Assalaamualaikum Wr. Wbt.
I won’t lie. At one point of time in life, I did admit “Music is my life!”. Music was like a faithful friend. More than just a friend actually. When times were bad, I just had to scroll into my music library and that one particular song that suited my emotion will go on repeat until I fell asleep. During happy times, you know, that feeling of having butterflies in your stomach, I’ll just have to scroll into my music library again, and get into the mood. There will always be a song that understood me, 24/7.
Being a camp instructor doesn’t really help much with my addiction for music. Every campfire was like an under-age party. To be a “cool” instructor, you need to keep yourself updated with the latest songs. Most of the times participants whose age as low as 10 years old are more updated about songs than I do! I still remember an 11 year old girl asked me to search a song on YouTube for their campfire performance and I was shocked at the Music Video of Jennifer Lopez in tight skimpy clothes dancing on the dance floor. The girl even remembered the whole song!
These little instances made me realise how corrupted mainstream media is. I never want my kids to watch all that at the age of 10! Now with technology deemed to be a neccesity, kids at any age can easily have access to all these detrimental elements. And no! I’m a Muslim. Music shouldn’t be my life. Where are my priorities?
“Once ‘Aisyah r.a went to the house of her brother, whose daughters were sick. When she got there, she saw a singer with long hair whose trying to amuse the sick girls by shaking his head as he sang. Upon seeing him, ‘Aisyah r.a immediately ordered: “Oh! This is Satan! Get him out. Get him out.” [Narrated by Bayhaqi in Sunan al-Kubra. Hadith 21010]
I began clearing my music library except for those “Islamic” songs. I listened to Maher Zain, Sami Yusuf kind of songs. But there was one problem. Those songs made me tear cz I was reminded of my pasts. You know, those supposedly sweet guys from my past whom dedicate “For the rest of my life”, “Baraka Allahu Lakuma” songs just to show how ‘sincere’ they were towards me. My heart was still at an unrest. I figured that the best thing to do was to stop listening to all of them. I did just that.
I moved on listening to Zikr and Selawat accompanied by soothing instrumentals by various famous Malaysian artists. No doubt while listening to them I felt so peaceful. I even had a preferred Zikr over others because the tune is nice. I would skip other Zikr and Selawat just because the tune doesn’t suit my emotion. Wait a second. Isn’t that what music did to me when I first declared that “Music is my life!”? Something isn’t right.
I heard before that music is impermissible in Islam. But nah… It can’t be. How can something so wonderful to the ear not allowed by Allah? It soothes the heart. It’s a remedy for a stressful day!
Syaikh Junaid al-Baghdaadi, a great Sufi scholar said: “If you notice that a student of spirituality is asking for permission to listen to samaa’ (religious songs), then this means that he still has spiritual defects in him.” [Suhrawardi, ‘Awaarif al-Ma’aarif]
I began searching for the truth. I gave myself a chance to explore further the various views on the permissibility of music in Islam. I searched for evidences and I relate it to my experience. “Ahha… Now I understand why music is not allowed in Islam”. I can totally relate to it. If people justify music by saying that music is Allah’s creations and it’s wonderful, then why do we lower our gaze when we see a handsome man or a beautiful lady? Aren’t they Allah’s creations too?
Alhamdulillah with the mercy of Allah SWT, I listened to the series of Stories of the Prophets by Mufti Menk and I got the perfect answer on how music started. I urge all of you to listen to this and your whole perspectives on music will change, insyaAllah.
Alhamdulillah, I feel the real peace and tranquillity that I’ve been searching for when I stopped listening to any kind of music. When my feelings are too overwhelming, I grab the Qur’an and start reciting it. When I’m just idling around or in the bus, I’ll make my lips and heart busy by reciting Zikr and Selawat. There wasn’t really a time that’s unoccupied now.
I admit. Sometimes subconsciously I do sing. I have this one habit. When someone says something that coincides with a song lyric that I remembered, automatically I’ll sing that song to that person and sometimes I even made my own concert solo for my husband! When I realised it, I’ll quickly recite Istighfar and recite Zikr instead
So my advice to all those who want to stop listening to music, increase your knowledge on why Islam forbids music (besides Eid and wedding ceremony) first. Relate it to your experience. Understand the wisdom behind those prohibitions and you’ll taste the sweetness of Islam. That’s one of the reasons why I feel sad when people mix entertainment with Islam. My previous post was about “How I Wish Mawlid Would Be”.
Imam Shafi’e said about music and singing: “Verily, song is loathsome; it resembles the false and vain thing. The one who partakes of it frequently is an incompetent fool whose testimony is to be rejected.” [Kitaab al-Umm]
Once you’re convinced with the hujjah (proofs), then go on a cold turkey. No doubt it’s gonna be hard at first. It’s the same like kicking bad habit, just ask a drug addict how hard it is being in a state of cold turkey. But the result? You’ll taste the sweetness of life and you’ll see life with more purpose. Don’t care what people have to say. Just touch your heart, close your eyes and make the personal affirmation that you will find out the truth!
“There will be people of my Ummah who will seek to make these lawful: illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk [by men], the drinking of alcoholic drinks, and the use of ma’aazif (musical instruments)” [Sahih Bukhari]
Now that you’ve freed yourself from music and changed your life principle from “MUSIC IS MY LIFE” to “ALLAH IS MY LIFE”, now pick up the Qur’an and slowly memorise its wonderful contents. May Allah SWT make it easy on all of us to do whatever that pleases Him and leave whatever that angers Him.
+ All daleel are from the book ‘Music Made Me Do It’ by Dr. Gohar Mushtaq