Did someone say “music”?

Salamu 'Alaykum

Ruling: Impermissible – except the duff – according to the vast majority of the Ummah. Please see:

Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam: A Detailed Fatwa

Shaykh Nuh on Music

Shaykh Nuh (May Allah allow us to benefit from his blessings) said:

So [for] those of Taqwa and Iman the ruling is clear…

However, due the difference that exists regarding the issue one should not go about condemning those who permit Music – in specific the 'Ulema who are the "heirs of the prophet's". At the same time one should understand the circumstances and contexts within which these 'ulema gave these verdicts. Shaykh Nuh out lines this in his audio.

The Essentials Of The Fiqh Of Commanding The Good And Forbidding The Evil

1. Commanding the good and forbidding the evil is one of the most important of Islamic duties. The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) cautioned us, ““Command the right and forbid the wrong, or Allah will put the worst of you in charge of the best of you, and the best will supplicate Allah and be left unanswered.”

2. Scholars mention, however, that commanding the good and forbidding the evil is only obligatory if one thinks that the person would listen.

3. Otherwise, if one does not think they will listen, it is recommended.

4. However, if a greater harm or worsening of the situation is feared, then it would be better (or even obligatory, in some cases) not to say anything, because legally one choose the less harmful of two matters.

5. It would be an obligation, however, to hate the wrong in one’s heart.

6. With this, if it is ongoing in one’s presence (such as listening to unlawful talk) it would be obligatory to leave if even stopping it (such as by subtly changing the topic) is not possible. Similarly, if a sister is not properly covered, one cannot allow oneself to look at her uncovered hair or limbs. Similarly, if a brother is wearing very tight trousers, one cannot look at the (tightly-covered) area between his navel and knees.

7. Sayyidi Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi (Allah have mercy on him) cautions that the general Prophetic way in commanding the good and forbidding the evil is to do so in a discreet, non-specific manner, in order to preserve the honor and feelings of the one who is wrongdoing to the extent possible.

[From: Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya, Sayyidi Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi; Radd al-Muhtar, Allama Ibn Abidin; al-Hadhr wa’l Ibaha, Shaykh Khalil al-Nahlawi]

See: SunniPath

Blessings on the Prophet, his family, and his companions.


Filed under Fiqh/Law

32 responses to “Did someone say “music”?

  1. Anonymous

    So I guess you believe that people like Sami Yusuf and Yusuf Islam are lacking in Taqwa and Iman…

  2. I think we also have to be clear that there *is* genuine difference of opinion and this isn’t a matter of condemnation.

    There are ulema of piety and deep knowledge–like Shaykh Bouti–who permit musical instruments if the content of the music is halal.

    Many great Sufis also allowed music, including many of the great Chishtis, as is clear in their biographies, both in private and public settings.

  3. MakkiMadani

    Aren’t there also ulema of clear deen and knowledge in the West like Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, Dr. Umar Abdullah, and others who also hold it permitted?

  4. Anonymous

    i guess according to salman (correct me if i am wrong); all those scholars u guys listed apparently dont have as much taqwa or iman as he and his shaykhs do

  5. I think we should uphold the sunna of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him)–as *all* those scholars mentioned above (by Salman and by Anonymous and SunniStyles) do, clearly, in their conduct–and be respectful of differences of opinion.

    There is also a difference between major ulema making their point with emphasis and for non-scholars to do the same. The former have a right to do so; the latter should be more cautious.

  6. Anonymous

    So therefore that makes it okay for Salman to claim that for him and his shaykh to believe that music is forbidden, they have more taqwa and a higher level of iman than those other scholars?

    I find that statement quite disrespectful towards people like Sami Yusuf and Yusuf Islam, whose careers are based on this music which Salman and others so ‘clearly’ – without any respectful difference of opinion mind you, condemn as haraam (impermissible). (Haraam is a very strong word!!)

  7. Anonymous

    btw I love salman for the sake of Allah (swt)


  8. Salamu ‘alaykum

    Ive edited my post.

    However, the Fatwa of the Madhabs across the board is known, and precaution would indicate adhering to the vast majority. Therein lies ones safety.

  9. basair

    Brother Salman, why reinvent the wheel?

