Movies & Music

Allah has enjoined the Muslim to protect his physical faculties from doing haram actions. This guarding of the physical faculties comes under the heading of gratitude for the great blessings that Allah has bestowed upon His slaves. Allah has warned of a stern punishment for using these blessings in sinful actions. Among the most important of these physical faculties are hearing and sight. They are the two ways to ruin the heart (spiritually), do immoral actions and commit major sins that may doom one to Hell. Allah has told us that He will ask us about that on the day when we meet Him. He says: “Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allah)” [al-Isra’ 17:36]

The seven physical faculties are the eyes, ears, mouth, private part, hands, and feet, which may be the cause of doom or the cause of salvation. The one who neglects them and does not protect them will be doomed, and the one who protects them and takes care of them will be saved. So, guarding them is the basis of all good, and neglecting them is the basis of all evil. Allah says: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things) and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts)” [al-Noor 24:30] (Ighaathat al-Lahfaon (1/80)).
The fact that the verse mentions lowering the gaze and protecting the private part together, indicates that lowering the gaze is a means of protecting the private part (or guarding one’s chastity), and that letting the gaze wander freely is a cause of falling into immoral actions.

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shanqeeti (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Our evidence here is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “The zina of the eye is looking.” The fact that the name zina is given to the looking of the eye at that which is not permissible clearly indicates that it is haraam and is a warning against it. The ahaadeeth which say something similar are many and well known.
It is well known that looking is the cause of zina, because the one who looks a great deal at the beauty of a woman – for example – may develop a strong love for her in his heart as a result of that, which may be the cause of his doom – Allah forbid – for the gaze is the route to zina.

Evidence of the Prohibition of Music:

Allah says, “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e., music, singing) to mislead (men) from the path of Allaah…” [Luqmaan 31:6]
The scholar of the ummah, Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: this means singing. Mujaahid (may Allah have mercy on him) said: this means playing the drum (tabl). (Tafseer al-Tabari, 21/40).
Al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) said: this aayah was revealed concerning singing and musical instruments (lit. woodwind instruments). (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 3/451).

The Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said, “There will be (at some future time) people from my Ummah (community of Muslims) who will seek to make lawful: fornication, the wearing of silk, wine-drinking and the use of musical instruments (ma’aazif). Some people will stay at the side of the mountain and when their shepherd comes in the evening to ask them for his needs, they will say, ‘Return to us tomorrow.’ Then Allah will destroy them during the night by causing the mountain to fall upon them, while He changes others into apes and swine. They will remain in such a state until the Day of Resurrection.” [al-Bukhari]
Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) (may Allah have mercy on him) said: This hadeeth indicates that ma’aazif are haraam, and ma’aazif means musical instruments according to the scholars of (Arabic) language. This word includes all such instruments. (al-Majmoo’, 11/535).

In another hadith, the messenger of Allah said: “A people of my ummah will drink wine, calling it by other than its real name. Merriment will be made for them through the playing of musical instruments and the singing of lady singers. Allah will cleave the earth under them and turn others into apes and swine.” (Ibn Maajah)
This is an authentic hadeeth, authenticated by Shaykh Al-Albaani (among many others).

Opinions of the Scholars & Imaams:

  • Al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The four madhhabs are agreed that all musical instruments are haraam. (al-Saheehah, 1/145).
  • Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The madhhab of Abu Haneefah is the strictest in this regard, and his comments are among the harshest. His companions clearly stated that it is haram to listen to all musical instruments such as the flute and the drum, even tapping a stick. They stated that it is a sin which implies that a person is a faasiq (rebellious evil doer) whose testimony should be rejected. They went further than that and said that listening to music is fisq (rebellion, evildoing) and enjoying it is kufr (disbelief). This is their words. They narrated in support of that a hadeeth which could not be attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). They said: he should try not to hear it if he passes by it or it is in his vicinity. Abu Yoosuf said, concerning a house from which could be heard the sound of musical instruments: Go in without their permission, because forbidding evil actions is obligatory, and if it were not allowed to enter without permission, people could not have fulfilled the obligatory duty (of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil). (Ig Haathat al Lahfaan, 1/425).
  • Imaam Maalik (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about playing the drum or flute, if a person happens to hear the sound and enjoy it whilst he is walking or sitting. He said: He should get up if he finds that he enjoys it unless he is sitting down for a need or is unable to get up. If he is on the road, he should either go back or move on. (al-Jaami’ by al-Qayrawaani, 262). He (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The only people who do things like that, in our view, are faasiqs.” (Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 14/55).

