Louay M. Safi, Ph.D., is the author of "Peace And The Limits Of War: Transcending Classical Conception of Jihad," "Tensions and Transitions in the Muslim World" and "The Challenge of Modernity." He contributed this article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Indiana, USA. Dr. Louay M. Safi serves as the executive director of ISNA Leadership Development Center, an Indiana based organization dedicated to enhancing leadership awareness and skills among American Muslim leaders, and founding board member of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. He writes and lectures on issues relating to Islam, American Muslims, democracy, human rights, and world peace. His is the author of eight books and numerous papers, including Tensions and Transitions in the Muslim word, published by University Press of America, 2003. 

The Masjid, better known in North America as the Islamic center, is the center of spiritual, social, educational, and, most recently, political activities of the American Muslim community. The Masjid is also the place where Muslims of diverse cultural and ideological backgrounds meet and interact. The diversity of interpretations of Islamic sources and practices has created tensions, particularly in Islamic centers where the tendency is to impose strict interpretations about the appropriate place and role of Muslim women in the Masjid and the community.
An increasing number of young Muslim women complain of restrictive arrangements and practices, impeding their ability to fully participate in educational and social programs. Many Masjids today restrict the main prayer hall to men, and assign women to secluded quarters. Women are asking out laud: is this the place Islam assigns for us, or is it the imposition of cultural traditions? Some have even gone to the other extreme of rejecting all traditions and discarding all limits.

For Believing Men and Women

The Masjid is a place for spiritual growth and development for all Muslims, and should be equally accessible for both genders. The Qur’an has set the spiritual and moral equality of men and women in explicit and unequivocal terms:
Allah has prepared forgiveness and great rewards for the Muslim men and women; for the believing men and women; for the devout men and women; for the truthful men and women; for the men and women who are patient and constant; the men and women who humble themselves; for the men and women who give charity; for the men and women who fast, for the men and women who guard their chastity; and the men and women who are exceedingly mindful of Allah. (Al-Ahzab 33:35)
Both men and women, the Qur’an stresses, have a moral obligation to develop themselves spiritually and morally, and to fulfill their social responsibilities. The Masjid is, and has always been, the center of moral and spiritual learning and growth.
Likewise, the Masjid is a public place for discussing issues of public concern and to respond to challenges facing the community. The Qur’an is also clear on the equal responsibility of both men and women for developing the public good:
The believing men and women are protectors and helpers of each other. They (collaborate) to promote all that is good and oppose all that is evil; establish prayers and give charity, and obey Allah and his Messenger. Those are the people whom Allah would grant mercy. Indeed Allah is Exalted and Wise. (Al-Tawbah 9:71)
Promoting public good and opposing evil are public duties equally required from men and women, and the Masjid is the place where Muslim men and women can meet to plan community development and devise strategies for promoting public good.

The Prophet Affirms Equal Access

During the formative years of Islam women participated in public services, and shared the Masjid of the Prophet’s main hall. Sharing the main prayer hall allowed women to fully engage in public debate and influence decisions affecting their lives and the life of the community. When the second Caliph Umar bin al-Khattab wanted to put a cap on dowry, he was challenged by a woman, who stood up in the middle of the Masjid and pointed out that his proposed policy violated Islamic law. He conceded and the proposed policy was never carried out.
Although the Qur’an is clear on the spiritual and moral equality of men and women, the Prophet, recognizing the tendency of some men to be overprotective of their female relatives, cautioned the Muslim community against preventing women from frequenting the Masjid:
Ibn Umar narrated: The Messenger of Allah, peace be with him, said: Do not deprive women of their share of the Masjids, when they seek permission from you. Bilal said: By Allah, we would certainly prevent them. 'Abdullah said: I say that the Messenger of Allah, peace be with him, said it and you say: We would certainly prevent them! (Sahih Muslim Book 4, Number 891)
Narrated Ibn Umar: The Prophet, peace be with him, said, "Allow women to go to the Mosques at night." (Bukhari Volume 2, Book 13, Number 22)

Sidestepping Established Principles

The argument against women sharing the main prayer hall is based on the principle of “corruption prevention” (dar’ al-mafasid). The principle states that “whatever leads to unlawful practices (haram) is in itself unlawful.” The principle, though not widely accepted by Muslim jurists, has been extensively used to limit actions that are otherwise lawful under Shari’ah. It was invoked by some jurists to reject the use of radio, TV, press, and other inventions because these were used to promote corrupt practices. Indeed, by invoking the principle of “corruption prevention” many good practices and devices could be declared unlawful, including the use of the internet and popular governance, as both are open to abuse.

Employing the “corruption prevention” argument, a number of Masjids have decided to assign secluded quarters for women, and have placed many restrictions on women’s use of the Masjid’s facilities. In recent visits to three Islamic centers, several Muslim women complained bitterly to me about their experiences with community leaders. They complained of their inability to participate in general lectures and discussions, of the quality of the quarters assigned to them, and of their reliance on audio and video systems that frequently cut them off from the ongoing lectures or discussions.

Assigning women to separate quarters during lectures and discussions does not “prevent corruption” but rather “prevent education and spiritual growth.” I have heard many accounts of women completely immersed in conversations about shopping and cooking during public lectures. The seclusion gives some women, particularly the feeling of distance and separation, and some women conclude that the events that take place in the main hall do not concern them. In such instances, the women’s quarters become less friendly to women who want to concentrate on learning and community issues.
Not all Masjids embrace a mandatory seclusion policy. Many leading Masjids, such as Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), ensure that women share the main hall, participate fully in learning and consultation, and take active role in running the Masjid. Women serve on the executive board of ADAMS and on its board of trustees. 5 of the 13 Board of Trustees members are women, and ADAMS vice president is a women. While ADAMS gives full access to women to use its main prayer hall, it still permits women who want privacy to stay in a separate quarter, thereby ensuring that Muslim women with different needs and convictions have place in the Masjid.
Preventing women from exercising established rights or undertake duties cannot be justified under argument of “corruption prevention.” This argument was used at the formative stage of Islamic society, but was rejected by early Muslims. Abdullah bin Umar rejected this same argument of prevention:
Ibn 'Umar reported: Grant permission to women for going to the mosque in the night. His son who was called Waqid said: Then they would make mischief. He (the narrator) said: He thumped his (son's) chest and said: I am narrating to you the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him), and you say: No! (Sahih Muslim Book 4, Number 890)

Problems with Women’s Seclusion

Assigning women a separate and secluded space does not only go against Qur’anic injunctions and the practices and directives of the Prophet, peace be with him, but is detrimental to the spiritual and moral growth of women and the development of the community.
Preventing women from gaining direct access to the main hall of the Masjid, where lectures and study circles take place, deprives them from taking active role in learning. In addition to the psychological and emotional feeling of not taking active part in the meetings, the ability to interact with the speakers, to ask questions and offer comments, is impeded.
Secluding women deprive the emerging Muslim community from a growing number of young Muslim women who do expect, and rightly so, that the Masjid does not take away their right to take active part in serving the community. When legitimate expectations are not met, and when the customs and cultural traditions are given priority, they often force women to stay away from the Masjid, and hence from Islamic learning and activities.
Elevating the cultural traditions and customs of immigrants works against the very mission of the Masjid, as it becomes an impediment for educating people of other faiths about Islam. Historically, Islam found home in different communities throughout the world because of its ability to accommodate local customs and cultures, as long as they are not in conflict with Islamic teachings. Immigrant communities would be betraying their mission and trust if they insist on imposing their customs and cultural traditions.