    In “Ahkmal ul Quran” (Arabic) compiled under Hazrat Hakmeeul Ummat Thanavi ra’s supervision, Mufti Mohammad Shafii’ ra wrote a detail document relating to islamic rulings on music. It has been tranlated into Urdu (Islam aur moseeqi) and published by Maktaba-e-Darul Uloom, Karachi. It summarizes all the fiqhi detail regarding this issue.

    The treasure is in your house and you (& our beloved Ibn Adam db) look else where. ?

  10. Salam,

    Salman is correct and is just stating the opinion of the vast majority. I would have you know I read the work by Shaykh `Abdal Ghani al-Nablusi (rahimahullah) a major Hanafi faqih which permits some types of musical instruments “Ibah al-Dalalat Fi Sam` al-Alat.” I have also read the differences of opinion recorded by Muhammad ibn Mayyarah in his Sharh al-Murshid al-Mu`in in which he states some scholars found that *playing* music was haram and listening was not haram. Also Ibn `Ajibah in his Sharah al-Mabahith al-Asliyah states there is no ijm`a on this.

    Yet even after reading all that – you have to be silly to not say the vast majority prohibited music. And this is simply what our dear brother Salman (may Allah be pleased with him and his parents) was stating. If you are going to criticize him for saying this then you are silly people.

    It is well known that the Mawlawiyah tariqa in Damascus in their Zawiyah right next to Jami` al-Umawi use musical instruments in their whilring darwish – singing songs such as “Ya Kitab al-Ghuyub.”

    YET… it is also a well known fact that the jamhur (majority – but not ijm`a – or full agreement of the `Ullema) believed that musical instruments were haram. In the Maliki and Hanafi schools from what I have read even the daff is haram except in weddings; while another Maliki opinion says in all occasions of joy; and yet another Maliki opinion saying all “banging” type instruments are halal at all times.

    The Shafi`i’s in their mashhur allow drums except for the kub’a and in another opinion even allow the “Ney” or a flute-like instrument.

    Also the ruling upon viritual instruments used on the computer I have seen two:

    (1) That if the `urf (local custom) sees these as musical instruments they are haram.

    (2) That if they sound *exactly* like the real instruments they are haram and if not they are makruh.

    Yet the `Ullema had their proofs and some of the `Ullema in the end did find music to be permissable. Shaykh `Abdal Ghani al-Nablusi said that this music should:

    (1) Not accompany alcohol,
    (2) Not accompany fornication,
    (3) Not accompnay homosexuality,
    (4) Not be so much so that one misses prayers and obligations,
    (5) Not give one the deisre to sin such as comitting zina or drinking alcohol.

    He gives more conditions and this should not be seen as a fatwa but simply as me summarzing what he (rahimahullahi ta`ala) said. Insha Allah someone can translate this book.

    (On a side not Shaykh `Abdal Ghani makes an excellent argument against the position of some `Ullema that every entertainment is haram except three; and he says “the life of this world is entertainment (lahw)” as it says in the Qur’an and – “the life of this world is not haram.”)

    The way of taqwa is avoiding differences of opinion and going with the safer opinion.



    P.S. – Since when did Shaykh Sa`eed Ramadan al-Bouti allow musical instruments as long as the content was good? What is the reference for this? I listened to a khutba he had on music and photography and I do not remember him saying this.

    As for Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir – I do not know if they really do “permit musical instruments.” I know Imam Zaid Shakir said they were mubah (halal) when asked at the end of his “Why Follow a Madhab” lecture – and Shaykh Hamza speaks of music in his Sirah al-Nabawiyah lectures and there is also music in the introduction to his “Rihla with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf” TV show which was produced by Zaytuna. They also produced that article in Seasons magazine on Dr. Faruqi and music. Yet with all of this being said I do not think it should be assumed that their position is that music is halal.


  11. basair

    This statement by respected Br. SunniStyles;”Many great Sufis also allowed music, including many of the great Chishtis, as is clear in their biographies, both in private and public settings. ” needs clarification.

    It is true that Chistis are famous for samaa’.

    But it must be clear sama’ does not translate into English as music. More appropriate translation is audition.

