بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The former Grand Muftï, Maulänä Muhammad Shafï’ Uthmänï رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ(d.1976) says:
A song that
- is sung by an adult or adolescent non-mahram (stranger) woman,
- or is sung by a beardless young man,
- or comprises obscenity or indecency,
- or urges the listeners to some other evil,
- or is accompanied by a musical instrument
On the other hand, a poetic composition recited in a melodious voice free of the above evils is permissible.
(Ma’äriful Qurän Urdu 7/27; Ma’äriful Qurän English 7/35-36)
The Prophet’s Hadïths contain rulings regarding both. The proponents of the prohibited songs misquote and mis-interpret the Hadïths permitting lawful poetry to prove their point and misguide the common people into believing that the Satanic songs and musical compositions produced by the Hollywood, Bollywood, Lebanese and Egyptian Christians and apostates are lawful.
Muftï Taqï Uthmänï (b.1943), in his foreword to Isläm aur Mausïqï (p.23), laments over the unfortunate spread of this evil among Muslims:
“Some people might still remember the incidents of the days before establishment of Pakistan when if some non-Muslim committed the error of playing music near a masjid, the Muslims would consider it a desecration of the masjid and would protest it vehemently. They wouldn’t even care for their lives in the course of these protests.
Today, the sons of the same Muslims play obscene music in front of masjids right at the time of Saläh and no one is bothered a bit.”
In times of this religious and moral decline, there is a group of misguided people with a defeatist ideology, whose only job is to make haläl every evil that gains popularity in the society. Thus, if an epidemic breaks out, they would rather refuse to consider it a disease than fight it. The eye of sleeping conscience which might sometimes wake up and raise a discordant reproving voice in the musical note is thus forced into the sleep of death.
With the might of the Western media behind them, they forcefully demand of the ‘Ulamä to recall the fatwä of prohibition of music as this epidemic has reached every locality and almost every house. The ‘Ulamä in their opinion should now brand it permissible and virtuous. Some go a step ahead mocking and ridiculing the narrow-mindedness of the ‘Ulamä – for which they get their due payments from the enemies of Isläm. Why the ‘Ulamä even in the 21st century can’t certify music as Haläl, flabbergasts them.
These children of Macaulay have probably never lent a though to the aspect that if the ‘Ulamä, the deputies of the Prophet, bow down before the overwhelming forces of evil and start branding every prohibited act as permissible, which the righteous among them shall never do, then the society will be deprived of the blessings of prophetic teachings in no time.
A point to note here is that committing an evil and calling it a virtue is a thousand times worse than committing it while believing it to be evil. In the latter case, the door to repentance is always open before the sinner. In the former, the sin becomes manifold: indulging in evil, challenging Alläh’s Sharï’ah by branding an act prohibited by Alläh as virtue, inviting people towards the evil and away from Alläh’s path. Such people usually are never blessed by Alläh with repentance. If you consider your action wrong, you may repent today or tomorrow, but if you indulge in evil and call it a virtue, where is the question of regret? A seat in the Hell is thus booked for these unfortunate agent of the enemies. Wish they knew what a loss-prone trade they are engaged in: a few dollars in lieu of everlasting burning in Hell.
May Alläh forgive us all and save us all from His wrath for who among us can bear the unending burning in Hell!
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ. (لقمان: ٦)
Among the people there is one who buys distracting objects of amusement so, that he in his ignorance may mislead people from Alläh’s path and make a mockery of it. Such people are the ones for whom there is a disgraceful punishment. (Qurän 31:6)
Cause of Revelation:
Nazr ibn Härith was one of the top businessmen among the Makkan Mushriks. He used to travel to different countries in connection with his business. Once he brought in a slave girl from a foreign country who was an accomplished singer. When he found anyone at Makkah intending to listen to the holy Qurän, he would arrange for him to hear his bondwoman’s song. He used to say, “Muhammad makes you listen to the Qurän, then goes on to ask you to pray and fast which makes life difficult for you. Instead, come here, listen to this song and music and have fun!”
