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Can We Listen to Western Music and Songs?

02 January, 2019
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I want to know the Islamic stance on listening to western music and songs (e.g. Rock and Roll). I do not mean joining the parties but mere listening to such music and songs.


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- It is to be stated that Islam is a practical religion. It recognizes the human need to relaxation and enjoyment as well as humans’ need to eating and drinking. Among the means of entertainment, which may comfort the soul, please the heart and refresh the ear is singing.

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2- Good songs that do not contain words or concepts that are shameful are permissible and they are actually encouraged. There is no harm in their being accompanied by music, which is not exciting.

Responding to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

What is commonly known as western music is associated with sensuality, lust, and greed, all of which are diseases of the soul, so we cannot approve listening to music with such an association.

But if you’re able to single out and isolate music or songs with noble and pure messages and themes that ennoble the soul and spirit, you may listen to them as an occasional outlet provided that this does not distract you from the remembrance of Allah or performing your obligatory duties.

Muslims living in this part of the world should be creative enough to create music and songs that are totally free from sinful association, by devising halal alternative so that we can dispense with haram altogether.

Therefore, we should not have any hesitation in inventing creative arts that are properly Islamic.

Finally, music in itself is merely a tool that can be good or bad.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.