In answering questions about singing in Islam, we cannot say that singing is completely forbidden (Haram) in Islam. Like any other issue, we have to find out what kind of singing is allowed (Halal) and that if there is a prohibition, what is that makes it forbidden (Haram)?
In deriving the ruling of singing from the Quran, jurists usually refer to two main verses:
“Among the people is he who buys diversionary talk that he may lead [people] astray from Allah’s way without any knowledge, and he takes it in derision. For such, there is a humiliating punishment” (31:6).
Some interpreters have taken the phrase “diversionary talk” (Lahw al-hadith) as any sort of speech that deviates people’s minds from the righteous way and attracts the concentration of people to an unjust saying. Jurists have expanded the unjust saying to any sort of expression of mind which may contain poetry or singing or music .
Also, it is said in another verse: “So avoid the abomination of idols, and avoid false speech …” (22:30).
In the interpretation of “false speech” (Qowl al-zur) in this verse, it is said that a false statement is any word that deviates people from the righteous way and remembrance of God .
When jurists want to define the forbidden (Haram) singing in Islam, they use the term “ghina”. In Islamic jurisprudence, singing is not forbidden (Haram) unless it is known to be ghina.
Ghina is the voice of a human, which is produced in a rise and fall pattern to create the effect of rapture that is suitable for frivolous and carouse gatherings. It is forbidden (Haram) to engage in this type of singing; as well as listening to it, even if it does not lead to rapture in the listener .
Any kind of singing that deviates a person from a moderate mood (may it be happy or sad) is referred to as ghina. The most visible sign of this deviation from a moderate mood is when the person loses his self-control; like the feeling that occurs to man after drinking wine. Islam has always prevented Muslims from being stuck in such moods.
Gatherings of merrymaking and sin are those kinds of gatherings that are formed for singing, dancing, debauchery, and sensuality.
Also, there might be some songs that do not deviate one from his/her moderate mood but are common for gatherings of merrymaking and sin. Those are also known as ghina.
Have you ever seen in some concerts, how the audience lose their mind and apart from dancing or crying with the song, they shout or faint out of rapture? This kind of singing is ghina, and those sorts of gatherings are referred to as gatherings of merrymaking and sin. Any kind of singing that changes the normal and rational mood of a person is ghina .
Ghina is the type of song that is branded for amusement gatherings and parties.
Ghina is related to the type of song; meaning that if the lyrics of a song convey positive messages to the listener but the music of the song is jaunty, it makes that music forbidden (Haram) .
Ghina is when the lyrics of a song are about describing the beauties of a woman (whether physical or erotic description), or it has been written about wine, or dance or other prohibited (Haram) things in Islam .
Ghina is any song that changes the mood of the listener; makes him/her either happy or sad; any music or song that makes a gap between the present moods of the listener with his/her “real self” and weakens the control of the person over her speech or behavior.
Ghina is the sort of song that has such hopeless content, which destroys the positive motivations of the listener.
Ghina is any kind of song that by content, lyrics, or the specific sound of the musical instrument can arouse sexual temptation.
Having mentioned the criteria of forbidden (Haram) singing, we can say that those songs which do not contain the conditions mentioned above are lawful (Halah).
Overall, if the listener maintains that as per common view they are not enraptured, there is no problem in listening to the songs (with or without music). Thus, neither the intention of the singer nor the content have anything to do with this ruling .
In the matter of listening to a woman reciting poetry and other material with rising and falling her voice to the accompaniment of music, if the vocalization does not amount to ghina, listening to it is not driven by lust, and does not lead to a bad consequence, there is no problem in listening to it for women. If a woman’s signing is sexually exciting or listening to it leads to vile consequences, it is not allowed to listen to it at all. 
Regarding women’s singing to be heard by men, if it is not ghina and is not intended for questionable purposes or does not lead to vile consequences, as long as it is not sexually erotic, it is not forbidden (Haram). But as it often happens that listening to the beautiful voice of women is joyful for men, it is better if women do not sing for men and for men not to listen to women singing.
- Ma’aref and Ma’arief, vol. 8, p. 283
- singing in Islam
- Rouhollah Khaleghi, An overview of music, p.4
- muslim singing
- Sayyid Mujtaba Husseini, Questions and Answers by Students (Rules regarding Music), pg. 40-42
- Art from the point of view of the supreme leader, p. 32-4
- Tafsir –e Qartabi, vol. 7, p. 5136
- Are Muslim allowed to sing?
