5. Music

Q166: What is the limit separating lawful from unlawful music? If the criterion is its being labeled "entertainment or amusement," then this is not clear according to convention because there are differences of opinion on that.

A: The separating limit is its being of suitable quality for the gatherings of amusement and of immorality. (MMS, p. 28, Q53)

Q167: Also, regarding musical tunes, what is the criterion for their prohibition? Is the criterion their actual use in songs by people of immorality or is it enough for them to be suitable for such purposes? Is there any difference in situation if they are used during the commemoration of (Imam) Husayn or Islamic songs, for example, etc.?

A: The rule also is their being suitable for gatherings (of amusement and of immorality) and their prohibition is absolutely not lifted by using them during the commemoration or otherwise, based on precaution. (MMS, p. 28, Q54)

Q168: What is the ruling on so-called music in present customary usage?

A: It is of two kinds. One of them suits the places of amusement and entertainment and thus listening to it is prohibited. The other one is other than this and therefore is not prohibited. (FM, p. 437)

Q169: Some types of music are broadcast before the recitation of the noble Qur'an or the adhan, before the religious program begins or during. Is it permissible to listen to it?

A: The great majority of them are of the second type and thus are lawful. (FM, p. 437)

Q170: Musical interludes and music that precedes announcement of the news.

A: The same applies. (same answer as Q169) (FM, p. 438)

Q171: Some types of watches, in addition to specifying the time, have musical pieces for the pleasure of the owner whenever he wishes (to hear them). Is it permissible to buy and sell them (watches), or even to listen to their music?

A: It is permissible. (FM, p. 438)

Q172: Is it permissible to listen to religious songs?

Follow up: You mean religious phrases that are composed with musical tunes that are common amongst the people of amusement and entertainment?

Response: Yes.

A: It is prohibited to listen to them. The same ruling applies to all phrases that are not for pleasure and amusement -- such as supplication or dhikr -- but composed with these musical tunes. (FM, p. 437)

Q173: Classical music is believed to soothe excited nerves, and is also prescribed at times for treatment of some psychological ailments. Is it permissible for me to listen to it?

A: Yes, it is permissible to listen to music which is not suited for the gatherings of amusement and entertainment. (FM, p. 438)

Q174: Music with pictures that is associated with television films, popular serial programs, the aim of which is to raise the degree of excitement of the viewers in accordance with the atmosphere of the film. For example, if the exhibited scene is frightening, then this music helps in prompting fear and its effect on the viewers.

A: The great majority of them are of the lawful type. (FM, p. 438)

Q175: . . . emotional and national poetry that are at times accompanied by music.

A: The same criterion as was previously mentioned (in Q168). (FM, p. 438)

Q176: The buying and selling of flutes, musical recordings and the like, from among the instruments of pleasure and amusement, is prohibited. However, there are instruments made for children's amusement. Is it permissible to buy and sell them?

A: It is permissible as long as they are not classified among the instruments of forbidden pleasure and amusement. (FM, p. 411)

Q177: Is it permissible for a Muslim to send his son to one of the musical institutes to study music as a profession under the condition that he will not use his profession for forbidden things?

A: There is no objection to studying lawful music in itself, but in sending children to musical institutes one should ensure that it does not negatively affect them in their religious upbringing. God knows best. (MMS, p. 17, Q19)


Q178: Is it permissible for a wife to dance for her husband in order to provide him happiness and to excite him?

A: This is permissible for her. (FM, p. 436)

Q179: . . . her dancing in front of others?

A: It is not permissible for her to dance in front of any other but her husband amongst the men [rather, it is not permissible for her to dance in front of women as well]. (FM, p. 436)

Q180: . . . a man dancing in front of men or women other than his wife?

A: Likewise, it is not permissible. (FM, p. 437)

Q181: Some schools in western countries force the male and the female students to study the art of dancing. This dancing is not linked with the popular music and is not for amusement, but is part of the curriculum. Is it prohibited for the parents to grant permission to attend these lessons?

A: Yes, if it contradicts religious training, rather absolutely, based on precaution, with the supposition that the student has attained the age of puberty (bulugh). This holds except where he has a shar'i justification for studying it in the case where he is following (taqlid) the one whose ruling is that it is permissible. In that case, there is no obstacle to permit him to do this. (MMS, pp. 25-26, Q46)


Q182: At a wedding and other joyous occasions, men and women clap.

A: It is permissible for them, provided that it does not include other forbidden things. (FM, p. 437)