Beliefs & Practices, Fiqh, Women & Family / Sunday, August 31st, 2008

The Hanafi position on this issue is crystal clear. All musical instruments including the duff which is used to create music are haraam.

(1) “Verily all musical instruments are haraam.” (Hidaayah)

(2) “The sound of musical instruments, e.g. playing the flute, etc. is haraam.” (Bazaaziyah and Ad-Durrul Mukhtaar)

(3) “Listening to the beating of the duff, the flute, etc. is haraam.” (Shaami)

(4) “Listening to the beating of the duff, flute, singing, etc. are haraam.” (Sharhun Niqaayah)

(5) “Lahw such as beating the duff and flute, is Makrooh Tahrimi.” (Abu Makaarim)

(6) “Singing, beating the harp, the duff, the sitar and tambourine, are haraam. He who legalizes these instruments will be declared a kaafir.” (Majmuah Fataawa Azeeziyyah)

(7) “Singing, listening to singing, beating the duff and all kinds of musical instruments are haraam. The legalizer of it is a kaafir.” (Fataawa Al-Baihqi)

(8) “Singing, the tambourine, the harp, duff and other similar instruments are haraam.” (An-Nihaayah)

(9) “Musical instruments, the tambourine, bugle, duff, etc. are unanimously haraam.” (Ma-la Budda Minhu)

(The above references have been extracted from Imdaadul Fataawa, Vol. 2)

The Hanafi argument of the abrogation of the permissibility of the duff is based on the following evidences:

(a) Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “Verily, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade beating of the duff, playing the dhanj and the flute.”

(b) Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) had branded the duff ‘the musical instrument of shaitaan’. This was in the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) who maintained silence. He did not criticize Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) for this comment.

(c) Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said about the lady who was beating the duff, ‘Shaitaan blew into her nostrils’.

Now let’s take a look at the reasons why music is haraam.


The Qur’aan Majeed states:

“And, among people are those who purchase talks of futility (lahwal Hadith) thereby misleading (others) without knowledge from the Path of Allah, and they make of it (Allah’s Path) a mockery. For such people is the disgraceful punishment.” (Aayat 6, Surah Luqmaan)

“And, when Our aayaat are recited to them, he turns away in arrogance as if he did not hear it; as if there are plugs in his ears. Give him the tidings of a painful punishment.” (Aayat 7, Surah Luqmaan)


(1) Ibn Jareer reports that Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “This aayat was revealed in regard to a man among the Quraish who had purchased a slave woman who was a singer (for the purpose of singing).”

It was the practice of a certain enemy of Islam to divert people from listening to the Qur’aan Majeed with music and singing. He had purchased a slave woman for this specific purpose.

(2) Narrating from Abu Salmah (radhiyallahu anhu), Imaam Baghawi (rahmatullah alayh) states: “Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘It is not lawful to teach girls to become singers and their price is haraam. In this regard was revealed the aayat: “And, among people are those who purchase lahwal Hadith….”


Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Majeed:

“They (the Mu’mineen) do not attend zoor. And when they pass by futility, they pass by with dignity.” (Surah Furqaan, Aayat 72)


(1) Commenting on the meaning of this aayat, Hadhrat Muhammad Bin Hanafi (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Az-zoor here means singing. Laith said so on the

authority of Mujaahid…………And, az-zoor is baseless talk and it also applies to baseless acts. Singing is of the greatest acts of zoor.” (Shawaahidut Tafseer)

(2) Imaam Abu Bakr Jassaas, commenting on this aayat said: “It has been narrated from Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) that az-zoor is singing.”


Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Majeed:

“And hound from among them with your voice whomever you are able to gain control over.” (Surah Bani Israeel ayat 64)

When shaitaan was expelled from Jannat, he vowed to mislead the servants of Allah Ta’ala. In response, Allah Ta’ala made the aforementioned proclamation and proclaims to shaitaan to proceed with his evil work using his voice.


