Qaw-waa-li and Musical Instruments

Wa-minan-naasi man-y-yash-taree lah-wal-hadee-se li-yu-dil-la an-aa-bee lil-la-hi bi-gharri-il-min w-wa-yat-ta-khi za-naa hu-zu-waa au-laaa-ika la-bum azaa-bum mu-heen.




 “But there are, among men,  those who purchase idle tales, without knowledge (or meaning) to mislead men from the Path of God and throw ridicule (on the Path): for such there will be a humiliating Penalty” (Ch. 31. V. 6).


The purpose of the creation of mankind on earth is to please Almighty Allaah and it is our duty to always keep this in mind so that we do not commit any such act which will invoke Allaah-Taa-ala’s displeasure. If any Muslim brother of sister strays from the true path, it is our duty to show him or her the right path, so the Mercy of Allaah descends on them.


Hazrat Hasan Basri (R.A.) has said in reference to the above mentioned verse of the Holy Qur’aan the words – ‘Lah-wal-hadees’ meaning mere pastime, includes all those things that divert a person from the remembrance of Allaah e.g. Ludo, stories, useless laughing and making jokes or evil occupations and playing of music and singing and dancing.


It is mentioned in the Hadees that Nadr-ibn-Haris, who was one of the wealthiest and leading non-believer of the Quraish in Arabia during the days of the Prophet (S.A.W.), used to go to Persia on business and buy stories of their kings. He used to tell the Quraish that Muhammad (S.A.W.) relates to you people the stories of Aad and Samood, (as mentioned in the Holy Qur’aan).


Some of the Arabs (among the non-Muslims) found his tales more interesting and turned to him very anxiously. He (Nadr-ibn-Haris), also bought a slave girl who was a good singer. Whenever anybody inclined towards Islam, he carried the singer (the slave-girl), to him and asked her to sing and serve him. Afterwards he used to tell that person – this is better than what Muhammad (S.A.W.) invites to i.e. performance of Salaat, fast, and sacrifice oneself in the way of Allaah.


It is then the above-mentioned verse of the Holy Qur’aan was revealed. Although the revelation of this verse refers specifically (mainly) to this incident, the wording of this verse applies for all times.


That past-time (vain pleasure) which carries a man away from the religion of Islam is not only haraam (forbidden) but it is an act of Kufr (disbelief). The amusement (vain pleasure) which carries a person away from the Shariah (Divine Law) and indulges him in sins or maybe cause for committing sin is also a sin.


Only that act which does not interfere with any of Allaah’s commandment and which is not related to any religious expedience (necessity) is Mubah (permissible) but even then it is not good because of its absurdity (foolishness) and insignificance.


The late Moulana Abdul Aleem Siddique (Rh.A) and University Students.


Once modern-educated young men from the Osmania University of Hyderabad, India, went to Moulana Siddique (Rh.A) and presented a number of questions and demanded that in each case the Moulana should give the reply from the Holy Qur’aan.


When it was done they asked the Moulana how could the Holy Qur’aan supply guidance on an issue which did not exist at the time when it (Holy Qur’aan) was revealed? As an instance they asked him to state from the Holy Qur’aan whether it was permissible or not for a Muslim to witness a play at the cinema. Moulana (R.A.) told them that he had never been to a cinema: he first wanted to know what it actually was.


The students told him how a plot was first fixed up, then a story invented (made up), then it is acted by actors and the action is them filmed and shown on the screen by means of electricity and revealed to the naked eye.


He, (Moulana) then asked them not to relate the whole story but give him an appropriate (exact) definition. After a brief discussion, they agreed on defining a cinema performance as a play based on an invented (fiction, not true) tale.


He, (Moulana), then asked whether they were ready to abide  by the decision if the Holy Qur’aan forbid them. They gave their definite promise.


Then, he, (Moulana), read the following verse from the Holy Qur’aan:-


“But they are among men, those who purchase idle takes (of these who spend money on the play based on the tale) without knowledge (or meaning), to mislead (men) from the path of Allaah and to hold it in ridicule. For such there will be a humiliating (shameful) penalty”. (Ch. 31 V. 4).


All present bowed before the Qur’aanic verdict and repented as promise.


Qawwaali and Musical Instruments.




 Is it permissible for a Muslim to sing a Qawwaali song composed by a pious religious divine in which is mentioned the hamd (praise) of Allaah or a Naat (praise) to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) or Qaseedah (poem) for the glorification of an Awlia (Saint) with the accompaniment of musical instruments.




 Moulana Mufti Ishmail Bismillah of India states in his Fata-wa-i-Muslim Gujrat on page 627.


To sing or listen to someone singing in praise of Allaah, or a Naat to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) or a Qaseedah in praise of an Awlia, is permissible provided it is not accompanied by musical instruments and it is done with a view to deriving inspiration and guidance. But Qawwaali accompanied by musical instruments and a drum are forbidden and haraam (illegal) according to the laws of the Shariah (Divine Law).


