abominable mindset, then that’s a disaster to the Muslim community. We can find such people in our society today. They need to reform and reinvent their lifestyle in accordance to the Divine guidance in’shaa’Allah.
Here I will try to bring some proofs from the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to allow people to know that singing and using instruments are permissible. However, the kind of instruments were debated amongst the scholars of Sunnah.
حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ وَهْبٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا عَمْرٌو، أَنَّ مُحَمَّدَ بْنَ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ الأَسَدِيَّ، حَدَّثَهُ عَنْ عُرْوَةَ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ دَخَلَ عَلَىَّ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَعِنْدِي جَارِيَتَانِ تُغَنِّيَانِ بِغِنَاءِ بُعَاثَ، فَاضْطَجَعَ عَلَى الْفِرَاشِ وَحَوَّلَ وَجْهَهُ، وَدَخَلَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ فَانْتَهَرَنِي وَقَالَ مِزْمَارَةُ الشَّيْطَانِ عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَقْبَلَ عَلَيْهِ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ ـ فَقَالَ دَعْهُمَا ” فَلَمَّا غَفَلَ غَمَزْتُهُمَا فَخَرَجَتَا. وَكَانَ يَوْمَ عِيدٍ يَلْعَبُ السُّودَانُ بِالدَّرَقِ وَالْحِرَابِ، فَإِمَّا سَأَلْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَإِمَّا قَالَ ” تَشْتَهِينَ تَنْظُرِينَ ”. فَقُلْتُ نَعَمْ. فَأَقَامَنِي وَرَاءَهُ خَدِّي عَلَى خَدِّهِ، وَهُوَ يَقُولُ ” دُونَكُمْ يَا بَنِي أَرْفِدَةَ ”. حَتَّى إِذَا مَلِلْتُ قَالَ ” حَسْبُكِ ”. قُلْتُ نَعَمْ. قَالَ ” فَاذْهَبِي ”.”
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Aus, before Islam). The Prophet (ﷺ) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (ﷺ) ?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) turned his face towards him and said, “Leave them.” When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signaled to those girls to go out and they left. It was the day of `Id, and the Black people were playing with shields and spears; so either I requested the Prophet (ﷺ) or he asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. Then the Prophet (ﷺ) made me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, “Carry on! O Bani Arfida,” till I got tired. The Prophet (ﷺ) asked me, “Are you satisfied (Is that sufficient for you)?” I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave.
Sahih al-Bukhari 949, 950
In-book : Book 13, Hadith 2
USC-MSA web (English) : Vol. 2, Book 15, Hadith 70 (deprecated)
The above Hadeeth clearly indicates that instruments were used in the presence of Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam.
This Hadeeth gives extra information about the incident.
حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو أُسَامَةَ، عَنْ هِشَامٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ ـ رضى الله عنها ـ قَالَتْ دَخَلَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ وَعِنْدِي جَارِيَتَانِ مِنْ جَوَارِي الأَنْصَارِ تُغَنِّيَانِ بِمَا تَقَاوَلَتِ الأَنْصَارُ يَوْمَ بُعَاثَ ـ قَالَتْ وَلَيْسَتَا بِمُغَنِّيَتَيْنِ ـ فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ أَمَزَامِيرُ الشَّيْطَانِ فِي بَيْتِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَذَلِكَ فِي يَوْمِ عِيدٍ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم
يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ إِنَّ لِكُلِّ قَوْمٍ عِيدًا، وَهَذَا عِيدُنَا ”
Abu Bakr came to my house while two small Ansari girls were singing beside me the stories of the Ansar concerning the Day of Buath. And they were not singers. Abu Bakr said protestingly, “Musical instruments of Satan in the house of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) !” It happened on the `Id day and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “O Abu Bakr! There is an `Id for every nation and this is our `Id.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 952
In-book : Book 13, Hadith 4
USC-MSA web (English) : Vol. 2, Book 15, Hadith 72 (deprecated)
This Hadeeth says about the way Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) answered Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). The Prophet said that the occasion of ‘Eid is a time of celebration when people can hear to songs and play instruments. Although Abu Bakr mentioned that the musical instruments of satan is being played in the house of Messenger of Allah, the Prophet replied to him with an answer that makes one understand that there is nothing haraam about it. Had it been haraam – forbidden, then the Prophet would never have allowed such a thing in his house. And who among human beings can teach us better about the halaal and haraam aspects of the religion, other than Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)!
