What Philosophy Exists Behind MUSIC Prohibition? by Ayt Makarim Shirazi Q&A

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What Philosophy Exists Behind MUSIC Prohibition? by Ayt Makarim Shirazi Q&A

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:14 am

What Is Music?
What Philosophy Exists Behind Its Prohibition?

by Ayt Makarim Shirazi
Extract from the book 180 Questions



Some Word related with Music
There exists no difficulty and difference of opinion as far as the issue of prohibition of music is concerned, however, the difficulty lies in discriminating and discerning what is music?

Are all pleasant and melodious sounds, music?

Undoubtedly such is not the case for it has been reported in the traditions that the Qur'an and the adhaan should be recited in a pleasant and melodious voice; in addition, the conduct of the Muslims too indicates likewise.

Is every such sound, which possesses tarjee’ (coming and going of sound in the larynx, or technically speaking, rolling of the sound in it), music? This too is not established.

The conclusion that can be drawn from the statements of the (Shiite) jurists and the Sunnite scholars is that joyful tunes that are bacchanalian, frivolous and futile in nature are regarded as music.

Expressing it more lucidly, tunes that are commensurate with wicked and immoral gatherings, and with corrupt and sinning individuals, are classified as music.

In other words a tune, which stirs up the carnal passions within man and he, in that state, considers consumption of intoxicants and indulgence in sexual depravity alongside that tune to be totally fitting and opportune, is called music!

It is significant to note that at times, in a composition, the tune is music and essentially frivolous and futile, and so also the wordings - like when romantic and immoral poems are recited in the company of a ravishing tune; at other times only the tune is music, like when Qur’anic verses, supplications or poems of a lofty standard are recited in a tune that is opportune to gatherings of the profligate and immoral ones. Both forms are prohibited and forbidden (take note).

It is also necessary to mention that at times, music is looked upon as possessing two meanings - the general meaning and the specific one. The specific meaning is the meaning that we have presented above – tunes, which stir up passions within man and are germane to immoral and corrupt gatherings. But the general meaning alludes to every pleasant and melodious sound, and it is for this reason that those, who view music in the general meaning, have divided it into two categories, lawful and unlawful music - the lawful music being the melodious sounds, which do not incite immorality and are not appropriate with corrupt and evil gatherings, whereas the unlawful music being the tunes, possessing the characteristics mentioned above.

Thus, as far as the prohibition of music is concerned, there exists no difference of opinion; the disagreement lies in the manner in which it is interpreted.

Nevertheless, music, like every other concept, also possesses forms which are dubious and doubtful such that at times, a person fails to comprehend if a particular tune is associated with immoral gatherings or not? In such cases, on the basis of the Law of Baraa’t, it is regarded as being lawful (of course, after possessing a sufficient awareness of the conventional meaning of Thus, there appears no reason to regard those heroic tunes and music, which are associated with battle, sports or the like, as unlawful.

Nevertheless, there are other aspects too that are related to this issue, such as exceptions to music, which have been claimed by some but rejected by others, and which need to be discussed in books of jurisprudence.

The final point which we feel ought to be mentioned here is that the discussion presented above was with respect to singing - however the issue of use of musical instruments and the prohibition associated with it is one, which is entirely different and beyond the scope of our present discussion.



The Philosophy Behind the prohibition of Music
A careful study of the meaning of music together with the conditions mentioned by us clearly elucidates the philosophy that lies behind its prohibition. A short study reveals the following evils associated with it:



Encouragement Towards Moral Degradation

Experience, which is the best witness, has revealed that numerous individuals, influenced by music, have abandoned piety and turned towards lust and immorality. Musical gatherings are usually centers of various evils and it is music that serves to foment these evils. According to some reports appearing in foreign newspapers, in a gathering, in which a group of girls and boys had presented themselves, a special music was played which induced such excitement within them that rushing towards each other they began indulging in such obscene acts that one is ashamed to even make a mention of them.

The commentary Ruh Al-Ma’ani, narrates that one of the elders of Bani Umayyah said to them: Stay away from music for it reduces modesty, increases lust, shatters (one’s) personality, is a successor and substitute for intoxicants and leads to the same deeds, which arise out of inebriation.[1]

This goes to show that even they had perceived its evils. And if the Islamic traditions have repeatedly stated that music fosters the ‘hypocritical soul’ within man, it is an allusion to this reality, for a ‘hypocritical soul’ is a soul that has become polluted as a result of depravity and being distanced from piety. And if the traditions also state that the angels do not enter into houses in which music is played, it is because of this pollution and uncleanness, for the angels are entities that are pure and seek pureness.

Heedlessness With Respect To The Remembrance Of God.

In some of the Islamic traditions, music has been interpreted to mean lahw ( amusement, idle sport) - an allusion to the fact that music intoxicates a person in lust and passion to such an extent that it makes him heedless of God.
In a tradition from Imam A'li (peace be upon him) we read:



The Harmful Effects Upon The Nerves

In reality, music is one of the important factors that cause narcosis of the nerves. Expressing it differently, at times narcotics enter the body through the mouth, such as alcohol; or by means of the faculty of smell, such as heroin; or as a result of injection, like morphine; or, at times, by means of the ears, such as music.

And it is for this reason that, at times, certain forms of music lead people into such high spirits that they come to possess a state similar to inebriety; of course, there are also times when this state is not reached, but nevertheless it does induce a state of mild stupor. And this is why many of the evils of narcotics are also witnessed in music.



