Songs and Music in the Quran
Listening to music or enjoying a song that makes one happy, happens to be one of the major signs of God. You may have not thought of how a simple song you may be listening to right now in the background as you read this is a sign from your Lord of His existence.
Why has He made the sounds of the instruments, the melody, the voice and lyrics so appealing to you? Have you ever thought how your brain need not interpret those sounds as beautiful, or romantic, while other sounds such as the sound of a train is un-appealing? God has wired your brain to be able to appreciate sounds of certain nature, such as the sounds of your favorite songs. What does He wish to show you? Why did He create this mechanism in you? And why did He give people the ability to play and orchestrate such tunes and bless them with voices to sing that in turn delights your mind and arouses feelings such as romance, optimism or resolve?
To the majority of the people who do not think about the purpose of their lives deeply enough, they simply enjoy the blessings that falls their way and fail to identify them even.
The secrets of such questions are all revealed in the Qur’an, the Revelation of the Creator of every detail we see and cannot see. Focusing more on a song you are enjoying, let us now ponder on what God wants of you. Listening to it, your mood may change and you start to feel better again. This is great, but is that all that is wanted by God? You may have missed the main objective God has set for you while enjoying the effects of the song.
The secret revealed in the Qur’an is that a believer should not only enjoy, he also needs to identify such things as his ability to hear with his ears. Certainly if we could not hear, that would be the end of that.
Adding to the ability to hear, is his ability to interpret and have emotions to the sounds of the musical instruments and the singer’s voice. These sounds are stimulants that arouse a variety of emotions, such as hope, acceptance, feelings of love / romance. So the sense of hearing is not sufficient to enjoy the song – we need to be programmed to find the sound pleasurable and enticing of those emotions. And this feature we have been programmed with (God says, He has given us “hearing, sight and understanding”, in the above verse).
The lyrics in the song express emotions in our spoken language. Languages are extremely complex ways of communication, but as humans we can decode them instantly.
”By the Most-Merciful One, Who taught the Qur’an. Who created man, and taught him eloquent speech”. (Qur’an 55:1-4)
Yet there are many different languages all able to express the same thing. This is another bounty of God – differences in languages:
“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those who know.” (Qur’an 30:22)
When a lyric of a poem is melodiously sung, we find that the meanings within it sounds so much more powerful than they originally sounded when simply read out. This is a designed phenomenon that we find it so. It need not be? Therefore, we can say that listening to a song is indeed a miracle of God! These are some of the blessings of God on us that we cannot easily point out, but we are surrounded by them. About these God says:
“And (He has created) horses, mules, and donkeys, for you to ride and use for show; and He has created (other) things of which you have no knowledge.” (Qur’an 16:8)
God wants you to identify His blessings, each time you listen to a song and feel happy, romantic, excited or calm, turn to God in His remembrance – thinking about His favor on you and thank Him truly from your heart for designing these blessings for you:
“Worship God and be among the thankful.” (Qur’an 39:66)
Believers who enjoy the feelings brought by blessings of God and feel appreciative of God in this meticulous way find the best rewards in the hereafter:
“Those who are mindful of their Lord will have Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever: hospitality from God. What is with God is better for those who are truly good.” (Qur’an 3:198)
But a terrible end awaits people who enjoy good things in the world and fail to identify them as blessings. Enjoying music and songs without appreciating and thanking God for having given the capacity to do so, adds to a disbelievers’ account of bad deeds, but for a believer the opposite is true.
“That is because you [disbeliever] wrongfully enjoyed and rejoiced on earth. Enter the gates of Hell, there to remain – an evil home for the arrogant”. (Qur’an 40:75-76)
“And we shall reward the grateful ones.” (Qur’an 3:145), “Is God not best aware of the grateful ones?” (Qur’an 6:53)
We can either rightly enjoy a blessing, or wrongly enjoy it. In everything that delights our mind, we must remember God immediately and feel awe of Him.
For example, listening to a romantic song entices feelings of love for your spouse and makes you want to be close to him or her, that indeed is a blessing of God. The ability you had to hear, and then find it romantic – the processes He designed that achieved that feeling in you through that song is astonishing and deserves your thanks. Indeed, the fact that he created spouses for you to feel love for is a big favor to begin with. You should immediately thank God for this. Thriving in good things while failing to surrender our thanks to God is a sin before God’s eyes. Imagine a hand extending out blessings to us, and we keep taking from it without ever expending a thought to what this generous being wants from us.
The true believer loves God sincerely in return for all the blessings He gives in every way or form. Ofcourse, we will never be able to identify everything which God has mercifully given us when it is in hidden ways. But believers are those who at least try to see God in everything they have, do and see and hear around them. In everything that delights their souls, they appreciate God more and more. Having realised that there must be many overlooked blessings which they cannot identify, they thank Him for those unknown blessings too and seek forgiveness.
“If you tried to number God’s blessings, you could never count them. God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 16:18)
This is how even music or a song can increase a believer’s love for his or her Creator and desire to follow His ways – to have good conduct, worship God and learn from the Qur’an. The good feelings aroused in us should be turned into ways to thank God. Just as Prophet Solomon states in the Qur’an:
“And he (Prophet Solomon) said: ‘Truly do I love the love of good, with a view to remember my Lord.” (Qur’an 38:32)
Music is Only to Glorify the Praises of God, all Enjoyments are Ultimately Pointless
Music is a pure form of chemical reaction of the mind which involves release of hormones such as Dopamine. It gives the listener a ‘feel good’ chemical with no logical reason to why he or she should feel good. Studies reveal that from birth, humans are wired to enjoy music though it is not fully understood how.
The only purpose to music is the reason to why God created it in the first place. To remember He has the power to create, and give you a sense of enjoyment or relaxation through it. A believer is one who fills their life with the constant remembrance of God, and reflects over the the Quran. Music is therefore pointless, with the only true benefit being the remembrance of the Almighty through it.
Some of the so-called “scholars of Islam” that claim music to be impermissible usually cite the following verses in support of their claims: 31:6, 17:64. However, none of these verses say a word about prohibiting music. Ironically, 31:6 actually speaks against those that follow “baseless hadiths”.
“Among the people, there are those who accept baseless hadiths (الْحَدِيثِ) to mislead from the path of God without knowledge, and they take it as entertainment. They will have a humiliating retribution.” (Qur’an 31:6)
“Lead to destruction those whom thou canst among them, with thy voice; make assaults on them with thy cavalry and thy infantry; mutually share with them wealth and children; and make promises to them.” But Satan promises them nothing but deceit.” (Qur’an 17:64)
Say, “Who prohibited the nice things God has created for His creatures, and the good provisions?” Say,”Such provisions are to be enjoyed in this life by those who believe. Moreover, the good provisions will be exclusively theirs on the Day of resurrection.” We thus explain the revelations for people who know.”
Say “Do you see that which God has provided for you, you make some of it Unlawful (Haram) and some of it Lawful (Halal)?” Say “Did God allow you to do this? Or do you tell lies about God?”