AL-GHINAA -- (MUSIC) Articles


AL-GHINAA (1) The late Ahmed H sheriff in his article entitled “Ghinaa War-Raqs” writes: "The Arabic word Ghinaa means music. It is an art of combining  sounds into such a style pleasing to the ear and satisfying to emotions. It is prolongation and vibration of sound with variation of the pitch to such an extent that people may say that he or she is singing."


“Among the people there is he who purchases Lahwal-hadeeth to lead (others) astray from the path of Allah, without knowledge, and takes it by way of mockery. For such as these there shall be an ignominious punishment.” (31:6 Qur’an)

Aqa Mahdi Puya says: “Lahw means idle or amusing discourse which disengages attention from meaningful thought, field of inquiry or argument. On this basis the Ahlul-Bayt (as) have applied the term Lahwal-hadeeth to Music.”

“ ..Shun, then, the pollution of the idols, and shun Qaulaz-Zoor” (22:30 Qur’an)

S V Mir Ahmad Ali in his Tafseer writes:
“Zoor, according to the Ahlul-Bayt (as), are the ‘vain words’, including any utterances disapproved by Allah. According to the scholars among the followers of Ahlud-dhikr (the people of the Holy Qur’an), the Ahlul-Bayt (as), Zoor also refers to music since it is composed of vain sounds and voices.”


All the Mujtahideen are unanimous in their opinion that the manufacture, usage, sale & purchase of musical instruments is Haram (unlawful) & the income derived from musical activity is also Haraam. The transactions involving these instruments are invalid. It is Haraam even to keep instruments of music in one’s possession and it is Wajib to destroy them.

The Holy Prophet (saw) had said:

“My Ummah i.e. followers will be visited (punished) by disasters when they adopt certain habits. Of these are the people who keep singing and dancing girls and those who keep musical instruments.”

The Holy Prophet (saw) also said:

“The Almighty Allah has sent me as a mercy to the worlds, to guide the people. And He ordered me to eradicate the playing of flute and other instruments of music, all games of vice, idol (worship) and all practices of the days of ignorance.”

Imam Ja’ffar as-Sadiq (as) has been reported saying:

“The Almighty Allah has prohibited the manufacture of all such things that are exclusively used in Haraam ways; and things that only create evil like pipe, flute, chess and all types of instruments of gambling, images and statues. The manufacture of all such articles are Haraam.”
Muadda ibn Ziyaad says that:
I was in the company of Imam Ja’ffar as-Sadiq (as) when a person said,
“When I go to the toilet, I can hear the singing girls of my neighbor. Sometimes I remain (in toilet) longer so that I may listen to more of it.”
Imam (as) said:
“Desist from listening to music and songs attentively.”
Then this man further said,
“Master, I do not go to music gatherings! I only hear the sounds!”
Imam (as) said:
“Have you not read this Qur’anic verse: Surely, the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these shall be questioned about that?”
The man replied,
“I was not aware of this ayat. I regret my actions. I shall not do so in the future.”
Seeing his condition, Imam (as) said,
“Get up! Go and perform ghusl and offer salaat and pray for forgiveness. You have certainly been involved in a deadly sin and a terrible situation. You have repented for it and I thank Allah for that; and I seek forgiveness of Allah for all those things which He dislikes. Certainly, Allah only dislikes the evil things. Leave the evil things to the evil people because there are different people suitable for different things.”

AL-GHINAA (2) The late Ahmed H Sheriff in his article entitled “Al-Ghinaa War-Raqs” meaning “Music & Dancing” writes: When Prophet Adam (as) died, his disobedient son Qabil (the one who killed his brother Habil) and Shaitaan became happy. Together they built some musical instruments to celebrate the death. So all musical instruments now used in singing and dancing have their origin from there.

Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (as) has said:

“Angels do not even enter a house that has wine, drum, tambourine or a flute. Even the prayers of the Inhabitants of this house are unacceptable. They are deprived of Barakah meaning blessings”.

Imam Ali ibn Mussa ar-Ridha (as) has been reported saying:

“A person invites Divine wrath when in his house instruments like flute, drum and chess are played for fourty days. If this man dies within forty days, his death would be of a sinner and a transgressor. His place shall be in hell. And what a dreadful place it is!”

It should be borne that there is nothing which Allah (SWT) has made lawful or unlawful except with reasons beneficial for man. Some reasons are clear and some await to become evident with time and progress in the field of knowledge.

Of the several bad effects, Music is known to:
Boost emotions and arouse lust and sensual powers beyond natural limit and to dominate over one’s ‘Aql i.e. intellect.

Allah (SWT) has blessed man with two main faculties (powers): Intellect and Emotions. The first faculty is designed to guide and control emotions which produce desires and anger. If man wishes to remain on the right path of Islam and safeguard against sins, then he must always hold ‘intellect’ as supreme and all his actions be committed under its guidance. It is his intellect which he must develop to dominate over all his other faculties.

There is no doubt that music serves as a kind of intoxicant in a manner which makes one forget his self-esteem and his surrounding. It also stirs violence and unruly behavior. The Late Ahmed H Sheriff in his aforementioned article sites the following example:

About 50,000 youths once gathered in Melbourne, Australia for a musical concert. They became overpowered with it so much that they started assaulting each other with fists and knives. Many were so excited with the music that they did not realize what they were doing, so the police had to come in to control the situation.

Frankly, such sights are very common everywhere around the pubs and discos today. Usually, on every Monday, numerous incidents of such violence are reported in the newspapers and tabloids.

Moreover, those engaged in the profession of singing and dancing sink to the lowest levels of immorality. Visit any disco and watch any music channel, it invites one to nothing but promiscuity. The dominant theme of these so-called entertainment places is ‘illicit sex’. The contents of most of the songs and the nature of dancing by both men and women stirs sexual desires. All these certainly leads us to the conclusion that there is a very close relationship between music, dancing and prostitution. Thus the saying of the Holy Prophet (saw) that, “ music is the magic of fornication” can easily be understood.

AL-GHINAA (3) In traditions, prevalence of music has been mentioned as one of the signs before the re-appearance of our 12th Imam, Imam al-Hujjah (aj).

“And you shall see that music will be so prevalent that no one will dissuade others nor will he find in himself the need to do so. And you shall see that music would be openly played even in the two sanctuaries (the city of Makkah and Madinah)”.

This is evident in our present age where obscene music is openly played in the markets, on the streets, in shops and houses and even in the cars and no one bothers to forbid or prevent it !

In the last “Friday learning zone” we discussed one of the adverse effects of music that it gives a boost to emotions and arouses lust and sensual powers beyond natural limit and also dominates over ones ‘Aql i.e. intellect.

Music is also known to have adverse effects on the physiques of man. Quoting from “Taseere Mousiqee bar Asaab”, the Late Ayatullah Abdulhussein Dasti Ghayb writes in his book “Gunahan-e-Kabeera” as follows:

Expert doctors, scientists and biologists have defined two types of nerves, the principle nerves and the arterial nerves. The Principle nerves stretch from the neck to all vital organs. The Arterial nerves spread from the main nerves to all parts of the body. The secondary nerves are connected to outward parts of the body and convey the messages to the brain. When the veins enlarge, the blood pressure decreases. Due to the shriveling of blood vessels, the blood pressure increases. When the blood pressure varies at different parts of the body, it affects the health.

When the secondary nerves work they produce heat whereas the functioning of the central nerves produces the opposite effect. It is due to these nerves that feelings of sloth, sleep, thoughtlessness, forgetfulness, grief, sorrow, fainting, unconsciousness and even death occur. Obviously, when music can affect various nerves, it can give rise to various maladies. Mental diseases as well as physical ailments can occur. These mental effects can destroy man’s reasoning capacity. It is for this reason that one who listens to music is unable to perform work that can be accomplished by a sane person.

Music creates vibrations in the body and these are conveyed to all the parts of the body through the nervous system. As a result of this, indigestion occurs. Music affects the heart in such a way that the heartbeats become irregular. The blood pressure goes awry. All such ailments make a person permanently ill. Consequently, even modern medical science, in spite of its astonishing progress, fails in such a situation. Sometimes, the music is so intense that the listeners lose their sanity. They become dumb and various kinds of mental diseases occur. In places where music is more prevalent, we find that there are more neurotic illnesses…

The late Ayatullah then adds: Dr. Adlen writes against music,

“Even though it seems pleasant, the effect of music is profound upon the nervous system. Especially, when the temperature is high, the ill effect of music is more. This is the reason that ill effects of music are more in the hot areas of Iran and Saudi Arabia. The American people are so disgusted with the bane of music that they have united to demand from the senate a permanent ban on music. It is a pity that the whole world clearly perceives the evils of music and yet adopts music as entertainment.”

Lastly, it would not be out of place to quote the Late Ayatullah Seyyid Abul-Qasim al-Khui from his book “al-Masaa-ilush Shar’iyyah”:

The prohibition of intentionally listening and giving ear to haraam songs and music has come in the holy tradition. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “And the person with the (sin of) song (al-Ghinaa) will be raised (on the day of resurrection) blind, deaf and dumb. The person with (the sin of) adultery, of wood-wind, and of drum will also be raised in the same way”.

He (saw) has also said:

"Whoever listens to the entertainment (song and music), lead will be melted inside his ear on the day of Judgement”.

It is also reported from him (saw):

“Singing and music are enchantment for adultery”.

Simply put, it is a way that leads to adultery as already explained in the previous supplement. Readers are humbly requested to recite Surah al-Fatihah for Late Ayatullah Dasti Ghayb, Late Ayatullah al-Khui, Late Ahmed H Sheriff and all Marhumeen.

Mulla Mujaheedali Sheriff



Shedding Light on the Darkness of Music

Sure, we've heard that music is Haram – but not all music is bad, right? What about songs with decent lyrics? Or if there isn't any dancing to go with the music? How about if it inspires religiosity? Besides, music is practically as normal as breathing nowadays – we really don't want to give the impression that Muslims don't believe in a little fun and entertainment!

In this age of free downloads, easily-accessible music, and tiny technology with huge storage space, we're constantly surrounded by music. Whether we're on hold on the phone, waiting in an elevator, or walking down the street, we're bound to hear music one way or another. It's unavoidable, and in situations like those, there is no sin. However, the problem arises when we, of our own accord, seek out opportunities to listen to music.