A close scrutiny of the biographies of celebrated musicians would reveal that, in the course of their lives, they slowly began to suffer from mental and psychological problems – some of them became patients of psychological disorders; some others, losing their aptitude and mental acumen, entered into the realms of lunacy and insanity; a group turned paralytic and helpless; and some others, while in the course of their musical performance, suffered sudden cardiac arrest due to an increase in blood-pressure.

Some of the books written in connection with the detrimental effects of music upon the human nerves, while mentioning the biographies of some of the distinguished and celebrated musicians and singers, state that they, in the course of their presentations, suffered a sudden stroke and died instantly in that very gathering.

F R O M P H I L O S O P H I C A L P O I N T O F V I E W
In short, the extent of the harmful effects of music upon the human nerves - leading to the frontiers of insanity, pressurizing the heart and the blood, and other undesirable stimulations - are in such a measure that there is no need for any protracted discussion.

The statistics of deaths and fatalities reveal a great increase in sudden deaths in our era, as compared to the past; several causes for this phenomenon have been mentioned, one of them being the increase in song and music, globally..


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Re: What Philosophy Exists Behind MUSIC Prohibition? by Ayt Makarim Shirazi Q&A

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:23 am

E F F E C T O N T H E C H I L D R E N
It is no secret that the songs music & films depend upon sex-appeal for their success. The more sexy a song the more its sale; the more suggestive a music, the more its market value. & also it is no secret that building the character of the children begins from their very tender age. If they are exposed to obscene songs sexy music & suggestive dances in their childhood, their entire outlook on the matters of sex morality & marriage-sanctity will become jaundiced. They will lose the capacity to distinguish between moral & immoral modesty & immodesty chastity & promiscuity.



Some people think that the children do not understand these things! Such people are wrong.

Thus, by listening to the songs & seeing the dance on television, we ruin the moral uprightness of our children. If we believe that the children are given to us by Allah as a trust & that we are responsible to give them such a training that they become good Muslims & virtuous servants of Allah, then we must abstain from songs & music; & must keep them safe from the evil influence of these sinful habits. You will find this subject adequately explained in the Appendix.



T H E Q U R A N O N M U S I C
After briefly explaining the evil effects of Music & dance, now time has come to give here some of the ayats of the Quran & some of the traditions of the Holy Prophet (saww) & Imams (AS) on this subject.

Here are four Ayats of the Quran which forbid the Muslims from indulging into music.

"So abstain from the pollution of the idols & abstain from false vain words." 22:30.

The Arabic word "Zoor" has several meanings which include falsehood & the musical expressions. According to Imam Jaffer Sadiq (AS) "pollution of the idols" means Chess; & "Vain words" means music.
See how 'Music' has been joined in this Ayat with the pollution of idols"; only then you can appreciate the seriousness of the sin of the Music.

"And of the people there is he who buys a 'vain talk' so that he may lead others astray from the path of Allah without (real) knowledge & takes it (the revelation of Allah) for a mockery; for these shall be a disgracing chastisement (punishment) ." 31:6.

'Lahw' means any thing which diverts the mind from serious thinking. "Vain talk" has been interpreted by the Imam as some talk sound or thing which diverts the attention of man from the ultimate aim of his creation; in other words makes him forget Allah & His commands. For example, fictions romantic stories, & such useless talks. "It includes 'Music', intoxicants & all such diversions." (Tafseer As-Safi)

Imam Muhammad Baquir (AS) said: Music is among the things for which Allah has promised the Fire (of Hell). Then he recited the above Ayat. (Kafi; Wasael us Shia; Tafseer As-Safi)

"Indeed successful are the believers those who in their prayer are humble & those who keep themselves aloof from Vain (words & deeds)." (23:1-3).

'Laghw' (Vain words & actions): The first Imam Ali (AS) said that
"all that is void of the remembrance of Allah is 'Laghv'. According to other authentic traditions of Imams, 'Laghv' means all useless entertainment, wasteful of times among which music has been specifically mentioned. Also included in this term are vain games played just to while away the time.

"And the servants of the Merciful Allah are those.. who bear not witness to what is false, & when they pass by what is vain they pass with dignity". (25:72).



The words 'Zoor' & 'Laghv' have been explained earlier. According to the traditions of Imams (AS), the first part may also be translated in this way: "who do not witness what is vain"! & accordingly, it has been interpreted in the exegesis of the Quran as
"do not listen to music."
The following two traditions explain the second part:

Imam Jaffer Sadiq (AS) asked some of his companions: "Where are you staying?"
They replied: "With so & so, who has singing & dancing girls.
Imam said: "You should have dignity."

They thought that Imam (AS) had advised them to treat that man generously. But they were not sure; so they returned to the Imam & requested him to explain his meaning to them.

Imam said: "have not you heard Allah saying `when they pass by what is vain they pass with dignity' ?
Imam meant that you should not stay with a man who has singing & dancing girls.

Second tradition: Muhammad bin Abi Ibad was known to indulge in music & liquor. He once asked Imam Ali Ar-Ridha (AS) about listening to music.

Imam said: Some people in Hijaz have their own view about it; but that view is absolutely wrong. Have you not heard the word of Allah 'when they pass by what is vain they pass in dignity'?"

I think this much should be enough for a follower of, Muhammad (saww) & Ahul ul Bait (AS).

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