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-Does Islamic Law Forbid Music?

by Dr. D ~ November 19th, 2011

Hisham Abbas performing at the International G...

           (Image via Wikipedia)

Does Islamic law forbid music and musical instruments?

Apparently so. At least Muhammad did during his lifetime.

However most Muslim cultures and communities today ignore those strictures except for the most radical Islamists.

Currently the Middle East is going through an Islamic revival which is compelling Muslims to adhere more closely to Islamic law. This has resulted in numerous clashes between moderate Muslims and more radical zealots. Music and fine arts is one of the current battlefield of disagreement.

A major Islamic scholar Hazem Shoman recently (Nov. 16) crashed a concert in Egypt and got up on stage and condemned those attending the event:

Hundreds of students attending a Hisham Abbas concert on Tuesday night at the Nile Academy campus in Mansoura, capital of the Daqahliya governorate in Egypt’s Delta region, were surprised when popular Islamic scholar Hazem Shoman entered the stage uninvited to condemn the event, which he described as ‘monkar’, or sinful.

Where radical Islam rules music is nearly always discouraged or forbidden. When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, music instruments were destroyed and traditional folk music was silenced. This is still the case in some communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan where their authority is recognized.

The Muslim teaching against music is not found in the Quran but in the Hadith. These are traditional sayings and teaching of Muhammad that are considered authoritative none-the-less. Here’s a few quotes on the evil of music and instruments from the Muslim prophet (Thanks to Jihad Watch):

Hadith Qudsi 19:5: "The Prophet said that Allah commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance."


(1) "Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance."

(2) "On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress."

(3) "Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage."

(4) "This community will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones." Someone asked, "When will this be, O Messenger of Allah?" and he said, "When songstresses and musical instruments appear and wine is held to be lawful."

(5) "There will be peoples of my Community who will hold fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful …." — ‘Umdat al-Salik r40.0

Response: Since music is not forbidden in the Quran many Muslims will protest that their religion is not really against music or instruments. However, it is historically clear that Muhammad taught against music and destroyed musical instruments during his lifetime.

Also, the more radical Islamic scholars of this generation, like Hazem Shoman, are calling on all Muslims to forsake their Western ways including Music and adhere more closely to the original teachings of their founder.             *Top

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2 Responses to -Does Islamic Law Forbid Music?

  1. r.

    Don’t be an oignoramus. you don’t know even one tenth of it and you write as an expert. Read this, then come back and write again:


  2. Dr. D

    r. -thanks for your comments
    However, I wonder if you really read my article.
    I realize that there is a tradition of very fine folk music in Muslim cultures. I do not pretend to be an expert when it comes to Islam. In fact I know very little.

    I only noted in the post that Muhammad taught against music and destroyed instruments in his lifetime and radical Islamists today are trying to get Muslims to follow the founders teachings on this matter more closely. That is a fact.

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