The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani

Question & Answer » Music

1 Question: Is it permissible to listen to revolutionary songs accompanied by sounds of piano, lute, drum, wind-pipe, and electronic piano?
Answer: If the music accompanying it is that which is suitable for entertainment and amusement gatherings, it is not permissible to listen to it.
2 Question: Is it permissible to listen to religious songs in praise of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) that are accompanied with music?
Answer: Songs (al-ghinã’) are harãm absolutely. However, singing praise [of the Prophet or the Ahlul Bayt] that is sung with a good tune but is not in ghinã’ form is without problem.
As for the music, it would be allowed, if it is not suitable for entertainment and amusement gatherings.
3 Question: Just as many questions are asked about halãl and harãm music, many questions are asked about halãl and harãm songs. Is it correct to say that harãm songs are those that arouse sexual, lustful urges and promote unstable and degrading behaviour? Is it correct to say that songs that do not arouse lustful desires, but elevate the souls and thoughts to lofty levels like religious songs of praise dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and the Imams (a.s.), or the songs that lift the spirits and morale [of the fighters] and the like are halãl songs?
Answer: All songs (al-ghinã’) are harãm. Based on the definition that we accept, al-ghinã’ is the entertaining expression by way of tunes that are common to those who provide entertainment and amusement. In this prohibition, we should include the recitation of the Holy Qur’ãn, supplications (du‘ãs), and songs of praise of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) uttered to the accompaniment of those tunes [that are used by the entertainers]. The prohibition of reciting other non-entertaining expressions —like songs intended to lift the morale [of fighters]— is based on compulsory precaution. However, the tune that cannot be described as such is not harãm by itself.
4 Question: Many questions are asked concerning permissible and forbidden music.
Is it correct to say that the music that arouses sexual, lustful urges and promotes unstable and degrading behaviour is the forbidden one?
And is it correct to say that the music that soothes the nerves or causes relaxation, the music that forms the background of a scene in a movie to increase the effect of the scene on the viewers, the music that is used for physical exercise during workouts, the music that dramatizes a particular scene by its tune, or the one that arouses the zeal [in soldiers] is the permissible one?
Answer: Forbidden music is the music that is suitable for entertainment and amusement gatherings, even if it does not arouse sexual temptations.
Permissible music is the music that is not suitable for such gatherings, even if it does not soothe the nerves like the martial music and that played at funerals.
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