Islam intends to create a society where human beings can progress both in the worldly and spiritual sense, in the best environment. It may appear at first that there are many rules in place, but a closer look would reveal that those rules are meant for the betterment of human beings, and are only meant to make their lives better. The issue is not about dancing or any other rule in particular. The issue is in relation to the greater goal of creating an Islamic social climate, as Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(rh) called it. He wrote, “Particularly in the free societies of the world, it is very difficult for the people to understand why Islam is so puritan to the extent of dryness. Islam is not at all dry and boring; howsoever it may seem so from a distance”.[i]
Discussing the issue of dancing, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(rh) points out that dancing is not something to be associated with noble traditions of prophets of God. Instead, it can be observed that dancing is associated with Satanic influences on the “baser yearnings” of human beings.[ii] Satan is simply looking for ways to excite sexual desires in people, causing many to become slaves of their own desires. A close analysis of those people who live such free lives where dancing is permitted, would reveal that, in many cases, lives are spent in fulfillment of baser desires which in turn leads to a loss of peace. In some cases, it leads to infidelity in marriage, and in some cases, the very meaning of marriage is lost. Places where dancing is enjoyed in the company of strangers become breeding grounds for adultery. Ultimately, the peace of a household is lost, homes are broken up, and children grow up in difficult conditions. In some cases, drugs and alcohol become involved, and yet in other cases, crime is involved.
All these dangers associated with dancing point to the fact that it is a laghw or vain pursuit (Holy Quran, 23:4), and it is something that can take a person nearer to adultery (Holy Quran, 17:33). The ultimate goal of Islam is to place safeguards so that the society avoids these pitfalls and provides an environment—a social climate—for the growth of humans, both for worldly progress as well as spiritual progress. As Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(rh) puts it, in the Islamic social climate, “excitement, exhilaration, intense sensual experiences and explosive raptures are bartered for peace, tranquillity, equilibrium, growing sense of security, nobility and contentment, which as a reward per se is the noblest of all rewards”.[iii] It is indeed hard to find examples of societies where dancing, alcohol, drugs, and other vain pursuits, are given a free hand, and yet they are advancing in spirituality and devotion to God. In fact, at the individual level, the opposite is true. As these pursuits become more and more prevalent in some societies, the further away they are turning from God.
[i]. Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues, p. 161
[ii]. https://www.alislam.org/v/553.html, Retrieved April 14, 2019
[iii]. Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues, p. 161