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Is Music Forbidden During Ramadan?

Picture of Ryan Kristobak
Music Editor
Updated: 25 May 2017
Determining what is and isn’t haram (forbidden) during Ramadan is no simple task. What are the rules regarding dress during the holy month? Is sex permitted? Can you watch TV? Can you listen to or play music?

Examining the latter of these inquiries, there seems to be no definitive answer, judging by the vast amount of online threads centering around the question that have popped up year after year, some going as far as to examine whether music is forbidden at all times within Islam.

Is Music Haram in Islam?

Reading through the Quran, there are no verses that explicitly state music as haram. However, according to Zakir Naik, the controversial medical-doctor-turned-TV-preacher who founded the Islamic Research Foundation and is now considered the “rock star of tele-evangelism,” being immensely popular in India, believes certain parts of the Quran indicate the prohibition of music. He cites chapter 31, verse 6:

“But there are, among men, those who purchase idle tales, without knowledge (or meaning), to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah and throw ridicule (on the Path): for such there will be a Humiliating Penalty.”

Naik states that “idle tales” can be translated to “musical instruments.” Naik then cites Bukhari, volume 7, Book of Drinks, hadith no. 5590:

“… he heard the Prophet saying, ‘From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful.'”

However, as a Hadith (historical accounts of the life of Mohammad) of the Islamic scholar Muhammad al-Bukhari, you enter the territory of man-made text versus the word of God (Quran). Some Muslims consider the Quran to be above all Hadith, and so while the Hadith are meant to help to understand the Quran, it is the Quran’s text that stands as absolute truth.