Another added information can be found in another Hadeeth.
حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ بُكَيْرٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ عُقَيْلٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ عُرْوَةَ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّ أَبَا بَكْرٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا وَعِنْدَهَا جَارِيَتَانِ فِي أَيَّامِ مِنًى تُدَفِّفَانِ وَتَضْرِبَانِ، وَالنَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم مُتَغَشٍّ بِثَوْبِهِ، فَانْتَهَرَهُمَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ فَكَشَفَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَنْ وَجْهِهِ فَقَالَ دَعْهُمَا يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ فَإِنَّهَا أَيَّامُ عِيدٍ ”. وَتِلْكَ الأَيَّامُ أَيَّامُ مِنًى. وَقَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ رَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَسْتُرُنِي، وَأَنَا أَنْظُرُ إِلَى الْحَبَشَةِ وَهُمْ يَلْعَبُونَ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ، فَزَجَرَهُمْ عُمَرُ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” دَعْهُمْ، أَمْنًا بَنِي أَرْفِدَةَ ”. يَعْنِي مِنَ الأَمْنِ.”
Narrated `Urwa on the authority of `Aisha:
On the days of Mina, (11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah) Abu Bakr came to her while two young girls were beating the tambourine and the Prophet (ﷺ) was lying covered with his clothes. Abu Bakr scolded them and the Prophet (ﷺ) uncovered his face and said to Abu Bakr, “Leave them, for these days are the days of `Id and the days of Mina.” `Aisha further said, “Once the Prophet (ﷺ) was screening me and I was watching the display of black slaves in the Mosque and (`Umar) scolded them. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘Leave them. O Bani Arfida! (carry on), you are safe (protected)’.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 987, 988
In-book : Book 13, Hadith 36
USC-MSA web (English) : Vol. 2, Book 15, Hadith 103 (deprecated)
The incident mentioned in this Hadeeth says that the girls were playing tambourine and singing songs during the days Eid and the days of Mina, that is during the best days of the year, and the Prophet explained his companion about the allowance of such recreations for people during the Eid.
Tambourine is a small drum.
especially : a shallow one-headed drum
with loose metallic disks at the sides played especially by shaking or
striking with the hand.
Another Hadeeth from Saheeh Muslim gives some more added information over this incident.
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو أُسَامَةَ، عَنْ هِشَامٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ دَخَلَ عَلَىَّ أَبُو بَكْرٍ وَعِنْدِي جَارِيَتَانِ مِنْ جَوَارِي الأَنْصَارِ تُغَنِّيَانِ بِمَا تَقَاوَلَتْ بِهِ الأَنْصَارُ يَوْمَ بُعَاثٍ قَالَتْ وَلَيْسَتَا بِمُغَنِّيَتَيْنِ . فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ أَبِمُزْمُورِ الشَّيْطَانِ فِي بَيْتِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَذَلِكَ فِي يَوْمِ عِيدٍ . فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم
يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ إِنَّ لِكُلِّ قَوْمٍ عِيدًا وَهَذَا عِيدُنَا ”
Abu Bakr came to see me and I had two girls with me from among the girls of the Ansar and they were singing what the Ansar recited to one another at the Battle of Bu’ath. They were not, however, singing girls. Upon this Abu Bakr said: What I (the playing of) this wind instrument of Satan in the house of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and this too on ‘Id day? Upon this the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Abu Bakr, every people have a festival and it is our festival (so let them play on).
