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SONG AND MUSIC: WHY IS THE DIFFERENCE By Abu Maryam Ibn Is’haq (Abumaribi)

August 17, 2018 Articles On Islam Civilization Fiqh House Of Salam (HOS) Self Development 0



All praise is due to Almighty Allah, the Lord of the worlds. Peace and salutation be upon the Noble Prophet (SAW), his households, his companions and those that follow their footstep. This writeup is a review to the previous article; SONG AND MUSIC SAGE (SMS).

Many of the mainstream Muslims are often bewildered on the ruling of song and music in Islam. This is because many Muslims refused to take inference from the injunctions of Allah and His Rasul (Muhammad ﷺ); hence, they take those that are mediocre in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of the deen (Islam) to be their role model. This they do such that, they begin to follow those people in whatever they proffer to be right. This is the case of ‘Song and Music’. Some people actually mixed things up, and bring irrelevant evidence to support their thought. This mainstream Muslims also take wisdom from those that happened to know only the peripheral of the deen of Islam, and without full understanding and reasoning on the injunctions of Allah and His Rasul (ﷺ).


In reference to the statement above, it is therefore needed to put some clarification on the issue of Song and Music; as people often misconceived one for the other. In Sha Allah, in this write up I will share the distinction between these misconception and shed more light on the Islamic take on the issue.
It has to be Islamic, since Allah has already perfected Muslims lifestyle, that nothing is left untouched in human lifestyle. The main source will be the Qur’an and the Hadith, with other personal inference.
I pray Allah (SWT) makes this a resourceful one.


The best word is Allah’s word, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW).


Brief analysis on the concept of Song and Music:
Song is a lyrical sound that comes out from the mouth, while music is a song accompanied with musical instruments. These are actually two different things, as one has to accompany the other. Song can actually stand alone without any additive, and can be used for praise, prayer and more. So, there can be song without musical instruments, but there cannot be music without song. One is the basis for the other to exist. While the former is permitted to some extent, the later is totally prohibited in Islam.

It should be noted that the former is allowed and accepted in Islam, as far as it doesn’t contain filthy talk, as idle and bad talk is not accepted in Islam.
The later is not allowed in Islam, as the Noble Prophet has said; “Musical instrument is an instrument of Shaytan”. Hence, music is not allowed in Islamic lifestyle. You would be wondering why. The reason is because, he (Mohammad S.A.W) is the best Doctor of the heart.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful…” [Sahih Al-Bukhari: Vol 7, Book 69, No 494v]. This explicitly tell us that musical instruments attach to songs which make it music is unlawful (haram) for Muslims.


As pathetic as this idle activities (musical acts) may be; some of the Muslims have taken music as their profession, and these people tag their profession with the name ‘Islamic Music’, while it is nothing close to Islam but, a sheer nonsense. No one can make what Allah and His Rasul (ﷺ) has made Haram (Forbidden/Prohibited) to be Halal (Permissible), Na’uzhu-bi-Allah: “O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger (Muhammad ﷺ), and make not vain your deeds!” [Surah Muhammad, 47:33]. Indeed those that disobey Allah and His Rasul (ﷺ) forfeit the reward of their good deeds.

Some of the Muslims that indulge in musical activities as their profession proves to have knowledge by reciting some verse of the Qur’ān and the saying of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in their unwarranted act. To this I say; knowledge alone is not enough, but there has to be understanding and wisdom before the knowledge can be of benefit.
Having appeared to be knowledgeable to the eyes of the lukewarm Muslims, these people (Lukewarm Muslims) quickly accept the verdict of the so-called Islamic Musicians, and they make them as evidence to make music acceptable. In their desire of seeking happiness, they unwittingly make the Haram to be Halal. If they but know that this can never give true happiness, it is only a false hope.


While one may be thinking the music is for pastime and enjoyment, its damage to the spiritual and mental psyche may not be apparent to one. If one is to make of the great and successful people and how they prosper, I’m sure music will not be listed as part of what motivated them; so why indulging in what will not benefit one psychologically and spiritually?


Looking at these key issues below, one might be able to utilise one’s time, health and energy better:

  • The time used in listening to music might be channeled into something productive. By meditation and deep thought, one can probably inspire certain ideas that will be of profit to one.
  • Using the time in reading beneficial books will also be of great advantage to one’s reasoning and knowledge, as this will make one grow spiritually and mentally, and serves as a source of motivation to such person.
  • If one still have enough time (idle time), it is better to convert this time into useful ones. Rather than listening to the instruments of Shaytan, that will harden the heart, one should listen to the recitation of the Glorious Qur’an, Islamic lectures or motivational talks; that will soften the heart and also earn such person beneficial reward.
  • Looking at most of the musics and musicians in the world today, one will see that more than 90% (Personal experience & Research) of their music is baseless, and also contain corruption. Not funny, people only listen to the melody.
  • Another point is; virtually most of the musicians lyrics contain idle and dirty talk, which is unethical for a God conscious person. Not funny, part of the reason why some hearts are hardened to yield to the word of God.
  • The word of Allah (Qur’an Kareem), and the Noble Prophet (S.A.W) let us know that remembrance of Allah is the cure of the heart disease, and you also earn bountiful reward in the remembrance of Allah.
  • It’s not related in the history that the Noble Prophet (S.A.W), his Companions, and the immediate Righteous Successors (the Salaf) engaged in musical activities for worship or a source of happiness. And these are the best generations to follow.


One might be thinking one is having fun, but if one is to compare the cost and benefit analysis of the activities (idle and musical act) one engaged in, one will know that, the music is more of harm than good. Any disobedience to the injunctions of Allah and His, Rasul Muhammad (ﷺ) may devoid one of Allah’s Mercy:
Surah Aal-e-Imran, 2:132:

وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

And obey Allah and the Messenger; that you may obtain mercy.

So, Shaytan promise is actually true. This he does, by making people forget about the remembrance of Allah, and engaging in idle and dirty activities that will not benefit them in this life and the Hereafter.

Allah says:
Surah Al-Hijr, Verse 39:
قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأُزَيِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

[Iblis (Satan)] said: “O my Lord! Because you misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all.


In conclusion, instead of investing our precious time on something that gives us false hope of happiness, and in most case idle and corrupt talk that hardened the heart, and without gaining any reward in the process, it is better we utilise it in something rewarding. Perhaps, we can help ourself by engaging in the Dhikr (Remembrance) of Allah. By doing this, one attached oneself to a real source of happiness and comfort, which is everlasting.

For Allah says:

Surah Ar-Rad, Verse 28:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.”

So, one has the choice of either choosing a divine source of happiness, with the reward attached, or to choose the man-made source, which is liable to the influence (voice and whisper) of the Chief Deceiver (Shaytan), and as a result harden the heart towards heeding to the injunctions of Allah.
Cost and benefits analysis is not only for accounting or business purpose alone, but it’s applicable to entire life of human. So having reasoned on the cost and benefit analysis of our engagement in life, we will be able to decide which activities is worthy of investing our precious time.


The Hadith that play leniency on musical instrument, was only in the case of those (children or the likes), that are not strong in belief. Not rebuking the propagator at that time was not a means of approval of musical instruments, but just not to spoil the mood (harshness in dealing) of those involved.


Any mistake from the write-up is from the writer, as Allah (SWT) is free from all imperfections.

Wa’ Llāhu Aalam (and Allah knows best).


Song and Music Sage (SMS) By AbdulKabir Yusuf


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