MALICIOUS MUSIC

by Amina Ashraf

Like most Muslims, I used to listen to music a lot. I was in chorus for four years and girls’ ensemble for a year. We performed for the school and different competitions. I studied music for a very long time. Then one day I was reading the Quran and noticed in the commentary the following hadith:

It was reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaari and elsewhere that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that there would be among his ummah those who would allow zinaa, silk, alcohol and musical instruments, and he said that they would be transformed into monkeys and pigs.

I was completely shocked. Okay, maybe listening to music wasn’t as good as listening to Quran, but was it really that bad? Was it really haraam? Why did the Prophet (S) list it with such major sins like zina and alcohol?!

After doing more research on music, I realized that musical instruments are haraam in Islam, with the exception of the duff (read below for evidences). So to make it easier to stop, I threw away my CDs, cassette tapes (I know, I’m old), and deleted the songs off my computer. Even then it was hard to get away from music because it was everywhere! You hear it in the stores, at weddings, on the phone when you’re put on hold for 2 hours, etc.

In sha Allah we will only be held accountable for what we can control. Even though we can’t stop the music all over the world, we need to do the best we can and make sure we don’t make an effort to listen to it ourselves. Even in the stores, I do my best to think of something else or do dhikr to drown out the music. But you know what the scary part is? It’s still going in your subconscious! The scholars have called music the voice of Shaytan. Can you imagine Shaytan taking over your brain and you don’t even realize it?!

music-brain

So instead of listening to music, I started listening to nasheed (Islamic songs without music). Unfortunately, I started getting nasheeds stuck in my head while I was forgetting verses of the Quran I had memorized. So alhumdulilah I stopped listening to nasheeds as well and stuck with the Quran. May Allah help us all do what is pleasing to him. (Note: Nasheed with no haraam wording or music are only allowed under certain conditions. Please watch Abu Mussab’s lecture below for details.)

I remember doing a research paper for my Psych Lab course in college about the effects of music vs. the Quran on the brain. I found studies that had correlations between music and negative behavior and emotions. When people listened to rock music with negative lyrics, the listeners became violent themselves. Some songs that were very depressing and spoke of suicide influenced people to become depressed or commit suicide themselves!

I came across four studies that showed that the Quran helps the brain relax and can be more effective than music and other sounds for therapy. These were the findings:

  1. Baharudin and Sumari (2010) studied Malaysian working women’s level of stress and found that they felt more relaxed and less stressed when listening to Quran than listening to nature sounds.
  2. Abdullah and Omar’s (2011) experiment revealed from brain imaging that the brain was most relaxed when listening to Quran compared to when listening to hard music or just resting.
  3. Ahmad et. al (2010) showed that a group of students had increased positive emotions and decreased negative emotions after listening to the Quran compared to the group that listened to music.
  4. Zulkurnaini et. al (2012) conducted a similar experiment as Abdullah and Omar, but instead of hard music, they compared EEG signals from Quran and classical music. They also found that there were more alpha waves during the Quran recitation, meaning the brain was more relaxed.

But some forms of music showed some benefit and that is why they are used in music therapy. We have to remember even when studies show that music is beneficial that Allah said in the Quran:

They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.” (Surah Baqarah 2:219)

So even if some benefits are found in music, the harm is far greater. Plus, one of my non-Muslim friends who works as a music therapist told me it’s not necessarily the music that heals, but the fond memories from the music that helps people feel better.

I’ll end by sharing two true stories. There was a young man in a Muslim country who had the habit of listening to the Quran in the car. One day he had a terrible car accident and was taken to the hospital. His family urged him to say the shahadah when he was dying, and alhumdulilah he died reciting the Quran. Similarly, there was a Muslim youth who always listened to music in the car. He also had a fatal accident. When his family encouraged him to say the shahadah, he passed away singing songs. Think about it: one of the guy’s final deeds on earth was listening to Allah and the other listening to Shaytan. Which one will we choose?

*Let me know if you want to read the four studies on music and Quran. I can email them to you in sha Allah

*If you’re interested in learning more, there are many lectures on youtube. Here are two good ones alhumdulilah.

End of Music by Kamal el-Mekki: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vtkXdi61k0

The Classical Hit by Abu Mussab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp5KFGFl1hU


EVIDENCES:

Praise be to Allaah.

MEANING OF MUSIC

Ma’aazif is the plural of mi’zafah, and refers to musical instruments and singing.