According to Hazrat ‘Abdulläh ibn Mas’üd, Ibn ‘Abbäs, and a report from Jäbir رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُم, distracting objects of amusement (لَهْوَ الْحَدِيْثِ) means music, whether comprising sound alone or accompanied by instruments. In the opinion of the majority of Quränic exegetes, the term distracting objects of amusement applies to anything that makes one heedless towards Alläh’s remembrance and worship, like music, poetry, drama, fiction, art, sports, hunting, sports, etc.; in brief, all forms of amusement and entertainment that obstruct one from remembering Alläh. (Ma’äriful Qurän Urdu 7/20-21, Ma’äriful Qurän English 7/28)
The verse not only tells us that music, and in general, all other forms of un-Islämic entertainment is prohibited, but the word buys also informs us of disgraceful punishment for people whose trade involves these prohibited things, like all the people associated with the film industry, even if they work there as mere security guards.
Alläh the Sublime ordered everyone present there to prostrate before Hazrat Adam عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُas a mark of respect for His would-be deputy on the earth. All the angels obeyed whereas the one Jinn present there, Iblïs, disobeyed. He was condemned to Alläh’s wrath and disgraceful punishment in the Hell. However, at his supplication, Alläh granted him a reprieve till the Last Day. In this period of relief, Alläh told him that he was free to employ all his craft, cunning and resources to mislead the people.
وَاسْتَفْزِزْ مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتَ مِنْهُمْ بِصَوْتِكَ. (الإسراء: ٦٤)
(Go ahead then!) Entice with your voice those of Adam’s offspring whom you can. (Qurän 17:64)
Regarding the voice of Satan, Hazrat ‘Abdulläh ibn ‘Abbäs رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَاsays: The sounds of songs, musical instruments, and the hullabaloo and cheering during fun and games are the voices of Satan that he employs to tear people away from the path of truth.
(Ma’äriful Qurän Urdu 5/502, Ma’äriful Qurän English 5/521)
According to Imäm Mujähid, the Satan’s voice is the sound of song and musical instruments. According to Hasan Basarï, it is the sound of tambour (duff).
(Al Iklïl fi-stimbät-it Tanzïl by Suyütï 1/168)
As song, music, etc. are voice of Satan which he employs to lead us to our doom, the verse tells us that they are prohibited for us. In general, it is obligatory for a Muslim to abstain from anything that is a sound, act or beloved thing of Satan.
(Al Jämi’ li Ahkäm-il Qurän by Shamsuddïn Muhammad ibn Ahman Al Qurtubï 10/290)
أَفَمِنْ هَذَا الْحَدِيثِ تَعْجَبُونَ (٥٩) وَتَضْحَكُونَ وَلَا تَبْكُونَ (٦٠) وَأَنْتُمْ سَامِدُونَ (٦١) (سورة النجم)
Do you then wonder at this discourse, and laugh at it instead of weeping, while you remain engaged in vain play?
This discourse means the holy Qurän. Some of the great commentators like Hazrat Ibn ‘Abbäs رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا, Abü ‘Ubaidah, ‘Ikrimah, etc. have interpreted vain play to mean singing. (Isläm aur Mausïqï by Muftï Shafï’ Uthmänï: 99-100)
The verses are a rebuke for the Käfirs. The Qurän, the divine discourse, had come to them. Each and every aspect of it was a miracle, yet the Käfirs faked surprise at it and cast doubts about its truthfulness. They would even laugh at it in mockery instead of weeping at their sins and their impending doom. They would even go on to sing song and play music while Qurän was being recited. How stupid of them!
