When you hear music

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه، أما بعـد

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وَعَنْ نَافِعٍ: أَنَّ ابْنَ عُمَرَ سَمِعَ صَوْتَ زَمَّارَةِ رَاعٍ ، فَوَضَعَ أُصْبُعَيْهِ فِي أُذُنَيْهِ وَعَدَلَ رَاحِلَتَهُ عَنْ الطَّرِيقِ وَهُوَ يَقُولُ: يَا نَافِعُ أَتَسْمَعُ ؟ فَأَقُولُ : نَعَمْ ، فَيَمْضِي حَتَّى قُلْتُ: لَا ، فَرَفَعَ يَدَهُ وَعَدَلَ
رَاحِلَتَهُ إلَى الطَّرِيقِ وَقَالَ : رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ –
سَمِعَ زَمَّارَةَ رَاعٍ فَصَنَعَ مِثْلَ هَذَا

Naafi narrated that Ibn Umar رضي الله عنهما heard the sound of a (wind) instrument playing. As a result of this, he placed his fingers in his ears and turned his riding camel away from the road (where the sound/music was coming from). Ibn Umar asked, “Naf’i can you hear it?” I said, “Yes”. Ibn Umar continued riding with his fingers in his ears until I said, “I can’t hear it any more.” After that, Ibn Umar removed his fingers from his ears and changed the road he was riding on. He then said, “I saw the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم place his fingers in his ears when he heard a shepherd play (wind) instruments and such.”

[Abu Da’wud, 4943; Ahmad, 2/8; Ibn Abi Dunya in ‘Dham Mulaahee’, no. 288 – Graded as saheeh by Al-Albani.

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1. Abu Da’wud placed this hadeeth under the chapter entitled: “The Prohibition for Music and Wind Instruments” in his Sunan.

2. Azeem Abaadi رحمه الله تعالى commented on this hadeeth in “Awan al-Ma’bud Sharh Sunnan Abi Da’wud” and said: “He placed his fingers in his ears…” – This act shows that it is legislated to place the fingers in the ears when you hear wind instruments or music.

3. There is some speculation over why Ibn Umar رضي الله عنهما didn’t prevent Naaf’i from hearing the sound. The answer to this could be that Naaf’i had not reached puberty yet. This is the view of Ash-Shawkani (see Nayl al-Awtar, 3559).

4. As-Suyooti رحمه الله تعالى said in ‘Muraqus Sawd’: “Some scholars reject this hadeeth because Ibn Umar didn’t prevent Naaf’i from hearing the music. However the prohibition is in listening to music, not hearing it unintentionally. Hearing music unintentionally, isn’t a person’s fault. This act is similar to when a person in Ihram smells perfume. He is prohibited from smelling this fragrance intentionally, and when the odour simply passes his nose he’s unaccountable. Furthermore this act also resembles when something haram catches a person by surprise, unlike the person who looks and stares at a haram sight (intentionally).

The reason Ibn Umar didn’t prevent Naaf’i from hearing this sound or stop the people playing this instrument, doesn’t prove that music is Halal. There is a possibility that Ibn Umar didn’t see where it was coming from, or the music was playing from above the hills or a place he couldn’t reach. And the reason he didn’t order Naaf’i to do the same thing was because he wasn’t an adult.”

[Translated by Abu Aaliyah Abdullah]

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5. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله تعالى said: “Concerning (music) which a person does not intend to listen to, there is no blame, according to scholarly consensus. Hence blame or praise is connected to listening, not to hearing…” [Majmu’ Fatawa, 10/78]

6. Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله تعالى said: “And concerning the same topic (i.e. music being haram), similar statements were narrated from Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Sa’idi, Imraan ibn Husayn, Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Umamah al-Bahili, A’ishah Umm al-Mu’mineen, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Anas ibn Malik, Abd al-Rahman ibn Saabit and al-Ghazi ibn Rabi’ah…” [See ‘Ighaathat al-Lahfaan’, 255]

7. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami gathered approximately forty ahadeeth in his valuable work كف الرعاع عن محرمات اللهو والسماع and said: “All of this is explicit and compelling evidence that musical instruments of all types are unlawful.” [2/270]

8. Many scholars have transmitted Ijma’ on music and musical instruments being unlawful. The use of the daff also, is restricted for certain people and on certain occasions only – Read here

9. Are Modern Nasheeds which contain Tunes and Vocal Sound Effects Permissible? Read here

10. see also “Music Strengthens Satanic State, and the Qur’an Strengthens Emaan.”

How tragic it is that our beloved Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم blocks his ears to the sound of music and commanded the destruction of musical instruments, while his Ummah opens their ears wide to listen and is keen to learn to play these instruments!

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