The Messenger of Allaah (S.A.W.) is reported to have said::


“Verily, the Almighty Allaah sent me as a  Mercy for all the worlds and a Guide for all the worlds and my Almighty and Glorious Lord ordered me to abolish drums, musical instruments, idols, the cross and the affairs of the days of ignorance. “


How can it then be permissible to sing the praise of Allaah, His Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Awlia from the Ummah (community) of the messenger of Allaah (S.A.W.) with the very instruments that he came to abolish? How can these two things be reconciled (put together)?


Shariah has declared the drum and musical instruments as Haraam (unlawful). Their prohibition is clearly mentioned in Shaami, Burr-e-muktar and other Fiqah (Jurisprudence) books. This is also supported by the Holy Qur’aan and Hadees.


So all instrumental music is condemned by Shariah (Divine Law) with no exemption. Would it not be an insult to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) to sing his praise with instruments he has condemned?


Any person who says that the drum and the musical instruments are permitted should make taubah (repentance) and ask for forgiveness, because such a statement would carry him to the brink of Kufr (unbelief).


The Prophet (S.A.W.) said:


“There will be such people in my Ummah (community) who will declare silk (silk clothes), wine and musical instruments as Halaal (lawful). They are the ones that will be turned into monkeys and swines and made to sink into the earth”. (Bukhari).


The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) is also reported to have said:


“In the latter days a group of my people will be made into swines and monkeys”.


The Sahaabaa (Rd.A) (companions), of the Prophet (S.A.W.) asked:


“Even thought hey would bear witness to the oneness of Allaah and your Prophethood?”


The Messenger of Allaah (S.A.W.) replied:


“Yes, in spite of them performing salaat, (namaaz), fast and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).”


The Sahaabaas (Rd.A) then enquired:


“Who will they be?”


The Messenger of Allaah (S.A.W.) replied:


“Those who will be occupied with musical instruments and drums and indulge in intoxicating drink; after having spent the night in this state, they will rise in the morning as swines and monkeys.” (Bukhari).


Hazrat Naafia (R.A) relates that:


“Once I was walking with Hazrat Abdullah-ibn-Umar (Rd.A). He heard a flute (musical pipe) being played. He put his fingers in his ears and went away from there.Then he asked me, “Is the sound still coming?” I said, “No.” Then he took out his fingers from his ear and said, “Once I was with the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) He, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), heard the same type of noise and he put his fingers in his ears like me.” (Abu-Dawood).





Immoral songs or songs that have a tendency towards misguidance and immorality are unlawful. Also, organized singing, the band parties as theatres and cinemas or other performances are unlawful because there are men and women present whose passions are aroused because they contain generally love songs and love pictures.


The general public have a very low hold on their passions and therefore preventative measures have been taken in Islam by making such songs illegal.


Hazrat Abdull-ibn-Masood (R.A.) narrated that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said:


“Singing cultivates hypocrisy in the heart just as water causes vegetation to grow.” (Mishkatul-Masabih).


The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) speaks of bad songs attended with musical instruments as the cause of hypocrisy. The truth of this assertion is to be found in the fact that the persons who love songs with musical instruments are morally bankrupt in the majority of cases.


Abu-Umaamah (R.A.) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (S.A.W.) said:


“None raised up his voice with a song (this applies to bad immoral songs), but Allaah sent for him two devils upon his shoulders who beat his chest with their heels till he stopped.” (Mishkatul-Masabih).


Hazrat Ali (Rd.A) relates that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) has said:


“When my Ummah (community) will indulge in fifteen types of sins then disaster will befall them.”


1. When booty will be taken as private property;


2. When the trusts and deposits of others will be regarded as booty;


3. When Zakaat will be taken as a burden;


4. When a man will be obedient to his wife;


5. and he will be disobedient to his mother;


6. When a man will be kind to his friend;


7. but he will be unjust and violent to his father.


8. When there will be noise and clamour in the Masjid;


9. When People of mean character will become leaders in the community;


10. When a man shall be honoured out of fear of his mischief;


11. When people will be drunk with wine;


12. When silk or silk clothes will be worn;


13. When singing girls,


14. and musical instruments will be kept;


15. When the latter generation of this people will curse the former ones.





When these signs appear then await calamities of red-dust storms, hurricanes, earthquakes and the Khaaf (i.e. the sinking of the earth) and Maskh (i.e. the change of faces) of man, and the throwing of stones and several signs that will follow like a string of gems whose string has been cut off and they fall one after another.


When one has accepted Allaah as his Master and one has been called a slave and servant, then he should try to bow down before the commandment of the Lord and not follow other desires. He should think over the Day of Judgment, when we will have to give account of all our misdeeds.


Let us stick to the commandments of Allaah and follow the sayings of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and abstain from actions which he disliked.

Allaah knows best





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