Sahih Muslim 892 a
In-book : Book 8, Hadith 16
USC-MSA web (English) : Book 4, Hadith 1938 (deprecated)
This Hadeeth mentions that the instruments played in the presence of Prophet were wind instruments. And the Prophet explained his companion that every people have their festivals, and Eid happens to be our festival. And during then, it’s fine.
The instrument mentioned here is Muzmoor – wind instruments like the flute.
Another Hadeeth gives us little more information over this allowance.
حَدَّثَنِي هَارُونُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ الأَيْلِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ وَهْبٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي عَمْرٌو، أَنَّ ابْنَ شِهَابٍ، حَدَّثَهُ عَنْ عُرْوَةَ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّ أَبَا بَكْرٍ، دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا وَعِنْدَهَا جَارِيَتَانِ فِي أَيَّامِ مِنًى تُغَنِّيَانِ وَتَضْرِبَانِ وَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مُسَجًّى بِثَوْبِهِ فَانْتَهَرَهُمَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ فَكَشَفَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَنْهُ وَقَالَ
دَعْهُمَا يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ فَإِنَّهَا أَيَّامُ عِيدٍ ”
وَقَالَتْ رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَسْتُرُنِي بِرِدَائِهِ وَأَنَا أَنْظُرُ إِلَى الْحَبَشَةِ وَهُمْ يَلْعَبُونَ وَأَنَا جَارِيَةٌ فَاقْدِرُوا قَدْرَ الْجَارِيَةِ الْعَرِبَةِ الْحَدِيثَةِ السِّنِّ
A’isha reported that Abu Bakr came to her and there were with her two girls on Adha days who were singing and beating the tambourine and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had wrapped himself with his mantle. Abu Bakr scolded them. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) uncovered (his face) and said:
Abu Bakr, leave them alone for these are the days of ‘Id. And ‘A’isha said: I recapitulate to my mind the fact that once the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) screened me with his mantle and I saw the sports of the Abyssinians, and I was only a girl, and so you can well imagine how a girl of tender age is fond of watching the sport.
Sahih Muslim 892 c
In-book : Book 8, Hadith 18
USC-MSA web (English) : Book 4, Hadith 1940 (deprecated)
The Prophet also allowed his wife Aisha to watch the sports performed by the Abyssinians during the days of Eid. These hadeeths prove that there can be entertainment and recreation during certain occasions.
Another Hadeeth explain little more details over this incident.
وَحَدَّثَنِي أَبُو الطَّاهِرِ، أَخْبَرَنِي ابْنُ وَهْبٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي يُونُسُ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ عُرْوَةَ، بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ قَالَ قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُومُ عَلَى بَابِ حُجْرَتِي – وَالْحَبَشَةُ يَلْعَبُونَ بِحِرَابِهِمْ فِي مَسْجِدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم – يَسْتُرُنِي بِرِدَائِهِ لِكَىْ أَنْظُرَ إِلَى لَعِبِهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُومُ مِنْ أَجْلِي حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَنَا الَّتِي أَنْصَرِفُ . فَاقْدُرُوا قَدْرَ الْجَارِيَةِ الْحَدِيثَةِ السِّنِّ حَرِيصَةً عَلَى اللَّهْوِ .
By Allah, I remember the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) standing on the door of my apartment screening me with his mantle enabling me to see the sport of the Abyssinians as they played with their daggers in the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upom him). He (the Holy Prophet) kept standing for my sake till I was satiated and then I went back; and thus you can well imagine how long a girl tender of age who is fond of sports (could have watched it).
Sahih Muslim 892 d
In-book : Book 8, Hadith 19
USC-MSA web (English) : Book 4, Hadith 1941 (deprecated)
The Hadeeth talks of the sports activity performed in the mosque, while daggers were used by the Abyssinians.
The following hadeeth gives little more details.