The exception:

The exception to the above is the daff – without any rings (i.e., a hand-drum which looks like a tambourine, but without any rattles) – when used by women on Eids and at weddings. This is indicated by saheeh reports.
Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made allowances for certain types of musical instruments at weddings and on other joyful occasions, but the men at his time did not play the daff or clap with their hands. It was narrated in al-Saheeh that he said: “Clapping is for women and tasbeeh (saying Subhan Allah) is for men.” And the cursed are the women who imitate men and men who imitate women. Because singing and playing the daff are things that women do. The Salaf used to call any man who did that a mukhannath (effeminate man), and they used to call male singers effeminate – and how many of them there are nowadays! It is well known that the Salaf said this.

Singing without Instruments:

Singing without musical accompaniment is permitted under certain circumstances and with particular conditions. The lyrics of the songs must be pure and innocent and must keep within the moral bounds set by Islamic teachings. Hence, lyrics which are erotic and licentious and/or sung in a licentious manner (which adversely affects the libidinous instincts of the listener) are undoubtedly forbidden. Moreover, even innocent songs become forbidden if they are performed in the presence of, or are coupled with, such prohibited acts as gambling, drinking and other deeds of moral depravity. Singing by women is restricted to a female audience as the nature of a woman’s (singing) voice is to excite sexual feeling in the male listener. These songs should be pure and innocent although they need not be restricted to Islamic themes. They may express simple joys, wisdom, etc. They may be in praise of such attributes as courage, fearlessness, and strength; or the lyrics may commemorate historical incidents such as battles against the enemy, etc. Among the best songs are those which encourage piety through good deeds done for the sake of Allah.

Are movies Haraam as well?

What is seen in soap operas, movies and plays of the blatant and wanton display of women (tabarruj), and their soft voices, enticing walks, dancing and singing – all of these are things that are forbidden in the religion of Allah, and they are among the easiest means that enable the shaytaan to enter and settle in the heart of the viewers, when he can take the reins and direct the person and his physical faculties in ways that incur the wrath of the Lord, may He be exalted.

The hadeeth quoted above, “The zina of the eyes is looking, and the zina of the ear is hearing” undoubtedly applies to these shows. No one can dispute the bad effects that these soap operas and movies have on societies in general, and on young men and women in particular. An actor may charm a married woman so that she becomes infatuated with him, and she destroys her family by her actions. And young men may become infatuated with beautiful actresses and for that reason they forego halaal marriage in pursuit of haraam pleasure. In addition to that there is the effect that these shows may have of diluting Islamic beliefs, teaching violence, making crime look attractive, making people dare to drink alcohol, keep company with non-mahram women and other bad effects.

The Impact of Movies & Music:

  1. Strip us of Hayaa (modesty):

    When we see immodesty and immorality in front of our eyes, it becomes normal to us. It no longer looks like the horrendous crime that it is. Disobedience to Allah becomes acceptable. How many of us would cringe if we saw a non-mahram girl & boy holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes? We have only seen it too many times, rather most people have seen much more! These sins put a black covering on one’s heart, and the heart no longer senses the seriousness of such actions. If a similar scenario occurs in your real lives, you may be led into doing exactly what you see in the movies by the Shaytaan.
    Don’t we subconsciously try to look like the actors, actresses & singers? We try to talk like them, and sound and act like them. What goes on in the movies becomes ‘cool’, and ‘in’.

  2. Lead us to Ghaflah (heedlessness):

    Ghaflah is a horrific disease of the heart and is the basis for which most of the various forms of misguidance throughout humanity have emanated from.
    Lexically, heedlessness (Ghaflah) is to be heedless of Allah, particularly, being heedless with regards to the accountability of our actions.
    “Draws near for mankind their reckoning, while they turn away in heedlessness. Comes not unto them an admonition (a chapter of the Quran) from their Lord as a recent revelation but they listen to it while they play, with their hearts occupied (with evil things)” [Surat Al- Anbiyaa 21:1-3]
    The truth is that Allah has created the Universe, and He created us for a purpose – to obey Him and worship Him, to prefer what HE wants, above what our hearts desire. In this short life, we are being tested, and soon the world will be over, and we will be standing in front of Allah, regretful, terrified, our fate will be decided whether we are to go to Paradise or Hellfire forever.

