What is his honor’s opinion about the law of music? Present an example or some examples for permitted music. What is his honor’s opinion about organizing concerts in Iran that has led to dispute between scholars? Some believe Islam is the religion of violence and is opposed to happiness, therefore some scholars oppose music and concerts.
Music with the meaning of frequent, harmonized and pleasant sounds does not have inherent forbiddance; because the frequency, harmony and pleasure of the sounds is not rationally abominable and therefore, it is abundant in God's creation, and accordingly is not forbidden in His religion either; unless it gets a secondary title, and that is indeed «اللَّغْوَ», «قَوْلَ الزُّورِ» and «لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ»; since God has commanded to avoid them and has said: «وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ»; “And when they hear vain talk, they avoid it”, and has said: «وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ»; “And those who avoid vain talk”, and has said: «وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا»; “And those who do not give false testimony, and when they come upon vain talk, pass by nobly” and has said: «فَاجْتَنِبُوا الرِّجْسَ مِنَ الْأَوْثَانِ وَاجْتَنِبُوا قَوْلَ الزُّورِ»; “So avoid the abomination of idols, and avoid false speech” and has said: «وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ»; “And from the people, there are some who choose vain talks so that they will misguide from the way of God unknowingly and they will ridicule it; they will be descended a degrading punishment”!
It is hereby understood that music is forbidden in two conditions:
1 . Its sound would be glamorous, stimulant and suitable for dancing, although there would be no vain talk in it; because in this case, it is considered as an example of «اللَّغْوَ».
2 . It contains a vain or useless talk like blasphemy, falsehood, invective, jest, swearword, derision, absenteeism, or simile (a romantic description of women and men), although its sound would not be glamorous, stimulant and suitable for dancing; because in this case, it is considered as an example of «قَوْلَ الزُّورِ» and «لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ».
This is the basis of Allamah Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani (may God protect him) about the audible things which is in accordance with God’s word in Quran; since God in Quran has divided forbidden audible things into two categories, and has said about the people of the paradise: «لَا يَسْمَعُونَ فِيهَا لَغْوًا وَلَا تَأْثِيمًا»; “They will not hear therein any vain talk or sinful speech” and has said: «لَا يَسْمَعُونَ فِيهَا لَغْوًا وَلَا كِذَّابًا»; “Therein they shall hear neither vain talk nor lies” and therefore, listening to each of these two is forbidden; as one of our helpers informed us and said:
«سَمِعْتُ ٱلْمَنْصُورَ ٱلْهاشِميَّ ٱلْخُراسانِيَّ یَقُولُ: إِنَّ ٱللّهَ یُبْغِضُ کَلِمَةً خَبِیثَةً وَ صَوْتاً مُطَرِّباً فَلا تَسْمَعُوهُما وَ مَنْ یَسْمَعُهُما فَإِنَّما یُصَبُّ فِي أُذُنِهِ ٱلْحَمِیمُ وَ لا تَرْقُصُوا فَإِنَّ ٱلشَّیْطانَ راقِصٌ وَ یُحِبُّ ٱلرّاقِصینَ»; “I heard that his honor Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani says: Indeed, God does not confirm any vain talk and glamorous song, therefore do not listen to those two, and whoever listens to them, it is likely his ear is being poured with burning water, and do not dance, because Satan is a dancer and he loves dancers”!
Yes, listening to music when it is not glamorous, stimulant and suitable for dancing on one hand, and it does not contain inappropriate talk on the other hand, has no problem and similar to any other sound is neutral; as one of our helpers informed us and said:
«قالَ لِيَ ٱلْمَنْصُورُ: إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ نَغْمَةً حَسَنَةً لا لَغْوٌ فِیها وَ لا تَأثِیمٌ فَحَسِبْتُها مِنْ نَغَماتِ ٱلْجَنَّةِ! قُلْتُ: أَ فَیُعْجِبُكَ شَيْءٌ مِنَ ٱلنَّغْمَةِ؟! قالَ: إِنَّها إِذَا ٱعْتَدَلَتْ وَ لَمْ یَکُنْ فِیها کِذْبٌ وَ لا هَجْوٌ وَ لا فُحْشٌ وَ لا تَشْبِیبٌ فَلا یَکْرَهُها إِلّا ٱلْحِمارُ»; “His honor Mansoor said to me: I heard a beautiful song which no vain and sinful talk were in it, so I thought it is from the songs of paradise! I said: is there any song that you admit?! He said: when that would be reasonable and contains no falsehood or invective or swearword or simile, no one would detest it, except a donkey”!
