Question and Answers
Question: Many questions are
asked concerning permissible and forbidden music.
Is it correct to say that the music that arouses sexual, lustful urges and promotes unstable and degrading behaviour is the forbidden one?
And is it correct to say that the music that soothes the nerves or causes relaxation, the music that forms the background of a scene in a movie to increase the effect of the scene on the viewers, the music that is used for physical exercise during workouts, the music that dramatizes a particular scene by its tune, or the one that arouses the zeal [in soldiers] is the permissible one?
Answer: Forbidden music is the music that is suitable
for entertainment and amusement gatherings, even if it does not arouse sexual
Permissible music is the music that is not suitable for such gatherings, even if it does not soothe the nerves like the martial music and that played at funerals.
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 behaviour?
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 (s.a.w.) and the Imams (a.s.), 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 (a.s.) 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.
Question: Is it permissible to listen to
religious songs in praise of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) that are accompanied with
(al-ghina’) are haram absolutely. However, singing praise [of
the Prophet or the Ahlul Bayt] that is sung with a good tune but is not in
ghina’ form is without problem.
As for the music, it would be allowed, if it is not suitable for entertainment and amusement gatherings.
Question: Is it permissible to soothe
the senses by listening to the reciter of the Qur’an who recites in a vibrant,
Answer: If the tune
used in its recitation is not ghina’, there is no problem in listening
Question: Some of the reciters, singers
or chanters adopt the tunes of sinful people [i.e., haram entertainers] and
then sing or chant with their tunes poems in praise of the Prophet (s.a.w.)
and his family—the result is that the context is different from that of the
sinful people, yet the tune is suitable to theirs. Is it forbidden to sing in
this way? Is it forbidden to listen [in this case]?
Yes, based on obligatory precaution it is forbidden.
Question: Is it permissible for women to
sing in the a wedding party in whatever tune, even if it is suitable for the
gatherings of sinful people? Is it permissible for them to use musical
instruments while singing that night? Is it permissible for them to sing,
wearing henna [on the bride’s hand and feet], or on the eve of the seventh
night [after the marriage]? Or is the permission restricted to the marriage
Answer: Based on compulsory
precaution, they should refrain from it, even on the marriage eve, let alone
other occasions. As for the issue of music, its rules have already been
Question: Is it permissible to listen to
revolutionary songs accompanied by sounds of piano, lute, drum, wind-pipe, and
Answer: If the
music accompanying it is that which is suitable for entertainment and
amusement gatherings, it is not permissible to listen to it.
Question: What is the meaning of the
phrase: “common among sinful people”?
Answer: This expression is not mentioned in our
fatwas (religious edicts). What we have mentioned in defining al-ghina’
is “the tunes that are common for those who provide entertainment and
amusement;” whose meaning is clear.
Question: A non-practicing Muslim has
recently become more committed [to Islam]. Is it permissible for him to softly
hum what he remembers from the past songs by himself or in front of his
Answer: If it falls in the
category of al-ghina’, then it is not allowed.
Question: There are certain songs in
foreign languages that the teachers of linguistics recommend listening to in
order to expedite the learning process of that language. Is it permissible to
listen to such songs for that purpose?
Answer: If it falls within the category of
al-ghina’ as explained earlier, it is not allowed.
Question: Musical instruments are of
different kinds. Sometimes they are used in musical gatherings and sometimes
for soothing the soul. Is it then permissible to buy these instruments,
manufacture them, deal in them, or play them to soothe the soul or listen to
the ir sounds when someone else is playing them?
Answer: It is not permissible to deal in the
instruments of haram entertainment: neither selling nor buying, just as
it is not permissible to manufacture them and accept remuneration for making
“An instrument of haram entertainment” means that its physical shape—that gives its value and eventually the purpose for acquiring it— is not suitable except for use in haram entertainment.
Question: Is it permissible to
manufacture, sell, or buy musical instruments that are made for children’s
play? And is it permissible for adults to use them?
If the music that is suitable for entertainment and amusement gatherings comes
out of it, then it is neither permissible to deal in, nor are adults allowed
to use them.
Question: In government schools of the
United Kingdom and may be some other countries also, students have to take
part in dance classes to the sound of special musical tunes that synchronize
the movements of the students while they are dancing.
Is it permissible to attend such classes?
Is it obligatory on the parents to prevent their children from
attending such classes if the young boy or girl is inclined towards
Answer: It is not permitted, if it has any negative effect —which is quite common— on their religious upbringing. Rather, it is not permitted at all, as a matter of obligatory precaution.
Yes, it is obligatory. Also please refer to the answer to
question no. 563 below.
Question: Is it permissible to learn
Answer: It is not allowed at
all, as a matter of obligatory precaution.
Question: Is it permissible to organize
dance parties where each husband dances only with his own wife to the sound of
soothing musical tunes, wearing dresses that are not indecent?
Answer: It is not allowed.
Question: Is it permissible for women to
dance in front of other women or for men to dance in front of other men in a
gender-wise segregated gathering with or without music?
Dancing of women in front of women or dancing of men in front of men is
problematic, as a matter of obligatory precaution, one must refrain from it.
The rules governing music have already been discussed earlier.
Question: Is it permissible for a wife
to dance for her husband with music or without music?
It is allowed as long as dancing is not accompanied with haram
Question: Some schools in the West make
it obligatory that their male and female students learn dancing. This dancing
is neither accompanied by the common song, nor is it for entertainment; it is
part of the educational curriculum. So, is it haram for the parents to
allow their sons and daughters to attend such classes?
Answer: Yes, if it contravenes the religious upbringing. Rather it is, based on obligatory precaution, forbidden absolutely, if the student has reached the age of maturity — except if he has a valid reason for approving of it; for example, if he follows a mujtahid who allows it. In the latter case, nothing prevents him from allowing his child to take part in [such activity].