  3. Brings down our Eeman:

    This point is clear. Self-explanatory.

  4. They are the voice of Shaytaan:

    The shaytaan commands us and we obey him. Are we slave of the Shaytaan? Do we obey the Shaytaan, or do we obey Allaah (Azza Wa Jall)? The shaytaan has a great army that he uses against mankind.
    Allah (SWT) says, “(Iblis) He appealed, “Then delay my end until the Day of their resurrection.” Allah said, “You are delayed ˹until the appointed Day˺.” He said, “For leaving me to stray I will lie in ambush for them on Your Straight Path. I will approach them from their front, their back, their right, their left, and then You will find most of them ungrateful.” Allah said, “Get out of Paradise! You are disgraced and rejected! I will certainly fill up Hell with you and your followers all together.” [Al-A’raaf 7:14-17]
    “And befool them gradually those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e., songs, music, and any other call for Allah’s disobedience), make assaults on them with your cavalry and your infantry, mutually share with them wealth and children (by tempting them to earn money by illegal ways usury, etc., or by committing illegal sexual intercourse, etc.), and make promises to them.” But Satan promises them nothing but deceit.” [Surat Al-Israa 17:64]

    One of the best weapons of the Shaytaan is TV and movies. Because it contains an invitation to every kind of disobedience. It makes every disobedience, from the SMALLEST, like secretly eying a non-mahram man, to the BIGGEST like raising our voices against our parents, and committing various kinds of, shirk and Kufr. (Fortunetelling, Satan worship etc.) When we watch these movies, we may outwardly say that we are only watching it for entertainment, and we are not going to do any of the haram which is shown in it. But subconsciously, we begin to do those very things, we begin to admire the things we see. The things on TV take on a ‘cool’ status. Look around you, look at your friends, who are their ideals? Who do they look up to? Who do they want to emulate? Who do they imitate? And you will have your answer: TV, movies, soap operas – they are the voice of the Shaytaan, and we obey him. May Allah protect us all from this fitnah.

How to get rid of this addiction?

  • Ask Allah to help you to stop this sin as only Allah can help you and no one else.
  • Know that watching movies & listening to music is a sin which angers Allah Almighty.
  • Keep good company, have righteous friends
  • Recite the Qur’an with its translation daily.
  • Attend study circles regularly to keep your eeman high and keep getting closer to Allah.
  • Make sure the TV at your home is placed in a public spot, and not in a private place like your bedroom.
  • Make dawah to your family and encourage everyone to stop watching TV, so that everyone can help each other.

Fear Allah that you may fall into being from these people: “So, when they forgot (the warning) with which they had been reminded, We opened to them the gates of every (pleasant) thing, until in the midst of their enjoyment in that which they were given, all of a sudden, We took them to punishment, and lo! They were plunged into destruction with deep regrets and sorrows.” [Surat al-An’am 6:44]

Ibn Maajah narrated a marfoo’ report from Ibn Mas’ood which says: “The one who repents from sin is like the one who did not commit sin.” (Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 3427).

“But as for him who feared standing before his Rabb and restrained himself from al-Hawaa (impure evil desires and lusts). Verily, al-Jannah will be his abode” [Suraah an-Naazi’aat, 79:40-1]
Verily, desires are the fence of Hellfire which surrounds it, he who walks across it will fall in Hell, just as the Prophet (saw) said in the hadeeth report in as-Saheehayn: “al-Jannah is surrounded by all kinds of disliked and undesirable things, while the Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions”

What is the alternative – Halaal Entertainment?

If movies, and music are haram, does that mean that we should not have any relaxation of entertainment?
Uthman ibn `Affan said, “If our hearts were pure, they will never have enough from reciting Allah’s Speech (the Quran).” But unfortunately, our hearts are not like that, and so we want to relax at times. Though if we had a high level of eeman, we would want to use every second of our time in increasing our good deeds.

Think of some other ways of halal relaxation that you like, such as hanging out with your friends, cooking or doing crafts with them, cooking and eating things you like, going to a park/ice-skating etc., play some board games with your friends/siblings, learn a new skill, like working on Photoshop, or jet skiing, help out the Islamic Center, volunteer and be of help in your local Islamic community. Do whatever you can (halal of course) to stay away from movies, music & the likes of it because something that angers Allah can never bring you happiness and joy because happiness and joy belongs only with Allah.