I have a question regarding Indian classical dance! Firstly, I have heard many different opinions regarding this topic and I wanted to know where Islam stands in relation to this. I understand that dancing among women is permissible but on the contrary, I have heard from many people that performing is haram. In general, Indian classical dancing is probably one of the most decent forms of dancing. It is not associated with vulgar dance such as those done at parties or at clubs and doesn’t portray indecent body language, nor does it require a person to dress un-Islamically as seen in some films. Also, dance is incorporated in many different cultures and traditions mainly in the form of folk dance. These cultures are very much associated with Islam therefore if certain types of dance such as folk dance can be done within certain cultures why should performing for an audience remain wrong or not permissible? Also the fact that these traditional dances are done amongst a group of people consisting of both genders. In that sense, isn’t there a similarity between this and something subtle such as performing on stage in which the audience will mostly consist of friends, parents, and family? I have looked in the Quran and many other sources for these answers and have been unable to find them! I would truly appreciate it if you could provide these answers for me as it is imperative for me to find out as soon as possible. I look forward to your reply!
Thanks a lot
The first thing to remember in matters relating to dancing or any other form of performing arts is that Islam has not expressly prohibited taking part in any of these activities. The most one can say, due to this lack of express prohibition of the Shari`ah is that one finds taking part in these activities to be against the spirit of the directives of the Shari`ah. Such a comment, however, will warrant that a difference of opinion can exist in such matters. The decision, in such a case should be that of the individual.
From your question, you seem to be quite well aware of what classical dancing is and how it fits in with the social directives of Islam. As a form of artistic expression, Islam does not prohibit it. However, within every form of artistic expression, there may be certain limits that the individual may find to be, in some way, beyond the moral limits set the Shari`ah. A good Muslim is required by the Shari`ah to honor and uphold the directives of theShari`ah and also to keep away from all such actions, which he finds to be against the spirit of the directives of the Shari`ah.
I hope this helps.
July 23, 2005