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Islam’s Stance on Music Therapy

Music therapy is an established psychological clinical intervention that is delivered by professional healthcare centers and registered music therapists. Its aim is to help patients affected by injury, illness or disability by supporting their psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, communicative and social needs.

Music plays an important role in our everyday lives. It is found naturally in every environment in the universe and it can be exciting or calming, joyful or poignant. It can stir memories and powerfully resonates with our feelings, helping us to express them and to communicate with others. Music therapy uses these qualities and the musical components of rhythm, melody and tonality to provide a means for relating within a therapeutic relationship.

In this talk, which took place last April at Cambridge Muslim College, British Muslim scholar Shaykh Timothy John Winter, also known as Abdal Hakim Murad, speaks about Islam’s view of music therapy and whether our Muslim societies can benefit from it.

Shaykh Winter is the founder and dean of the UK-based Cambridge Muslim College. He’s also the director of studies (theology and religious studies) at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and the Shaykh Zayed lecturer in Islamic Studies at Cambridge University.

His work includes publications on Islamic theology and Muslim-Christian relations. In 2003, he was awarded the Pilkington Teaching Prize by Cambridge University and in 2007 he was awarded the King Abdullah I Prize for Islamic Thought for his short booklet Bombing Without Moonlight.

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Winter has consistently been included in the “500 Most Influential Muslims” list published annually by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre and was ranked in 2012 as the 50th most influential.

This article is from Science’s archive and we’ve originally published it on an earlier date.