What is the Islamic ruling on singing?
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 is His slave and Messenger.
There are many types of singing; each kind has a different ruling.
1- If the singing contains any musical instrument, then it is forbidden for both men and women.
2- Many scholars have sanctioned the prohibition of listening to the musical instruments. Among them are Imam al-Qurtubi, Al-Tabari, Ibn As-Salah, Ibn Rajab, Ibn Al-Qayyim, and Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami.
Imam al-Qurtubi said: Listening to reeds, strings, drums etc. is forbidden. I do not know any jurist in the past or the present who has permitted it. How would it not be forbidden? This is the motto of drinkers, dissolute and shameless people. If the matter is as stated here, then nobody doubts its prohibition and nobody denies that whoever uses these things is a disobedient person.” This is narrated by Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami in his famous book “Az-Zawaajir Min Iqtirafil Kabaa-ir”. As regards Duff (a tambourine-like instrument without bells), it is permitted for women in the occasions of ‘Eed & marriage.
If the singing is not accompanied by a musical instrument, it is of two kinds:
A. Singing of women for men. This is absolutely forbidden. Islam forbids women from calling the Aathaan and reciting the Quran in the presence of men. If a woman sings for ladies saying something containing good words, then it is permitted.
B. Singing of a man. If he is singing good poetry that involves good subjects, then many jurists have permitted it. If it contains bad things like calling to immorality, or abomination, or describing a woman's body, etc., then it is prohibited.
Allah knows best.
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