Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Islam & Entertainment such as Music

Somehow, music has a controversial name in religions, especially in Islam. It's associated with uncomplicated fun not focused on Divine worship, and some consider that waste of energy. Or it's associated with social, sexual and alcoholic abuse. Sometimes this is true. But, does Islam truly forbid music?

The Qur'an mentions prophet Dawud as singer of praise with the birds. Dawud is King David in the Bible; the Biblical book of Psalms is named after him. He is supposed to be their writer, and he is the Bible's best known musician. Dawud, King David, received a divine scripture and prophetic wisdom, which is mentioned in the Qur'an:

YUSUFALI: And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth: We did bestow on some prophets more (and other) gifts than on others: and We gave to David (the gift of) the Psalms.

YUSUFALI: To Solomon We inspired the (right) understanding of the matter: to each (of them) We gave Judgment and Knowledge; it was Our power that made the hills and the birds celebrate Our praises, with David: it was We Who did (all these things).
YUSUFALI: We bestowed Grace aforetime on David from ourselves: "O ye Mountains! Sing ye back the Praises of Allah with him! and ye birds (also)! And We made the iron soft for him;-

YUSUFALI: Have patience at what they say, and remember our servant David, the man of strength: for he ever turned (to Allah).

YUSUFALI: It was We that made the hills declare, in unison with him, Our Praises, at eventide and at break of day,

YUSUFALI: And the birds gathered (in assemblies): all with him did turn (to Allah).

Music is very well part of human knowledge and as such appropriate for religious worship, too. Somehow, however, it lost most of its place in Islam. Also hadiths do not forbid music; there are enough stories of people singing in the prophet's presence, and he didn't say anything against it. The bottom two hadiths are transmitted by Sahih Muslim, the other ones by Sahih Bukhari:

Volume 2, Book 15, Number 70:
Narrated Aisha: Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Aus, before Islam). The Prophet (p.b.u.h) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, "Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (p.b.u.h) ?" Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) turned his face towards him and said, "Leave them." When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signalled to those girls to go out and they left. It was the day of 'Id, and the Black people were playing with shields and spears; so either I requested the Prophet (p.b.u.h) or he asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. Then the Prophet (p.b.u.h) made me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, "Carry on! O Bani Arfida," till I got tired. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) asked me, "Are you satisfied (Is that sufficient for you)?" I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave.

Volume 2, Book 15, Number 72:
Narrated Aisha: Abu Bakr came to my house while two small Ansari girls were singing beside me the stories of the Ansar concerning the Day of Buath. And they were not singers. Abu Bakr said protestingly, "Musical instruments of Satan in the house of Allah's Apostle !" It happened on the 'Id day and Allah's Apostle said, "O Abu Bakr! There is an 'Id for every nation and this is our 'Id."

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 155:
Narrated 'Aisha: Allah's Apostle came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Bu'ath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, i.e. Khazraj and Aus, before Islam.) The Prophet reclined on the bed and turned his face to the other side. Abu Bakr came and scolded me and said protestingly, "Instrument of Satan in the presence of Allah's Apostle?" Allah's Apostle turned his face towards him and said, "Leave them." When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I waved the two girls to go away and they left. It was the day of 'Id when negroes used to play with leather shields and spears. Either I requested Allah's Apostle or he himself asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. Then he let me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, "Carry on, O Bani Arfida (i.e. negroes)!" When I got tired, he asked me if that was enough. I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave 

Volume 5, Book 59, Number 336:
Narrated Ar-Rubai bint Muauwidh: The Prophet came to me after consuming his marriage with me and sat down on my bed as you (the sub-narrator) are sitting now, and small girls were beating the tambourine and singing in lamentation of my father who had been killed on the day of the battle of Badr. Then one of the girls said, "There is a Prophet amongst us who knows what will happen tomorrow." The Prophet said (to her)," Do not say this, but go on saying what you have spoken before." 

Volume 8, Book 73, Number 229:
Narrated Anas: The Prophet was on a journey and a slave named Anjasha was chanting (singing) for the camels to let them go fast (while driving). The Prophet said, "O Anjasha, drive slowly (the camels) with the glass vessels!" Abu Qilaba said, "By the glass vessels' he meant the women (riding the camels)."  

Book 023, Number 4879:
'Ali b. Abu Talib reported; There fell to my lot along with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) an old she-camel from the spoils of Badr. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) granted me another camel. I made them kneel down one day at the door of an Ansari, and I wanted to carry on them Idhkhir (a kind of grass) in order to sell that. There was with me a goldsmith of the tribe of Qainuqa'. I saught to give a wedding feast (on the occasion of marriage with) Fatima with the help of that (the price accrued from the sale of this grass). And Hamza b. 'Abd al-Muttalib was busy in drinking in that house in the company of a singing girl who was singing to him. She said: Hamza, get up for slaughtering the fat she-camels. Hamza attacked them with the sword and cut off their humps and ripped their haunches, and then took out their livers. I said to Ibn Shihab: Did he take out anything from the hump? He said: He cut off the humps altogether. Ibn Shihab reported 'Ali having said: I saw this (horrible) sight and it shocked me, and I came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and there was Zaid b, Haritha with him and communicated to him this news. He came in the company of Zaid and I also went along with him and he went to Hamza and he expressed anger with him. Hamza raised his eyes and said: Are you (not) but the servants of my father? Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) turned back on his heels (on hearing this) until he went away from them. 