According to numerous studies, youth spend approximately eight hours a day with forms of media such as television, radio, etc. All the different forms of media are either solely devoted to music or have music in the background – so that's almost eight hours a day of music exposure!

There aren't any statistics about Muslims specifically, but it is apparent in today's society that even followers of our beautiful religion listen to music. Be it a small percentage of Muslims or a large percentage, it's still significant because no sin should be considered as "just a small one" – particularly when it comes to listening to music.

Perhaps it is a moment of uncertainty, or hopefully the person is making a gradual change to strengthen his/her faith. To help reach a better understanding, here are just some of the reasons why we must keep away from music.

Focusing on the Almighty

Why are things forbidden in Islam? Either they are harmful to us, or they lead to things which are harmful – "harmful" in the sense of destroying our soul. The strength of music is such that it easily opens the door to so many other sins.

During our brief lifetime, we strive to get closer to our Creator. Everything we do should help us heighten our Taqwa, God-consciousness, and focus on our journey towards Him. To be aware of His presence at all times is essential to staying on the Right Path. Therefore, those things which have the power to alter our state of mind are forbidden: alcohol, drugs, and thus music.

The effect of music is easily observable, be it someone subconsciously tapping their feet in rhythm to a song or someone wildly dancing to the music that's playing. A person automatically moves in tune to music; people almost don't realize that they have started drumming their fingers to the song. The automatic response is something which Muslims are to abstain from, because we must be conscious of all our actions.

Just as alcohol and drugs alter the state of mind to the extent that people not realize what they are doing, so does music. Likewise, people even get addicted to music! They cannot live without it – people have such a "need" to listen to music that it has even become acceptable to have earbuds/headphones in the classroom and workplace. Such extreme attachment, to rely so much on something other than the Almighty to achieve a state of peace, can appropriately be called an addiction. Anything which takes away our focus and ability to make decisions is forbidden in Islam. That music has such control over a person means the individual can no longer practice free will, and that is undoubtedly an obstacle in making our way towards Allah.

Another reason is that music acts as a stepping stone to other greater sins. Let's be realistic: what is the environment that comes to mind when we think of music? That's right – there's Haram written all over the place. Whether it's classical music being played at a formal party with ballroom dancing and wineglasses, or loud music being played at a wild concert with all types of alcohol flowing freely – the atmosphere reeks of inappropriate behavior.

Even if a person feels that (s)he will be able to prevent him-/herself from being led to other sins, music is not allowed. Using the example of alcohol again, even sitting at a table that has bottles of intoxicating drinks is not allowed, despite the fact that we will not drink it. As Muslims, we are supposed to do our utmost to leave no room for the potential of committing a sin. But enough of my explanations – let's see what our guides say on the issue as well.

According to the Jurisprudence

Sometimes it will be blaring from loudspeakers or from people playing their guitar in the school hall; other times it's the music escaping from someone's earbuds, or the songs playing from someone's car that are so unbelievably loud that you can even feel the vibrations of it! Do we get sins for the notes of music reaching our ears in these cases?

There have been questions about the permissibility of music, singing and dancing. Before proceeding to the official rulings, it is necessary to ascertain the difference between two types of music.

Editor's Note: The rulings from this point onwards are quoted from Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani as mentioned in his book A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West.

536. Music that is permissible is the music that does not entail entertainment in gatherings held for that purpose. Forbidden music is the music that is suitable for entertainment and amusement gatherings.

546. Question: Is it correct to say that the music that arouses sexual, lustful urges and promotes unstable and degrading behavior is the forbidden one? Answer: Forbidden music is the music that is suitable for entertainment and amusement in gatherings, even if it does not arouse sexual temptations.

So the vast majority of music that is produced, which is for entertainment purposes, is forbidden. Listening to music at weddings, at concerts, while studying or driving, or "just for fun" all fall under that category. However, music that plays in the background of commercials, television programs, at the mall or other similar instances are not forbidden. After all, no one goes to the mall to listen to the music that's playing there – no one goes for the purpose of entertainment by the music!

The ruling extends to songs as well, even if there are no musical instruments involved.

541. Singing (al-ghina') is Haram: doing it, listening to it, or living of it. By "singing – al-ghina'," I mean an amusing statement expressed in the tunes that are suitable for those who provide entertainment and amusement."


As for dancing, ruling 558 through 563 all repeatedly state that dancing is not permissible. The only instance in which dancing is allowed is if a woman dances for her spouse, and that must be without any music accompanying it.

Getting back to music, not only is listening to it abhorred in Islam, but dealing with musical instruments is also problematic.

556. It is not permissible to deal in the instruments of Haram entertainment – neither selling nor buying or etc. – just as it is not permissible to manufacture them and accept remuneration for making them.

It is only logical that when dealing with musical instruments is forbidden, then the music produced by such instruments must also definitely be forbidden. There's no getting around it: music is Haram!

Holding on to the Thaqalayn

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) was sent at a time when the society was plunged deeply in disgraceful habits. Gatherings were rampant with music, singing, dancing, intoxicating drinks, inappropriate clothing and mixing of the genders. The Holy Prophet was aware of the Haram environment, and he has left rules for us to follow in order to keep from falling into the traps of Shaitan.

