Question & Answer Session in the USA with Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(rh)
Question: Somebody I know has a bad habit of listening to music, what is the status of music?
Answer: ‘It all depends on the degree of the habit and the nature of the Music. Music in itself, as a whole, cannot be dubbed as bad. The Islamic principle is that a thing which has more than 50% of bad in it should be rejected and a thing which has less than 50% of bad in it should have its better things utilised and bad things avoided. Music falls in no mans land, it was neither forbidden entirely nor permitted without any conditions.
We know that at the time of Hazrat Mohammad(saw) when he walked into Medina the ladies of Medina sang a song of welcome whilst beating a drum which is called the ‘duff’. That was a sort of music which was available to the Arabs and nobody can say that it was not music. However, it was not the practice of the Holy Prophet(sa) to permit the companions to enjoy music and be given up to music and neither was that their habit. They enjoyed the recitation of the Holy Qur’an or the meaningful verses of good poets but gradually their taste developed and shifted from poetry to the Qur’an.
It therefore requires some time and patience for you to improve the quality of your taste, and without first doing that to abandon certain things would be cruel. In these things it is a matter of taste, in some other things the matter of prohibition is subject to fast and hard rules and you cannot change it. For example you can’t say I have to improve my taste in water before I can stop drinking wine. That would not be permissible because wine is forbidden and what is forbidden is forbidden, but music does not fall into that category.
As regards to music you can acquire a wise approach of a systematic and gradual deliverance from that habit. As far as pop music is concerned I don’t know how people can tolerate that, it is just sheer nonsense. With pop music when people hear the music they leave with some kind of madness and craving which they cannot quench. The taste left behind by this modern ‘so-called music’ is ugly and evil and the society under its influence is becoming uglier and more permissive and more careless of traditional values, so this music is obviously evil and sinful.
You can’t treat every form of music alike which is why I said you have to be wise and selective in your choice. An occasional brush with music cannot be considered a practice whereby you will be sent to hell, I assure you not. However, if you have an occasional brush with music which draws you into itself at the cost of higher values, the memory of Allah (swt), and prayers, where you are taken over by it so much so that it becomes your sole ambition and obsession then you become an obvious looser.’
Note: The full video answer can be found at the following link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=h4_KDrwQW8o