(1) Hadhrat Mujaahid (rahmatullah alayh) in his tafseer of the aayat says: “With your voice, i.e. with singing.” (Ruhul Ma-aani)

(2) Allaamah Suyuti (rahmatullah alayh) states: “Mujaahid said: ‘It means singing and musical instruments.’ Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) said: ‘It refers to the duff.’” (Al-Akleel)

It is significant that according to Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) even the duff comes within the scope of this prohibition since he is of the opinion that the voice of shaitaan also applies to the sound of the duff. Since Hadhrat Hasan (rahmatullah alayh) was the Khaleefah (spiritual representative) of Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu), he actively propagated the Math-hab of Hadhrat Ali in this regard. According to Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu), even the duff is haraam.

(3) Hadhrat Dhuh-haaq (rahmatullah alayh) comments: “It is the sound of the flute.” (Tafseer Qurtubi)

(4) Ibn Abu Haatim (rahmatullah alayh) narrates in his tafseer of this aayat that Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “It refers to every act which invites to sin. It is well-known that singing is among the greatest acts inviting towards sin. Precisely for this reason has it been described as the voice of shaitaan.” (Ighaathatul Luhfaan)


Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Majeed:

“What! Are you surprised at this speech (the Qur’aan)? You laugh, do not cry and you sing.”


(1) Imaam Abu Ubaid said that in the dialect of Hameer the word samood (from which the term saamidoon’ in this aayat is derived) refers to singing. Hadhrat Ikramah also tenders the same explanation. (Ruhul Ma-aani)

(2) Allaamah Ibn Manzoor says: “It is narrated from Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) that he said: ‘Samood is singing in the dialect of Hameer.’” (Lisaanul Arab)

(3) Abdur Razzaaq, Bazzaar, Ibn Jareer and Baihqi narrated that Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) said in the tafseer of this aayat: “It is singing in the Yamaani dialect. When they (the mushrikeen) would hear the Qur’aan, they would sing to show their disdain.” (Ruhul Ma-aani)

Now let’s look at some of the ahaadith on music and singing:


Hadhrat Abu Maalik Ash’ari (radhiyallahu anhu) says that he heard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) say: “Most certainly, there will be in my Ummah people who will make lawful fornication, silk, liquor and musical instruments.” (Bukhaari)

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “During the last of ages (in close proximity to Qiyaamah) a nation from my Ummah will be disfigured (and transformed) into apes and pigs.” The Sahaabah said: “O Rasulullah! Will they be Muslim?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Yes. They will be testifying that there is no deity but Allah and that I am His Rasool, and they will be fasting (in the month of Ramadhaan).” The Sahaabah asked: “O Rasulullah! What will be their condition (to warrant such chastisement)?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “They will be indulging in musical instruments, singing girls, musical drums, and they will be consuming liquor. They will one night go to sleep after their liquor and amusement. When they arise in the morning, they will have been disfigured (and transformed into apes and pigs).” (Kaf-fur Ruaa’)

Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: “Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited singing and listening to singing, and (he also prohibited) gossip.” (Kaf-fur Ruaa’)

In a lengthy Hadith narrated by Hadhrat Abu Umaamah (radhiyallahu anhu), it is mentioned that on the occasion of the expulsion of shaitaan from the heaven and his exile to earth, he (Iblees) supplicated to Allah Ta’ala: “O my Rabb! You have exiled me to earth and you have made me accursed…Now, therefore bestow to me a caller (who can call to my path).’ Allah Ta’ala said: “(Your caller) is musical instruments………..” (Tibraani)

Allaamah Qurtubi, in his Tafseer, narrates the following Hadith: “Verily, once when Abdullah Bin Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) heard someone singing, he hastily left the place. This reached Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He thereupon commented: ‘Indeed, Ibn Umm Abd (i.e. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud) is an honourable abd (slave ofAllah).”

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Verily, Allah Ta’ala sent me as a Mercy and a Guide to the worlds, and He has commanded me to destroy musical instruments……”

Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated: “Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade beating the duff, playing the harp and blowing the flute.” (Kanzul Ummaal)

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Listening to music and singing is sinful. Sitting at such gatherings is fisq (immoral transgression). Deriving pleasure from it is kufr.” (Nailul Autaar)

Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated: “Verily, Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) heard a man singing one night. He then said: ‘His Salaat is unacceptable! His Salaat is unacceptable! His Salaat is unacceptable!” (Nailul Autaar)

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