As such, recognition of example for duty-performer gets easy, and the law for music concerts will be understood; as it is understood that Islam is not the religion of violence and mourning, but is a religion of rationality, moderation and dignity, and those who seek happiness in levity, blasphemy, falsehood, invective, jest, swearword, derision, absenteeism, or simile, are so misguided; as God has said: «قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ»; “Say: In God’s grace and His mercy, let them rejoice in that, it is better than what they amass”!
According to the Mutawatir narrations in intense forbiddance of buying and selling any frivolity instrument, such as Tanbur and Daf and flute and ..., and playing it and listening to it, and that there have been no constraint and allocation for these narrations, and there are no exceptions about the music in the righteous narrations, and the common division of jurisprudents in contemporary times, which divides music into two frivolity and non-frivolity types, does not exist in the narrations either, according to the above, is absolute playing and listening to music not forbidden?
With many thanks.
Please pay attention to the following points:
1 . Contrary to your assumption, most of the received narrations in forbidding music and its instruments and implements, are incorrect, and the correct narrations do not adopt a new law apart from the Book of God, but apparently or secretively are in accordance with the Book of God; regarding the fact that Sunnah does not possess qualification for allocating or generalizing the Book of God, and until it enters the Kawthar pond, it does not separate from it and therefore, what has been emphasized in mentioned narrations on its forbiddance, is the very ﴿اللَّغْوَ﴾, ﴿قَوْلَ الزُّورِ﴾ and ﴿لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ﴾ in the Book of God, and these three are the titles which definitely do not apply to all frequent, harmonized and pleasant sounds, but inevitably are part of them, otherwise listening to nightingale’s sound was not allowed either!
Yes, it is possible that ﴿اللَّغْوَ﴾ applies to any useless activities, but it is clear that any useless activity is not forbidden in Islam, unless there would be a definite loss in doing it; considering that many of ordinary activities do not have any apparent benefit or loss and therefore, they are considered to be “neutral”, but many of the activities that do not have a significant loss, are not considered to be forbidden, and are only “abominable”, and therefore, it can be said that: the example of ﴿اللَّغْوَ﴾, whenever it means a useless activity having a significant loss, is forbidden and whenever it means a useless activity having an insignificant loss, is abominable and when there is a useless activity having no loss, it is neutral and playing or listening to music is one of these things.
Although it seems that some examples of music are not useless, but they have rational and religious benefits; such as the songs that are being sung in meditating God and praising His Prophet, and the songs that are being sung for inviting toward goodness and promoting good and demoting evil, and the songs that are being sung for motivating the believers for jihad attendance in the way of God, and the songs that are being sung in marriage and Islamic ceremonies for enjoying the obedience to God, and the songs known as “Hodey”, which are being sung for camels to make them move faster; since it is obvious that such activities, due to their rational and religious benefits, are not considered as the examples of ﴿اللَّغْوَ﴾, and there is no need to avoid them, unless their sound would be degrading and levity, or their contents would be considered as ﴿قَوْلَ الزُّورِ﴾ and ﴿لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ﴾ and these two, in the Book of God, are called “falsehood” and “sin”, and the meaning of these two are false “quotation” or “narration”, such as blasphemy, falsehood, invective, jest, swearword, derision, absenteeism, or simile (a romantic description of women and men), and certainly does not include true “quotation” or “narration” or sounds without “quotation” or “narration”.