The taste of water is the taste of life.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.49, p.99.
Cleanliness is among the manners of prophets.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.78, p.335.
Any food that benefits the body and brings energy to it is allowed (Halal), and whatever harms the body and drains its energy is forbidden (Haram).
Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, Al-Fiqh al-Radawi, p.254.
Try to divide your day into four parts; a part for praying to Allah, one for providing your livelihood, one for spending time with your friends and the ones you trust to tell your mistakes and love you sincerely, and a part for enjoying Halal pleasures which gives you the ability to fulfill the other parts.
Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, Al-Fiqh al-Radawi, p.337.
The one who puts aside his/her world [ultimately] for the sake of his/her religion, or vice versa, is not among our followers.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.78, p.346.
Observe your manners in your relations with the ones older or younger than you.
Mirza Husayn Nuri, Mustadrak al-wasa'il, vol.8, p.354.
Whoever washes away a believer's grief, Allah will save him/her from despair on the Day of Judgment.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2, p.200.
Allah has commanded to express gratitude toward Himself and your parents; therefore, if you don't give thanks to your parents, you are not grateful to Allah.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Khisal, p.156.
Reason is your best friend and ignorance, your worst enemy.
Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.443.
You are ridiculing yourself if you ask for Allah's help, yet don't make any attempts [to reach your goal].
Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, hadith no.2790.
The one who greets a poor Muslim differently than a rich person will face Allah's wrath on the Day of Judgement.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.2, p.59.
From the two groups who face each other, victory belongs to the one that shows more generosity.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.71, p.452.
Modesty has different manifestations; one is for those who know their limitations, accept their position contently, like to treat people the way they expect to be treated, confront insult with benevolence, control their anger and forgive people. Allah loves the righteous.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2, p.124.
Allah will treat the one who holds an optimistic view toward Him, the same as his/her approach.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.8, p.347.
Eating less and refraining from excessive use of food will protect your body against various diseases.
Al-Ma’mun ,al-Risa’la al-Dhahabiya fi al-Tibb, p.270.
Two groups are always sick; A healthy person who abstains from food and a sick person who does not abstain.
Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, Al-Fiqh al-Radawi, p.340.
Whoever respects Allah's sanctuary, he/she will be respected, and whoever obeys Allah, will be obeyed.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.1, p.137.
A generous person eats from other people's food [if invited], for people to eat from his/hers, and the ungenerous does not eat from other's food, to not offer his/her own food to others.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.1, p.15.
Respect the elderly, be kind to children, and pay a visit to your relatives.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.2, p.265.
Allah delays granting the request of a believer, since He is eager to listen to him/her praying, saying, "This is the voice I love listening to" and hasten in granting the request of a hypocrite, saying, "This is the voice I loathe hearing."
Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, Al-Fiqh al-Radawi, p.345.
Whoever knows his/her value will never be devastated.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.72, p.66.
Fitr has been appointed as Eid for Muslims to come together as a community on this day in the presence of the Lord and thank Him for His blessings.
Ibn Qūlawayh, Kamil al-Ziyarat, p.522.
Visit each other regularly to create more love between yourselves, and hold each other's hands and wipe anger away from your hearts.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.78, p.347.
The one who borrows something with the intention of giving it back is under Allah's protection until he does so. However, if he doesn't have the intention of paying the debt back to its owner, he is considered a thief.
Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, Al-Fiqh al-Radawi, p.268.
Patience, knowledge, and silence are signs of awareness. Silence is one of the gates to wisdom. It endows human beings with tenderness and guides them toward virtues.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2, p.113.
Wearing perfume is one of the manners of prophets.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.6, p.510.
The one who repents from sin and repeats doing it seems like a person who is ridiculing his/her Lord.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2, p.504.
The value of worshipping does not depend on the number of prayers or fasts. Instead, true worship is pondering deeply on Allah and everything related to Him.
Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.442.
The first step in serving Allah is knowing Him.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Tawhid, p.34.
Whoever smiles at his/her fellow believer, will win Allah's reward.
al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Kitāb muṣādaqat al-ikhwān, vol.1, p.157.
The one who doesn't gratify a kindness received by others has not given thanks to Allah Almighty.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.2, p.24.
Insignificant sins lead into great sins and the one, who doesn't have any fear of Allah while committing the insignificant ones, won't feel any fear in doing the great ones.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.73, p.353.
You are not a devout worshipper if you do not seek forbearance.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2, p.11.
If your neighbor is not safe from your harm, you are not among our followers.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.2, p.24.