    The ruling reagrding sama’ from Chisti Masters, such as Mehboob e Illahi Khawajah Nizamuddin Awliya ra, Hazrat Chirag Dehlawi ra are very clear regarding impersimibilty of musical instruments.

    However, some other shuyukh may have indulged in music but they are considered to be ma’zoor/excused by their overwhelming spiritual state. Their actions are not a proof for others.

    Also, it must be very clear that we take fiqh from the fiqh scholars not sufis. The thing to take from awliya is something else.

  12. Salam,

    The jamhur of fiqh scholars believed that music was haram. Yet something important to note is that there *were* fiqh scholars that believed music was halal with conditions and this was not just the awliya’ being *excused* for commiting an act of disobedience under ma`zoor. Shaykh `Abdal Ghani al-Nablusi who was a Hanafi Faqih has narratations of Sahaba listening to musical instruments, interpretations of hadith, statements of tabi`een, and jurisprudential reasoning to reach his conclusion.

    Yet I do agree with you that there is a jamhur that musical instruments are haram and the purpose of my post is simply to alert you to the fact that these awliya’ and Sufis (may Allah have mercy upon them and be pleased with them) were not only Sufis but scholars of fiqh, hadith, and tafsir as well.


  13. Salamu ‘alaykum

    My initial intention was not to mention the Ikhtilaf on the matter, not because the Ikhtilaf doesnt exist but because many people then tend to seek out these dispensations which I find potentially harmful. As Shaykh Nuh said that whoever does not understand the affect of music on the Nafs really should not be passing around Fatawa.

    However, due to the fact that many people start condemning those who listen to Music it sometimes becomes necessary to *mention* the difference. Mentioning does not entail endorsement and there is no way I am telling anyone that they should go listen to Music. Especially in the context of our society and culture in the west the words of my Shaykh echo that “It is a a time for encouragement, not condemnation.”

    My way, and the way of my Akabirin, is clear: Musical instruments except the duff are Haram – Simple. This is the way of the vast majority regardless of whether some ‘Ulema stated otherwise or the Sufis.



  14. anonymous

    hmm u usually end posts where u talk about islamic matters with Wa Allahu ‘Alim, but that time u didnt… :-/

  15. Salamu ‘Alaykum

    Sidi, I dont think I “usually” end my remarks with Allahu A’lam. Im sure you can notice that if you go through my remarks on my blog as a whole.

    However, yes, Indeed Allah alone knows best.


  16. Sidi Salman,

    Allah Yarda `Alayka wa `ala Walidak.

    Traditional Islamic blogging is really catching on – we have scholars, students of knowledge, and just interested Muslims adding on to a big community. Ma Sha Allah. I really think this is a good thing especially for the youth for learning from one another.

    Yet one should keep in mind the need to leave arguing,


  17. anon

    that was a good post. Just because people listen to Sami Yusuf and then feel guilty when the MAJORITY opnion is mentioned doesn’t mean the reality is changed: music is haram.

  18. anonymous

    from http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503544202

    To conclude, we address the respectful scholars who tackle the word “haram” easily and set it free in their writings and fatwas that they should observe that Allah is watching over them in all that they say or do. They should also know that this word “haram” is very dangerous. It means that Allah’s Punishment is due on a certain act or saying, and should not be based upon guessing, whims, weak Hadiths, not even through an old book. It has to be supported by a clear, well-established text or valid consensus. If these last two are not found, then we revert the given act or saying to the original rule: “permissibility governing things”. We do have a good example to follow from one of our earlier pious scholars. Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “It was not the habit of those who preceded us, the early pious Muslims, who set good example for the following generations, to say, ‘This is halal, and this is haram. But, they would say, ‘I hate such-and-such, and maintain such-and-such, but as for halal and haram, this is what may be called inventing lies concerning Allah. Did not you hear Allah’s Statement that reads, ‘Say: Have you considered what provision Allah has sent down for you, how you have made of it lawful and unlawful? Say: Has Allah permitted you, or do you invent a lie concerning Allah?” (Yunus: 59) For, the halal is what Allah and His Messenger made lawful, and the haram is what Allah and His Messenger made unlawful.

  19. Salamu ‘Alaykum

    Shaykh Yusuf Qardawis Fatawa still remains a minority opinion. The vast majority still said it is impermissible.