He has said: "And the person with the [sin of] song [al-ghina'] will be raised [on the Day of Resurrection] blind, deaf, and dumb. The person with [the sin of] adultery, of wood-wind, and of drum will also be raised in the same way." (Al-Masa'il ash-Shar'iyya) Not only did the Prophet clearly tell us that singing is prohibited, but also that using musical instruments such as the drum are also forbidden.

Furthermore, the Prophet connected music with other sins, such as adultery. Another example is when he said, "Singing and music are enchantments for adultery." (Ibid.) Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) has said: "The playing of violin promotes the growth of hypocrisy in the heart like water assists the growth of vegetation (algae)." (Wasail ash-Shi'a) From just these narrations, it is apparent that music and singing are not minor sins – they only lead lower down the wrong path to the most shameful and multitudinous sins.

If that's not enough indication of how disliked music and dancing are, here is yet another saying of the Prophet: "Whoever listens to the entertainment (song and music), lead will be melted inside his ear on the Day of Judgment." (Al-Masa'il ash-Shar'iyya) So the next time the thought, "It's just one time, onesong…" passes our minds, let us remember the severity of aversion to music and singing.

In his Charter of Rights, Imam Zainul Abideen (peace be upon him) states in regards to the rights of the ear: "It is the right of your sense of hearing that you should not turn it into a way to your heart except for a noble talk which may create some good [feelings or ideas] in your heart, or which may earn for you a noble character; because it is the door which allows a talk to get to the heart, carrying to it different types of ideas, whether good or evil. And there is no power but with Allah." In Shaikh Saduq's version, it says, "And it is the right of the sense of hearing to keep it from listening to backbiting and from hearing what you are not allowed to hear." Both translations address the fact that we must pay attention to avoid the things which are of no benefit and which also lead to other sins.

When Shaitan said that he will try to lead the children of Prophet Adam astray, Allah said to him as shown in verse 64 of Sura Isra: "'Lead to destruction those whom you can among them, with your (seductive) voice; make assaults on them with your cavalry and your infantry; mutually share with them wealth and children; and make promises to them.' But Satan promises them nothing but deceit." Shaitan's use of his "(seductive) voice" refers to his lures of music and song. The Arabic word Istafzizmeans "to befool them gradually", just as music – and his other lures – eventually lead to greater sins.

Verse 6 of Sura Luqman says: "But there are among men those who purchase idle tales, without knowledge (or meaning), to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah and throw ridicule (on the Path): for such there will be a Humiliating Penalty." The Arabic word Lahw is used for "idle tales" in the verse.Lahw encompasses vain things such as singing and music. There are other references to Lahw in the Holy Quran, and they encompass those things which are futile activities and do nothing to strengthen our relationship with our Lord.

Any Loopholes We Can Slip Through?

So that settles it, right? Well, not always. Some people still have questions about the technicalities, so let's get through those too.

A common question, especially during the wedding season, is about segregated singing and dancing. What if there is no mixing of the genders – then what? Even in that case, ruling number 561 states it as being not allowed as per obligatory precaution. Still other questions come up with regard to the lyrics of songs, the form of Halal recitations, and the purpose of the music itself. The question and answer below covers them:

547. Question: Just as many questions are asked about halal and haram music, many questions are asked about halal and haram songs. Is it correct to say that haram songs are those that arouse sexual, lustful urges and promote unstable and degrading behavior? Is it correct to say that songs that do not arouse lustful desires, but elevate the souls and thoughts to lofty levels like religious songs of praise dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad and the Imams, or the songs that lift the spirits and morale [of the fighters] and the like, are halal songs? Answer: All songs (al-ghina') are haram. Based on the definition that we accept, al-ghina' is the entertaining expression by way of tunes that are common to those who provide entertainment and amusement. In this prohibition, we should include the recitation of the Holy Qur'an, supplications (du'as), and songs of praise of Ahlul Bayt uttered to the accompaniment of those tunes [that are used by the entertainers]. The prohibition of reciting other non-entertaining expressions – like songs intended to lift the morale [of fighters] – is based on compulsory precaution. However, the tune that cannot be described as such is not haram by itself."

According to the above ruling, if a song fits the definition of al-ghina', then it is prohibited, no matter how decent we might think the lyrics are. On top of that, any form of Halal recitation which is done in the same tune as a song is Haram – so let us forget about listening to Du'as accompanied by music! If someone truly wishes to seek spirituality in Du'as and praise of the Ahlul-Bayt, then there is no shortage of music-free recitations. Moreover, it would be the music which evokes sentiments, not the words itself – so there is no justification for such things.

Just Think About It

Logically, just think about it: is listening to the newly released hit song truly beneficial in bringing us closer to our Lord?

Imam Ali (peace be upon him) once gave a method of how to make the right decision in moments of uncertainty: realize what it is that your heart desires and then do the opposite, because Shaitan tries to mislead us by whispering of temporary pleasures to our hearts. But we have to make sure we thwart his attempts, because we don't want to get entangled in a sin that leads to a web of greater sins. We must keep in mind our goal of getting closer to our Beloved, and music only serves as an arrow in the opposite direction.

In the end, is that one song really worth your soul?

