Q. I am a teacher and I am on the training workshop for Standard 4 and 5 teachers. I have an "idea" as to the restrictions or rather prohibitions regarding music and dance in Islam. However, I would like to be certain of the rules and the reason for them so that I can convey this clearly to the authorities because I do not want to compromise my religion, neither do I want to teach something that is haraam. Can you please state the laws regarding this for me? I would also like to know whether there are any instruments that we are allowed to play. Also, is the duff the equivalent to what we know as the modern day drum or is it different, and if it is, can we use/play this?
A. The four schools of law have stated that it is Haraam (unlawful) to use instruments which brings about entertainment, amusement and melody, like sticks, string instruments like the mandolin, piano, bass drum, drum, tabla, (drumming, drumbeat), single pipe instrument, the fiddle, etc.
As for creating special sound effects from the throat, this is also totally Haraam according to all scholars. They have stated that the one who does this is a Faasiq. (Al Fiqhul Islami Vol. 4 Pg. 2665)
In the famous and renowned book of Islamic Law, ‘Raddul Muktar’, it is stated that all musical instruments are forbidden. ( Raddul Muktar Vol. 6 Pg. 348)
As for the ‘steel pan’, this is also forbidden since it is used to create amusement, entertainment and by extension musical sounds.
The prohibition of this can be clearly seen from the fact that the act of beating sticks to create a melody or sound is forbidden, as such, to a greater extent the steel pan will be forbidden. In this regard the jurists have stated, ‘The allowance to beat the Daff for Nikah’ does not bring about the allowance to use other things like the beating of sticks etc. (Umdatul Qaari – Commentary of Saheeh Al Bukhari Vol. 3 pg. 271)
In the famous book of Islamic Verdicts, Fatawa Bazaziya it is written ‘To listen to drums, tabla, etc. is totally Unlawful and it is sinful’. It is also an act of transgression (sin) to sit at such places where these can be heard’. (Al Halaal wal Haraam pg. 240)
With respect to the usage of the Daff, (or Duff) it is permissible to use for weddings and other happy (allowable) occasions. However, it must be noted that the Daff is a special small drum, called a tambourine which is sealed at one end. It must not be beaten to create a resounding sound and it should not be used for entertainment and amusement. If it is beaten in this manner then it would not be permissible. The drum that is sealed at both ends is the Tabl (or Tabla) and is not permissible.
With respect to ‘dancing’ which is presently being taught in schools and that which is practiced as ‘dancing’ in the society with musical instruments and songs, and the open intermingling of the sexes, this is totally prohibited in Islam.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan