Some Muslims believe that music is haram– forbidden. They say it distracts a person from prayer and remembrance of Allah. Music hypnotizes, takes one away from ordinary reality. A Muslim could be distracted from prayer by the delight of listening to music; this seems true. On that basis, music probably qualifies as an intoxicating substance, except that it is not ingested by the usual route. Its effects include physiological changes, yet it never enters the body in a concrete way, in the same manner as drugs or alcohol, and it never becomes truly addictive in the way that drugs and alcohol become addictive. What a mystery! Must we leave it alone, and toss it into the bin of sensual pleasures labeled “Haram”?
Frankly, I never spent much time trying to believe that music is haram. That’s not possible, and now I know why. Appreciation of music is hard-wired into the human brain. I learned this from my grandkids, who are on the cusp of their Terrible Twos. Music delights them, relaxes them, and teaches them. My little grandson phones me every day, and wants me to sing to him, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!” Americans may remember that song from youth, and if you recognize it, I’ll bet you are smiling! If I could figure out how to insert it into this post, I would do so.
I won’t cite Qur’an verses or Sunnah regarding the matter of music; anyone who reads my blog knows where to look for supporting evidence in either direction.
I missed music — listening to it and making it — during my years in Riyadh. I was a pianist in my youth, and later picked up classical guitar, but I had to leave that behind when I moved. Mornings, while doing housework and cooking, I would listen to Radio Riyadh, which aired insipid re-makes and elevator music from the United States. I enjoyed every note.
More than once, I wondered whether my love of reciting the Qur’an grew out of my love for music more than love for Islam. I confess, the beautiful recitations of popular reciters sounded quite melodious. My favorite reciter at the time, Ahmed al Ajami, was criticized for “‘singing,” rather than reciting, the Qur’an. Indeed, his melodious voice drew me closer and closer to the Qur’an and its message.
In contrast, I used to fall out of bed in the morning, nearly dead of a heart attack because the muazzin in the mosque across the street used to belt out the azzan as loudly and as harshly as he could. In spite of protests from the surrounding residents, he insisted upon calling a most grating azzan, raspy and booming. He wanted to make sure everyone in the neighborhood woke for Fajr. Everyone did.
One of my dear friends in Riyadh loved music, too, and listened to it freely, without restraint. The difference between us was that she believed music was haram, and I did not. She would say, “Astaghfirullah,” after telling me about a song she’d grown to like, but then she’d chuckle and admit that she could not keep away from this “sin”.
I wonder where she is now, and I wonder whether she still regards music as haram. I’m back in the States, listening to all kinds of music, and getting distracted from prayer by far more insidious influences than music.
Susie of Arabia http://susiesbigadventure.blogspot.com/ shows a playlist on her blog with many of my favorite songs of the early seventies. Sometimes I get stuck there listening and reminiscing my youth! Last night I added my own playlist to my blog. I stayed up half the night listening to music and trying to figure out how to get the list on my blog. WordPress seems not as “friendly” to multi-media as Blogger, but that’s OK. I’ll figure it out.
So far, you can see the advertisement, “Create Your /Free Playlist,” two of them, showing my two attempts to get the code to work. Next to it, there’s a partial window with the letters PC showing. That’s my playlist. You can click on it, and it might work!
Anyway, I added some songs I listen to these days, since Susie now has the handle on the Oldies! I’m going to have a lot of fun adding to the list.
My favorite of favorites in the entire world is Ancora, Ancora, Ancora by Mina. I”ve been listenting to that song since 1991, and I never get tired of it. If you listen to just one of my songs, please try that one. If you listen to two, try Volami nel Cuore.