Women and Masjid’s Governance

Women’s leadership in the community is another contentious issue. Women have assumed, in some Islamic centers, key leadership positions, by serving on the executive board, and leading key committees, while they are kept at arm’s bay in others. Although Islam recognized the capacity of women to enjoy equal moral responsibility, as we saw earlier, many Muslim community managed, nonetheless, to curtail women’s participation in public duties on social and rational grounds. The degree of limitations placed on women’s ability to serve in public capacity varies across historical periods and fiqh schools.

Early jurists disagreed as to whether women can assume public office; while Ibn Jarir al-Tabari placed no limitations on women’s right to assume the post of judge in all legal matters, al-Mawardi contended that women cannot be allowed to serve as judges under any circumstances. In between stands Abu Hanifa who allowed women to serve as judges except in cases involving commercial deals.

To their credit, early Muslim jurists recognized women’s rights to serve in public capacity at times when many women have limited involvement in public life, and limited exposure to public service. Contemporary Muslim jurists should ensure that the original Qur’anic position of equal spiritual and moral rights and obligations is respected and advanced in today’s society. This is more pressing today as the question of women capacity to exercise leadership and serve the community is put to rest through impressive track record of Muslim women achieving in the academia, professional work, and community service.

Our Masjids must reflect the leading role played by American Muslim women by ensuring that they are represented on the Masjid board and join the rank of leadership. The importance of women taking active part on the executive board and in executive committees is further underscored by the need to represent concerns that can not be expressed except by women, who feel the impact of decisions made by the Masjid on the quality of life and participation of other women.

Swinging to the Other Extreme

Several feminist Muslims, supported by a network of progressive activists, have been pushing the pendulum to the other extreme. Their solution for limiting women to secluded quarters, and their marginalization in ultra conservative Masjids, is to open the Masjid to a mixed congregation lead by women. The Progressive Muslim Union has already announced a mixed congregation to be led by Amina Wadud this month in New York. It is unfortunate that Muslim feminists are following in the footsteps of their secularist precursors, breaking all traditions, and engaging in experimentations that break out with formative principles and values. For individuals and movements interested in reforming attitudes and practices to take the opposite extreme can only hurt the reform agenda already underway throughout North America.

The recent push to break out with community and tradition goes far beyond any reform agenda. Reform requires that one articulate the foundational principles and then engage the larger Muslim community in dialogue to create a new awareness and to translate the articulated principles into a living tradition. Reform aimed at critically engage Muslim traditions must stick closely to the Qur’an and prophetic practices, to clarify Islamic injunctions and established prophetic traditions. The Progressive Muslim Union’s leaders have apparently decided to push the envelope beyond all limits and operate in revolutionary rather than a reformist mode.

It is quite apparent that Muslim reformers, concerned with evolving the practices of the American Muslim community, and ensuring the full and meaningful inclusion of women in community life, must navigate their way by maintaining a middle ground, away from extremist tendencies: away from extreme conservative tendencies obsessed with preserving cultural traditions even at the expense of distorting Islamic teachings, and from extreme liberal outbursts that want to break fully with all traditions and delve into an empty space with no directions and road signs.

Courtesy: Media Monitor Networks.  Thursday March 10, 2005

The Noble Qur'an which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) about 1400 years ago mentions how the sex of a human being is determined. The following two verses or Ayat of the Qur'an are very clear on this matter.(A. Yusuf Ali translation)
                                                              "And of him He made
                                                Two sexes, male and female."   Surah Qiyamat (the                                                                                        Resurrection), 75: 39

In the above Ayah, " of him He made two sexes, male and female" means that of  the human male (he), He (Allah)
Created both the sexes male and female.  Hence   human male is responsible for the birth of a male child or a female child.  The human female is not responsible for the sex determination of the child.  However, in many Muslim countries the woman is blamed for the birth of a female child as in these countries they welcome the arrival of a male child.

                                  "That He did create in pairs,-male and female,
                            From a seed when lodged (in its place);  Surah Najm(the                                                                                     Star) 53:45-46

To understand Sex determination we need to understand the Chromosomes, particularly the X and Y chromosomes.
The accepted chromosome number for humans in 1935 was forty-eight. The year 1956 is considered to mark the beginning of modern human Cytogenetics. Until this time the number of chromosomes in the normal human cell was considered to be 48. Due to improvements in techniques it was discovered that the correct number is 46 (Tjio and Levan, 1956)
 Reference: Tjio JH, Levan A (1956) The chromosome number of man. Am J Obstet Gynecol 130:723-724   

What is a Chromosome?

A chromosome is composed of a very long molecule of DNA and associated proteins that carry hereditary information. The centromere, which is at the center of the chromosome, is a specialized structure that appears during cell division and ensures the correct distribution of duplicated chromosomes to daughter cells. Telomeres are the structures that seal the end of a chromosome. Telomeres play a critical role in chromosome replication and maintenance by counteracting the tendency of the chromosome to otherwise shorten with each round of replication.  
Chromosomes are composed of protein and DNA, and they are distinct dense bodies found in the nucleus of cells. Genetic information is contained in the DNA of chromosomes in the form of linear sequences of bases (A, T, C, G). The DNA in an individual chromosome is one, long molecule, which is highly coiled and condensed. The total number of bases in all the chromosomes of a human cell is approximately six billion and individual chromosomes range from 50 to 250 million bases. The DNA sequence for a single trait is called a gene. Each chromosome contains a few thousand genes, which range in size from a few thousand bases up to 2 million bases.  
During most of the cell cycle, interphase, the chromosomes are somewhat less condensed and are not visible as individual objects under the light microscope. However during cell division or mitosis, the chromosomes become highly condensed and are then visible as dark distinct bodies within the nuclei of cells. The chromosomes are most easily seen and identified at the metaphase stage of cell division.  
Sex Chromosomes X and Y
Somatic cell  is any cell other than a sperm or egg cell. Somatic cells in humans and most other animals are diploid. Diploid cells  are cells containing two sets of chromosomes.    Each somatic cell in humans contains 46  chromosomes which can be distinguished from one another by their appearance under a microscope. Chromosomes differ in size, position of the centromere, and staining pattern.  A pair of chromosomes that have the same size, centromere position and staining pattern are called Homologous chromosomes (homologues). The chromosomes of a homologous pair carry genes controlling the same inherited traits. Each locus (the position of a gene along the length of a chromosome) is in the same position on homologues.
One exception to homologous chromosomes for human somatic cells is the two distinct sex chromosomes which are important in sex determination. All other chromosomes are referred to as autosomes.  

Sex chromosomes in humans are the X and Y chromosomes.
*  Females have a homologous pair of X chromosomes.
*  Males have one X and one Y chromosomes.
*  Thus, humans have 22 pairs of autosomes and 1 pair of sex chromosomes.  
The special type of cell division that produces haploid cells is called meiosis and occurs only in the gonads (ovaries of the female and testes of the male). Meiosis in humans produces sperm and egg cells which contain 23 chromosomes. When fertilization occurs, the zygote contains 46 chromosomes and is diploid. The process of meiosis and fertilization are unique to sexual reproduction and all sexually reproducing organisms follow a basic pattern of alternation between diploid and haploid conditions. Haploid cell  is a cell that contains a single chromosome set.  
The number of chromosomes in human cells is 46 with 22 autosomal pairs (a total of 44) (one of each type contributed by the mother and one of each type from the father) and 2 sex chromosomes - 2 X chromosomes for females (one from father and one from mother) or an X and a Y chromosome for males (the X from the mother and the Y from the father). Sex chromosomes determine the sex of an organism and some other sex-linked characteristics.
In the process of reproduction, special cells are produced in males and females. Males produce sperm cells and females produce egg cells, or ova. The chromosomal makeup of these cells is interesting. Each sex cell from each parent contains only one member from each pair of chromosomes. Therefore, in ova or egg cells there are 22 autosomes plus an X chromosome. There are two types of sperm cells, each type carrying 22 autosomes plus a gender-determining chromosome, i.e., X or Y.  
The banding of chromosomes by using dyes was discovered in the late 1960's and before that cytogeneticists depended on chromosome length and position of a constriction to identify the individual chromosomes. The band width and the order of bands is characteristic of a particular chromosome - a trained cytogeneticist can identify each chromosome (1,2,3...22, X and Y) by observing its banding pattern under the microscope.

Sex Determination

Sperm and egg cells are called gametes and are distinct from somatic cells with respect to their chromosome number.  Each human gamete contains a single set of 22 autosomes and a sex chromosome (either an X or a Y). Gametes in humans and other organisms are haploid.  
Haploid number: The number of chromosomes in a haploid cell (designated N). The haploid number of humans is 23. Sexual intercourse allows a haploid sperm cell from the father to reach and fuse with an egg cell from the mother in a process called fertilizationFertilization is the fusion of a sperm cell and an egg cell to form a zygote.
Zygote  is a fertilized egg cell  and it contains the two haploid sets of chromosomes from the gametes and is diploid.
Half of the genes carried on the chromosomes are contributed by the mother (set of chromosomes from the egg cell) and half by the father (set of chromosomes from the sperm cell).
During development from a zygote to a sexually mature adult, the zygote's genetic information is passed with precision to all somatic cells by the process of mitosis. Sex organs, which form during development, then produce new gametes which can initiate a new cycle.
A human's sex is predetermined in the sperm gamete (spermatozoa).  The egg gamete mother cell is said to be homogametic, because all its cell possess the XX sex chromosomes. Sperm gametes are deemed heterogametic because around half of them contain the X chromosome and others possess the Y chromosome to compliment the first X chromosome. In light of this, there are two possibilities that can occur during fertilization between male and female gametes, XX and XY. Since sperm are the variable factor (i.e. which sperm fertilizes the egg) they are responsible for determining sex.  

Chromosomes X and Y  
Chromosomes X and Y do not truly make up a homologous pair. They act similarly in their roles, but they are not homologous (the same). The X chromosome in humans is much longer than the Y chromosome and also contains many more genes. These genes are said to be sex linked, due to the fact they are present in one of the sex chromosomes. During fertilization, when the opposing homologous chromosomes come together, the smaller Y chromosome offers no dominance against the 'extra' X-chromosomes as indicated below.  
Sex Linked Characteristics
These sex linked genes on the X chromosome display a number of characteristics. The following are some examples of phenotypes as a result of these genes:
Red-Green colour blindness and  Hemophilia - (a condition which prevents the clotting of the blood)

Humans usually have 46 chromosomes per diploid cell consisting of 22 sets of autosomes and a set of sex chromosomes - either XX or XY. In the usual course of events, individuals with the karyotype 46, XX are female and individuals with 46, XY, are male.

The question arises as to how the sex of an individual is determined. Is sex determined by the number of X-chromosomes - with one X you are male or with 2 X's you are female? Or is sex determined by the presence or absence of the Y chromosome - the presence of a Y makes for a male or the absence of a Y produces a female?
The answer was provided by individuals resulting from non-disjunction of the sex chromosomes. Some individuals have 45 chromosomes and have only one X chromosome; other individuals have 47 chromosomes and have two X-chromosomes and a Y. The table below indicates the sex of these individuals. ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Chromosome Constitution       Name of Syndrome                 Sex of Individual      Frequency in Population
            46, XX                            Normal                                       Female                                 0.511 *
            46, XY                        Normal                                       Male                                    0.489*
            45, XO                            Turner's Syndrome                     Female                                1 in 5,000
            47, XXY                          Klinefelter's Syndrome              Male                                   1 in 700
* Female (46, XX) and Male (46, XY) frequencies taken from US Census projection of July 1, 1966 with no correction for chromosome constitution.
It is clear that the presence of a Y chromosome is necessary for male sexual characteristics to develop.

Sayings of the people of Jannah (Paradise)?

Allah tells us in the Quran about the people of paradise (Jannah) and what they will say once they enter it. According to the Quran:
One of the points to note is that they will say that Allah entered them in Jannah out of “His Grace". It was reported in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said:

“None of you will enter Paradise by virtue of his good deeds.” They said, "Not even you, O Messenger of Allah” He said,

“Not even me, unless Allah encompasses me with His mercy and grace.”
In verse 35, Quran tells us that the people will say, “where toil will touch us not nor weariness will touch us.” According to Ibn Kathir, “the words translated here as "toil” and "weariness” both mean exhaustion, as if what is meant by the negation of both is that neither their bodies nor their souls will become exhausted; and Allah knows best. They used to exhaust themselves in worshipping this world, but their obligations will come to an end when they enter Paradise, where they will enjoy eternal rest and repose. Allah says:

“Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent on before you in days past!” (Quran:69,24)

Talaq-i-Bid'ah 1

Talaq-i-Bid'ah means innovated (or sinful) form of Divorce. It is defined as a divorce which is pronounced thrice in one sitting when the wife is in the state of purity (tuhr), i.e., when man says: "I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you."  The Hanafis believe that though this form of divorce is sinful and innovative, it is nevertheless valid and divorce will take place.  According to the Hanafis when triple divorce is pronounced, the wife will become totally alienated from the husband and he cannot remarry her.  She becomes haram (totally prohibited) for him.  Neither can he take her back nor can he go for fresh nikah with her. He can go for nikah with her only after she marries another person and that person divorces her on account of marital conflict or she becomes a widow.

According to Maulana 'Umar Ahmad 'Usmani this is the position of not only Abu Hanifa but also of Imam Malik and Shafi'i. Imam Shafi'i says this form of divorce is perfectly valid.  It is not innovation (bid'ah).  It is quite proper on the part of the husband to pronounce such a divorce.  No husband can be prevented from adopting a valid course.  Even Imam Ahmad Hanbal's position is the same as that of Imam Hanifa and Imam Malik.  Thus it 'seems that all major founders of four schools of jurisprudence accept the validity of triple divorce.'

But Imam Taymiyyah has proved that Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal had retracted from his earlier position of accepting the validity of triple divorce and in a later period he used to say that when I reflected on the Qur'anic position  I came to the conclusion that it permits only raj'i  Talaq, i.e., divorce in which the wife can be taken back.  He then took the position that even if someone pronounces triple divorce it should be treated as one only. The husband thus will have the right to take his wife back within the 'iddah period or go for nikah if the 'iddah period has expired.  Imam Ahmad's companions and disciples also adopted this position.  Many companions of the Noble Prophet like Ibn Abbas, Hazrat Ali, etc. also were of this opinion. Some have quoted companions like Abdullah bin Mas'ud, Abdur Rahman bin'Auf and Zuber bin al-Awwam also adopting this position. Ahl-e-Hadith also are of this opinion, i.e., that triple divorce is not valid. The Ithna 'Asharis (i.e., twelve Shi'as) and Imamiyas believe that if three divorces are pronounced together, even one divorce does not take place, let alone three.  Even some Hanafi jurists like Hajjaj bin Artat and Muhammad Ibn Muqatil believe that if one pronounces three divorces, no divorce will take place.

Maulana 'Usmani tells us that according to Muhammad Muqatil one of the two opinions of Imam Hanifa was that only one divorce will take place if three divorces are pronounced.  Similarly according to Imam Tilmisani Imam Malik also held the opinion that only one divorce takes place if three divorces are pronounced.  Usmani also quotes from Hafiz Ibn Hajar's Fath al-Bari to the effect that many eminent jurists held that if one pronounces three divorces, only one take place.

From among the 'ulama of later period, Sheikh Shaltut, who was Sheikh al-Azhar, writes in his Fatwa that if one gives three divorces, only one divorce Talaq-i-raj'i will take place and the husband will have the right to take his wife back by saying so or by having sexual contact with her.   Another prominent 'Alim 'Allama Rashid Rida' in his Tafsir al-Manar (Vol. IX, p. 683) has expressed a similar opinion. Another contemporary eminent, Arab 'Alim Shaikh Jamal al-Din al-Qasim has discussed this problem at great length in his book al-Istinas and has concluded that triple divorce has no validity and it should be treated as one divorce only.  Quoting all these authorities Maulana 'Usmani says that triple divorce is not in keeping with the rulings of the Qur'an.

After quoting all these authorities Maulana 'Usmani discusses the whole issue in the light of the Noble Qur'an.  He refers to the Qur'anic verse 2: 229-30, which begins with Al-talaqu marratan, i.e., divorce may be pronounced twice.  He says the word marratan implies a gap between two pronouncements (all Hanafi jurists accept this), which means there should be a large enough time-gap between the two pronouncements of divorce.  Marratan (twice) itself carries this sense.  When we say "I went to your house twice but you were not there" cannot mean one went to his house twice in one go but after some reasonable gap of time.  Once he went, he was not there, then again he went, he was not there.  Thus the act of going had to be accomplished in two different periods of time.  'Usmani then quotes other verses of the Qur'an where the word marratan occurs and explains that everywhere it implies a gap of time in between.

The question is despite triple divorce being sinful, innovative and against the Qur'an will it occur if someone pronounces triple divorce? The second question is did anyone make such mistake (of pronouncing triple divorce) in Prophet's (pbuh) time and did he accept it as triple divorce? Or did he take it to be one divorce only? Lastly, when would the practice of triple divorce start again?

In the Qur'an, nikah is described as misaqan ghaliza, i.e., strong bond and has explained how and with whom one can enter into this strong bond and this strong bond cannot be dissolved without proper reason and method.  It certainly cannot be dissolved whimsically.  A man has to pass through different stages to bring about reconciliation either by persuading his wife to behave properly, or by appointing arbitrators as per Qur'anic injunctions (4:35).  If all this fail only then recourse can be taken to divorce.  Thus, according to the Qur'an, divorce is not an arbitrary and whimsical thing.  The method prescribed by the Qur'an for divorce is that one can give divorce twice only, i.e., on two different occasions and then either he has to keep the woman with kindness or leave her with benevolence.  In pre-Islamic Arab society they used to pronounce divorce even one thousand times and keep the sword of divorce hanging on her head.  The Qur'an disallowed it and permitted pronouncement of divorce only twice.  The Maulana says that even giving divorce in three periods of purity (pronouncing divorce once in every period of purity thrice is also not proved by the Qur'an and is thus prohibited.  Once talaq is pronounced once, it takes place and woman goes out of marital bond at once and is now free to marry other man after completing the period of 'iddah.  Why then pronounce talaq more than once?  For what reason? Repeating the word more than once is just absurd, says the Maulana.  Talaq should not be pronounced more than once in any case.

He then takes up the second question-whether anyone had divorced thrice in the Prophet's period?  And did he accept it?  He then quotes from Sahih Muslim, Imam Abu Da'ud, etc., to show that during the Noble Prophet's time, during Hazrat Abu Bakr's time and for two years during Hazrat 'Umar's time three divorces given at a time were taken as one divorce only.   But after two years of his Khilafat period Hazrat 'Umar again enforced it (i.e., triple divorce) as people were misusing it and there were several complaints. 

Maulana 'Usmani quotes from Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal that once Rukanah pronounced three divorces against his wife but later he was very sorry for it.  When the Prophet (pbuh) asked him, How did you divorce your wife? Rukanah replied that he had pronounced three divorces. The Prophet asked, Did you pronounce it in  one sitting? When he said, Yes, the Noble Prophet said, Treat it as one divorce only and if you want you can take your wife back.  And Rukanah took his wife back.

This hadith of the Prophet narrated by Ibn Abbas is found in Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Da'ud and other authentic collections of Hadith literature.  No one has questioned its authenticity pertaining to marriage, divorce, inheritance or custody of children.  In certain respects his views on the treatment of women differs radically from other traditional jurists.  Also he bases his views entirely on the Qur'an and hadith, nothing else and comes to entirely different conclusions from many other noted traditional jurists.  The Maulana has written his magnum opus Fiqh al-Qur'an in eight volumes.  The book which is written in Urdu is a veritable treasure of Islamic jurisprudence though it is written in a traditional style and full of repetitions.

Maulana 'Usmani points out that Hazrat 'Umar had enforced triple divorce as triple divorce and it had become law. It is within the power of the caliph of the time to enforce certain ordinances in view of the prevailing situation, or to meet some crisis situation and no one can question it.   It is, therefore, possible that Ibn Abbas might have given a fatwa accepting triple divorce after Hazrat 'Umar enforced the ordinance.  The original hadith, accepting  three divorces as one, therefore, is not affected, maintains 'Umar Ahmad 'Usmani.  Thus it is proved by this hadith that during the time of the Noble Prophet triple divorce, if pronounced by someone, was accepted as one divorce only. 

Then the Maulana takes up the third question- when did the triple divorce begin to be accepted as three divorces?  It is well know that Hazrat 'Umar, after the initial two years of his Khilafat, had enforced  triple divorce as triple divorce and no one will be permitted  to take his wife back after pronouncing three divorces in one go.  To substantiate his point the Maulana refers to the noted Egyptian historian Muhammad Husain Haykal's book 'Umar al-Farouq in which the author says that 'Umar made such an ijtihad (interpretation) in what is well established Qur'anic injunction in 2: 229-30 (Divorce is twice … which we have discussed in detail above) that until today we are opposing him in this matter.  The Qur'an requires all attempts for reconciliation before a divorce (4:35)

Then Maulana 'Umar Ahmad further quotes from Haykal's book to show why Hazrat 'Umar was constrained to enforce triple divorce despite the Qur'anic injunction contrary to it.  Muhammad Haykal says that when the Arabs conquered Iraq, Syria, Egypt, etc., the women prisoners from these regions were brought to Mecca and Medina.  These women were very attractive and charming and the Arabs were captivated by their charm and wanted to marry them.  But these women insisted on the men giving irreconcilable divorce to their former wives.  To satisfy them they would pronounce triple divorce and pretend to having divorced their wives for good.

1.     Maulana 'Umar Ahmad 'Usmani and Women's Rights in The Qur'an, Women and Modern Society, Asghar Ali Engineer, Select Books, India, 1999

Music and language are uniquely human. A world without either would be hard to imagine. "Both language and music are characteristics of the human species that seem to be universal," says the book The Musical Mind. They are aspects of our need to communicate. So it could be said that, as is true of language, when music "speaks" our emotions "listen." Music resounds through creation from the blowing wind, to the chirping birds, to the human voice and the tune of the harp. Music naturally occurs. The three great elemental sounds of Nature are music. Is the sound of rain, the sound of wind, and the sound of the ocean on a beach not reminiscent of an awe-inspiring rhythm? The sound produced by a rivulet cascading merrily over pebbles and stones, is music. Scientists are finding that the human brain is pre-wired for music ("Music on the Mind" by Sharon Begley. Newsweek, July 24, 2000, pp.50-52) Music is a marvelous and extremely powerful tool. The Qur'an is music. When the Qur'an is intoned with ilhaan and tajweed: is that not music? The recitation of the sacred Qur'anic text in rhythmic tones brought into being and developed the religious music of Al-Islam; this was a new branch of music. All throughout the Noble Book are images of music, such as trumpets blasting, thunder, angels singing praises, voices calling. The Arabic language lends to its prose a sweetness and melody. The Qur'an recited by the master chanter or Qari, is heard daily in many parts of the world; it is unequaled in charm and harmony. Music is one of Allah's great gifts to man, a means of rejoicing unto thy Lord, and can be used as a healing to the body, mind and spirit. Music relaxation training is used to treat many stress-related illnesses that include high blood pressure, migraine headaches and ulcers. It has direct physiological effects on people. It can make us relax or remember, or have all sorts of feelings. Music can transform an environment by changing our state of mind. The harp has long been recognized as an instrument for healing and calming the mind. It is important to use music to educate, to heal, to inspire and to unite. 

