Music is always been a very hot topic among Muslims, about its status either its Halal or Haram. Same goes to background music, the permissibility of background music in Islam is a complex topic with differing opinions among Islamic scholars.
This article will examine the various perspectives and try to clear the confusion, on whether background music is haram (forbidden) or halal (permitted) in Islam.
- 0.1 Is Background Music Haram
- 0.2 Difference of Opinion Among Islamic Scholars
- 0.3 Is Background Music Considered Different?
- 0.4 Purposes Where Background Music May be Permitted
- 0.5 Conditions and Limits for Permissible Use
- 0.6 Opinions Against Background Music
- 0.7 Conclusion
- 1 Key Questions About Background Music in Islam
- 1.1 Is background music halal while studying?
- 1.2 Can I have background music in videos/vlogs?
- 1.3 Is background music allowed when selling merchandise?
- 1.4 Can background music be played during exercise?
- 1.5 Is background music OK for productivity?
- 1.6 Can background music be played at a social gathering?
- 1.7 Does simply listening to music make you sinful?
- 1.8 Does background music aid concentration and memory?
- 1.9 Author
Is Background Music Haram
Yes, it is haram to listen to music in the background, no matter what you’re doing.
In the Quran, there is no direct prohibition of music. However, some hadiths (sayings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad) suggest music is discouraged:
“There will be people of my Ummah who will seek to make lawful; fornication, wine-drinking and the use of ma`aazif (musical instruments).” (Bukhari 5590)
Based on this, some scholars argue music is haram because it can lead to sinful behavior or distract from remembrance of Allah.
However, others point out that only unlawful music connected to sin is condemned. Music itself is not forbidden.
Difference of Opinion Among Islamic Scholars
There are differing views on music among Islamic schools of thought:
- The Hanafi school believes music is makruh (disliked) if it encourages unlawful behavior. But music with permissible content is halal.
- The Maliki school differentiates between vocal and instrumental music. Vocal music with permissible content is halal, while instrumental music is haram.
- The Shafi’i school argues all music is haram because it distracts from worship. But some allow daff (simple hand drum) on certain occasions.
- The Hanbali school adopts the strictest view, considering all music with instruments haram. But some allow the daff.
- Some modern scholars believe all music is halal if it has permissible content and adheres to Islamic principles.
Is Background Music Considered Different?
Given these differing views, is background music treated differently in Islam? There are a few key considerations:
1. Lack of Lyrics
Some scholars argue that background music without lyrics and singing is more permissive because the concerns with vocal music promoting sin do not apply.
2. Not Main Focus of Attention
Background music is not the central activity – it augments another primary activity. So it is less distracting from remembrance of Allah.
3. No Live Instruments
Recorded background music does not involve live musical instruments, which some scholars prohibit.
Based on these factors, some scholars permit appropriate background music in moderation if it avoids distraction from religious duties.
Purposes Where Background Music May be Permitted
Given the above, various scholars allow background music for purposes such as:
- Events and celebrations – to create a positive atmosphere without unsuitable lyrics.
- Education and messaging – for videos or multimedia aiming to convey an Islamic message.
- Relaxation – for Islamic meditation, nature sounds, to help relaxation in moderation.
- Work environments – to improve mood and productivity.
- Exercise – while working out without inappropriate content.
- Video games and films – to complement permissible entertainment media.
Conditions and Limits for Permissible Use
Scholars permitting background music outline conditions, including:
- Avoiding music that promotes sinful themes like drugs, sex, profanity, etc.
- Keeping volume low – it should not dominate or distract.
- Selecting relaxing tunes – avoiding intense rhythms that may excite.
- Not listening to music alone/privately.
- Avoiding addiction to music as an excessive pastime.
- Ensuring music does not interfere with religious obligations.
- Seeking guidance from scholars if unsure about permissibility.
Opinions Against Background Music
While some scholars permit background music within limits, others prohibit it entirely. Their arguments include:
- Music is not essential, so better to avoid doubtful matters.
- It may serve as a slippery slope leading to more sinful music consumption.
- Music can encourage emotional attachment, which should be directed to worship.
- Listening to background music may become a distraction and obsession.
- It is safer to avoid music as much as possible to stay focused on the hereafter.
In summary, whether background music is permitted depends on the situation, purpose and individual factors. There are well-reasoned perspectives on both sides of the debate. Muslims who choose to listen to background music should do so moderately within acknowledged conditions and limits, while those who avoid music altogether also have a precedent. Consulting scholarly guidance and focusing on Islamic principles is advised for both approaches. The diversity of opinion reflects the nuance required when evaluating modern issues not directly addressed in primary Islamic sources.
Key Questions About Background Music in Islam
To expand on the topic further, here are answers to some key questions about background music’s permissibility in Islam:
Is background music halal while studying?
Many scholars allow soft, instrumental background music while studying as long as it does not become distracting or prevent remembrance of Allah. The student’s focus should remain on their studies, not the music.
Can I have background music in videos/vlogs?
While disputed, some scholars permit simple background music in educational, commercial or informational videos and vlogs if it does not promote prohibited content. But loud, attention-grabbing music or songs with distracting lyrics should be avoided.
Is background music allowed when selling merchandise?
Some scholars permit calm background music in stores/markets to create a suitable shopping atmosphere, as long as vulgar or loud music is avoided. But others prefer avoiding music in sales environments altogether.
Can background music be played during exercise?
For many scholars, instrumental background music is permissible during exercise, sports or physical activity provided it is modest and does not prevent remembrance of Allah or fulfillment of religious duties. But others prohibit all music during exercise.
Is background music OK for productivity?
Some modern scholars allow background music to help focus at work if it is not distracting or inappropriate. But if work involves worship or religious duties, then music must be avoided, according to most scholars. Moderation is key.
While disputed, some scholars allow soft background music without inappropriate content at social events like weddings to create a positive atmosphere. Others prohibit music at social gatherings entirely to avoid sinful consequences.
Does simply listening to music make you sinful?
According to most scholars, simply listening to permissible music in moderation and the right state of mind is not considered sinful. Haram music focuses on promoting prohibited themes, not music itself. But many scholars still prefer avoiding all music.
Does background music aid concentration and memory?
Studies show relaxing background music can help improve focus and information retention for some people when used appropriately. But music can also damage concentration if it becomes distracting or inappropriate. Moderation is key.
Is sound effects haram?
Most scholars allow sound effects that are not linked to musical instruments or inappropriate content. Simple effects used in moderation for educational or entertainment purposes would be permitted by those who allow halal music.
Is it haram to post videos with music?
Scholars differ. Some prohibit posting any videos with music. Others allow posting educational or commercial videos with permissible instrumental background music in moderation. But music should not be the focus and lyrics/vocals should be avoided.
Is sharing music haram?
Many scholars consider sharing music or songs with sinful lyrics or themes prohibited. But some permit sharing music with positive or innocent content, as long as it does not promote vice.
Is it haram to watch movies with music?
Watching films with background scores is permitted by some scholars as long as the music is not lewd, vulgar or immoral. But others prohibit watching any films with music.
Can you pray with music in the background Islam?
Most Islamic scholars prohibit playing music of any kind during obligatory prayers, as this would invalidate them. It is mandatory to turn music off in the background while praying. Voluntary prayers should also be performed without musical distraction according to many scholars.