Fatwa: 32

Category: fatwas about Manhaj

The ruling concerning the Islamic songs (Anâshîd) and calling to Islam through them

The question:

What is the ruling concerning Islamic songs and is it permissible to take them as means for making Da`wa (Calling to Islam).

The answer:

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

First, it is worth mentioning that restricting the Anâshîd that contain poetry and the verses made of Rajaz(1) as being Islamic or religious is not known among the best people of the three best generations, nor those who came after. However, they used to distinguish between the good and the bad of poetry and Rajaz, between the praiseworthy and the blameworthy, or between the detestable and the permissible.

As if the Anâshîd are poems and Rajaz which are recited in order to show joy or when traveling long distances, or for entertainment, and that they contain exhortations, maxims and wisdoms and without using musical instruments, except Ad-Duff (a sort of tambourine) in a Eid or a wedding ceremony, do not contain obscenity and vulgarity which arouse desires and incite to committing fornication, or describe the beauties of women or merits of alcohol and encourage its drinking, or that the poems contain Shirk (ascribing partners to Allah) or lies against Allah عزَّ وجلَّ, the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم and his Companions; in this case, there is no problem to use them if they are free from these precedent evils and if they do not contain forbidden things. However, it is not commendable to do much of them, on the contrary, it is better to do little of them, as we do not allow each permissible thing always absolutely, especially if they divert the person who listens to them from reading Qur'an or studying in order to acquire beneficial knowledge, or if they prevent from doing Da`wa (calling to Allah). In fact, the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم approved of reciting poetry, Rajaz and Hudâ'(2). Al-Bukhâri named a chapter of his book: “What is permitted of poetry, Rajaz poetry, and Hudâ', and what is disliked of them”(3). Al-Barâ' Ibn Mâlik رضي الله عنه used to recite Hudâ' for men and Anjasha used to recite it for women. Anjasha had a sweet voice, so the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said: “May Allah be merciful to you, O Anjasha! Drive the camels slowly, as they are carrying glass vessels! (Women)”(4).

Generally, Hudâ' is performed by Rajaz poetry or maybe by other forms of poetry, it is a sort of chanting, it resembles the chanting of the drivers and that of people who chant in order to forget their tiredness. Indeed, Ibn `Abd Al-Bar reported that all these kinds of chanting are permissible without any divergence among scholars if the poetry is free from vulgarity and obscenity.

As for the Anashîd which are qualified as Islamic, they are performed with some musical instruments like Ad-Duff, drum, drumsticks and others. These are similar to At-Taghbîr(5) which Ash-Shâfi`i, Ahmad and other early Imams dispraised. It is authentically reported that Ash-Shâfi`i said: “I have left something in Iraq called At-Taghbîr which was instituted by heretics in order that they might turn away [others thereby] from the reciting of the Qur'an”. It is also authentically reported that Ahmad said: “It is an innovated heresy”.

Furthermore, it is sufficient that the four jurisprudential Schools agree that musical instruments are absolutely forbidden, save Ad-Duff which is excepted for the wedding ceremony and the two Eids. Many texts mentioned in the Book and the Sunna dispraise and forbid musical instruments(6), among them, the Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying: “Two voices are cursed; music at the time of happiness and wailing at the time of calamity”(7) and his saying: “Indeed, there will be in my Nation such people who will consider fornication, wearing silk, drinking wine and using musical instruments as permissible…”(8) and other proofs of the Sharia.

That being said, taking music and amusement as a means for Da`wa is not lawful as it is known to any reasonable person. In fact, involving oneself in activities of Da`wa without knowing the ruling of religion as regards them and without being supported by evidence from the Sharia is taking as a judge one’s desires. Moreover, the actions done by such person are rejected, as it is not permissible to contradict the Sharia’s ruling, whether as regards the methods, the purposes or the means, in accordance with Allah’s عزَّ وجلَّ saying:

﴿ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَى شَرِيعَةٍ مِنَ الأمْرِ فَاتَّبِعْهَا وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَ الَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ﴾ [الجاثية: 18].

The meaning of the verse:

Then We have put you (O Muhammad صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم) on a plain way of (Our) commandment [like the one which We commanded Our Messengers before you (i.e. legal ways and laws of the Islamic Monotheism)]. So follow you that (Islamic Monotheism and its laws), and follow not the desires of those who know not.﴿ [Al-Jâthiya (The Kneeling): 18].

Furthermore, the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said: “Whoever does an action that is not in accordance with our tradition will have it rejected”(9).

Hereupon, the means of making Da`wa should be in accordance with the general or specific texts of the Sharia, or the general principles of the Sharia. Besides, if the means of singing is related to sectarian purposes or serves objectives of a party or a regionalistic purpose, the means is forbidden because of what is related to, since the ways which lead to forbidden and detestable things have the same ruling than these things, in accordance with the jurisprudential rule which stipulates that: “The prohibition of something is also a prohibition of what leads unavoidably to that prohibited thing”. Also, if the means of singing represents a symbol which is specific to a certain group having a dogmatic, sectarian trend or a party to which it calls and which it follows, thus this means is forbidden as it is linked to forbidden things. That is why the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم abandoned the means of blowing the horn for calling to prayer, as it is among the symbols of Jews. He also صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم abandoned ringing the bell as it is a symbol of the Christians and kindling fire which is a symbol of the Magians(10).

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers, Safar 1st, 1427H.
Corresponding to: March 1st, 2006.

(1) Rajaz: a poem of the meter termed Rajaz.

(2) Hudâ': Chanting of camel-drivers keeping time of camel’s walk.

(3) “Sahîh Al-Bukhâri” (10/627), chapter of “Good manners” number: 90.

(4) Reported by Ahmad (hadith 14020), Al-Bayhaqi (hadith 21563) on the authority of Anas Ibn Mâlik رضي الله عنه. This hadith has been judged authentic by Al-Albâni in “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” (hadith 3205).

(5) At-Taghbîr: A reciting of poetry or verses, in the praising, or glorifying, of Allah, in which the performers trill, or quaver, prolong the voice, dance and raise the dust. (translator’s note).

(6) Sheikh Al-Albâni has a booklet which is published as response to Ibn Hazm and those who follow him, who consider using musical instruments permissible. This booklet is well done as regards authenticity of proofs and refutation.

(7) Reported by Al-Bazzâr (1/377/395) and judged authentic by Ibn Al-Qayyim in his book “Mas'alat As-Samâ`” (318). This hadith has been judged by Al-Albâni as Hassan (good) in “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” (hadith 427).

(8) Reported by Al-Bukhâri without mentioning its chain of narration (hadith 5590). Ibn Hibbân, however, mentioned it with its chain of narration (hadith 6719), At-Tabarâni (1/167/1), Al-Bayhaqi (hadith 6317) on the authority of Abu Mâlik Al-Ash`ari رضي الله عنه. See: “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” by Al-Albâni (1/176).

(9) Reported by Muslim, chapter of “Judgements” (hadith 4590), Ahmad (hadith 25870), Ad-Dâraqutni in his “Sunan” (hadith 4593) on the authority of `Âisha رضي الله عنها.

(10) Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Prayer”, concerning the beginning of Adhân (call to prayer) (hadith 498), Al-Bayhaqi in “As-Sunan Al-Kubra” (hadith 1873), on the authority of `Umayr Ibn Anas رضي الله عنه according to one of his uncles from Al-Ansâr.This hadith has been judged by Ibn `Abd Al-Bar as Hassan (good) in “At-Tamhîd” (24/21), Al-Albâni in “Sahîh Abî Dâwûd” and Al-Wâdi`i “As-Sahîh Al-Musnad”.

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