Book 030, Number 5743:
Anas reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had in one of his journeys his black slave who was called Anjasha along with him. He goaded by singing the songs of camel-driver. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Anjasha, drive slowly as you are driving (the mounts who are carrying) glass vessels 

In the forlast hadith, number 4879, another topic is introduced: Alcohol. Alcohol is known to be forbidden for Muslims, however, in the Qur'an it is also granted some good qualities. Drinking isn't a sin that makes one leave Islam, yet, performing prayer when intoxicated, isn't allowed. A believer who drinks or trades alcoholic drinks, will be deprived of alcohol in the hereafter. Alcohol is the reward in Paradise for those believers, who abstained from it during their lifetime. Islam sees alcohol as an issue that believers need to abandon, yet, it's known, that many won't. It's an undesirable, complicating part of life for Muslims--yet, perhaps, no unforgivable sin. However, Muslims shouldn't gamble on their future.

YUSUFALI: They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: "What is beyond your needs." Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider-

YUSUFALI: If ye (but) eschew the most heinous of the things which ye are forbidden to do, We shall expel out of you all the evil in you, and admit you to a gate of great honour.

YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged (intoxicated), until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (Except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body. If ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands. For Allah doth blot out sins and forgive again and again.

YUSUFALI: Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.

YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.

YUSUFALI: Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?

YUSUFALI: And from the fruit of the date-palm and the vine, ye get out wholesome drink and food: behold, in this also is a sign for those who are wise.

YUSUFALI: (Here is) a Parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised: in it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clear. In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and Grace from their Lord. (Can those in such Bliss) be compared to such as shall dwell for ever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels (to pieces)?

And there are many hadiths about drinking alcohol. Believers were ordered to throw away alcoholic beverages, not to use them as medicines, and not to produce or sell them.

Volume 7, Book 69, Number 481, Sahih Bukhari:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever drinks alcoholic drinks in the world and does not repent (before dying), will be deprived of it in the Hereafter."

Volume 7, Book 69, Number 484:
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "An adulterer, at the time he is committing illegal sexual intercourse is not a believer; and a person, at the time of drinking an alcoholic drink is not a believer; and a thief, at the time of stealing, is not a believer." Ibn Shihab said: 'Abdul Malik bin Abi Bakr bin 'Abdur-Rahman bin Al- Harith bin Hisham told me that Abu Bakr used to narrate that narration to him on the authority of Abu Huraira. He used to add that Abu Bakr used to mention, besides the above cases, "And he who robs (takes illegally something by force) while the people are looking at him, is not a believer at the time he is robbing (taking) 

Volume 7, Book 69, Number 487:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: 'Umar stood up on the pulpit and said, "Now then, prohibition of alcoholic drinks have been revealed, and these drinks are prepared from five things, i.e.. grapes, dates, honey, wheat or barley And an alcoholic drink is that, that disturbs the mind. 

Book 023, Number 4892, Sahih Muslim:
Wa'il al-Hadrami reported that Tariq b. Suwaid a-Ju'fi asked Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) about liquor. He forbade (its use) and he expressed hatred that it should be prepared. He (Tariq) said: I prepare it as a medicine, whereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: It is no medicine, but an ailment. 

Book 023, Number 4961:
Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent me and Mu'adh to Yemen saying: Call people (to the path of righteousness) and give good tidings to the (people), and do not repel them, make things easy for them and do not make things difficult. I (Burda) said: Allah's Messenger, give us a religious verdict about two kinds of drinks which we prepare in Yemen. One is Bit' which is prepared from honey; it is a fermented Nabidh and is strong and turns into wine, and (the second is) Mizr which is prepared from millet and barley. Thereupon, Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), who had been gifted with the most eloquent and pithy expressions, said: I forbid you from every intoxicant that keeps you away from prayer.

Book 023, Number 4975:
Yahya Abu 'Umar al-Nakhai reported that some people asked Ibn Abbas about the sale and purchase of wine and its commerce. He asked (them): Are you Muslims? They said, Yes. Thereupon he said: Its sale and purchase and its trade are not permissible. They then asked him about Nabidh and he said: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) went out on a journey and then came back and some persons amongst his Companions prepared Nabidh for him in green pitcher, hollow stump and gourd. He commanded it to be thrown away, and it was done accordingly. He then ordered them (to prepare it.) in a waterskin and it was prepared in that by steeping raisins in water, and it was prepared in the night. In the morning he drank out of that and on that day and then the next night, and then on the next day until the evening. He drank and gave others to drink. When it was morning (of the third night) he commanded what was left of that to be thrown away. 


University of Southern California USC-MSA Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (Compendium of Muslim Texts) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje