Contrary to Extremist Belief, Muslims Are Allowed To Sing and Listen to Music

Many Muslims believe that they are not allowed to listen to music and sing. However,

  1. there is no such law in the Quran
  2. this belief originates from the hadith which is not God’s law
  3. God forbids judging by anything other than the Quran (6:114, 45:6, 68:36-38)
  4. God forbids inventing false laws in the name of God (5:87, 16:116)
  5. Whoever judges by other than the Quran is a disbeliever (kafir) (5:44)

Prophet David was given the Psalms (Zabur) which consists of 150 hymns or songs including lamentations, songs of thanksgiving, hymns of praise, wisdom psalms, royal psalms, and others of mixed composition.

إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِهِ ۚ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَعِيسَىٰ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُونُسَ وَهَارُونَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا
Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Zabur (book of Psalms). (4:163)

It is well attested within Jewish tradition, that the psalms were sung in front of the Tabernacle and subsequently in the reign of Prophet Solomon (pbuh), they were sung from the steps of the Temple when it was completed.

According to verse 34:10, the mountain and birds sang in an echoed manner (Arabic: awwibi).

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ مِنَّا فَضْلًا ۖ يَا جِبَالُ أَوِّبِي مَعَهُ وَالطَّيْرَ ۖ وَأَلَنَّا لَهُ الْحَدِيدَ
And We certainly gave David from Us bounty. [We said], “O mountains, repeat / echo [Our] praises with him, and the birds [as well].” And We made pliable for him iron, (34:10)

According to verse 21:79, the mountains and birds praised God in a raised voice (Arabic: yusabbihna) along with David.

فَفَهَّمْنَاهَا سُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَكُلًّا آتَيْنَا حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا ۚ وَسَخَّرْنَا مَعَ دَاوُودَ الْجِبَالَ يُسَبِّحْنَ وَالطَّيْرَ ۚ وَكُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ
And We gave understanding of the case to Solomon, and to each [of them] We gave judgment and knowledge. And We subjected the mountains to celebrate Our praise, along with David and [also] the birds. And We were doing [that]. (21:79)

Although the chanting of the Psalms of prophet David was sung to glorify God, this still doesn’t imply any prohibition on any other type of music or singing. Of course, keeping with the spirit of the Quran, one would understandably agree that listening or singing music that is indecent should be considered inappropriate and unacceptable. However, this does not equate to prohibiting all music or singing.

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