Is Music Permissible? 
The question whether music is permissible at all began to be debated in the first century of Islam and the debate has continued to the present day. This debate has filled thousands of pages. Early religious authorities had opposed music due to the role it had played in society. This 'new music' was related more and more with a life of pleasure and a taste of luxury. It procured connotations of flightiness and sensual indulgence, reinforced by the participation of women in music-making and by the dancing (often considered obscene) and the drinking of intoxicating beverages that were associated with it. Even the two sacred cities of Makkah and Madinah were not invulnerable from these temptations, and indeed they quickly became authentic centers of entertainment. Islamic music is divided into six periods. During the first period of Islam, and particularly during the reigns of the last two Khulafa-e-Rashideen (the rightly guided Caliphs), Hadrat Uthman(RA) and Hadrat Imam Ali(RA), Madinah became the center of intense musical activity. Despite frequent campaigns against music by the religious authorities, professional musicians were welcomed in the houses of the rich and noble, and encouraged by lavish rewards. These musicians were mainly freed slaves of Persian origin, such as Tuwais (d. 92 AH/710 AD) and Khathir (d 64 AH/683 AD), who is said to have taught Arabic music to Nasheet, the Persian slave who became a famous musician. Among the female musicians of Arab origin 'Azza al-Mayla (d. 86 AH/705 AD) occupies the first place. Her house was a real cultural salon, visited by the literary and musical elite. Some of the rhythmical modes began to crystallize during this period; its most characteristic type of song is called the al-ghina' al-mutqan. (REF. The Dimension of Sound by A. Shiloah in The World of Islam, Ed. Bernard Lewis, Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, pp. 161-180, 1976) 
Under the Umayyads the center of musical interest moved to the new capital, Damascus. Some of the caliphs (Khulafa) had a real passion for music; consequently musical activity increased, musicians multiplied and their social status rose. With the Abbasid dynasty the capital shifted to Baghdad. Here, during the next two centuries, Islamic music attained its highest point. This was its golden age. Musicians continued to enjoy favor at the caliphs' court and to play an important part in the country's cultural life. Society was eager for knowledge of all kinds. The study of music was now obligatory for every educated man, part of the encyclopedic learning he was expected to acquire, and in the intellectual flowering, which reached a climax in the IV/10th century music played a role. At the same time, the musician was expected to be widely cultured. Music itself became highly sophisticated and began to be the subject of learned controversies between thinkers with different artistic conceptions. The melodic and rhythmic modes were definitively codified. Theories were evolved, practice described. Instruments themselves were perfected and standards of performance rose even higher. Among the great musicians were Ibn Misjah (d.169 AH/ 785 AD), Ibn Muhriz (d, 97 AH/ 715 AD), Ibn Surayj (13-108 AH/634-726AD), al-Gharid (d. 106 AH/724 AD), Siyyat (d. 169 AH/785 AD), Zalzaal (d. 175 AH/791 AD), Mukhariq (d. 229 AH/845 AD), 'Alluya and 'Amr ibn Baanaa (d 278 AH/891 AD). Distinguished female singers were Basbas, 'Ubayda, Shariyya, Dananir and Mahbuba. In Muslim Spain music continued to play a prominent part in spite of the worsening political situation. 
The greatest of Arabic theorists, al-Farabi (d. 339 AH/ 950 AD), wrote in his Kitab al-Musiqi al-Kabir: 'Theory did not appear until practice had already achieved its highest development.' This was certainly the case by his own time. 

There was no clear line of separation between sacred and secular music, and sacred music itself has throughout its long history oscillated between art and folk music. According to some of the traditions, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) approved the folk music and not the art music. Consequently art music was completely banished. 
The Qur'an is the only text that proclaims absolute Divine Laws, "Shari'ah". What is haram is clearly haram and what is halal is clearly halal. On the theological level, the authorities to which the two sides appeal are the Qur'an, the Hadith, the writings of religious leaders, the opinions of mystics and legal precedents. The Qur'an provides no specific verdict one way or the other, so it was the hadith which was the main source of ammunition. Literal interpretation of texts was reinforced by reasoning by analogy.  
Imam Al-Ghazali (d.505 AH/1111 AD) makes brilliant use of this method and the chapter devoted to music in his Ihya Ulum al-Deen (Vivification of the Religious Sciences) is a masterpiece. In it he says that there is something wrong with the man or woman who does not like music. He declared " One who is not moved by music is unsound of mind and intemperate; is far from spirituality and is denser than birds and beasts: because everyone is affected by melodious sounds." (ASK Joommal, Al-Balaagh, Supplement to August/September, 1985)
An African Muslim named Sa'id, who traveled widely, translated the songs of other countries into Arabic, and first worked out the system which became classic for Arabic music. 

Singing has always been the most common and most loved form of music, partly no doubt because of the Arabs' fondness for poetry. Good songs and poetry have been in Islamic culture since the time of the Prophet (pbuh), and who himself listened to good poetry and encouraged Hassan bin Thabit (known as the Poet of the Prophet) to say the poetry in the praise of Allah and in the honor of His Religion and His messenger. Most often simple instruments accompany it. Early Muslims studied theories of sound and music, and the rhythmic measuring of music was practiced among the Arabs long before it was known in Europe and the use of the baton goes back to the eighth century, so the modern Drum Major is all unconsciously in their debt. They knew nothing of harmony and made little use of accent, but they adorned the melody by a comparison note now and again, which perhaps prepared the way for harmony, later developed in the West.  
Since instrumental music was a part of pagan ways of worship, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) forbade it to his followers, saying it was "the devil's muezzin, calling men to worship him." 
His objections were soon ignored. Military bands accompanied armies and shared in the celebration of victories. They had drums, kettle-drums, pipes of many sorts, cymbals, and tambourines. Making musical instruments became a fine art. 

The lute was the earliest stringed instrument; it was of many shapes and sizes. Then came the guitar-qitara, the harp, and the rabab, an instrument played with a bow. Skilled players could drive away fears and depression, as the young shepherd Prophet David (Dawood-peace be upon him) for King Saul. More modest fiddlers played at weddings, raveling from village, to village, as they do today using the same instruments.  
Makkah and Madinah became centers of music. Musicians in gala attire accompanied the pilgrimage processions to Makkah, rivaling in interest even the festivities of the Hajj itself, for the people believed that rejoicing with music and companionship was preparation for he ecstasy of the sacred celebration.
(REF: Allah-the God of Islam, Muslim Life and Worship by Florence Mary Fitch, published by Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Co., Inc. New York, 1950 p.90) 
Are Music and Singing Haram? 
The following excerpts are taken from: Sharif Khan, " Music and Singing in Islam (Submission) The true Islam," in the Web pages of Submitters (www.submission.org/music.html). 

One of the most outrageous statements by some of the Muslims who refuse to accept the law of God in the Quran is that music and singing are haram (Prohibited). The sincere Muslim who is following the Quran will not find in the Quran ANY PROHIBITION OF MUSIC OR SINGING. Quran is the book that God calls COMPLETE, PERFECT and FULLY DETAILED. God, the Most Merciful, NEVER prohibited music or singing in the Quran, but some scholars and their followers did, despite their knowledge with the Quran. The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), lived by, ruled by, preached and followed the Quran. God is the ONLY source of law (Qur'an, 6:114). No one can prohibit what God did not (Qur'an, 66:1). When the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) once did, God admonished him in public to remind the believers that ONLY GOD can prohibit. (See Qur'an, 66:1 and 33:37).  
The prohibition of Music and singing cannot be found in the Quran because God did not prohibit them. The list of prohibitions in the Quran does not include Music or singing.  
"Say, "Who prohibited the nice things God has created for His creatures, and the good provisions?" Say,"such provisions are to be enjoyed in THIS life by those who BELIEVE. Moreover, the good provisions will be exclusively theirs on the Day of resurrection." We thus explain the revelations for people who know." (QUR'AN, 7:32). 
Now and before responding to those Muslims who claim that Music and singing are Haram, let us ponder for few seconds at our universe and the way God created this world. While we might remember that Galileo once said, "Mathematics is the language in which God wrote the universe." it may be fair enough to say that Music is the basic sound of that universe.  