حَدَّثَنِي هَارُونُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ الأَيْلِيُّ، وَيُونُسُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الأَعْلَى، – وَاللَّفْظُ لِهَارُونَ – قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ وَهْبٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا عَمْرٌو، أَنَّ مُحَمَّدَ بْنَ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، حَدَّثَهُ عَنْ عُرْوَةَ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ دَخَلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَعِنْدِي جَارِيَتَانِ تُغَنِّيَانِ بِغِنَاءِ بُعَاثٍ فَاضْطَجَعَ عَلَى الْفِرَاشِ وَحَوَّلَ وَجْهَهُ فَدَخَلَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ فَانْتَهَرَنِي وَقَالَ مِزْمَارُ الشَّيْطَانِ عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَقْبَلَ عَلَيْهِ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ دَعْهُمَا ” فَلَمَّا غَفَلَ غَمَزْتُهُمَا فَخَرَجَتَا وَكَانَ يَوْمَ عِيدٍ يَلْعَبُ السُّودَانُ بِالدَّرَقِ وَالْحِرَابِ فَإِمَّا سَأَلْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَإِمَّا قَالَ ” تَشْتَهِينَ تَنْظُرِينَ ” . فَقُلْتُ نَعَمْ فَأَقَامَنِي وَرَاءَهُ خَدِّي عَلَى خَدِّهِ وَهُوَ يَقُولُ ” دُونَكُمْ يَا بَنِي أَرْفَدَةَ ” . حَتَّى إِذَا مَلِلْتُ قَالَ ” حَسْبُكِ ” . قُلْتُ نَعَمْ . قَالَ ” فَاذْهَبِي ” .”
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came (to my apartment) while there were two girls with me singing the song of the Battle of Bu`ath. He lay down on the bed and turned away his face. Then came Abu Bakr and he scolded me and said: Oh! this musical instrument of the devil in the house of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)! The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) turned towards him and said: Leave them alone. And when he (the Holy Prophet) became unattentive, I hinted them and they went out, and it was the day of `Id and the black men were playing with shields and spears. (I do not remember) whether I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) or whether he said to me if I desired to see (that sport). I said: Yes. I stood behind him with his face parallel to my face, and he said: O Banu Arfada, be busy (in your sports) till I was satiated. He said (to me): Is that enough? I said: Yes. Upon this he asked me to go.
Sahih Muslim 892 e
In-book : Book 8, Hadith 20
USC-MSA web (English) : Book 4, Hadith 1942 (deprecated)
The Prophet allowed his wife to watch men with shields and daggers performing sports, while he made sure that she was satisfied watching it. This is the Prophet of Islam.
حَدَّثَنَا زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا جَرِيرٌ، عَنْ هِشَامٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ جَاءَ حَبَشٌ يَزْفِنُونَ فِي يَوْمِ عِيدٍ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ فَدَعَانِي النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَوَضَعْتُ رَأْسِي عَلَى مَنْكِبِهِ فَجَعَلْتُ أَنْظُرُ إِلَى لَعِبِهِمْ حَتَّى كُنْتُ أَنَا الَّتِي أَنْصَرِفُ عَنِ النَّظَرِ إِلَيْهِمْ.
A’isha reported that some Abyssinians came and gave a demonstration of armed fight on the ‘Id day in the mosque. The Apostle of Allah (ﷺ) invited me (to see that fight). I placed my head on his shoulder and began to see their sport till it was I who turned away from watching them.
Sahih Muslim 892 f
In-book : Book 8, Hadith 21
USC-MSA web (English) : Book 4, Hadith 1943 (deprecated)
وَحَدَّثَنِي إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ دِينَارٍ، وَعُقْبَةُ بْنُ مُكْرَمٍ الْعَمِّيُّ، وَعَبْدُ بْنُ حُمَيْدٍ، كُلُّهُمْ عَنْ أَبِي، عَاصِمٍ – وَاللَّفْظُ لِعُقْبَةَ – قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو عَاصِمٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ جُرَيْجٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي عَطَاءٌ، أَخْبَرَنِي عُبَيْدُ بْنُ عُمَيْرٍ، أَخْبَرَتْنِي عَائِشَةُ، أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ لِلَعَّابِينَ وَدِدْتُ أَنِّي أَرَاهُمْ قَالَتْ فَقَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَقُمْتُ عَلَى الْبَابِ أَنْظُرُ بَيْنَ أُذُنَيْهِ وَعَاتِقِهِ وَهُمْ يَلْعَبُونَ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ . قَالَ عَطَاءٌ فُرْسٌ أَوْ حَبَشٌ . قَالَ وَقَالَ لِي ابْنُ عَتِيقٍ بَلْ حَبَشٌ .