2 . Contrary to your assumption, there are some narrations about the permission of music when it is not ﴿اللَّغْوَ﴾, ﴿قَوْلَ الزُّورِ﴾ and ﴿لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ﴾; as for example, in a valid document, it has been received from Ali ibn Ja’far that he has said: «وَ سَأَلْتُهُ [یَعْنِي أَخاهُ مُوسَى بْنَ جَعْفَرٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ] عَنِ الْغِناءِ، هَلْ يَصْلُحُ فِي الْفِطْرِ وَ الْأَضْحَى وَ الْفَرَحِ؟ قالَ: لا بَأْسَ بِهِ ما لَمْ يُعْصَ بِهِ»; “And I asked his Excellency [meaning his brother Musa ibn Ja’far peace be upon him] about the music, whether it is appropriate in the day of Fitr, Qurban and happiness? He said: it has no problem while there would be no sin committed with it”. This is a very important narration that is in accordance with the Book of God and clarifies the law of music chapter. Moreover, it is received from Imam Ja’far Sadiq that he has said: «قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّی اللّهُ عَلَیْهِ وَ آلِهِ وَ سَلَّمَ: إِنَّ مِنْ أَجْمَلِ الْجَمَالِ الشِّعْرَ الْحَسَنَ و نَغْمَةَ الصَّوْتِ الْحَسَنِ»; “The Prophet peace be upon him and his household has said: undoubtedly some of the greatest of beauties is good poem and the music of a good voice” and in addition, a narration has been received from Abu-Ja’far Baqir that has said: «رَجِّعْ بِالْقُرْآنِ صَوْتَكَ فَإِنَّ اللَّه عَزَّ وجَلَّ يُحِبُّ الصَّوْتَ الْحَسَنَ يُرَجَّعُ فِيه تَرْجِيعاً»; “Give your sound melody with Quran; since Almighty God likes the good sound which has been given melody”. It is clear that both of these narrations are absolute and contain every «نَغْمَةَ الصَّوْتِ الْحَسَنِ»; “the music of a good voice” and «الصَّوْتَ الْحَسَنَ يُرَجَّعُ فِيه تَرْجِيعاً»; “a beautiful voice which has been given melody”, although it will be dedicated with previous narration to «ما لَمْ يُعْصَ بِهِ»; “while there would be no sin committed with it” meaning except the items of ﴿اللَّغْوَ﴾, ﴿قَوْلَ الزُّورِ﴾ and ﴿لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ﴾. In addition, there are many narrations received that mention about playing music and singing songs away from sins, in presence of the Messenger of God peace be upon him and his household; as for instance, with valid document, it has been received: «إِنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ مَرَّ بِبَعْضِ الْمَدِينَةِ، فَإِذا هُوَ بِجَوارٍ يَضْرِبْنَ بِدَفِهِنَّ وَ يَتَغَنَّيْنَ وَ يَقُلْنَ: نَحْنُ جَوارٍ مِنْ بَنِي النَّجّارِ/ يا حَبَّذا مُحَمَّدٌ مِنْ جارٍ، فَقالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ: اللّهُ يَعْلَمُ أَنِّي لَأُحِبُّكُنَّ»; “The Prophet peace be upon him and his household went to a place in Medina, so he suddenly faced some girls who were playing Daf and singing and saying: We are the girls of Bani Najjar/ Mohammed is such a good neighbor for us! So the prophet peace be upon him and his household said: God knows that I like you”, and with a valid document, it has been received from Rabig the daughter of Mauz ibn Ofara that she said: «دَخَلَ عَلَيَّ رَسُولُ اللّهِ صَلَّى اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ يَوْمَ عُرْسِي فَقَعَدَ عَلَى مَوضِعِ فِراشِي هَذَا وَ عِنْدِي جارِيَتانِ تَنْدُبانِ آبائِي الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا يَوْمَ بَدْرٍ تَضْرِبانِ بِالدُّفُوفِ، فَقالَتْ جارِيَةٌ: وَ فِينا نَبِيٌّ يَعْلَمُ ما فِي غَدٍ، فَقالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ: أَمّا هَذَا فَلا تَقُولِي وَ قُولِي ما كُنْتِ تَقُولينَ»; “The Messenger of Godpeace be upon him and his household, came upon me in my wedding day, so he sat down on this seat of mine, while there were two maidservants with me and were singing the Nudbah dua and playing Daf for my fathers, who were martyred in the day of Badr, until one of the maidservants said: among us is a Prophet who knows what is in the future, so his Excellency said: but do not say this, and say the same thing you were saying”, and it has been received from some of the companions that they said: «رَجَعَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ صَلَّى اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ مِنْ بَعْضِ مَغازِيهِ فَجاءَتْ جارِيَةٌ سَوْداءُ فَقالَتْ: يا رَسُولَ اللّهِ! إنِّي كُنْتُ نَذَرْتُ إنْ رَدَّكَ اللّهُ تَعَالَى سالِماً أَنْ أَضْرِبَ عَلَى رَأْسِكَ بِالدَّفِّ، فَقالَ: أَوْفي بِنَذْرِكِ»; “The Messenger of God peace be upon him and his household returned from some of his wars, then a black maidservant came to him and said: Oh Messenger of God! I vowed that if God returns you healthy, I will play Daf in your presence, so the Prophet said: be faithful to your vow”, and it reasons that playing Daf for showing happiness for something religious is not sinful; because the vow for something sinful is false, and it has been received: «إنَّهُ مَرَّ بِقَوْمٍ مِنَ الزِّنْجِ وَ هُمْ يَضْرِبُونَ بِطُبُولٍ لَهُمْ وَ يُغَنُّونَ، فَلَمّا رَأَوْهُ سَكَتُوا، فَقالَ: خُذُوا يا بَنِي أَرْفَدَةٍ فِيما كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ، لِيَعْلَمَ الْيَهُودُ أَنَّ فِي دِينِنا فُسْحَةً»; “His Excellency passed by a group of rangers who were beating their drums and singing, so when they saw his Excellency, they became quiet, then his Excellency said: oh sons of Arfade (Habshis)! continue what you were doing so that the Jews know that there is extension in our religion”, and it has been received: «لَمّا كانَتِ اللَّيْلَةُ الَّتِي بَنَى فِيها عَلِيٌّ عَلَیْهِ السَّلامُ بِفاطِمَةَ، سَمِعَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ صَلَّی اللّهُ عَلَیْهِ وَ آلِهِ وَ سَلَّمَ ضَرْبَ الدَّفِّ فَقالَ: ما هَذَا؟ قالَتْ أُمُّ سَلَمَةَ: يا رَسُولَ اللّهِ! هَذِهِ أَسْماءُ بِنْتُ عُمَيْسٍ تَضْرِبُ بِالدَّفِّ أَرادَتْ فِيهِ فَرَحَ فاطِمَةَ، تَرَى أَنَّهُ لَمّا ماتَتْ أُمُّها لَمْ تَجِدْ مَنْ يَقُومُ لَها، فَرَفَعَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ يَدَهُ إِلَى السَّماءِ ثُمَّ قالَ: اللّهُمَّ أَدْخِلْ عَلَى أَسْماءٍ ابْنَةِ عُمَيْسٍ السُّرُورَ كَما أَفْرَحَتِ ابْنَتِي، ثُمَّ دَعا بِها، فَقالَ: يا أَسْماءُ! ما تَقُولُونَ إِذا نَقَرْتُمْ بِالدَّفِّ؟ فَقالَتْ: ما نَدْرِي ما نَقُولُ يا رَسُولَ اللّهِ فِي ذَلِكَ وَ إِنَّما أَرَدْتُ فَرَحَها، قالَ: فَلا تَقُولُوا هَجْراً»; “In the marriage night of Ali peace be upon him and Fatimah, the Messenger of God peace be upon him and his household heard the sound of Daf, so he said: what is this? Um Salamah said: Oh Messenger of God! This is Asma bint Amis who is playing Daf, she wants to make Fatimah happy, she thinks because her mother has passed away, she has not found anyone to help her, so the Messenger of God peace be upon him and his household raised his hand to the sky and said: oh God! Make Asma bint Amis happy, as she made my daughter happy, then he summoned her and said: oh Asma! What do you sing when you play Daf? She said: we do not know what to sing with it oh Messenger of God! I just wanted to make her happy, his Excellency said: so do not say anything bad”, and it has been received: «أَنْكَحَتْ عائِشَةُ ذاتَ قَرابَةٍ لَها مِنَ الْأَنْصارِ، فَجاءَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ صَلَّى اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ فَقالَ: أَهْدَيْتُمُ الْفَتاةَ؟ قالُوا: نَعَمْ، قالَ: أَرْسَلْتُمْ مَعَها مَنْ يُغَنِّي؟ قالَتْ: لا، فَقالَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ صَلَّى اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ: إِنَّ الْأَنْصارَ قَوْمٌ فِيهِمْ غَزْلٌ، فَلَوْ بَعَثْتُمْ مَعَها مَن يَقُولُ: أَتَيْناكُمْ، أَتَيْناكُمْ، فَحَيّانا وَ حَيّاكُمْ»; “Aisha married a daughter from her relatives to one of the Ansars, so the Messenger of God peace be upon him and his household came and said: Did you send the girl? She said: yes, he said: did you send someone with her to sing? She said: no, then the Messenger of God peace be upon him and his household said: the Ansars are a people who love music, so I wish you would send someone to say: we came to you, we came to you, may we live long and may you live long”, and it has been received: «الْفَرْقُ ما بَيْنَ النِّكاحِ وَ السِّفاحِ ضَرْبُ الدَّفِّ»; “The difference between marriage and adultery is hitting Daf”, and with this regard, there are many narrations received from the Ahl al-Bayt about the permission of bringing a female singer in marriage ceremonies, if she would not commit a forbidden act.
The aggregate of these narrations, which are in accordance with the Book of God and in accordance with the principles and laws, do not leave any doubt that the instruments and the music do not have intrinsic and absolute forbiddance, and they are permissible whenever they do not consist a degrading sound and false content and accordingly are not the example of ﴿اللَّغْوَ﴾, ﴿قَوْلَ الزُّورِ﴾ and ﴿لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ﴾. Although most instruments and songs - especially at the present time - do not have this feature, rather they have degrading sound and false content and accordingly, avoiding them is obligatory; just as making and selling musical instruments and implements, in the sense that they are common between permissible and forbidden music, is abominable and buying, maintaining and learning them for forbidden activities is not permissible, and this is an obvious example of moderation in Islam.