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Hadith on Eid: Permissibility of Music and Singing on Eid

📖Narrated Aisha: Sahih al-Bukhari 949, 950
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) (p.b.u.h) came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Aus, before Islam). The Prophet (p.b.u.h) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (p.b.u.h) ?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) (p.b.u.h) turned his face towards him and said, “Leave them.” When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signaled to those girls to go out and they left. It was the day of `Id, and the Black people were playing with shields and spears; so either I requested the Prophet (p.b.u.h) or he asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. Then the Prophet (p.b.u.h) made me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, “Carry on! O Bani Arfida,” till I got tired. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) asked me, “Are you satisfied (Is that sufficient for you)?” I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave.

Lessons from Prophet’s (ﷺ) Permissive Stance on Music During Eid Celebrations

Meaning:

  1. Contextual Interpretation: The Hadith highlights the importance of considering the cultural and historical context when interpreting religious teachings. The Prophet (ﷺ) recognized that music and singing were integral parts of the Ansar’s culture and celebration during Eid. This teaches us that Islam allows for flexibility in certain cultural practices that do not contradict Islamic principles, and it emphasizes the need for contextual understanding in interpreting religious teachings.
  2. Balancing between Permissibility and Caution: The Hadith also illustrates the Prophet’s (ﷺ) ability to strike a balance between allowing cultural expressions and maintaining caution. While the Prophet (ﷺ) permitted the girls to sing during Eid, he also acknowledged Abu Bakr’s concerns by not harshly rebuking him. This teaches us the importance of balancing between permissibility and caution in matters that may have varying interpretations or cultural sensitivities.
  3. Upholding Unity and Celebrating Diversity: The Prophet’s (ﷺ) response of “Leave them Abu Bakr, for every nation has an Id (i.e. festival) and this day is our Id” highlights the significance of unity and inclusivity within the Muslim community. Despite cultural differences, the Prophet (ﷺ) emphasized the importance of celebrating diversity and unity during the joyous occasion of Eid. This teaches us the importance of fostering unity and inclusivity within the Muslim community, respecting and embracing diversity while upholding common Islamic values.
  4. Avoiding Hasty Judgments: The Prophet’s (ﷺ) response to Abu Bakr’s disapproval of music during Eid also teaches us to avoid making hasty judgments or condemning cultural practices without understanding their context. The Prophet (ﷺ) showed patience and wisdom in his response, indicating that not all forms of music are inherently evil or from Satan, and that cultural practices should be evaluated with knowledge and wisdom before passing judgments.

Is Music Considered a Sin or Just a Bad Thing?

Listening to music or playing musical instrument is not directly mentioned as a sin. However, based on hadiths, music linked to instruments is considered bad. These hadiths only confirm that such things are undesirable. There are many hadiths that discuss matters between good and evil, but this does not mean that anyone who listens to or uses musical instruments will go to hell. There is no written statement to that effect.

Why is music considered bad?

Music is often scrutinized because it has the potential to evoke sexual desires in listeners, and there are concerns that it may impact cognitive abilities negatively, among other effects. These claims find some support in survey-based research, suggesting a multifaceted influence of music on individuals’ thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Reference : Erotic stimuli

Reference : Music and health

Reference : Music while You Work: The Differential Distraction of Background Music on the Cognitive Test Performance of Introverts and Extraverts

Reference : Study finds listening to music has negative impact on creativity

Reference : music can make you smart or dumb?

Reference : Potential Negative Impact of Music

Reference : The Harmful Effects of Music on Body and Mind

Why Do Muslims Listen to Music or Use Musical Instruments?

As I mentioned, music is considered bad, and I included references to why music can be viewed negatively. Based on the hadiths, if a person uses musical instruments or listens to music, it doesn’t immediately fall into the haram category because there is a hadith, as I mentioned, where the Prophet himself allowed it, which means if a person listens or uses musical instruments, we should teach the person not to do so because these things are bad. However, if a person is unable to do so, it’s a matter between God and the person because only God knows why the person continues listening or using musical instruments and why they’re unable to stop. We are not in a position to impose judgments on others if they are unable to cease something, and only God knows the reasons behind their actions and their inability to stop, Also, there is a hadith about the future prophecy where the Prophet said Muslims will consider musical instruments as lawful, while some kinds of music or musical instruments are not lawful. But as we can see today, Muslims listen to and use musical instruments in various songs where singers use bad words or explicit content. Such kinds of music and using musical instruments are considered unlawful, but it is already predicted that Muslims will still consider these as lawful. So, if people listen to or use musical instruments, it’s also a fulfillment of the hadith. But we need to use our free will to control ourselves and try to avoid listening to or using musical instruments.

Additional Information

In conclusion, the Hadith provides several valuable lessons, including the importance of contextual interpretation, balancing permissibility with caution, upholding unity and celebrating diversity, and avoiding hasty judgments. These teachings highlight the wisdom and flexibility of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in dealing with cultural practices during religious celebrations, and serve as guidance for Muslims in navigating similar situations in contemporary times.