QURAN

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing) to mislead (men) from the path of Allaah…” [Luqmaan 31:6]

Al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: this includes all manner of haraam speech, all idle talk and falsehood, and all nonsense that encourages kufr and disobedience; the words of those who say things to refute the truth and argue in support of falsehood to defeat the truth; and backbiting, slander, lies, insults and curses; the singing and musical instruments of the Shaytaan; and musical instruments which are of no spiritual or worldly benefit. (Tafseer al-Sa’di, 6/150)

“[Allaah said to Iblees:] And befool them gradually those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e. songs, music, and any other call for Allaah’s disobedience)…” [al-Israa’ 17:64]

It was narrated that Mujaahid (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “And befool them gradually those whom you can among them with your voice” – his voice [the voice of Iblees/Shaytaan] is singing and falsehood. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This idaafah [possessive or genitive construction, i.e., your voice] serves to make the meaning specific, as with the phrases [translated as] “your cavalry” and “your infantry” [later in the same aayah]. Everyone who speaks in any way that is not obedient to Allaah, everyone who blows into a flute or other woodwind instrument, or who plays any haraam kind of drum, this is the voice of the Shaytaan. Everyone who walks to commit some act of disobedience towards Allaah is part of his [the Shaytaan’s] infantry, and anyone who rides to commit sin is part of his cavalry. This is the view of the Salaf, as Ibn ‘Abi Haatim narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas: his infantry is everyone who walks to disobey Allaah. (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan).

Allaah says: “Do you then wonder at this recitation (the Qur’aan)? And you laugh at it and weep not, Wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (singing)” [al-Najm 53:59-61]

It was reported from Abu Umaamah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not sell singing slave women, do not buy them and do not teach them. There is nothing good in this trade, and their price is haraam. Concerning such things as this the aayah was revealed (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing) to mislead (men) from the path of Allaah…’ [Luqmaan 31:6].” (Hasan hadeeth)

HADEETH

It was reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaari and elsewhere that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that there would be among his ummah those who would allow zinaa, silk, alcohol and musical instruments, and he said that they would be transformed into monkeys and pigs… None of the followers of the imaams mentioned any dispute concerning the matter of music. (al-Majmoo’, 11/576).

It was narrated that Naafi’ (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Ibn ‘Umar heard a woodwind instrument, and he put his fingers in his ears and kept away from that path. He said to me, O Naafi’, can you hear anything? I said, No. So he took his fingers away from his ears and said: I was with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he heard something like this, and he did the same thing. (Saheeh Abi Dawood).

Al-Qaasim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Singing is part of falsehood. Al-Hasan (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: if there is music involved in a dinner invitation (waleemah), do not accept the invitation (al-Jaami by al-Qayrawaani, p. 262-263).

THE EXCEPTION

The exception to the above is the daff – without any rings (i.e., a hand-drum which looks like a tambourine, but without any rattles) – when used by women on Eids and at weddings. This is indicated by saheeh reports. Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made allowances for certain types of musical instruments at weddings and the like, and he made allowances for women to play the daff at weddings and on other joyful occasions.

And Allah Knows Best.

The Successful Muslim

by Safiya Arif

RasulAllah (S) said, “The most beloved of deeds to Allah are the most consistent of them, even if they are few.”

As Muslims we do the best we can to worship Allah (swt). Everyone is at different levels when it comes to faith, and that’s perfectly okay. What might be a struggle for you may not be difficult for someone else. What you might find easy may be the hardest thing for your friends. Everyone is unique in their knowledge and experiences, so it makes sense that everyone is at different locations on the path of Islam.

With that in mind, we should always try to increase our knowledge and become better people. As we continue to grow, our abilities will also change. Just think back to who you were 5 years ago. Your strengths and weaknesses were completely different, and the best you could do then is nowhere near the best you can do now. Your standards and goals for yourself are higher now, and with time you’ve become more capable to reach them.

Something to remember as you strive to become a better version of yourself is the need for consistency. Real change doesn’t happen overnight. You can wake up one morning and try to reach all your goals at once, but what will most likely happen is you’ll be successful for a couple of days, struggle for a couple more, and then after realizing how exhausted you are from all the effort, you’ll stop. And your change will end just as quickly as it started. If you want your improvements to last, you need to be consistent. Here are some ways how:

