Music - a gift from God
The Quran does not prohibit music. God tells us in the Quran that we have been blessed with many benefits and that are first priority is to maintain righteousness in anything we do. Making music, whether by playing a musical instrument, or lifting our voices in praise to God to commemorate our Lord is one of many ways to express our love and devotion to our Creator. Like anything else in this life, we can abuse the gift of music through songs that contain dirty language or that contain suggestive language that invites to unrighteousness behavior.
Music is not part of the formal rite of saying the Contact Prayers; but does not mean that music is never to be offered as a form of worship. When the prayers are completed, if the participants want to commemorate God through song, whether with their voices or accompanied by musical instruments, there is no sin in praising God alone with music. There is a clear distinction between what God requires as formal worship, and what we may do in remembering God through voluntary worship.
The Quran tells us not to forbid what God has not forbidden, or to make religious laws that were never advocated by God.
There are numerous hadiths and sunnah that have no basis in Quran for forbidding music. The Quran tells us that is the best hadith and we should follow only Quran as a source of religious law. Therefore, any hadith that forbids music based on religious law should be disregarded as man-made opinion.
Since the Quran does not forbid music, we cannot conclude that Islam forbids or ignores the benefits of music or the arts. Numerous scientific studies have shown the benefits of music in healing and therapy. Music helps us express joy or soothes us in times of sorrow. Musical pitch has been used to overcome pain and promote healing. Anyone who has experienced an MRI scan and was awake during the procedure may well recall that some segments of the scan repeat a rhythmic pattern of complicated changes in meter. Is there a purpose to this rhythmic pattern? Possibly, but as anyone who knows anything about music, music without rhythm or meter is just sound. Our voices produce sound, and we use pitch to differentiate meaning and emotions. If we are to conclude that music is wrong, then perhaps we must also conclude that mere speaking is forbidden.
Studies have shown that musical education helps to develop the brain and spatial perception. Students who pursue music education do better than many of their counterparts in math and science, as well as in language. Musical performance develops listening skills, fosters team work when performing in voice or instrument ensembles.
One famous composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, (1685-1750) signed all his musical compositions at the end with the inscription in German, “To the Glory of God”. For those who believe that God is worthy of remembering no matter what task we set about to do, dedicating our talents and work to the Glory of God is a practice we would all be wise to follow. Bach's compositions continue to remain popular to this day, even though he has long passed from this world.
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