(Ma’äriful Qurän Urdu 8/221, Ma’äriful Qurän English 8/235)
Imäm Bukhärï reports that Alläh’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَsaid:
لَيَكُونَنَّ مِنْ أُمَّتِي أَقْوَامٌ، يَسْتَحِلُّونَ الحِرَ وَالحَرِيرَ، وَالخَمْرَ وَالمَعَازِفَ. (البخاري: ٥٥٩٠، إيزي قرآن: ٥٤١٧)
In future, there will be people in my Ummah, who will consider unlawful sex, silk, wine and music lawful. (Bukhärï: 5590)
Ibn Mäjah reports a Hadïth whose authenticity is acknowledged by Albänï that Alläh’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَsaid:
لَيَشْرَبَنَّ نَاسٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي الْخَمْرَ، يُسَمُّونَهَا بِغَيْرِ اسْمِهَا، يُعْزَفُ عَلَى رُءُوسِهِمْ بِالْمَعَازِفِ، وَالْمُغَنِّيَاتِ، يَخْسِفُ اللَّهُ بِهِمُ الْأَرْضَ، وَيَجْعَلُ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ. (ابن ماجة: ٤٠٢٠)
Some people in my Ummah shall drink wine, calling it by another name, musical instruments shall be played for them, and singing girls shall sing for them. Alläh will cause the earth to swallow them up, and will turn them into monkeys and pigs. (Ibn Mäjah: 4020, Isläm aur Mausïqï: 103)
Imäm Tirmizï reports the Hadïth:
فِي هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ خَسْفٌ وَمَسْخٌ وَقَذْفٌ، فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، وَمَتَى ذَاكَ؟ قَالَ: إِذَا ظَهَرَتِ القَيْنَاتُ وَالمَعَازِفُ وَشُرِبَتِ الخُمُورُ. (الترمذي: ٢٢١٢)
Alläh’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَsaid:
“This Ummah will face being swallowed up by the earth, transfiguration into other creatures, and pelting rain.”
A Muslim man asked, “Alläh’s Prophet! When will that be?”
The Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَsaid:
“When singing girls and musical instruments show themselves up and wine is drunk.”
(Tirmizï: 2212, Isläm aur Mausïqï: 118)
Imäm Tirmizï reports that Alläh’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَsaid:
إِذَا اتُّخِذَ الفَيْءُ دُوَلاً، وَالأَمَانَةُ مَغْنَمًا، وَالزَّكَاةُ مَغْرَمًا، وَتُعُلِّمَ لِغَيْرِ الدِّينِ، وَأَطَاعَ الرَّجُلُ امْرَأَتَهُ، وَعَقَّ أُمَّهُ، وَأَدْنَى صَدِيقَهُ، وَأَقْصَى أَبَاهُ، وَظَهَرَتِ الأَصْوَاتُ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ، وَسَادَ القَبِيلَةَ فَاسِقُهُمْ، وَكَانَ زَعِيمُ القَوْمِ أَرْذَلَهُمْ، وَأُكْرِمَ الرَّجُلُ مَخَافَةَ شَرِّهِ، وَظَهَرَتِ القَيْنَاتُ وَالمَعَازِفُ، وَشُرِبَتِ الخُمُورُ، وَلَعَنَ آخِرُ هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ أَوَّلَهَا، فَلْيَرْتَقِبُوا عِنْدَ ذَلِكَ رِيحًا حَمْرَاءَ، وَزَلْزَلَةً وَخَسْفًا وَمَسْخًا وَقَذْفًا وَآيَاتٍ تَتَابَعُ كَنِظَامٍ بَالٍ قُطِعَ سِلْكُهُ فَتَتَابَعَ. (الترمذي: ٢٢١١)
When the war-booty obtained without fighting is taken as personal wealth, trust is taken as a booty, Zakäh as a tax, knowledge is imparted for purposes other than for the sake of religion, a man obeys his wife but disobeys his mother, he gets close to his friend but keeps away from his father, voices are raised in mosques, chiefs of the tribes are the most sinful of them, the political leader of the people is the lowliest of them, a man is honored out of fear of mischief from him, singing girls and musical instruments become common, wine is drunk, the last of this ummah curses the first of them; then at such a time wait for a violent red wind, earthquake, people being swallowed up by the earth, transfiguration into animals, pelting of stones from the sky, and signs of the Last Day’s approach following each other like beads of a rosary falling in succession when its thread has broken. (Tirmizï: 2211, Isläm aur Mausïqï: 119)
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «يُمْسَخُ قَوْمٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي فِي آخِرِ الزَّمَانِ قِرَدَةً وَخَنَازِيرَ»، قِيلَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، وَيَشْهَدُونَ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ، وَأَنَّكَ رَسُولُ اللهِ، وَيَصُومُونَ؟ قَالَ: «نَعَمْ»، قِيلَ: فَمَا بَالُهُمْ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ؟ قَالَ: «يَتَّخِذُونَ الْمَعَازِفَ وَالْقَيْنَاتِ وَالدُّفُوفَ، وَيَشْرَبُونَ الْأَشْرِبَةَ، فَبَاتُوا عَلَى شُرْبِهِمْ وَلَهْوِهِمْ، فَأَصْبَحُوا قَدْ مُسِخُوا قِرَدَةً وَخَنَازِيرَ» (حلية الأولياء وطبقات الأصفياء لأبي نعيم الأصبهاني: ٣/١١٩)
Alläh’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَsaid:
“In the last days, some people in my Ummah shall be transfigured into monkeys and swine.”