    The usage of the word “haram” is not uncommon amongst the fuqaha when it comes to verdicts on music. According to the reasoning mentioned, a Hanafi should not say something is haram or makruh tahriman if a Shafi’ does not consider it to be so. In that case, no one should say anything is impermissible except that which there is ijma’ on.

    The ‘Ulema declare things haram based on their understanding of the textual evidence and the application of their respective usul on that evidence. The textual evidence is none other then the Qur’an and Sunnah. So in essence they declare things halal and haram based on what they presume – with proof – was made made halal and haram by Allah and His Messenger. To them this amounts to “clear and well established texts”. There should be no problem with this.

    As a Hanafi, I will follow the verdict of the vast majority of Hanafi ‘ulema who said Music is “impermissible”. This does not necessitate turning a blind eye when it comes to recognizing the existence of other, minority (and in my eyes weaker) opinions. Declaring something impermissible, and condemning someone are two differenct matters.

    The ‘ulema were more then aware of the usage of the term haram and its implications.


  20. Sami Yusuf is a musician plain and simple. The argument is pretty simple. He makes music. No one is mistaking that for ‘nasheeds with duff’ any time soon.

  21. Sami Yusuf is not a nasheed artist. He in fact has made that clear on numerous occasions. He respects nasheeds and the tradition of them being music-free. See interview here:


    Warning: The first minute or so contains Sami Yusuf performing Al-Muallim with a piano. For those of you who believe music is haraam, skip over that segment, or cover your ears or something.

  22. Salamu ‘Alaykum

    My Ustaadh tells me that Sami Yusuf – regardless of whether we agree with his musical inclinations – has done much good for the Ummah through his messages, specifically for those who may have no other inspiration. Although I am by no means a “fan” nor someone who endorses his music I cannot but follow what my teacher says on the issue.

    Disagree with respect.


    Ps: On a side note, this blog entry had nothing to do with Sami Yusuf.

  23. Salam `Alaykum,

    For those that are arguing music is halal please do not use Shaykh Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi (hafizahullahi ta`ala) as he is a great scholar but in fiqh the `Ullema have cautioned taking some of his stances yet this does not decrease in his emminence in any way:

    1) For those that are anti-music then you can find a million references online many of which al-Hamdulilah have been written by the great Sufis and `Ullema of the Deobandi Maslak on the internet.

    2) For those of you that want to use an actual valid decent argument for music then please buy this book which is in Arabic by Shaykh `Abdal Ghani al-Nablusi;


    It can be bought from Adabwafan.com and is called Ibah al-Dalalat fi Sam` al-Alalat. He places many conditions.



  24. BTW…

    You guys are totally wrong. Shaykh Sa`eed Ramadan al-Bouti prohibits music. Please listen to his bayan in Arabic on his website.




  25. Usma

    For those who follow the opinion that only the duff is permissible then check out the brothers from ‘Shaam’- very good

  26. ilovemuhammad

    Salam `Alaykum.

    Sidi Faqir has posted translations of Ibah al-Dalalat fi Sam` al-Alat by Shaykh `Abdal Ghani al-Nablusi (rahimahullahi ta`ala) proving that sahaba, tabi`een, early, and late scholars listened to musical instruments and even played them which is availible here:



  27. yo

    I often find that music can temporarily relieve the distracted mind that might tend to sin. Certain soft spiritual music can make Satan seem far less appealing. This is very evident to me. What do we make of this fact?

  28. yo

    and the instruments are instrumental in this calming effect

  29. Saleh

    i do think music relieves the distracted mind but there are other things you can listen to aswell. Why not listen to nasheeds!!!

  30. Blerand

    Salam Alaykum
    I like music too much but I’ve just stop listening to it according to hadiths of prophet s.a.v, some ulemas say that music is not haram (like Yousuf Kardavi) just if if… but why we are talking about music, when we know that it really takes your time for nothing, and dont forget my brothers in this world we must live only for Allah… and I’m sure 100 % that listening to music dont give me anything good for another world… everybody must think deeply and say could I answer Allah when he asks me about the time that i lost in music… If anyone has answer to that send me brother cause i couldnt find yet… (I hope you’ll understand me cause my english is not good at all)

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