A few weeks ago we brought you evidence of theDarkness of Music. While that gives you the Islamic perspective on the issue, there are other reasons not to listen to music as well. Even some non-Muslims choose to keep away from music, and their reasoning is not based on what the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) have said. Still, the cores of their reasoning are in line with Islamic principles as shown below.

Boosting their Income and Sustaining Oppression

The music industry is huge. By "huge", we mean that it's a multi-billion-dollar industry on its own, not to mention the influence it has in every other part of the public's life. From product endorsements to political campaigns to "reality" shows – the music industry makes a lot of dough because it's involved in anything and everything.

The public is bombarded by music and music-related things in order to make more profit. Whenever companies sit down to come up with new ideas, they look at the group of people who would benefit the industry in a socio-economic manner. If the target is age 18 to 21, they use a specific set of tactics; if the age group is 9 to 13, they'll use another set. It all comes down to monetary gain.

Rutgers University's psychology professor Maureen Morrin has been working on a study of the effect of music on spending. Conducting the experiment in malls, the stores alternated between types of music; consumers would be arbitrarily stopped and questioned about their expenditures. In the November 2005 issue of the American Psychological Association, Morrin states: "Music…generally improves mood rather than cognition, and impulsive shoppers rely on mood to make purchasing decisions… Perhaps the music subconsciously improved impulsive shoppers' moods, which led them to spend more." While the final results have yet to be publicized, the findings of her experiment are worth considering – what else are we doing without realizing that it's because we're "under the influence"?

Do you know where all your money is ending up? People spend thousands of dollars on music-related purchases every year! That's a lot of money. Despite the loss of revenue ever since free downloads came along, people still spend a significant amount of money to keep the business running. One can only wonder where all that money goes.

But the music producers are working hard to earn their money, so what's the problem in supporting them? The problem lies in where your money is eventually going: to sustain the on-going wars, and to promote immoral ideas thereby supporting oppression around the world. Some will protest by giving examples of music groups that raise money for charities and speak out against wars. However, all music groups fall under a large umbrella corporation. The biggest ones include Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music, EMI (Electric & Musical Industries), and Universal Music Group. Portions of the revenue from these companies eventually reach the hands of groups with ill intentions.

For those who still feel the need to point to musicians and singers who are also known as philanthropists, take a look at the big picture. On the one hand, their songs, their dress, their language, indeed their whole persona project corruption. So when they give up some of their time and money – and they somehow can't manage to keep their "good deed" from being publicized – one can only wonder at the cognitive dissonance they present.

We should always make an effort to be aware of what we support. While it's difficult to trace where our money reaches all the way down the line, we need to at least make sure that we don't support such obvious modes of oppression and immorality through music consumption.

Manipulating Our Minds from Cradle to Grave

The average life span of a North American is approximately 80 years. Fast-forward from the fetal stage to the last moments of a person's life: how many ideas that were ingrained upon the person's mind can be traced back to the music that they were exposed to? The answer: too many to count.

With research coming out about the intellectual benefits of classical music, some parents are buying products to play for their child – before it is even born! For those who don't buy into the idea, any music that they listen to for their own pleasure still reaches the unborn child. Years later there are piano lessons, youth music groups, and then for the rest of their lives, they'll be listening to one song or another. It's inescapable – thus the belief that it is as necessary as breathing!

The power of music has always been used to reach a certain goal. There have been studies which show different reactions to different types of music. Based on the studies, organizations pick which type of music to play for different audiences, depending on what wants to be achieved. When you walk into a store or an office, the choice and volume of the song is not accidental; it has been selected specifically to influence your behavior.

The media is aware of the power of music, and they take advantage of the influential position they have. Musicians are turned into role models for society, and the public follows every detail of the lives of their favorite music group. The "celebrities" hit the news so often that even if you don't listen to music and don't care about their lives, you still know about them. Instances of singers falling into drug abuse, illicit relationships, gambling problems, alcoholism, and so many other scandals are just too many to keep track of! Are those truly the role models children as young as four – or anyone for that matter – should have?

As for the lyrics…do we really need to spell it out? They are inappropriate – yet it is a common thing to hear the words coming out of a child's mouth. Lines of verse are easily memorized after hearing them only a few times, and it is often that people don't even pay attention to what the words are. Without realizing what they are saying, kids start to quote the music they listen to. Eventually, the message that is repeatedly being conveyed through the music is ingrained upon the mind.

Just Google what the top song currently is, and then look for the lyrics. Right now, the song "Rude Boy" tops the list – without having to go into the actual lyrics, they are most definitely not things which any person of decency would want to hear! Most songs have such explicit wordings that incite inappropriate behavior in listeners. Study after study has taken place to determine the strength of the music-behavior connection. Be it of an intoxicating, violent or sexual nature, the lyrics and instrumental music do have an impact on behavior.

Too gruesome and foul to quote, there are songs which have such high ratings yet the lyrics are incredibly lewd. An obvious indicator of the fact that music does have an impact on the mind is the use of it in warfare. Specific music is played for soldiers in order to alter their state of mind: to give them an adrenaline rush, to make them reckless, and to get them psyched for bloodshed. Music is a tool for soldiers of war – it truly does have an effect on the mind and behavior!