Any keen observer of the universe will realize that the whole universe was created with music in every corner of it. Our heart beats, bowel sounds, breath sounds, the sound of our blood flow or even our brain waves are but music. The birds, the dolphins, the animals, the trees, the rain, the oceans, the wind and the clouds are all created with their own music. Those who are blind in the heart and deaf to the truth do not and cannot understand that music is in every corner of their universe. With music in every thing around us, it is naive to think that the One God who created all this music prohibited it. One of the most valuable gifts given to man is the voice box or the larynx, which is in reality a music box. It is one important instrument that allows us to communicate with each other and with other creatures around us. The arrival of the newborn to this life is announced by his/her scream, the best music to the mother's ear.  

(1) First, it is interesting to see the inverted logic of these people. After finding no proof in the Quran to prohibit music, by their own admission, they resort to the weaker sources one after the other to prove what they could not find in the Quran. This is almost like failing to have the approval of the president of the country on a matter, so they get the approval of his house keeper. If they fail, then they get the approval of his servant who cleans his room then claim that the approval they have is the approval of the president. Those who refuse to accept the Quran as a complete book for this religion, are led by Satan into inventing all kinds of laws from sources outside the Quran.
(2) In every verse they used in an attempt to prove that music is Haram, they ended by concluding that the verse does not really prohibit Music. Despite that, they never got the message that God DID NOT PROHIBIT MUSIC OR SINGING. They also failed to understand that prohibition laws ONLY COME from God. When the prophet Muhammed (pbuh) gave any prohibitions it was FROM THE QURAN ONLY, and was not from his own. Here are the verses that they claim to prohibit music and singing:
a)Allah addresses the disbelievers of the Quraysh as follows,
 "Do you marvel at this statement, and laugh and do not weep, while you amuse yourselves (proudly) in vanities? Rather, prostrate before Allah and worship Him."(Qur'an, 53:59-62)  

Because of the statement "amuse yourselves" these Muslims twisted the words and the logic to make a conclusion that music and singing is what is meant here. The word is general and indicates that any kind of amusement that keeps you from paying your duties to God is leading you to commit a sin. It does not make it haram or prohibited. If you amuse yourself by watching Baseball while forgetting to do your Salat-prayers on time then you are committing a sin but this does not make Baseball haram. If you amuse yourself by playing games with your children while forgetting to pray on time you are committing a sin but playing with your children will not be haram. If you listen to music or singing and forget to do your prayers then you commit a sin but music does not become haram. Remember that music is like air and water, it is not haram per se, but the way it is used in certain circumstances will control its status then. These group of Muslims find in human beings like sahaba, tabi'in, and later scholars of tafseer to prohibit for them what God did not. Al-Qurtubi, At-Tabari, Ibn Abbas, Al-Hasan, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Ibn Jareer... etc. are more important to these people than Allah (SWT). 

a) Allah (SWT) addresses Satan thus;
 "And excite any of them whom you can with your voice. Assault them with your cavalry and infantry, be a partner with them in their wealth and children, and make them promises. But Satan promises nothing but deceit" (Qur'an, 17:64)  

Using this verse as a proof of prohibition of music and singing shows only how naive and misguided are these people. No intelligent human being can accept the voice here as pointing to music and singing. It is clear from this verse that there is no prohibition here. They quote here Ibn Abbas, as saying "the voice mentioned in the verse refers to any form of invitation which calls to disobedience to Allah." If this form of invitation is "talking nicely" to someone to make him/her disobey Allah, this does not make "talking nicely" haram. If the invitation here is accompanied by music or singing, this does not make the music or singing haram but rather it is the invitation to disobey God in any form that is haram. They do not like what God says in the Quran, but find nothing wrong in listening to Ibn Abbas even if they do not know who Ibn Abbas is.  

b) The third verse, and the one most often referred to as evidence of the prohibition of music and singing (according to them) is found is Sura Luqman.  

"And there are among men those who purchase idle talk in order to mislead others from Allah's path without knowledge, and those who throw ridicule upon it. For such there will be a humiliating punishment." (31:6)  

Again, like the previous verse, using the statement "idle-talk" (lahwal hadeeth) to condemn music and singing is clearly corrupt. Idle-talk or idle-tales, can be any form of talk and not necessarily singing and music. Even a tale or story can be constructive and enlightening or idle, false and mischievous. The Arabic word for music is "musiqah". Musiqah means music. Hadeeth means tales. Are the learned Ulama suggesting that Allah (SWT) would use one word when he meant another? Allama Yusuf Ali in his commentary on the words "lahwal hadeeth" in the Qur'an 31:6, in his note 3584 says, " Life is taken seriously by men who realize the issues that hang upon it. But there are men of a frivolous turn of mind who prefer idle tales to true Realities and they are justly rebuked here. In the time of the holy Prophet there was a pagan, Nadhr ibn al-Haarith who preferred Persian romances to the Message of God, and turned away ignorant men from the preaching of God's Word". The Qur'an never mentions anywhere that music is haram. 

NOW THAT QURAN DOES NOT PROHIBIT MUSIC OR SINGING, these people looked for other sources to do this for them. A look at what they claimed as hadith of the prophet (pbuh) will show their misguidance and confusion. Here is an example of what these people quote and claimed it to the prophet which is a clear lie. The prophet (pbuh) cannot deviate from the Quran.  
  • "The Prophet (SAWS) said, "There will be (at some future time) people from my ummah (community of Muslims) who will seek to make lawful: fornication, the wearing of silk (by men), wine-drinking, and the use of musical instruments (ma'azif). Some people will stay at the side of a mountain and when their shepherd comes in the evening to ask them for his needs, they will say, 'return to us tomorrow.' Then Allah will destroy them during the night by causing the mountain to fall on them, while he changes others into apes and swine. They will remain in such a state until the Day of Resurrection. (related by Imam Al-Bukhari in Fat-hul Baari, graded sahih) .

  • First, Allah (SWT) teaches us in the Qur'an that the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) did not know the future. This will immediately expose the falsehood of this hadith and similar ones and expose the hypocrisy of those who claim to be Muslims but refuse to believe Allah (SWT) in the Qur'an. Allah (SWT) told them Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) did not know the future.
    The Jewish Rabbis of Yathrib had instructed the idolaters to ask Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) " of some youth who were of old, what was their fate? " of a much-traveled man who reached the sunrise regions of the earth and the sunset regions thereof, what was his history?" And " of Spirit, what it is" as a test of his Prophethood. Verses 60-82 of Surah Al-Kahf (The Cave) and verse 85 of Surah Bani Israel or Al-Isra were revealed to Prophet Muhammad to answer these questions. Furthermore nobody knows when Aakhira (the Last Day) will occur. 
"Say (O Muhammed), "I have no power to benefit myself, or harm myself. Only what God wills happen to me. If I KNEW THE FUTURE, I would have increased my wealth, and no harm would have afflicted me. I am no more than a warner, and a bearer of good news for those who believe."(Qur'an, 7:188). 