A’isha said that she sent a message to the players (of this armed fight) saying:
I like to see them (fighting). She further said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stood up and I stood at the door (behind him) and saw (this fight) between his ears and his shoulders they played in the mosque. ‘Ata’ (one of the narra- tors) said: Were they persians or Abyssinians? Ibn ‘Atiq told me they were Abyssinians.
Sahih Muslim 892 h
In-book : Book 8, Hadith 23
USC-MSA web (English) : Book 4, Hadith 1945 (deprecated)
Another Hadeeth gives little more details.
وَحَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ رَافِعٍ، وَعَبْدُ بْنُ حُمَيْدٍ، قَالَ عَبْدٌ أَخْبَرَنَا وَقَالَ ابْنُ رَافِعٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَعْمَرٌ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، عَنِ ابْنِ الْمُسَيَّبِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ بَيْنَمَا الْحَبَشَةُ يَلْعَبُونَ عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِحِرَابِهِمْ إِذْ دَخَلَ عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ فَأَهْوَى إِلَى الْحَصْبَاءِ يَحْصِبُهُمْ بِهَا . فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم دَعْهُمْ يَا عُمَرُ.”
Abu Huraira reported:
While the Abyssinians were busy playing with their arms in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) ‘Umar b. Khattab came there. He bent down to take up pebbles to throw at them (in order to make them go off). The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to him: ‘Umar, leave them alone.
Sahih Muslim 893
In-book : Book 8, Hadith 24
USC-MSA web (English) : Book 4, Hadith 1946 (deprecated)
Prophet’s close companion Umar Ibn Al Khattaab tried to drive off the sportsmen from the masjid, while the Prophet stopped Umar from doing that. What does this indicate? These are proofs to understand the permissibility of such entertainments in Islam.
There are many occasions where the people have sang songs at the presence of Prophet. In some occasions the Prophet himself sang. During the battle field he sang in chorus. He allowed the Ansaar of Madina to sing song to welcome him. Women sang songs during wedding celebrations while the Prophet was around. There are many such reports.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, passed by some of the girls of Medina and they were playing their drums and singing the words, “Muhammad is an excellent neighbor! We are neighbors from the tribe of Najjar!” The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah knows that you are dear to me.”
Source: Sunan Ibn Majah 1899
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani
عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَرَّ بِبَعْضِ الْمَدِينَةِ فَإِذَا هُوَ بِجَوَارٍ يَضْرِبْنَ بِدُفِّهِنَّ وَيَتَغَنَّيْنَ وَيَقُلْنَ يَا حَبَّذَا مُحَمَّدٌ مِنْ جَارِ نَحْنُ جَوَارٍ مِنْ بَنِي النَّجَّارِ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَعْلَمُ اللَّهُ إِنِّي لَأُحِبُّكُنَّ
1899 سنن ابن ماجه كتاب النكاح باب الغناء والدف
1553 المحدث الألباني خلاصة حكم المحدث صحيح في صحيح ابن ماجه
It is reported by Al-Bayhaqi and narrated by ‘Aa’ishah who said, “When the Messenger of Allaah came to Madeenah, the women and children were chanting, ‘Tala’a al-badru ‘alayna; min thaniyyaatil-wadaa’ / wajaba ash-shukru ‘alayna; ma da’a li-llaahi daa.’” [Meaning: The full moon has appeared before us; from the departure mountain-pass / We must give thanks; whenever the supplicant beseeches Allaah.]