A group of researchers publicized their analysis of music and the extent to which it influences the mind of adolescents. In a 2009 issue of the American Psychological Association, they raised the issue of the supposed "positive effects" of music. In their "advances through meta-analysis", the researchers set out to prove the evident connection between the attitudes and behaviors of youth and the music they listen to.

Dr. Craig Anderson and Nicholas L. Carnagey of Iowa State University conducted an experiment that links music with varying behaviors. In the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (vol. 84, no. 35), the details of the study were publicized. The effects of violent, non-violent, humorous, non-humorous, explicit and implicit music were tested on over 500 college students. Furthermore, even the differences between music with lyrics and music without lyrics were tested. All the variables yielded different results, yet in the end, each result was a significantly high number. Whether the music was violent, explicit and loud, or whether it had no words accompanying the music at all – there was still a negative impact on the college students' thoughts and behaviors.

An experiment took place in 1970 by Dorothy Retallack, and some of the results from her experimental procedure are relevant. She tested the effects of different types of music on plants for varying lengths of time. Youth consume at least seven hours of media per day, and most forms of media include music in it. One of the observations from part of Retallack's study was that the plants died when exposed to approximately eight hours of music per day. Needless to say – we are human beings and not plants. However, the plants were only exposed to the strongly detrimental musical tones; humans are exposed to the tones as well as harmful lyrics. Therefore it would be reasonable to conclude that the astonishing effect of music on plants can only be magnified for human beings.


Outlined in Satan's Music Exposed, by Lowell Hart, a simple experiment took place involving two youth. They were put into a room, and observers recorded their altering behaviors as the background music changed. "When classical music and soft ballads were piped into the room, they talked and were friendly, but somewhat aloof. When pop music and jazz were played, they quickly developed a much 'friendlier' attitude and began to hold hands and put their arms around each other. When the music changed back to classical and ballads, they would again become more formal and reserved. If the music would swing back to the jazz and pop music 'their formality would give way to familiarity'." (Page 63) The purpose of the experiment was to see the different behaviors evoked by different types of music – the fact that each type of music had such obvious effects on attitude is indicator enough of the seriousness of musical influences.

David Tame, author of The Secret Power of Music, talks about rock music specifically. On page 204, he says: "It is a global phenomenon: a pounding, pounding destructive beat which is heard from America and Western Europe to Africa and Asia. Its effect upon the soul is to make nigh-impossible the true inner silence and peace necessary for the contemplation of eternal verities." He goes on to say about music in general, on page 141: "In conclusion, we can say that insofar as the physical body is concerned, the notion that music has no effect upon man, or that all music is harmless, is absolutely in error."

While it is not a scientific observation, a simple example of how easily music takes over the mind and body is shown in Alex Haley's famous book Roots. The excerpt takes place centuries ago, and it portrays the fact that the overpowering effects of music on body and mind have always been present. The description given on page 47 shows how a person can go from distantly observing what he saw as frightening acts, to joining them himself – all because of the influence of the music! "The pounding heartbeat of the drums seemed to throb not only in Kunta's ears but also in his limbs. Almost without his knowing it, as if it were a dream, he felt his body begin to quiver and his arms to flail, and soon he was springing and shouting along with the others, whom he had ceased to notice…"

Damaging Our Bodies in More Ways Than One

Body Image

The extent to which music influences our mindsets has already been mentioned above, but the arm of music reaches even longer than just that. Music is associated with an image: it can be of the singer, of the people listening to it, or of the music video that accompanies song releases. Thus, music undeniably affects the lifestyle of listeners in so many ways.

The status of the female in music is utterly degrading, no doubt about it. The lyrics – whether the song is composed by a male or female – objectify women. The foul language is either directed to a woman or the actual meaning of it is in reference to a woman. Outrageous music videos clearly, openly, obviously objectify the female figure. There's no getting around it: music is a tool of oppression of women.

David Giles' book Media Psychology devotes a chapter to "Media and Adolescence" in which he also elaborates on musical influences. The difference in reception by varying age groups of a single piece of music was surprising. He pointed out that despite the fact that although children may not fully understand the music they consume, the ideas remain with them as they get older. Not only are they exposed to inappropriate content from a young age (while others just stand by saying, "They're just kids!"), but they also retain the content and come back to it later on in life.

According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, approximately 53 percent of American girls up to 13 years of age are not content with they way their bodies are. The statistics go on to say that by the time 17 years of age is reached, the statistic escalates to 78 percent! All that, because of the music world's vice-like grip on the public's way of viewing themselves.

The cases of teen emulation of such women are rampant in the West. Eating disorders, drugs, alcoholism, sexual misconduct, suicidal tendencies and depression are all in part caused by music. According to Reuter's Health, E. J. Mundell conducted a study involving 10-year-old children. The result of viewing a music video of Britney Spears was that they were "dissatisfied with their own bodies."

Mundell's research subjects included both genders – so while music is extremely distorting of female body image, it also influences males. Studies also show that some men feel pressured to meet the standards of male musicians, just as some women feel the need to do so. While the women try to become thin, the men try to build up more muscle; while the women try to imitate a seductive attitude, the men try to imitate an aggressive attitude.

