Responding to Doubts About the Prohibition of Music: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

One of the most commonly-cited evidences for the prohibition of music is the ayah from surah Luqman

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

And among the people are those who purchase idle talk to mislead others from the path of Allah without knowledge and who take it as a mockery. For these ones, there is a humiliating punishment. [31:6]

and the “idle talk” in this ayah was explained to refer to music, as was explained by ibn Mas’ood, ibn ‘Abbaas and others. Another commonly-cited evidence is the hadeeth of the Prophet

لَيَكُونَنَّ مِنْ أُمَّتِي أَقْوَامٌ يَسْتَحِلُّونَ الْحِرَ وَالْحَرِيرَ وَالْخَمْرَ وَالْمَعَازِفَ

There will be some people from my nation who will consider illicit sexual intercourse, silk, alcohol and musical instruments to be permissible.

which is reported in Saheeh al-Bukhari (#5590). We have previously translated an explanation of this ayah from surah Luqman which brings several more pieces of evidence for the prohibition of music. We would recommend reading that article before proceeding, as it serves as a foundation for this topic.

After understanding the evidences for the prohibition of music, it bears mentioning that there are some who cast doubt on the validity of these primary pieces of evidence listed above. While these doubts may appear to be academic, they are ultimately without a sound foundation, as Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool explains below:

قال : هذا التفسير اجتهاد من ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه. وحديث المعازف مختلف فيه . ـ

Some say: This explanation of ibn Mas’ood is simply his personal scholarly opinion, and there is some differing as to the hadith of musical instruments.

قلت : لاحظ ان تفسير ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه للآية ليس فيه ما يخالف لفظها بل هو يقرر معناها فهو يقول : من لهو الحديث في الآية الغناء لانه يحصل به اضلال للناس في باب الشهوات. فاللام ليست للتعليل بل للعاقبة، كاللام في قوله تعالى: ({فَالْتَقَطَهُ آلُ فِرْعَوْنَ لِيَكُونَ لَهُمْ عَدُوّاً وَحَزَناً إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَجُنُودَهُمَا كَانُوا خَاطِئِينَ }) (القصص:8). ـ

I say: It must be noted that ibn Mas’ood’s explanation of this ayah does not contain anything that is at odds with the ayah itself. Rather, his explanation affirms the ayah‘s meaning, as he is saying that one example of the “idle talk” mentioned in this ayah is music because it leads to the misguidance of people by way of lowly desires. So the preposition laam in the ayah is not meant to imply causation but rather consequence, like the laam in Allah’s statement:

فَالْتَقَطَهُ آلُ فِرْعَوْنَ لِيَكُونَ لَهُمْ عَدُوًّا وَحَزَنًا ۗ إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَجُنُودَهُمَا كَانُوا خَاطِئِينَ

And the family of Fir’awn picked Moosaa out of the river, so that he would come to be an enemy and source of grief for them. Indeed, Fir’awn, Haman and their soldiers were sinners. [28:8]

وتفسير الصحابي وان كان باجتهاد منه فإنه مبني على ما تعلمه من الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم في معنى الآية. ولذلك اعتبر اهل الحديث تفسير الصحابي للقرآن من الحديث المرفوع حكما. ـ

Also, even if it were to be mere scholarly reasoning from ibn Mas’ood, tafsir from a Companion is based on what that Companion learned from Allah’s Messenger about the meaning of an ayah. That is why the Ahl al-Hadeeth consider a Companion’s explanation of the Qur’an to take the same ruling as a hadeeth of the Prophet.

اما قضية الاختلاف في صحة الحديث فهذا فيه نظر؛ ـ

Now, as for the matter of differing about the veracity of the hadeeth of the musical instruments, then this objection lacks strength for several reasons.

اولا : الخلاف المعتبر هو ما له حظ من النظر، وهنا المخالفة في صحة الحديث مبنية على خطأ فان الذين ضعفوا حديث المعازف بنوا ذلك على اساس ان قول البخاري: وقال هشام بن عمار وساق سند الحديث، ان هذا من باب التعليق. وهو سقط في السند . وبالتالي لايصح. ـ

Firstly: the type of differing which actually merits consideration is only when there is actual room for differing opinions, but in this case the dissenting opinions about the authenticity of this hadeeth is based on a mistake. Those who held the hadeeth of musical instruments to be inauthentic based that stance on the fact that al-Bukhari said, “Hisham ibn ‘Ammaar said …” and omitted his own connection to the chain of narration for this hadeeth, so they treated the hadeeth as if it were just a comment from al-Bukhari. Since he did not mention its chain of narration, they took this to mean that he did not consider the hadeeth to be authentic.

وهذا غير صحيح؛ فإن هشام بن عمار شيخ البخاري وبالتالي لا تعليق. ولا انقطاع لان البخاري ليس بمدلس . وانما عدل البخاري الى هذه الصيغة للاختلاف في اسم الصحابي او لانه اخذ الحديث عن شيخه في مجلس مذاكرة لا سماع. ـ

However, this conclusion is not correct. That is because Hisham ibn ‘Ammaar was a teacher of al-Bukhari, so therefore this wording is not just a comment from al-Bukhari. There is no break in the chain, for al-Bukhari was not someone who reported hadeeth that he had not heard from a narrator as if he had heard it directly. The only reason why al-Bukhari opted to use this wording in this instance was due to some differing as to the name of the Companion in this hadeeth or perhaps because he had taken the hadeeth from his teacher in a session where he had read the hadeeth from his teacher’s book to his teacher rather than actually hearing it from his teacher’s own mouth.

ثانيا : اصلا الحديث ثابت صحيح من غير طريق هشام بن عمار اخرجه ابوداود وغيره. ـ

Secondly, and this is at the very heart of the matter: this hadeeth is verified and authentic through another route of transmission besides Hisham ibn ‘Ammaar which was reported by Abu Dawud and others.

ثالثا : وجود الخلاف في مسألة لا يسوغ لاي احد اختيار ما شاء. فالعالم عليه البحث والاجتهاد. والعامي عليه ان يرجع الى استفتاء العالم الذي يثق في علمه وتقواه وورعه ويستفتيه. والمتبع ينظر في الدليل الذي علمه ويتبعه. ـ

Thirdly: The mere presence of differing about an issue does not allow anyone to simply choose whatever position they like. It is the duty of a scholar to research the issue and use his scholarly reasoning, and it is the duty of the lay person to go back and ask a scholar who is well-grounded in his knowledge, taqwa and detachment from this worldly life and ask him for a verdict. As for the student of knowledge, he should look at the evidence which he knows and follow that.

اما اطلاق الكلام ان المسألة فيها خلاف وبالتالي نأخذ بالاصل او بالايسر مطلقا هكذا لا يسلم ذلك. خاصة وان الخلاف هنا غير معتبر لضعفه ، والله الموفق. ـ

As for just saying that this is an issue about which there is differing and so therefore we can either take the normative position [of prohibition] or the lax position [of allowance], then this is not acceptable, especially since the differing in this instance does not deserve any real consideration since it is based on a faulty foundation.

And Allah is the Granter of success.

[As found on the sheikh’s Facebook page here]

See also: The Prohibition of Music in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

See also: Those who do not witness al-Zoor: Tafsir al-Tabari

One thought on “Responding to Doubts About the Prohibition of Music: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

  1. Pingback: The Prohibition of Music in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Qurtubi | Tulayhah

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