Globally there are three sins that are very common. One is zina/fornication, the second is drugs/intoxicants and the third is music. These three sins are classified as major sins in Shariah, but our attitude towards them are somewhat different. If we look into our society, spouses and family members become very upset with one who is committing zina. If a man proposes and her family members find out that he has been involved in drugs before, suddenly, there’s a big question mark over that proposal. Therefore with drugs, we are on red alert. When it comes to zina, we are on red alert. But with music, we take this sin very very lightly. We do not regard it as the grave sin that it is.
At time music is unavoidable. As we walk down the streets, enter into a shop, or as we sit idly in traffic, there is almost always someone playing music out loud. During such moments, it is unavoidable. However we must ask ourselves, does it irk us? Does it trouble us? Does it make us feel uncomfortable?
If the answer is no, then we are guilty of watering down deen and trivialising this major sin. Once Nabi ﷺ was walking with a Sahaabi and from a distance music, could be heard. Immediately, Nabi ﷺ put his fingers into his ears. As they walked, He continuously asked his companion if the music was still audible or not, until finally they were out of earshot. Only then did Nabi ﷺ take his fingers out of his ears.
If people were committing zina in the open or taking drugs, we would not feel comfortable sitting by them watching or engaging in their haram! But with music…why do many of us feel so comfortable sitting in the company of one listening to music, when it too, is a major sin? Music is the very sin that entices people to commit zina or take drugs! It causes an eclipse to occur in the heart, the belief that Allah is watching us becomes overshadowed causing a person to enter into the state of ghaflat, which paves the way to many more sins.
Those who watch movies, if they had no music, would it be as interesting to watch? Every scene has a different tune playing in the background to suit the scene. If it is a horror, romantic or action scene, the music swiftly changes. This is because the music alters the mind, it puts a person into a different mood, it creates an effect on the heart and thus shaytaan uses this tool to entice us into haram.
Nabi ﷺ said that music creates hypocrisy in the heart. Meaning on one hand we claim to be believers, yet on the other hand we are doing actions that are totally unbefitting a believer. When hypocrisy enters, the remembrance of Allah leaves the heart. Then, although a person may be a believer, his actions speak otherwise.
Therefore, music is extremely dangerous to our Imaan. Not only should we avoid it completely, we must also ensure that our children do too. I know a young man who was obedient and practising. One day, his character suddenly changed. He became disinterested in Salah and began disobeying his parents. They could not understand why until one day, they noticed that he would always wear a woolly hat. Strangely enough, he would wear it constantly even throughout summer and during the night. His father became very suspicious by this so one night, he went to check up on his son. He removed the hat and found earphones plugged into his ears, he was in bed with his phone, listening to music. And it was this constant listening to music that caused his entire character to change for the worse.
This is the effect of music. You yourself can attest to what I am saying if you have been to the circus or watched movies before. It is shaytaan’s tool to condition the mind. For this reason, Nabi ﷺ said that I have been sent and instructed to break musical instruments. But unfortunately today, these musical instruments have even made their way into Islamic nasheeds too.
May Allah forgive us, and enable us to stay away from this great sin and all other sins, and may He enable us to take all sins seriously, Aameen.
— Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
(The above is an extract from Hazrat’s jumah lecture on 17/2/17 on the topic of Music. To listen to the full lecture, click here.)