In a study by M. Fleming-Morgan and K. Thiagarajah – publicized in the U.S. National Library of Medicine – the results were astounding. Media consumption, including music-related media, causes a 50 percent increase in obesity for both genders. By trying to be like the people whom the media elevates, people damage their physical and mental health.

What people hear in the songs, what they see on music videos, what they learn from reports about singers – everything from the song's lyrics to the edited clips to the sad lives of singers has an impact on consumers.


Perhaps this is a point that is more relevant in this age of earbuds, but an obvious negative side effect of listening to music is the damage to a person's hearing. It is not uncommon for someone to be listening to a song as they wear their earbuds/earphones – and although you are on the other side of the room, you can still hear the music loud and clear! In those situations, there is definitely auditory deterioration. To make the problem even more serious, the deterioration starts from a young age, resulting in hearing loss at earlier ages than previous generations.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is a common result of listening to music, especially at the volumes people prefer their music to be! In the January 2010 issue of the International Journal of Audiology, a group of researchers gave an overview entitled "Music Exposure and Hearing Disorders". They went on to give details of the significance of music in NIHL and tinnitus (a ringing sound in the ear). Besides that, there is a lot of information on the role of music in hearing loss.

Julius Portnoy, a musicologist, observed the effects of instrumental music on health as well. He gave details about metabolic rates, blood pressure, energy levels and digestion. Dr. Adam Knieste, yet another musicologist, said that, "[Music is] really a powerful drug. Music can poison you, lift your spirits, or make you sick without knowing why."

Although it was written in 1999, parts of Max Schoen's book The Effects of Music: A Series of Essays, can still be referred to. In the chapter by A. R. Gilliland and H. T. Moore, charts about the immediate effects of music are shown. The amount of tapping and the pulse rates of the participants in an experiment were recorded. The numbers fluctuated depending on the type of music being listened to: instances of tapping ranged from 156 to 331, while pulse rates rapidly varied from 48 to 100 beats per minute – all from listening to music.

Joseph Lanza's Elevator Music covers types of music, music in history, and different perceptions of music according to different societies. At one point in the book, Lanza goes so far as to say that some types of music result in serious reactions such as seizures. On page 194, he says: "Some background music has been known to induce musicogenic epilepsy, triggering a chemical brain reaction that elicits thoughts of suicide or murder…doctors had documented seventy-six similar cases."

It is not hard to find information on the negative effects of music – just observe the society around you. There are so many reasons not to be enslaved by such an obviously damaging entity, and these are just a few. The final choice of taking one of the two paths is yours: do you want to not only be a victim ofbut also support oppression – or do you choose to break free of the chains of music?



I am addicted to music because listening to music makes me happy and takes my mind off problems in my life. I want to stop listening to music and want to concentrate on my faith and education; I want to spend my time reciting the Quran and reading books instead. What advice would you give me?


Music may make you "happy" and "take your mind off your problems" in the short run. I agree. In fact, if a short term euphoric sensation is what you're looking for, there are many more options including drugs, alcohol, and gambling! People drink bitter spirits and tolerate the nasty acidic burn of alcohol not for the taste (it is, after all, a poison) but for their intoxicating quality in order to distract them from the daily toils and personal problems. In his book "Civilization and its Discontents" Sigmund Freud actually asserts that the best means of subduing unhappiness and the most effective style of human adaptation used to secure pleasure from the world while also trying to avoid or limit suffering, is the consumption of alcohol! Surely as Muslims, indeed as rational human beings, we can't take these options seriously given the devastating side-effects they possess.

Music is also a drug. An odorless, colorless, and thanks to the internet, largely free drug which makes you feel good (unless you're a fan of Marylin Manson), and then leaves you with nothing but more depression and a sense of emptiness. As soon as you're out of the concert hall, or you drop that iPod, you go back to the bitter reality that is your life and, because you can't deal with that, you go back to music for comfort and distraction. While you're in your little world consumed by music, Apple celebrates the 10 billionth song downloaded from iTunes at 99 cents a pop. While we feed our addiction, Steve Jobs is laughing all the way to the bank!.

So what is the first side effect of this drug; addiction. Because it creates a false euphoria, you keep going back for another fix. It completely takes over your mind and affects your judgment. The British neurologist Oliver Sacks says: "music can involve many different parts of the brain, special parts for the response to pitch, and to frequency, and to timbre, and to rhythm, and to melodic contour, and to harmonic and everything else" thus, completely occuping the brain. That is why you'll notice that those addicted to music will often also refuse Hijab. They easily socialize with people of the opposite sex and may engage in illicit relationships.

Picture this: a pious, dignified, veiled Muslim woman jumping up and down with the tunes of a pop music concert while screaming her lungs out singing the lyrics. What's wrong with this picture? It just doesn't happen! You simply cannot mix chastity and piety with music, not even conceptually as you see from this illustration. This is why Islam closes the door shut to the range of possible detrimental pandemics by banning music (with very limited exceptions).