However, the story was classified by Al-Albaani as weak in As-Silsilah Adh-Dha’eefah, as he said under the hadeeth no. 598:
“That when he came to Madeenah, the women and children were chanting, ‘Tala’a al-badru ‘alayna; min thaniyyaatil-wadaa’ / wajaba ash-shukru ‘alayna; ma da’a li-llaahi daa’,’ is weak. It was reported by Abul-Hasan Al-Khila’i in Al-Fawaa’id (2/59) and by Al-Bayhaqi in Dalaa’il An-Nubuwwah 92/233) from Al-Fadhl ibn Al-Hubaab, who said, ‘I heard Abdullaah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Aa’ishah say …,’ and he mentioned the hadeeth.
This chain of narrators is weak; its men [narrators] are trustworthy, but it is deficient as it lacks three narrators or more from the chain of narrators.”
Ibn Abbas reported: Aisha gave away one of her relatives in marriage to a man among the Ansar. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, came and he said, “Did you send them a girl?” They said yes. The Prophet said, “Did you send someone to sing with her?” She said no. The Prophet said, “Verily, the Ansar are a people who love poetry, so you should send someone along with her to say: Here we come, to you we come, greet us as we greet you.”
Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 1900
Grade: Hasan (fair) according to Al-Albani
عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ أَنْكَحَتْ عَائِشَةُ ذَاتَ قَرَابَةٍ لَهَا مِنْ الْأَنْصَارِ فَجَاءَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ أَهْدَيْتُمْ الْفَتَاةَ قَالُوا نَعَمْ قَالَ أَرْسَلْتُمْ مَعَهَا مَنْ يُغَنِّي قَالَتْ لَا فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ الْأَنْصَارَ قَوْمٌ فِيهِمْ غَزَلٌ فَلَوْ بَعَثْتُمْ مَعَهَا مَنْ يَقُولُ أَتَيْنَاكُمْ أَتَيْنَاكُمْ فَحَيَّانَا وَحَيَّاكُمْ
1900 سنن ابن ماجه كتاب النكاح باب الغناء والدف
2/136 المحدث الألباني خلاصة حكم المحدث حسن في صحيح ابن ماجه
Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
It is permissible for him – the bridegroom – to allow women to announce the marriage by beating the daff only, and by singing permissible songs in which there is no description of beauty or mention of immoral phrases… then he mentioned the evidence for that.
Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 93.
The evidence that the Shaykh mentioned is:
It was narrated that al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwidh said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon me on the day of my wedding and sat on my mattress as you are sitting now, and young girls were beating the daff and singing about their fathers who had been killed at the battle of Badr, until a girl said, “And among us is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not say this, but say the other things that you were saying.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3700.
It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that she took a woman on her wedding night to a man from among the Ansaar, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to her, “O ‘Aa’ishah, was there any entertainment (in the gathering)? For the Ansaar love entertainment.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4765.
It was narrated that Abu Ishaaq said: I heard ‘Aamir ibn Sa’d al-Bajali say: I saw Thaabit ibn Wadee’ah and Qarazah ibn Ka’b al-Ansaari at a wedding, and there was singing. I spoke to them about that and they said that a concession had been granted allowing singing at weddings and weeping for the dead, so long as there was no wailing.
Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 14469.
It was narrated that Muhammad ibn Haatib al-Jamahi said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The thing that differentiates between haraam and halaal is the beating of the daff and voices.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1008; al-Nasaa’i, 3316; Ibn Maajah, 1886. Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 96.
So there are many reports in this topic. However, one must understand that the contents produced through these things must be only righteous and praiseworthy.
The music that irritates people, causing noise pollution and devilish acts are to be forbidden. Hence the songs and the instruments used must be the ones that are free from vices. Now this is a thing that needs to be differentiated. And hence the community must not fight over these issues; but must put forward their views with respectable mannerism.
Here below are some statements of reputed scholars in this regard.
