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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
Damaging Our Bodies in More Ways Than One
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
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
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
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
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
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