The one who breaks promises is prone to unfortunate incidents.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.67, p.186.
Verily, relief, and success comes after despair.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.52, p.110.
Faith includes knowing by heart, confessing by the tongue, practicing by all parts of your body.
Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.422.
A believer does not leave aside what is right, when in anger, and does not go astray, in happiness, and does not take more than he/she deserves, while in power.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.75, p.355.
There is no peace for the stingy, no pleasure for the envious, no guarantee for the rulers, and no conscience for the liar.
Ibn Shu'bah, A Summery of Tuhaf al-Uqul, hadith no. 500249.
Doubt the faith of the one who shows off with his/her worships to Allah, since Allah Al-mighty abhors bragging about worship and appearance.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.70, p.252.
The word “hijab” mostly reminds people, especially the non-Muslims, of some women who wear special clothes which cover all of their body parts to hide from leer and pervert men.
Wearing hijab is indeed a way to protect women and keep them safe from different dangers that threaten them during their life in society, but it should be mentioned that it is not the only reason. In fact, wearing scarves and the like shows men that they should keep their distance and behave properly with the woman wearing it, but it’s not the only thing that Hijab denotes.
As you may know, the culture of a nation is one of the most important things that binds the members together. Beliefs, traditions, language, and even the costumes of a nation keep that nation alive and strong by preserving the identity of its people. It can be said that changing this identity will lead to catastrophic consequences for the nation. For example, if people of a nation try to get culturally more similar to the people of another nation, they gradually would start to change in thoughts and make their country an easy target to be invaded. This might happen as people of the nation do not feel enough animosity against them. Actually, people might become alienated from the cultural traditions and heritage of their country.
For the Islamic nation, the hijab is one of the most significant signs of this religion alive in the community. Imagine that every Muslim woman starts to withdraw her hijab. It will clearly change the identity of the Muslims to the non-Muslims because their clothing has got so similar to non-Muslims’ style. In this regard, Imam Sadiq (AS) says
Once Allah almighty told one of His prophets to tell the faithful people:
“DO NOT WEAR THE CLOTHES OF MY ENEMIES, and do not eat their food and do not follow their ways because in this way you turn into my enemies as well.” (1)
As you see, if the enemies of the Muslims succeed in changing Muslims’ culture and convincing them to wear, eat and live as they do, it would be so much easier to influence their way of thinking and finally submit to the enemies. Perhaps this is the reason why Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) said
The downfall of my nation’s women is the effect of two things: Gold (Jewelry) and bodycon clothing. (2)
History always gives us good lessons if we scrutinize them. Between 1954 and 1962, Algerians fought with French colonizers and tried to become independent. As you may know, the revolution of Algeria like the revolutions of France and Russia, is one of the most important revolutions in the 20th century. The French Army won the war, but the efforts of the Algerians made their country independent.
During the Algerian revolution, a French Poster was distributed with this message, “Aren’t you pretty, remove your veil.”
During wartime, French military officers’ wives unveiled some Algerian Muslim women in many ceremonies who covered their faces. This was done to show that they support their oppressed Algerian SISTERS and that they side with them.
It was the strategy of the French government to make the Algerian Muslims submit and they started by deceiving women. Frantz Fanon, one of the contributors to the post-colonial theory discusses the strategy of the French colonizers:
“If we want to destroy the structure of Algerian society and its capacity for resistance, we must first conquer the women; we must go and find them behind the veil where they hide themselves and, in the houses, where the men keep them out of sight.” (3)
The French put this idea into the Muslim women’s heads that they are oppressed by men and wearing hijab, while surprisingly, the French can save them. This was all a plan to weaken the Islamic society so that they would accept the false civilization of the French colonizers and submit to them. As you see, the change of thoughts and cultures can destroy a nation forever.
The enemies of Muslims always try to convince Muslim women that wearing a hijab prevents them from being fruitful and becoming active members of society. They hypocritically say to Muslim women that they are so talented and yet oppressed and confined by the tough laws and traditions of Islam, especially the hijab. It could be observed that they are pursuing the old strategy they implemented in their colonized countries.
The best way to resist their cultural invasion is for Muslim women to prove them wrong by being active just like a standard Muslim woman in society and by progressing in different fields while they accomplish their Islamic duties, as well.
- Man la Yahzurohu al-Faqih, Sheikh Saduq, vol.1, pg.252
- Irshad al-Qulub, Hassan ibn Muhammad ad-Dailami, vol.1, pg.346