Tuning into the purpose of Life

(Is listening to music allowed in Islam)

“And of the people is he who buys the amusement of speech to mislead [others] from the way of Allah without the knowledge and who takes it in ridicule. Those will have a humiliating punishment.” (Surah Luqman, Verse 6)

Few years back, I happened to take up a Quran translation course which required me to learn ‘tajweed’ (rules of recitation). As I started applying these rules to my daily Quranic recitation, something began to change. All these years of my life, I have been frivolously reciting the Quran and depriving myself of the pleasures of reciting it. I figured that the real form of gaining satisfaction and connecting with Allah (subhan wa taa’la) was through applying these rules.  

This brought a major change in my life. In just two to three months I had completed all the required rules of recitation and began ‘hifz’ (memorization) of Quran. For the first time, I started feeling a sense of connection to all those verses. I felt the beauty of recitation and started listening to ‘qaris’ (person who memorises and recites the Quran) with a beautiful voice. This brought life into my recitation and made ‘hifz’ easy and delightful.

The beautiful voice of every ‘qari’ who I imitated left me amazed. Just like all those who do this on regular basis, I couldn’t stop reciting. I didn’t feel like taking a break from memorizing the Quran anymore. But the chain of events didn’t end there. Little did I know, that there was more to this story than what I had already encountered.

I no longer felt the need to listen to music. Yes, I had been a music addict for years. I would study listening to music, complete tasks doing so and also go to sleep listening to music. Music was imbibed into my system and I never even knew that it was the door through which the devil entered into my system.

As soon as I started byhearting the Quran with proper ‘tajweed’ and took help from the beautiful recitation available on the internet, I started losing interest in listening to music. It felt like some form of a miracle. I didn’t even know this was possible for someone like me. Along this journey, I began seeing the problems that music addiction brings.

  • Away from Allah’s remembrance

A peaceful heart is always in Allah’s remembrance. I found peace as I detached from music. First, I deleted my playlist and then made sure that my children learn at an early age that listening to music is something that Allah (swt) doesn’t like. All thanks to Him and His immeasurable guidance, I was able to achieve 80% of my goal. I have realised that ‘zikr’ (remembrance of Allah) and Quran recitation are the means to combat music addiction.

  • Songs propagate lies and exaggeration

It is my personal opinion, that those who are in the business of selling songs are actually selling lies or exaggerating – false hopes, ideas and dreams. Sometimes, a part of it is true, but otherwise it is filled with lies and untrue things. The problem lies with those who compose music and it’s lyrics. Generally, these are people driven by wrong aims and visions – some want fame, some money, some want things that Allah (swt) has forbidden. Musicians and lyricist promote what they believe in and it is contrary to what the Quran promotes – truth and facts. While music and songs are a creation of men and can be misleading, Quran is a message from Allah (swt) and is the path to guidance. As per my experience, both cannot survive together in one heart.

As for the poets, they are followed by the straying people.

Did you not see that they wander in every valley,

and that they say what they do not do?  

(Surah Ash-Shu’ara, Verse 224-226)

  • Takes away from the resource of time

It takes away from our precious resource of time while giving us nothing in return. It is important to remind oneself that our time here on earth is very limited. We are here to be tested and we need to prove ourself worthy of ‘Jannah’ (or higher places in Jannah) infront of Allah (swt). Listening to music and songs eats away from this precious time. We need to try to reduce our dependency on it as much as possible. With the intention that in trying to do so, Allah (swt) will make quitting it completely easy for us. We need to remember, that though it might change our mood for some time, it doesn’t really fill the void within. It acts as an intoxication, which gives a sense of relief for a period of time and once done, it creates a sense of frustration. While recitation of Quran fills us with hope and promises from Allah (swt) which are true and fill our life with positivity.  

‘O you who believe, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Whoever follows the footsteps of Satan, (should know that) he orders (one to commit) shameful acts and evil deeds.’ (Surah An-Nur, Verse 21)

Some might think, but music and songs aren’t sinful. It is true but it cannot be denied that they are a doorway for the devil to enter. Once away from the remembrance of Allah (swt), we become an easy target for ‘shaitan’ (the devil). It is a form of evil, even if not complete evil and should be avoided as much as possible. Islamic songs and praises of Prophets are permitted and  can be sung on occasions.

But I feel that there is no better way to detach from all these false trends other than ‘hifz’ of Quran. It is the best form of therapy. It might sound too conventional and boring for someone who hasn’t learnt ‘tajweed’ or listened to a ‘qari’s’ beautiful recitation. But once a person starts doing so, he/she will realise the miracle I am referring to. Once this journey starts all pain, worry and anxiety leaves. Because one starts listening to Allah (swt). And who can be a better therapist than Him.  

“O Allah, I am your slave, the son of your slave. My forelock is in Your Hand. Your judgment of me is inescapable. Your trial of me is just. I am invoking You by all the names that You call Yourself, that You have taught to anyone in Your creation, that You have mentioned in Your Book, or that You have kept unknown. Let the Qur’an be delight of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness and the pacifier of my worries.” (Musnad Ahmad # 1/391)

The beginning of Music & Adultery – Story of Sheeth (AS)