"It's a chain reaction – when people listen to music, they ask for alcohol, which will lead to adultery." Yep. Happens every time. "Music has magic, it gets in your blood and makes you want to get up and dance and forget your personality. Your butt is shaking and she's going to get up and her butt is going to shake – where is the religion then?" Where indeed? That's why Muhammad -- and Lenin -- hated music.
Anyway, this Muslim music festival is going to go on, even though the imams are against music. But what is striking is that fact -- that they're against music. Whenever I have pointed out Muhammad's prohibition of music, I'm accused of being a racist, bigoted Islamophobe, ignorant of the true teachings of Islam. So how did racist, bigoted Islamophobes, ignorant of the true teachings of Islam, become the imams of Sacramento's two biggest mosques?
Hadith Qudsi 19:5: "The Prophet said that Allah commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance." (The Hadith Qudsi, or holy Hadith, are those in which Muhammad transmits the words of Allah, although those words are not in the Qur'an.)
Muhammad also said:
(1) "Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance."
(2) "On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress."
(3) "Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage."
(4) "This community will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones." Someone asked, "When will this be, O Messenger of Allah?" and he said, "When songstresses and musical instruments appear and wine is held to be lawful."
(5) "There will be peoples of my Community who will hold fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful ...." -- 'Umdat al-Salik r40.0
"Hip-hop, poetry, singers, classical music to star in Muslim event," by Stephen Magagnini for the Sacramento Bee, June 15 (thanks to Karl):
Muslim hip-hop artists, poets, singers and classical musicians will perform today at the Crest Theatre in "An Islamic Expression of Traditional & Contemporary Art."
The event – perhaps the first of its kind in the nation – challenges the belief among some orthodox Muslims that music can lead to sinful behavior.
"It's kind of risky.
It's not really all that risky. Music can get you murdered in Afghanistan, threatened with mutilation in Mali, killed in a car chase in Saudi Arabia, thrashed and your musical instruments smashed in Pakistan, but in Sacramento? No big deal.
It's something we have not done before," said Imam M.A. Azeez of Salam Islamic Center, which organized the evening at the Crest. "It represents a paradigm shift in the Muslim community. Kids are listening to this stuff, so why not be proactive and expose them to beautiful, inspiring music that promotes love of religion and country?"
The imams of Sacramento's two biggest mosques declared that music is not permissible according to the Prophet Muhammad, Allah's messenger.
"It's a chain reaction – when people listen to music, they ask for alcohol, which will lead to adultery," said Imam Mahmoud Abdel of Masjid Annur Islamic Center. "One step leads to another in the majority of cases. It's well known that anybody who listens to music a lot will be distracted from his or her mission, which is worshipping God Almighty."
Imam Mumtaz Qasmi of Sacramento's Downtown Mosque said there's not a mosque in the world that allows music. "So how can we allow it outside the mosque?" he asked.
The only instrument the Prophet Muhammad allowed was a tabla, or drum, and not more than two at a time, Qasmi said.
The tabla – which will be played at the Crest – "can make you feel relaxed, but nowadays there are hundreds of instruments, and music actually makes you high, 100 percent," Qasmi said. "Music has magic, it gets in your blood and makes you want to get up and dance and forget your personality. Your butt is shaking and she's going to get up and her butt is going to shake – where is the religion then?"
Azeez said there will be no dancing at the Crest performances. Ever since he was a boy in Egypt, he said, he has run into clerics who think "there's something wrong with music and people's natural desires and inclinations to enjoy music and poetry – there's a belief that it is synonymous with sin."
He recalls his parents listening "to the greatest singer in the Muslim world, Oum Kolthoum, even though the imam at our mosque said it's not permissible."
Waterfalls, winds and birds all make music, Azeez said. "Why would God be angry with the beautiful sounds of nature? There's nothing conclusive in the Quran that states music is inherently wrong."
There are stories of how political leaders used singers to sway people from following the Quran, or settings where music was performed "and really bad things took place, like the inappropriate mingling of genders, drinking or fornication," Azeez said.
Songs that have profanity or objectify women and dances meant to highlight sexuality aren't acceptable, Azeez said. "Why not present an alternative? Instead of listening to rap music filled with filth, why not listen to clean rap?"
There's no Muslim-world consensus on music, said community leader Rashid Ahmed, a former president of the Downtown Mosque.
"Music certainly has the power to change your state of mind like drugs, and can motivate you to do things you might not normally do," Ahmed said.
But the prohibition against music is not nearly as strict as that against alcohol or pork, Ahmed said. "Even the Prophet Mohammed allowed children to sing for him, and permitted music at weddings or other special celebrations."
Many Muslim countries, from Egypt to Iraq, boast pop stars with glitzy stage shows and huge followings.
In the Sufi Muslim tradition still going strong in Pakistan, India and other countries, music plays a central role in prayer, Ahmed said.
Still, the event at the Crest featuring Islamic rap, or strong social commentary, represents a break from standard Muslim practices, Ahmed said.
Event organizer Rihana Ahmad said the goal is to bridge the generation gap and show the community that all kinds of music from punk to traditional can be found in Islam nowadays.