Sunday, 7 November 2010

Is music allowed in Islam?


Many Saudi experts on Islamic religion are of the opinion that music is evil and promotes, among other things, hypocrisy of the heart.

In the past, musical instruments were viewed so negatively that even being able to name them was taboo.  This article, ‘We see them, we hear them but we can’t’ name them’, written in 2005, sheds some light on that bizarre concept. I believe many restrictions mentioned in this article still stand – though I’m happy to be corrected on that.

Other scholars disagree with their colleagues and believe music and singing can be allowed under certain conditions, mainly if they do not encourage committing sinful acts.
But unfortunately, I think they are in the minority….

The Husband told me that music wasn’t allowed here.

We were shopping and I was singing - a habit that probably resulted from the marketing ploy used in every country, except this one, utilizing background music to create happy shoppers.  Being a typical consumer, I was lulled into buying mode to the sounds of Kenny Rogers and even used to enjoy singing along.

Hubster informed me that singing was Haram (not allowed).  This information was followed with a story about the guy who used to call the prayers at the mosque near our place.  Apparently, he got the sack because his voice was too nice – too musical. How sad is that! It explains why we currently have some loud guttural type, who coughs a lot.

It's understandable why music is not played in Saudi malls.  Shopping is one of the few things that Saudi women are permitted to leave the house for so music isn't required to encourage them.

Recently, I've noticed a couple of restaurants are playing background music - Kenny Rogers again (he's a popular background guy).  I did wonder if there would be a rush to turn down the volume the minute a bearded type walks into the establishment.

What is the result of a Saudi religious imposed ‘no music’ rule?

Well, the young mothers I meet don’t sing to their children. Yet, they buy musical toys that play western nursery rhyme music. They are a little embarrassed to say that they don’t know the words to these ditties, and ask me to sing them. I get the impression they would love to sing to their babies, it feels right for a mother to bond with her child in this way, but being told all your life that singing is evil probably acts as a handbrake.

One day I sang a lullaby to an unsettled babe.  Her young mother was impressed, especially as her daughter drifted off to sleep.  A query regarding Saudi lullabies met with ‘We don’t have any’ which I found astounding.

I’m willing to bet if I asked Saudi grandmothers, they would know lullabies. Music wasn't always banned. It couldn't have been because if you Google history of Saudi music you’ll find information on Saudi folk music and dance.

What, exactly, does the Saudi religious crowd find so evil about singing your child to sleep with words like ’Sleep my little one sleep, fond vigil I’ll keep’? What hypocrisy in the heart could this be creating?

You would think it doesn't matter if a parent teaches their own own children a few songs. But the religious zealots here have a history of dishing out violence - they killed a lot of people to garner compliance to the cause. (Much like every other religion I've studied).  Even today, care must be taken at all times regarding who members of the family interact with as, I've been told there are still rewards offered for those who dob in any ‘bad’ Muslims.   Talk about create an environment of trust along with your religion of peace.

After being told to stop singing because music isn't allowed in Islam a little internet research was undertaken, just to check Hubster's information.  Here’s a couple of comments I found on the net about women and singing.  And note, they are only about women and singing.  Obviously, yet again, men can do whatever they want!

"In Islam, the voice of women is ‘awra’, which means it should not be heard by a stranger,"

So, does this mean you can sing for you husband, family and child??  I'm guessing that's news to the mum's I know.


"Muslim women must refrain from adopting a voice 'muzayyana (adorned, soft and melodious) in order not to create' fitna (temptation) and arouse instincts,"

Arouse instincts?  Is it just me, or does it look like sex has reared its head again!  Why are Muslims in this part of the globe so obsessed with sex?

What happens if you come from a culture where music is the norm and valued?  Where singing is seen as an exchange of friendship and good will.  Like New Zealand Maori.  Well, Kiri and I sang for our supper one night in Saudi and we discovered that the general Saudi population has a slight difference of opinion regarding music and Islam.


1 comment:

  1. Hello, nice site. Posted by myself in bookmarks

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