The Return of the Pied Piper

August 14, 2009

By Saiful Islam

Their [musical instruments] beginning is from Shaytan and their end is the anger of Al-Rahman

Khalif Umar bin Abdul Aziz (Rahimahullah)

Music.  The effect it has on the salient faculties of man in an Islamic context is most disconcerting.  But what is more disconcerting is the huge drive to make it Halal by particular organisations by staging concerts and even one-sided debates on the premise one is encouraging “healthy discussion”.  Make no mistake, there is a big difference between staging a healthy debate where the pro and against panels exist and the moderator is unbiased, and staging one where only one side is shown followed swiftly by an “Islamic” concert where brothers and sisters are dancing together without regard for Hijab, as happened a few months ago.

It is disconcerting because these organisations are funded by none other then British government, and the policies they are pursuing are inline with the neoconservative strategy plan of deconstructing Islam by promoting strange, minority and modernist opinions thereby deliberately creating mass confusion in the youth who are to be the next generation of Muslims. This situation worsens when it is conducted by Muslim organisations who claim they are promoting “traditional Islam” by importing scholars from middle-eastern lands who have no clue about the real situation of Muslims here in Britain and instead do their Dawah based upon what these money-driven organisations inform them of.

The point of this blog is not to assert that music is Haram from a fiqhi point of view (which can be done if the discussion necessitates it).  The point is to understand music and its impact on the Muslim world from a historical and political perspectives.

Music and singing was employed as a tool to destroy Islam from the earliest Islamic history.  When the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wassalam) began publicly calling people to Islam, Nadr ibn al-Harith (d. 2AH), a Qurayshi leader and wealthy businessman, began devoting himself to stopping the spread of Islam.  This one-man RAND Corporation of his day gave a talk to the Quraysh where he dissected their campaign strategy of ridiculing and persecuting, concluding that it was useless.  He then went to Persia and brought back his solution.  Amongst other things he brought qaynahs or slave girls who were songstresses and used them to try and win the hearts and minds of anyone who showed an interest in Islam. He would assign a qaynah to each such a person and ask her to serve him food and wine and to sing to him. (Al-Zamarkhshari, al-Kash-shaf, Surah Luqman, verse 6, 5:6, also Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Surah Luqman, verse 6, 16:532-34)

The historian al-Mas’udi (d.346/957) reports that it was Nadr ibn al-Harith who introduced Oud-playing into Arabia by importing it from Persia.  His purpose was to lure people away from the Qur’an and therefore stop the light of Islam from spreading. (Al-Mas’udi, Muruj al-Dhahab [The first ghina amongst the Arabs] 4:196).  In other words, he attacked the Muslims through appealing to the base desires.  This is exactly what is happening today; Muslims are vociferously clinging to stray opinions propogated by those who wish to divide the Mulim community; they try to justify their love for music but forget that nothing supersedes the recitation of the Qur’an.

During the Umawi period, wealth and distractions escalated and so did the desires of the rulers thus music and debauchery became a commonality in their courts with its source coming from Byzantium and Persia.  Later Umawi rulers such as Marwan (d.65AH/685) and his son Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (d.99/718) banned music from the royal courts.

But it was not until the “5th rightly-guided Khaliph”, Umar bin Abdul Aziz Rahimahullah, that things really set into motion for he understood that music was the slipperly slope which lead to the degradation of society and morality, in whatever form it may be. He wrote to his son’s teacher stating,

“The first thing your instruction should instil in their hearts is the hatred of musical instruments their beginning is from Shaytan and their end is the anger of Al-Rahman.  For it has come to me from reliable sources that attending to instruments and listening to songs and fondness for them breed hypocrisy in the heart like water grows grass.”

(Umar bin Abdul Aziz, quoted in al-Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur, Tafsir of Surah Luqman, verse 6, 11:620-21)

The British colonialists wreaked havoc amongst the Muslims by bringing prostitutes and their singing to the houses of the masses through the introduction of gramophone in 1902.  Its use was mass propagated through the prostitute Armenian Jewess born as Angelina Yeoward in India who later be known as Gauhar Jaan (d. 1930 AC).  She and her recordings became famous and the great societal decadence began.  The Gramophone Industry of India became successful in their social engineering as people had forgotten to ask whether it was Halal or Haram, and the practise of prostitutes had become more acceptable as people had become desensitised.

The same was already happening in Egypt, but the big blow was yet to come. Britain formally took control of Egypt in 1883 and for the next twenty-four years, the imperialist Lord Cromer set about “modernising Egypt”. It was through British intervention that Shaykh Muhammad Abduhu (d.1323/1905), a major architect of modernist Islam, became Grand Mufti of Egypt.

With the introduction of the Radio under the control of the Europeans came the constant listening to music and the rise of another “music legend”, Umm Kulthum. Her story is most interesting.  She came from a poor but religious family whose father used to read Qur’an and Nasheeds at private gatherings to supplement income. She started her career at the same gatherings wearing men’s robes and scarves and singing religious songs with no musical instruments mainly about the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wassalam). By the time she had reached the age of 18 she was singing,

“Frivolity and coquetry are my creed
By God, I have always loved them.”

