Does Islam prohibit music?
There is no positive or negative judgment about music in the Qur’an or the Sunnah?the two basic sources of Shari`ah. So it is a matter on which the Shari`ah is silent. Music is an art form and a cultural thing nowadays. Religion does not interfere in the culture of a people until and unless some other injunctions or the spirit of religion is affected. So music itself is not forbidden. However, there are some narratives (Ahadith) ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh), which are in favor of music, while some other narratives are in condemnation of it. But if the two sets of narratives are closely scrutinized in their proper contexts, it becomes clear that actually it was the use of music at different occasions, and not the music itself, that compelled the Prophet (pbuh) to either say something in favor of or against it. But one thing that should always be taken into account is that in the Arabia of Prophet’s time (pbuh), music was generally (yet there were few other occasions on which music was played) played in such gatherings, where the elite got together to see slave girls dance and sing, while they consumed alcohol. Thus, it was these sinful gatherings – and everything that was a part of these gatherings – that the Prophet (pbuh) condemned. Music was one of those things.
There are a few other occasions like marriages and religious festivals on which the Prophet (pbuh) responded did not condemn music or direct people to refrain from it. This makes it clear that it was only the “sinful” use of music, which was condemned.
Thus, the only objection would be if music is keeping a person from fulfilling his/her duties towards Allah and his fellow human beings – for example, if the call for prayer has been made and a person is still paying no heed because of the music – or if it is a source of immorality like the sinful gatherings mentioned above. It is only because of these certain narratives of the Prophet (pbuh), which are in condemnation of music that some scholars hold music to be forbidden, which is not the case as I have tried to demonstrate.
The above discussion leads us to the conclusion that the Shari`ah does not prohibit music, if it is free from the ailments pointed above.
I hope this explanation answers your question. You can always get back if you are still unclear. However, this is only my opinion in this regard and I admit any chance of mistake in forming this opinion. I would be open to other points of view if based on stronger reasons. May Allah guide us all towards the right path.
Note: This response was written by Mr. Amar Ellahi Lone