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The ruling on whether music is a major or minor sin


How big a sin is listening to music? Is their music in Paradise? Did any of the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, play music?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The scholars held the opinion that listening to musical instruments is a grave, major sin.

Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami said in his book Az-Zawaajir 'an Iqtiraaf Al-Kabaa’ir, “The grave major sins numbers 446, 447, 448, 449, 450, and 451 are playing the chord and listening to it, playing on a flute and listening to it, and playing the drum and listening to it; Allaah says (what means): {And of the people is he who buys the amusement of speech to mislead [others] from the way of Allaah without knowledge and who takes it in ridicule. Those will have a humiliating punishment.}” [Quran 31:6] Ibn Abbaas and Al-Hasan  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them interpreted {the amusement of speech} to mean instruments of amusement (musical instruments), and we will clarify this later. Allaah says, addressing Satan (what means): {And incite [to senselessness] whoever you can among them with your voice.} [Quran 17:64]

Mujaahid interpreted the voice of Satan in this verse to refer to singing and flutes, and we will mention a hadeeth in which the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “Allaah will forgive every sinner except the lute player or the drum player…..” [End of quote]

The fact that musical instruments are a sin is enough for a Muslim to avoid them, regardless of whether it is a minor or a major sin. Even if we presume that listening to it is a minor sin, then it is not a minor sin when a person persists in committing it, and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) has warned us against belittling minor sins and being indifferent towards them, as he said, “Beware of minor sins; they gather on a man until they cause his destruction.” [Ahmad]

For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 116246.

On the other hand, we do not know any explicit text from the Quran or the authentic Sunnah clarifying that there are musical instruments in Paradise. Indeed, Ibn Al-Qayyim titled a chapter in his book Haadi Al-Arwaah ila Bilaad Al-Afraah: Chapter Fifty Seven: The Sounds of Paradise and the Singing of the Hoor (women of Paradise) and the melodiousness and enjoyment that it involves…

He mentioned a number of ahaadeeth about the singing of the Hoor and their beautiful voices, but we have not come across any mention of musical instruments in these ahaadeeth. Also, we do not know that any Prophet used musical instruments.

For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 81545 and 81239.

Allaah knows best.

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