Listening to music without human voice
Fatwa No: 363175

Question

Hello, I am 19 years old. I pray five times a day, praise be to Allah, and I hope that, Allah willing, it will stay this way. I have an issue about the topic "music" and have some questions. I have heard that musical instruments are haram, which I can not deny, because you really gave the evidence from the Quran and Hadith. My questions are:
1. Is it halal to only listen to instrumentals, without a voice? I heard that this could be halal because without a human voice, instruments have no effect on the heart, but logically this should also be haram. Would this also mean that all instruments used in documentary films, movies, games, and TV news are haram? It is important for me to know what the Quran and Hadith say.
2. What do we call the type of music which does not involve musical instruments and has good content and is not necessarily a nasheed? Should we call that melody or poetry? It has no sense to say halal kind of music because music in itself is haram.
3. I heard that the female voice which is melodius is haram for men to listen to, even if there are no instruments, but what about the melody or nasheed of a woman which was recorded on mp3 and not made in front of men? Can men listen to that? The most I listened to was that of males, of course, but I also listened to female voices, but only from electronic devices and never live, because I know the temptation. If you say that it is haram to listen to female voices on mp3, even without instruments, and give evidence, I will not deny the truth. When it is haram, does this mean that I cannot watch documentaries and movies or play games when they contain a sequence in which the voice of the woman is played, even without instrument and while containing good content? Does this mean that men are not allowed to watch these documentaries or play those games but that woman can? I own a car game which contains a female voice but without instruments. Is a man not allowed to play that car game while a woman is allowed? So I have the same question for documentaries, TV news, etc. Please answer.

Answer

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

It is not permissible to listen to musical instruments, even without a human voice, whether they are in the news broadcasts, documentaries, computer games, and so on. When there is a sound of music, it is an obligation to mute it.

What you heard - that it is permissible to listen to them without a human voice - is not correct. For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 81545.

We did not understand what you mean by ‘music which does not involve musical instruments’; if you mean the sound effects that are generated by the computer and resemble music, then the ruling on it is the same as the ruling on music because the Shariah equates between two similar things and does not differentiate between them in the same manner that it does not equate two different things; as we have already discussed in fatwa 352798.

It is not permissible for a woman to sing a nasheed, even without musical instruments, in such a way that men can listen to her, or that she records this in an audio so that men can listen to her, because a woman is Islamically prohibited from speaking in a soft voice before non-Mahram (marriageable) men, as Allah says (what means): {…then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech.} [Quran 33:32]

Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his Tafseer (interpretation of the Quran), "As-Suddi and others said that this means: do not be soft in speech when addressing men… i.e. she should not address non-Mahram men in the same way that she addresses her husband."

The scholars of Fiqh said that it is forbidden for her to raise her voice in prayer with Quran recitation in the presence of men, and that it is forbidden (for men) to seek pleasure in listening to her voice.

Kash-shaaf Al-Qinaa’ reads, "It is forbidden to enjoy listening to her voice, even when she recites the Quran, out of fear of being tempted by it; this has already been discussed in the Chapter on Prayer. She should pray silently if a non-Mahram man can hear her. The narration of Muhanna says, 'A woman should lower her voice when she recites the Quran, if she recites it at night.'"

The fatwa of the Standing Committee reads:

"The woman's voice is not an ‘Awrah (something that must be hidden and should not be exposed to the public) in itself; it is not forbidden to hear it, except when she speaks in a soft, seductive manner, as this is forbidden from her for other than her husband, and it is forbidden for men other than her husband to listen to it, as Allah says (what means): {O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allah, then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech.} [Quran 33:32]"

When a woman's voice is found to be soft and attractive, then it is not permissible for men to listen to it, whether it be in documentaries, games, or otherwise. For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 263791.

We advise you to fear Allah and to turn to Him, especially given that you are at a young age, so do not blacken your register of deeds with sins and acts of disobedience.

Allah knows best.

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