(Danielson, Virginia (1997) The voice of Egypt: Umm Kulthum, Arabic song and Egyptian society in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 29))

She was transformed through the assistance of the Colonialists into a songstress singing amorous qasa’id with a full instrumental accompaniment while getting rid of her mahram escorts.  Military generals would post-pone military exercises just to listen to her.  The result of course was the shameful defeat at the hands of the Israelis in 1967.

These two case studies are but examples of the Pied Piper diverting people and it seems the Pied Piper is back out to mislead the Muslims but this time, at the orchestration of the neoconservatives.  Today, music has become so engrained in the minds of people that existence without it draws reactions worse than a drug addict suffering withdrawal effects.  The reaction to Yvonne Ridley’s article on the Nasheed culture and Sami Yusuf is but one example.  This addiction itself should be a sign to those who are wise to understand that addictions to such frivolities are signs of weak Iman, a result of indulgence in music.  The wide scale music employed in Nasheeds would have been unthinkable ten years ago; today an event without Nasheeds is an abomination.  Those who propagate music must understand that ignoring the apparent fiqh differences, in the Great Game, they are nothing but a cog in the neoconservative machinery aimed at dismantling Islam. Those who wish to destroy this religion wish to do so by promoting confusion amongst the new generation, and music, such an integral part of Western life, is the arrow which is being shot, with its target being Islam.  In all this confusion morality is slipping with the concept of Hijab becoming non-existent, modesty being replaced with shouts and cheers, and the whole atmosphere representing a pop concert.  It was the view of Imam Ghazali Rahimahullah, that if the act resembled the fasiqs (those given into a lifestyle of sinfulness) then even otherwise permissible things would become impermissible.  By this condition, most Nasheeds would be rendered impermissible. (Al-Ghazali, Ihya Ulum al-Din [Book: Etiquettes of Sama’ and Wajd, Chapter: 1, Differences of scholars on the permissibility of sama’ and exposure of truth regarding it], 2:365)

Confusion is a tool of the enemy but the solution has been prescribed by the Messenger of Allah (Sallalah Alayhi Wassalam):

“The Halal is clear and the Haram is clear and in between them there are doubtful things. Most of the people have no knowledge about them.  So whoever saves himself from the suspicious things saves his religion and his honour.  And whoever indulges in these suspicious things is like a shepherd who grazes his animals near the private pasture of Allah on earth is the things He has declared forbidden.” (Bukhari)

Muslim’s should adhere to this Hadith in the most ardent way.  They should make the Qur’an their life and the Sunnah their way.  Only then can Muslims protect their Islam from the constant onslaught it is facing.

And Allah Most Mighty says,

“They plotted and they planned and Allah is the best of planners”.

(Al-Quran, 3:54)



  1. salam brother, i know this video is only brief, but what do you think of the points raised?
    I understand popular music as it is commonly found is contrary to Islam, but how about when playing classical instruments is used for ‘noble ends’ (as described in the video), such as treating the mentally ill. Thoughts?
    JazakAllah khairun

    • Walaykum salam brother, I pray your well.

      Haram means cannot be justified by noble end as a matter of principle. This principle is established by numerous hadith. For example, in one Hadith the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi Wassalam said to the nearest meaning, “Allah is good and accepts only good” and then he recited the verse in Surah Mu’minun, “O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Taiyibat (foods which Allah has made legal), and do righteous deeds. Verily! I am Well-Acquainted with what you do.” (v.51) He then asks can the prayers of a man be accpeted who nourishes himself with Haram implying that such prayers are not accepted (Muslim).

      In other Hadiths, the example of a charity given from a man who earns is wealth from haram is given, with outcome being that it will not be accepted.

      There are numerous hadith to this effect establishing the principle that Haram means cannot justify the ends regardless of its noblity.

      The truth is that many duas for many ailments have been transmitted to us; why resort to something as dubious as music? Pick up Hisnul Hasin…

      Just because the Ottomans practised it does not lend the use of music any credibility. It is sad indeed that certain groups of individuals resorted to music to even rectify sprirtual ailments, despite the presence of the Qur’an. Is the recitation of the Qur’an lacking in some way? But their acts are not Hujjah (proof) for us, rather the Qur’an Hadith and opinions of the righteous scholars is our recourse for guidance.

      Unfortunately for the Shaykh in the video, the general case is not the opinion that the permissiblity of music is dependant on the outcome, on the contrary the vast majority of the Ulama from the earliest period of Islamic fiqh including the four great Imams, Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi and Ahmad bin Hambal Rahimahulla, have ruled that it is impermissible.


  2. everyone knows deep down that music is haram, and you can’t use something haram to draw closer to Allah, it is haram for a reason. this talk is very helpful in giving logical reasons, and also examples from the Qur’an & sunnah with regards to music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeJ8_d9aV5o

  3. excellent. a breath of fresh air. Jazak Allah khair.

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