A companion asked, “Alläh’s Prophet! Even if they testify that Alläh is the only god and that you are His prophet, and observe fasts?”
“Yes,” said Alläh’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ.
“What shall be their sin, Alläh’s Prophet?”
“They will indulge in musical instruments, singing girls and tambors, and they will drink wine. After a good bout of drinking and entertainment, they will sleep in the night. In the morning they will have been transfigured into monkeys and swine.”
(Hilyatul Auliyä 3/119)
عَنْ نَافِعٍ، مَوْلَى ابْنِ عُمَرَ، أَنَّ ابْنَ عُمَرَ: «سَمِعَ صَوْتَ، زَمَّارَةِ رَاعٍ فَوَضَعَ أُصْبُعَيْهِ فِي أُذُنَيْهِ، وَعَدَلَ رَاحِلَتَهُ عَنِ الطَّرِيقِ» ، وَهُوَ يَقُولُ: يَا نَافِعُ أَتَسْمَعُ؟، فَأَقُولُ: نَعَمْ، فَيَمْضِي حَتَّى قُلْتُ: لَا فَوَضَعَ يَدَيْهِ، وَأَعَادَ رَاحِلَتَهُ إِلَى الطَّرِيقِ، وَقَالَ: «رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَسَمِعَ صَوْتَ زَمَّارَةِ رَاعٍ فَصَنَعَ مِثْلَ هَذَا» (مسند أحمد: ٤٥٣٥)
Once Hazrat Näfi’ was traveling in the company of his teacher and liberator from slavery, Hazrat ‘Abdulläh ibn ‘Umar رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا. On the way, Hazrat ibn ‘Umar heard the sound of a shepherd’s flute. He inserted his fingers into his ears and sidetracked his transport animal (to create as much distance as possible between him and the flute). Again and again, he would ask Näfi’, “Can you still hear the flute?” Näfi’ kept replying in positive.
When at last Näfi’ said he could not hear the flute any more, Hazrat Ibn ‘Umar pulled out his fingers from his ears, and moved his transport animal back to the main road.
He then said, “I have seen Alläh’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَdoing the same when he heard a shepherd’s flute.”
(Abü Däwüd 4924, Musnad Ahmad: 4535, Al Jämi’ li Ahkäm-il Qurän by Shamsuddïn Muhammad ibn Ahman Al Qurtubï 10/290)
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو، أَنَّ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: نَهَى عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَالْكُوبَةِ وَالْغُبَيْرَاءِ، وَقَالَ: «كُلُّ مُسْكِرٍ حَرَامٌ» (أبو داود: ٣٦٨٥)
The Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَforbade date- and grape-wine, game of chance, drum, and millet-wine, and said: Every intoxicant is forbidden. (Abü Däwüd: 3685)
عَنْ شَيْخٍ، شَهِدَ أَبَا وَائِلٍ فِي وَلِيمَةٍ، فَجَعَلُوا يَلْعَبُونَ يَتَلَعَّبُونَ، يُغَنُّونَ، فَحَلَّ أَبُو وَائِلٍ حَبْوَتَهُ، وَقَالَ: سَمِعْتْ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ يَقُولُ: سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، يَقُولُ: «الْغِنَاءُ يُنْبِتُ النِّفَاقَ فِي الْقَلْبِ» (أبو داود: ٤٩٢٧)
Abü Wäil attended a Walïmah party. The people there started playing and singing, and urging others to participate with them. Abü Wäil straightened up from his relaxed sitting posture and said, ‘I heard ‘Abdulläh saying that he heard Alläh’s Prophet saying,
“Singing creates hypocrisy in the heart.”’
