Muslims indulged into Music – Is Music Haraam?
What is the status of music in Islam? Is it lawful or not? If not, why are muslims of today indulged in such an activity?
Let me take the second part of the question first. If Muslims are doing something un-Islamic, it does not necessitate that the practice has become, as a consequence, Islamically acceptable. Muslims are fully capable of doing things that are completely unacceptable to Islam. In order for you to find out whether a certain practice is Islamic or not, you have to see only the original sources of Quran and Sunnah to get the right answer.
As for the question of music, there are three opinions amongst Muslims:
1. It is completely forbidden;
2. It is allowed within limits; and
3. It is allowed.
Those who believe music to be completley forbidden quote certain ahadith which condemn music and use of musical instruments. They also quote a few verses which they claim are condemning music. However, an objective understanding of these verses has led me to the conclusion that these verses have got nothing to do with music. (See, for instances, verses 31:6 and 53:61) The problem with this understanding is that these people accept that when the prophet, may Allah’s mercy be on him, was welcomed by the girls of Madina they were singing on Daff (a drum-like instrument). The prophet is alo known to have encouraged the use of Daff for the announcement of Walima and on some occasions recommended the use of it on occasions of Eid as well.
Also it is well known that Da’ud Alaihissalaam had the ability to praise God Almighty which he used to do with some musical instruments. The following are some of the relevant passages from the commentary of Yusuf Ali that mention this reality:
287 David was not only a shepherd, a warrior, a king, a wise man, and a prophet, but was also endowed with the gifts of poetry and music. His Psalms (sabur) are still extant. (2.251) 3799 Cf. xxi. 79-80, and notes 2733-34.3799
David had the gift of song and sacred music, and this is shown in his Psalms. All nature-hills and birds-sing and echo back the Praises of Allah. (34.10)4168 See n. 2733 to xxi. 79.
4168 All nature sings in unison and celebrates the praises of Allah. David was given the gift of music and psalmody, and therefore the hills and birds are expressed as singing Allah’s praises in unison with him. The special hours when the hills and groves echo the songs of birds are in the evening and at dawn, when also the birds gather together, for those are respectively their roosting hours and the hours of their concerted flight for the day. (38.18)
Based on this understanding, I tend to agree with those scholars who believe that Islam prohibits only that music which creates base desires or which promotes obscenity or misleading concepts or philosophies. Moreover, since music has the ability to draw an individual away from remembering Allah, an individual should be cautioned against its excessive use.