The Holy Prophet outlines this part of his mission in the following narration:
‎‫الله عز وجل بعثني رحمة وهدى للعالمين وأمرني أن أمحق المعازف والخمور والأوثان التي كانت تعبد في الجاهلية‬

The Prophet says: "Allah the exalted sent me as a mercy to the worlds and commanded me to obliterate musical instruments as well as intoxicating drinks and idols that were worshiped in the era of ignorance"

This Hadeeth suggests that one of the main purposes for the final revelation is the banning of music, following spreading mercy to all of mankind! Notice, also, how the narration collectively refers to the "idols that were worshiped". Could this be a reference to Music? Perhaps so, in the sense that it is, indeed, an idol for the modern era of ignorance as it was a false idol in the ancient era as well.

The argument that music also has therapeutic benefits is irrelevant, because much like alcohol, it has been proven that it influences humans both in good and bad ways. However, in our view, the harms outweigh the benefits. Here's where it get a bit technical, but also quite interesting: Studies have shown that music affects the amplitude and frequency of brain waves, which can be measured by an electro-encephalogram. Music also affects breathing rate and electrical resistance of the skin. It has been observed to cause the pupils to dilate, increase blood pressure, and increase the heart rate.

Dr. Ballam states: "The human mind shuts down after three or four repetitions of a rhythm, or a melody, or a harmonic progression." (Ballam, Michael. Music and the Mind, pp 1-8.). Furthermore, excessive repetition causes people to release control of their thoughts. Rhythmic repetition is used by people who are trying to push certain ethics in their music.

An Australian physician and psychiatrist, Dr. John Diamond, found a direct link between muscle strength/weakness and music. He discovered that all of the muscles in the entire body go weak when subjected to the "stopped anapestic beat" of music from hard rock musicians, including Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Queen, The Doors, Janis Joplin, Bachman – Turner Overdrive, and The Band. Dr. Diamond found another effect of the anapestic beat. He called it a "switching" of the brain. Dr. Diamond said this switching occurs when the actual symmetry between both of the cerebral hemispheres is destroyed causing alarm in the body along with lessened work performance, learning and behavior problems in children, and a "general malaise in adults." In addition to harmful, irregular beats in rock music, shrill frequencies prove to also be harmful to the body. Bob Larson, a Christian minister and former rock musician, remembers that in the 70′s teens would bring raw eggs to a rock concert and put them on the front of the stage. The eggs would be hard boiled by the music before the end of the concert and could be eaten. Dr. Earl W. Flosdorf and Dr. Leslie A. Chambers showed that proteins in a liquid medium were coagulated when subjected to piercing high-pitched sounds

I hope you can be brave enough to close that door shut by making the commitment today that music will no longer be a part of your life and that you will not be enslaved by its lure.


Written By: Sayed Mahdi Al-Modarresi

Vain Words


That music is a drug 
You're addicted to that ear bud
It makes you lazy and distracted 
You've been thoughtless in your actions

Show you what to wear and how to speak 
You think you're cool but you're really weak
Easily controlled and manipulated 
Practically uneducated because you're fixated

You sit in class, but can't listen to the teacher 
Gotta get your fix, gotta rattle that speaker
You disrespect the sources of wisdom 
"Entertain me, or I'll die of boredom!"

Don't want to concentrate or learn how to focus
You think that your future will come by hocus-pocus
No room in your brain to ponder the sad state of affairs
Idols on TV, who's gone next - a replacement for your cares

You can Name That Tune in just one note
but it was too much of a hassle to get out and vote
You can sing all the lyrics to 20 albums by heart
But to learn a new ayah of Qur'an you'll never start

Silence makes you suffer because you gotta face the fact
That you don't know how to think or even how to act
Are you so gone, so horribly addicted
that you don't even know that you've been afflicted?

Turn off that noise and face the world without a crutch
Let a little thing control you and what you lose is much
Have some self-respect and live up to your potential
Become a human being instead of something bestial

You'll never change the world with that wire in your ear
You're a slave and no free thinker while they dictate what you hear
A believer is better than the mind-numbed masses
But vain entertainments help keep people in their classes

You're hyperconnected, but to all the wrong things
Turn off and tune out and instead build your dream
The Right Path is the ultimate connection, the singular message
But you've been drowning it out with meaningless verbiage

Can you go for a week without a multimedia hook?
Examine your soul, give it a deep, hard look
Your soul will not perish if you miss an episode
But if you died today, what will you have sowed?

If you want to be liberated, if you want to be strong,
You can find your new beginning by admitting you were wrong
Sit in the silence and learn to think for yourself
Take the dusty Qur'an down from the top bookshelf

Think and ponder so hard that you get very tired
Know yourself and the Universe and you will have conspired
Against Satan and his allies who have easily beguiled you
By making evil so fair-seeming that you always failed to argue

Stay away from whatever makes you mindless of God, the Sublime
That which makes you careless about morality and wasteful of time
Do not idolize or imitate the Materialists or the Capitalists
If being friends of the Ahlulbayt (as) is really what you wish

Peace of mind and purity of heart are not unattainable
If you will remove from your deeds whatever is blameful
Replace them with a pleasant demeanor and a gentle disposition
Soon to that vain talk you'll no longer desire to listen

A sad substitute for profound and beautiful words
Written by great thinkers as opposed to famous drunkards
Or to your own reflections and concentrations
That inspire you to love your God and to always be thanking.

That music is a drug
You're addicted to that ear bud
It is time to set yourself free
Undistracted, who knows, you could be someone mighty

Author of this article: Masooma Beatty