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Last Updated: 2010/11/21
Summary of question
Can you please explain the criteria for distinguishing between haram and halal music?
question
Please explain about music and its criteria so that one in the west can distinguish between the halal and haram ones.
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Detailed Answer

“Music” is originally a Greek word which is synonymous to “Ghina” in dictionaries, but in fiqhi terms, there is a difference between the two. Ghina refers to the singing voice in which comes from the larynx and is turned up and down in the throat [like the chirping of birds] that somewhat ecstasizes the listener and brings him joy and is suitable for gatherings of amusement and vanity. As for music, it refers to the sound made by musical instruments. On this basis, it is correct to say that not all things considered music scientifically are considered music according to fiqh. [1]   [2]

As for the criteria for distinguishing between halal and haram types of music, the maraje’ have said that what counts is the “common culture” or urf [3]   [4]   [5] , and what is meant is the common culture amongst understanding and religious individuals.

In order to shed some more light on the issue, we would like to draw your attention to some of the responses the respected maraje’ have given to this question:

 

The Grand Ayatullah Khamenei:

Generally speaking, if music is lahwi and mutrib, befitting gatherings of sin and falsehood, it is haram.

 

The Grand Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi:

All music and sounds that befit gatherings of lahw (amusement) and corruption are haram, anything other than that is halal and in order to see which of them are such, one must refer to the urf, who are religious and understanding individuals.

 

The Grand Ayatullah Safi Golpaygani:

According to urf, music comprises of rhythmical sounds that are made with musical instruments. All music is haram and there is no halal type of it, and Allah knows best. [6]

For further information, you can refer to:

1- The reasons for music being haram or halal, Question 6964 (website: 7088).

2- How to distinguish between haram and halal music, Question 392 (website: 408).

3- The fitrah and the impermissibility of music, Question 10803 (website: 10622).

4- The reasons for the impermissibility of music, Question 10868 (website: 10755) .

5- The ruling on listening to music played by the media, Question 1358 (website: 1381).



[1] Seyyed Mojtaba Hoseini, Porsesha va Pasokha, pg. 169; Imam Khomeini, Al-Makasebul-Muharramah, vol. 1, pp. 198-224; Ali Hoseini, Al-Musiqi, pp.16-17; Tabrizi, Istifta’at, questions 10, 46, 47 and 1048; Fazel, Jame’ul-Masa’il, vol. 1, issues 974, 978 and 979.

[2] For further information about music and why it is haram or halal, refer to: The reasons for the impermissibility of music, Question 10868(website: 10755) .

[3] Makarem, Istifta’at, vol. 2, pg. 659; Safi, Jame’ al-Ahkam, vol. 1, questions 994, 1018 and 1020; Tabrizi, Istifta’at, questions 1077, 1050 and 1059; Fazel, Jame’ al-Masa’el, vol. 1, question 996; Khamenei, Ajwibah al-Istifta’at, questions 1154 and 1127; Sistani, Minhaj al-Salehin, vol. 2, issue 20; Nouri, Istifta’at, vol. 1, question 1008 and Vahid, Minhaj al-Salehin, vol. 3, issue 17.

[4] Of course, faqihs and music experts and cultural institutions can also present their opinions on which music is haram and which is halal (by recognizing which ones fall under the haram category and which ones don’t by referring to the urf). Adopted from Resaleye Daneshjouyi, pg. 174.

[5] Adopted from: The ruling on listening to music played by the media, Question 1358 (website: 1381).

[6] These inquiries were from the offices of the Grand Ayatullahs Khamenei, Makarem Shirazi and Safi Golpaygani.

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