Short Answer: No. We cannot say that something like this is haram because we don’t have any mandate from God or from his Prophet to say that. For something to be haram it has to be clearly said by God in the Quran or said by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a saying which is really authentic and clear. There is nothing clear in the Quran about music, and there is nothing, no authentic hadith that are related from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in which clearly he depicts listening to music to be haram.
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Dr. Shabir Ally from Let the Quran Speak addresses this question in the video below.
Aisha Khaja: So, Dr. Shabir, today’s question is based on some of the comments we’ve been receiving back on a video that we posted, a brother and sister flute and guitar duo, Moez and Yusra.
And quite a few comments have come up about questioning the validity of music and Islam. So, I wanted to get your expertise on that.
Dr. Shabir Ally: Yeah well, there are some indications in hadith that led Muslim scholars to think that music was haram.
And for many centuries Muslim societies largely governed themselves on this basis and everything was fine.
People delighted in the recitation of the Quran and other things that kept Muslims busy and entertained in Muslim culture.
Now we’re living in a situation where music is all-pervading, and it’s difficult to avoid.
Now, if we rule that music is haram or forbidden, we place many Muslims in the situation where they feel trapped.
You cannot avoid listening to music.
Aisha Khaja: You can’t go to the mall …
Dr. Shabir Ally: So, yeah exactly. And all this music, all this “haram” is constantly piping into your ears.
And this leads to a sort of extremism, when you feel like you’re so trapped, and you really need to do something desperate to change the environment because the environment is so absolutely, fundamentally corrupt.
So, can we really live with this as a practical measure?
So, that sort of situation prompted many like myself to go back to the texts and see like why did we think that music was haram in the first place?
Because for something to be haram it has to be clearly said by God in the Quran or said by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a saying which is really authentic and clear.
There are two things: the saying has to be authentic and it also has to be clear.
If it’s something vague, you cannot imagine that something will cause you to fall into hell and the Prophet (peace be upon him) only gives a vague indication of it.
And we would expect that he would say very clearly, “Look guys, if you do this thing, you’re going to fall into hell. So, don’t do this.”
And the Quran would likewise say, in very clear language, this thing is forbidden.
Well first of all, there is nothing clear in the Quran about music. There is something about [quoting in Arabic] and that is a reference to poetry which people were using to turn people away from the Quran.
It’s not like somebody reading the Quran, and also listening to some music. It’s one or the other.
As for the ahadith, there is nothing, no authentic hadith that are related from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in which clearly he depicts music to be haram.
So in short, we cannot say that something like this is haram because we don’t have any mandate from God or from his Prophet to say that.
I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)