Among the scholars who have ruled music and listening to music is permissible is Imam al-Ghazali as he stated:
Amusement and entertainment help one in seriousness and serious matters as one cannot tolerate such matters without aid, except for the Prophets upon them be peace. Therefore, amusement and entertainment are cures of the heart from exhaustion so it must accordingly be permissible, however one should not engage in it with excess just as one cannot take medicine in excess. Based on this intention (i.e. relaxation and aid in seriousness and serious matters) amusement and entertainment become acts of drawing near to God and this is for the person whom listening to music does not stir up a certain praiseworthy trait that he seeks to be evoked by listening to music, rather such a person only seeks pure enjoyment and relaxation so it is incumbent that such an act be praiseworthy for him to engage in so as to reach the goals mentioned previously.
This situation, however, indicates a level lesser than wholeness as the whole person is he who is in no need of other than the truth to aid him. However, the righteous deeds of the common people are the misdeeds of those who are high in spiritual rank. Whosoever has mastered the science of the cures of the heart and the ways in which to make the heart soft knows with certainty that these sorts of entertainment and amusement are things one can not dispense with.
Imam al-Ghazali has also written that “if musical instruments have become the sign of drunkards or lewdness, if the instruments are like the harmonica, wind instruments, string instruments, or drums used by drinkers then it is impermissible. And every other kind of instrument remains permissible such as tambourines even with jingles, drums, striking drums with branches, guitars and the like, or any other instrument.”
Ibn Hazm has stated that the Prophet said:
“all actions are based on intentions and to every person is what they intended” thus whosoever listens to singing, or engages in any other act, as an aid in disobedience towards God then it is evildoing, and whosoever intends by listening to singing relaxation of one’s soul so as to aid it in being obedient to God and helping it perform righteous acts then he is engaging in an obedient act and is rewarded and this action is a true and sound one.
Whosoever does not intend either disobedience or obedience, then this action is simple amusement and it is ineffectual and such an act is pardoned such as a person walking in his garden strolling or one sitting on his doorstep relaxing.
Al-Shawkani has stated in his Nayl al-Awtar in the section “That which has come concerning instruments of amusement and music” both the arguments for those who rule on its impermissibility and permissibility. He specifically discussed the hadith in which the Prophet said, “Every form of amusement which the believer engages in is false except for three; a man being playful with his wife, a man being playful with his horse, and archery”.
Al-Shawkani then quotes Imam al-Ghazali’s commentary on this hadith, “The Prophet’s statement ‘is false’ does not necessitate its impermissibility, rather it indicates its lack of benefit”. Al-Shawkani then adds “this is indeed a sound statement since anything that has no direct benefit is from the category of permissible things.” Al-Shawkani offers other text proofs to the same effect such as the women who vowed to play the tambourine if the Prophet returned from a certain battle safely.
When he did, he allowed her to carry out her vow without any form of castigation. This allowance indicates that what the women did was not an act of disobedience in such a circumstance.
All these statements must be understood in order to understand that the intentions, means and the outcomes must be analysed before grading the songs as haraam and halaal – forbidden and lawful.
To understand this we may give some example. There are some hadeeths that talk of shunning Ruqya – incantations. But those Ruqya are those that involve haraam wordings. The Ruqya that are read with Qur’an and Hadeeth wordings are allowed and encouraged to be read during the day and the night. Hence we make the differentiation between the forbidden and the permissible ones.
The same applies to non-vegetarian food. Not all non-veg food are allowed to be eaten. There are some that are forbidden. And others are allowed. In the same breath we conclude that not all kinds of music are allowed in Islam. There are some that are allowed, while others are forbidden.
Under such a scenario, there is a need to have a censor board for the Muslim community, to get guidance over the contents that reaches the market. This will enable to preserve and guard a genre that fulfills the criteria set in Islam.
In a world that is bringing cultures and traditions to connect with, the Islamic ethos and customs can be catered to a large audience through songs and recreation; while allowing the younger generations find alternatives against the haraam kinds of music. If alternatives are not produced for them, then we either deprive them of permissible things, or we give them only the haraam options to choose from. So, let’s get practical in the world we live, while fully comprehending the pros and cons of it.
Thanks for reading.
Written and compiled by:
Muhammad Akbar Shariff,
Alias Umar Shariff
MA in Islamic Studies
BA in Business Management
References taken from: