Patheos answers the question:

Can Muslims Listen to Music?

Muslim woman listening to music

There are a lot of guidelines in Islam around what actions are haram (forbidden) and what actions are halal (permitted). And yet, within these guidelines there is also much variation. The Quran does not explicitly discuss the issue of listening to music, though some scholars take reference to casual talk as possibly a reference to song, but the issue has been taken up by many different traditions and scholars within the Muslim world. There are some Muslim schools of thought which take a particularly severe stance against listening music, and advocate that listening to music should be avoided, but these schools – such as the Salafi, Wahhabi, and Deobandi schools of thoughts – are not mainstream, and their views are a minority within the Muslim world. Especially for Muslim communities in Europe or the United States, the question about whether or not a Muslim can listen to music is often a question that is not very controversial, and most people will listen to, at minimum, some forms of music. There are also a number of Muslim music stars, and each of these have their own relationship and ideas about the role of music in Muslim life. 

For many Muslims, the question of music is a question about context, intent, and use. Almost all Muslim traditions see no issue with singing unaccompanied, which is one of the reasons there is such a rich tradition of Muslim music sung without instruments. Especially in a Devotional contest, singing without instruments is often accepted, and especially chanting has a long religious history within the practice of Islam. In addition to singing, many Muslim communities will utilize drums and other percussion instruments in a worship context. Certain Islamic traditions, such as Sufism, incorporate song and rhythm into their devotional practices. In these situations, music is seen not as forbidden, but even as religious important and useful, and therefore praiseworthy. 

Outside of devotional contexts, many Muslims agree that certain songs can likely be considered haram, or forbidden, on an individual level. This might include a song which contains especially vulgar lyrics, or one which describes or praises inappropriate activity. For many Muslims, such songs are considered inadvisable if one wants to keep their focus and attention on higher thoughts throughout the day. 

Many Muslims, however, listen to music regularly and freely, and allow themselves to be guided by a personal sense of whether or not such music is harmful to their religious and spiritual life. 

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1/17/2023 7:35:37 PM