"Say (O Muhammed), "I am not different from other messengers, I have NO IDEA what will happen to ME OR TO YOU. I ONLY follow what is revealed to me. I am NO MORE than a profound warner." (Qur'an, 46:9) 

  • SECOND, For the past 1400 years there have been millions who listened to music and songs without mountains falling on top of them or turning into apes and pigs. What will happen to millions of people, who are turning to their computers now, will they turn into pigs and monkeys because their computers have all kinds of music built into them?

Those who really appreciate music and the beautiful voices that God created, are more appreciative of God's creations and closer to God than those who prohibit what God did not and see evil in every beautiful creation of God.  

"Say, "Who prohibited the nice things God has created for His creatures, and the good provisions?" Say,"such provisions are to be enjoyed in THIS life by those who BELIEVE. Moreover, the good provisions will be exclusively theirs on the Day of resurrection." We thus explain the revelations for people who know." (QURAN, 7:32). 

It is these Muslims who prohibit which is not unlawful, who will be surprised on the Last Day that the prophet Muhammed (pbuh) will complain to God form them because they deserted the Qur'an (Qur'an, 25:30).  

MUSIC AND SINGING WERE NEVER PROHIBTED BY GOD. They are part of the most beautiful creations of God. As long as they do not call on the people or encourage them to commit sins, they are for the TRUE BELIEVERS TO ENJOY while remembering God with every beautiful note or rhythm.
La Elaha Ella Allah, There is no god besides God. Is it time yet to wake up and follow the QUR'AN, instead of following the man-made laws? (REF: Sharif Khan, Music and Singing in Islam (Submission) The true Islam, in the Web pages of Submitters (www.submission.org/music.html)

Shaikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi in his well-known book, "The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam", (American Trust Publications, Indianapolis, 1980, pp.300-304) says, " Among the entertainments which may comfort the soul, please the heart, and refresh the ear is singing. Islam permits singing under the condition that it not be in anyway obscene or harmful to Islamic morals. There is no harm in its being accompanied by music, which is not exciting. In order to create an atmosphere of joy and happiness, singing is recommended on festive occasions such as the days of "Eid, weddings and wedding feasts, births, 'aqiqat (the celebration of the birth of a baby by the slaughter of sheep), and on the return of the traveler." He continues "It is reported that many Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) as well as second generation Muslim scholars used to listen to singing and did not see anything wrong with it. As for the ahadith which have been reported against singing, they are all weak and have been shown by researchers to be unsound. The jurist Abu Bakr al-'Arabi says, "No sound hadith is available concerning the prohibition of singing," while Ibn Hazm says, "All that is reported on this subject is false and fabricated." 
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui, President of ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) says, "Imam Shawkani in his famous Nail al-Awtar (vol.8 pp.260-271) has mentioned that some Sahabah, the Companions of the Prophet, used to listen to music. He even wrote a book with the title, "Ibtal Da'wa Al-Ijma' 'ala Tahrim Mutlaq al-Sama' " (The Refutation of the Alleged Claim of Consensus on the Absolute Prohibition of Music and Songs). While it is not right to say that all music is prohibited in Islam, it is important to use great discretion in the case of music. A lot of music that is available in the markets now days are very dangerous and harmful. Muslim youth should be extremely careful. There are, however, some Muslim groups in different countries who are developing songs that are very good, enjoyable, entertaining, and have good positive message." 
The music industry in America today is a multibillion-dollar business. Popular musicians and their promoters are making a great deal of money. However, it is a fact that unhappiness, premature death, and suicide have marked the lives of some very successful musicians. Our own Yusuf Al-Islam can testify to this fact from his own life experience. And it has been adequately demonstrated that some music is morally, emotionally, and spiritually debasing and can lead to violent, antisocial behavior. Hence it is important to have a balanced view of music. Some music can enrich one's life and bring a measure of joy and contentment. It can uplift us emotionally and spiritually. The ancient Hebrews did not read the psalms in the Torah, they sang them. Often they did so with beautiful musical accompaniment- a powerful way to link the wisdom of their God, with the emotions that trained singers could impart to the listeners. Spiritual music (Samaa') is the strength of the soul. Spiritual music is a specific cure of all desires. He, who hears it faithfully, finds the way to God; he who hears it to satisfy his sensual appetite turns a heretic. For Muslims the melodious recitation of the Qur'an is embedding more deeply in the hearts of the listeners, the knowledge of Allah, and Taqwa which are needed to guide our lives. In this 21-century world, which emphasizes education in science, economics, and logic, the development of the emotional side of personality through the arts is often neglected. Listening to a piece of fine music can be a beneficial and pleasurable experience. Of course, as with other good things in life, there is a need for moderation, good judgement, and selectivity in this area of entertainment (music). This is true not only in the type of music chosen but also in the amount of time spent in listening to or playing music.  
Music is one of the great provisions from God that we should be grateful for. We should use it and enjoy it, like we enjoy all the other provisions. Indulgence in eating favorite food or drinking favorite juice to the point that one does not have time to do the required duties towards Allah (SWT), then one is committing a sin. Hence food and drinks would not become haram (prohibited). If one indulges in any kind of music or singing that occupies one at the expense of remembering Allah (SWT), then one is committing a sin. However the music itself does not become haram (prohibited). If someone sings a song encouraging corruption or misbehavior then listening to that song intentionally may be a sin but this does not make all singing haram (prohibited). It is true that many of the songs and lyrics we hear these days are disturbing but this does not make music or singing haram, it makes these specific songs undesirable and should be avoided. (Sharif Khan, ibid). 

If a certain type of music is beginning to have a negative effect on your emotions, actions, and relationships, then select another style. Protect your ears to protect your emotions to protect your heart and mind! If we should ever find that through the power of music, our emotions are beginning to becloud our critical judgement and reason and misdirect our actions, and then it is time to change our music-listening habits. The power of music can affect your heart and your mind-either for good or for bad! Without music, the world will be quiet, desolate, and lifeless, like a graveyard. On the issue of music, prominent Muslim jurists, such as Imam Ibn Hazm, Imam Ghazali, Imam Mufti Muhammad Abduhu and Shaikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi have held the opinion that good music is good and bad music is bad. If music promotes corruption and evil, it is not accepted. However, if it promotes sensitivity and a sense of beauty, then there is no harm.
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