Qawwali - Is It Permitted in Islam?
  • Question:

    Musical instruments in Islam are prohibited because of the fact that they bring you further away from God. Are qawwalis permitted in Islam as they contain musical instruments , and are they a type of zikr?

    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question.

    Listening to Islamic songs, qawwalis and nashīds is permissible provided the songs are not accompanied by musical instruments [other than the tambourine (duff)]. The songs should not contain questionable lyrics. If the acceptable nashīds and songs remind one of Allāh through its words and lyrics, then it can be a form of Dhikr.

    Some jurists limit the permissibility of listening to nashīds only at special occasions such as weddings.

    `Ᾱmir ibn Sa’d reported, “I visited Qurdha ibn Kā`b and Abū Mas’ūd Al Anṣāri during a wedding ceremony and there were young girls [in their presence] who were singing. I expressed, “You two are the Companions of Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) and among the participants of Badr and this is being done in your presence?” They both responded, “You may sit down if you like and listen with us and if you wish you may leave. We have been permitted to have entertainment at weddings.” [Sunan Al Nasa’ī]

    The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said, “There will appear people in my community, who will hold adultery, silk, alcohol and musical instruments to be lawful.” (Bukhārī)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah Institute
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