(Abü Däwüd: 4927)
In Isläm aur Mausïqï, the author and the commentator have collected 42 Hadïths specifying their statuses too. The above is just a small selection from those Hadïths.
Just as a citizen of a country is not allowed to make his obedience to a national law subject to his understanding of the wisdom behind the law, nor is a student allowed to question the rationale behind his school-rules, similarly there is no question of a Muslim asking for wisdom behind Alläh’s rulings. In fact, when Alläh and His Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَhave made a ruling clear, the believer doesn’t have an option to even think twice before executing it.
The enemies of Isläm in the recent centuries have attacked several of Alläh’s rulings. One of them is music, regarding which they have made the baseless, misleading claim that while music has numerous benefits, its harm is none. Clearly, Alläh, their and our Creator has far more knowledge, and when He has decided that music is harmful for His servants, then who are we to discuss whether music is harmful or not.
Nevertheless, some of the harms of music are just too obvious to escape even a simple mind. In the lines below, only a few of such harms are discussed.
Alläh has created humans to worship Him (Qurän 51:56). To underscore this, Alläh took the vow from all souls long before sending them to this earth that they would keep believing in Alläh, their Lord and obeying Him. (7:172). That’s why every child is born a Muslim willing to obey Alläh, the One and Only God. Had his Christian and Hindu parents not come in the way, he would have lived and died a Muslim. (Bukhärï: 1358) Another sign of this fundamental fact is that there have been numerous dreaded sovereigns and emperors like Fir’aun, Namrüd, Shaddäd, Changez, Victoria, Roosevelt (the Hiroshima bomber), Joseph Stalin, Bush and Obama (Iräq- and Afghanistan- massacrers); and all of them have employed histories’ most powerful armies to turn people away from Alläh’s worship, yet men have continued to worship Alläh.
What these haughty sovereigns could not achieve with their armies, mass-killings and mass-displacements, music accomplishes without much ado. A music-addict gets so engrossed in the desires, luxuries and deceptions of this world that he is no more capable of thinking about the purpose of his life. Then where is the question of worshipping Alläh? His love of this material world keeps progressing till a time comes when he becomes a despicable coward. He can’t resist a tyrant, and he can’t oppose an invader. That’s the reason why all the ungodly rulers in human history have promoted music among the masses.
Addiction to music and its supplements – wine, gambling, etc. – was the major cause of the end of the blessed Muslim rule, including that of the great and mighty Mughal Empire. It could not be defeated for long by even the likes of Sher Shah Sürï, but when kings like Muhammad Shäh Rangïlä (1702-1748) ascended its throne, it became soulless and lifeless. It is said that he would spend his entire day in music and songs. He himself had become an accomplished authority on musical art. His love for music was such that he would not visit the court till he got bored of music or till his concubines pushed him into it. And then, in a few years (1757, 1764) the British managed to defeat the legendary Mughal Empire.
‘Allämah Ibn Qayyim writes that whenever music and entertainment become the rage in a people, they are punished by Alläh with enemy’s domination over them, famine, drought and cruel rulers. Entertainment and music reorient the people’s lives from that of seriousness to fun, from wisdom to stupidity, and from strength to weakness. The people’s academic and professional capabilities decline and the community decays economically, militarily, morally and spiritually.
(Madärijus Sälikïn 1/498, Isläm aur Mausïqï: 65)
‘Allämah Iqbal describes it beautifully in his couplet:
میں تجھ کو بتاتا ہوں، تقدیرِ اُمَم کیا ہے XXX شمشیر وسِناں اوّل، ظاؤوس و رُباب آخر
Let me tell you the destiny of nations XXX At first the sword and spear, the zithers and flutes at last.
Music is the sound of Satan which he employs to wean people away from the holy Qurän. Addiction to music makes a person so negligent towards the purposes of his life that even the holy Qurän which turned the road-dust like lowly ‘Arabs into vanquishers of two super-powers, loses its impact upon him. While the holy Qurän teaches man to control his sensual desires, keep himself chaste and modest, and refrain from the worldly luxuries, music has the diametrically opposite effect. It rouses his animal instincts, urges him to indulge in his passions and goads him towards unlawful and even unnatural sex. With such a conflict in his heart, a music-addict can either be an open Käfir or a Munäfiq (hypocrite). He can never be a Muslim.
A hypocrite commits evils but erroneously believes that he is doing good. Likewise, people listening to haräm music like Qawwälï think that they are purifying their heart and molding it in the love of Alläh and His Prophet, when they are actually rejecting numerous rulings of Alläh and His Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ. Some believe that by listening to music they are making their hearts more delicate, and more receptive and appreciative of the beauty of this world, when they are in fact hardening their hearts by rebelling against their Creator’s commands and are spoiling their mental and intellectual abilities by indulging in an addiction.
Alläh has endowed humans with sexual desire which ensures the continuance of the human race. Yet, if the desire is allowed to transgress limits, it can lead to unlawful sex which breaks families, and leaves the coming generation bereft of fatherly or motherly love or both. It also creates blood-enmity putting the lives of entire families in mortal danger. Owing to this, Isläm has made unlawful sex as well as all acts that might lead to it a severe sin.
Music and singing involve men listening to women’s melodious voice and women listening to men’s dulcet tones. And each of them are extremely effective in rousing men and women to take steps towards the ultimate sin. That’s why the holy Qurän forbids women, even the holy mothers of believers, to talk in a soft tone to strangers lest diseased hearts should start fancying them.
A modern Psychologist Hulach Elas writes:
In rousing sexual urges of humans, the voice as well as music have a significant role to play. On this issue, we may agree with Moot’s view that the auditory signals are far more effective in creating sexual passion than what the people usually believe. (Isläm aur Mausïqï: 73)
A Western thinker Farbit says:
The vocal tone, its pitch and amplitude, its highs and lows, and its sharpness and grace creates sexual passion with inordinate rapidness. The extraordinary impact of voice in this regard may be gauged from the fact that a large number of women keep getting infatuated by accomplished male singers. (Isläm aur Mausïqï: 78)
What this Western thinker has said now was expressed by ‘Abdul Mälik ibn Marwän (d. 705) more articulately hundreds of years back:
When a he-camel moans, the she-camel loses control upon itself; when a he-goat groans out of sexual appetite, the she-goat gets into a frenzy; when a male pigeon coos, the female is agitated; and when a man sings, the woman too gets wild with passion. (Talbïse Iblïs: 305)
Obviously, singing not only makes the heart negligent towards duties to Alläh, it also urges the heart to achieve all the animal delights of this life. Music and song is like an indulgence for the spirit while unlawful sex is the indulgence for the flesh, thus the two are related in a close bond. It is also a fact that no place or occasion of filthy sin – brothel, movie, bar, pub, party, etc.– would be found free of music because the two sins are intricately correlated.
Any game which provides exercise to the body, helps keep the body fit, relieves the body of weariness and fatigue, or provides some other benefit in this world or the Hereafter, is permissible. If the intention is to achieve some religious goal, then far above being permissible, the game becomes reward-fetching. However, one should not become so obsessive towards the permissible game that it hinders his important jobs.
Some examples of the above are archery, shooting, horse-riding, weapon-training, playing with one’s spouse, sprinting, swimming, etc.
Among non-physical forms of entertainment, learning and reciting poetry to get a better grasp of the language and to become more articulate and eloquent is also permissible. In fact, it is reported regarding some holy companions that when they got tired studying and teaching the holy texts, they would relax their minds with ‘Arab poetry of the days of ignorance, or historical anecdotes. Likewise, jokes and witty comments that do not involve indecency, lie, hurting other’s sentiments, are not only permissible, but rather a Sunnah of the holy Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ.
(Fatwä dated 11 April 2014)