Over a decade, I’ve been asked about music so frequently that I’ve finally written this. I hadn’t done so until now because I didn’t want to engage the cacophony of polemics. However, I hold it that believers deserve better than the one-sided narrative they’ve been presented with, especially when we’re speaking on behalf of God as to what He holds to be offensive, and as millennials (and younger) become the dominant generations, we need to be far better informed. I am not advocating what people should or shouldn’t do – things affect them differently so each moral agent ought to decide what’s best for them. Also note that this brief post is not a juristic presentation but just a brief clarification for those who’ve asked.
From the get-go it’s important that we distinguish between two things people tend to conflate:
- A range of cultures/behaviours associated (rightly or not) with types/genres of music,
- Music as melodious sounds, and instruments.
Here I am solely dealing with music as melodious sounds (including instruments) and not speaking to certain types of music that might inspire negative behaviour in some. Since I’m dealing with melodious sounds (including instruments), I don’t distinguish between sounds from singing (ghina’) and sounds from instruments (aalaat) in this shar’i discussion – and most early jurists didn’t.