  1. Make your intention for the sake of Allah (swt). Spend some time thinking about who you are. Are you the best version of yourself? Set out to increase your strengths and decrease your flaws. Reflect on your character from time to time, and inshaAllah you can continue to build on top of your improvements. As my sister says, life is a constant recalibration of the self. There’s always room to grow. Ali ibn Abu Talib (R) said, “Meet people in such a manner that if you die, they should weep for you, and if you live they should long for you.” Strive to be the best you can be inside and out. Strive to make a positive difference in the world. Strive to be rewarded with the highest level of Jannah. And ultimately, strive to please Allah (swt).
  1. Form a daily routine. Now that you’ve made your intentions, implement them as actions in your daily routine. Try to do things around the same time and place every day and it’ll be harder to forget. For example, if one of your goals is to read Qur’an every day, you can decide to read a couple pages right after school. That way, there’s less of a chance that you’ll get busy with homework and forget. For certain actions like praying salah and reading Qur’an, I would recommend using a chart (like our prayer charts at HSYC!) to keep track of your progress. With our phones nowadays, you can set up alarms or reminders too. There are even specific apps designed to help! Keep in mind that it takes about 30 days to form a habit, so make sure you consistently work on your goals. If you set aside just a little bit of time every day, inshaAllah you’ll get to the point where your changes are permanent parts of your life.
  1. Be patient. Oftentimes when someone’s trying to work on a goal, they expect to see results right away. When they’re disappointed, they decide that their actions are not working and give up. When it comes to change, however, you have to realize that it takes time. Be patient with the process and be patient with yourself. Don’t lose hope. You may want to do as much as you can, as quickly as you can, but keep in mind that you’re trying to become a better person for your whole future and not just a couple of weeks. Realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Find a comfortable pace, and don’t be afraid to slow down if you feel like you’re becoming overwhelmed. The purpose is to sustain the changes you make. InshaAllah they’ll be a part of you for the rest of your life.

“Everyone is going to be making progress and everyone’s going at their own pace. No matter how fast or slow they’re going, as long as they’re making progress they are successful.” –Nouman Ali Khan

  1. Motivate yourself. Think about why you want to make the improvements you’re working on. When I decide to make a change, I usually write down why it means so much to me so that on days when I need an extra boost of motivation, I can remind myself why I began. It’s important to know the significance behind your actions because it adds meaning to the progress you make. For example, if you’re working on your prayer, try to learn the meaning of some of the surahs you recite. With any journey, you’re going to experience some struggles along the way. Don’t let that discourage you. Instead, take a look at how far you’ve come, be proud of yourself, and use that to drive you forward and continue toward success.
  1. Support each other. Everyone has something they want to work on. Find a buddy with similar goals and help each other out! You can share your strategies and ideas and inshaAllah make it easier for each other to succeed. Praying dhuhr in high school was a big concern of mine. Alhamdulillah my teachers were extremely supportive and happy to help, but the person who really made a difference was my friend. We used to pray together after fifth period every day, and subhanAllah having her there helped me become more confident as a Muslim. This is also why it’s important to surround yourself with good company, because their good traits will automatically rub off on you and help you become a better person. Another way to build a support system is through your family. Tell your parents and siblings about your goals and inshaAllah they’ll find a way to help you. When the whole house is working toward something, it’s hard to go off track. When you work with others, you become invested in their success as much as you are in your own. They will give you more strength inshaAllah. 

“Perfection is not demanded of us. But sincerity, integrity, honesty, and our best effort is what Allah (swt) and His messenger (S) have asked of us.” – Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

  1. Beware of Shaytan. As you build on your character, Shaytan will become concerned that he’s not doing his job well enough. While you continue to succeed in life, he’ll think of ways to point you in the opposite direction. That’s when you’ll start to experience some difficulties in your progress. Recognize that it is Shaytan who is trying to pull you back, and decide not to let him get in your way. Don’t give in to his whispers and keep moving forward inshaAllah. Every time you feel like giving up, Shaytan is getting ready to celebrate another victory. It’s up to you to defeat him, and the best way you can do this is by asking Allah (swt) for protection against him. Which leads me to my final (and most important) point…
  1. Ask Allah (swt) for help. In any and every one of your endeavors, Allah (swt) is the only one who can grant you success. Thank Him for all that He has already given you, and ask Him to help you grow in every aspect of your life. Remember Him and He will remember you.

“Oh you who believe! Seek help in patience and in prayer; Allah is with those that are patient.” Surat Al-Baqarah, Ayah 153 

May Allah (swt) help us accomplish our goals. May He purify our intentions and put barakah in our actions. May He help us become better children, siblings, and friends to those around us. May He allow us to implement positive changes in our lives and continue to grow as Muslims. May He be pleased with our efforts and reward us with the highest of Jannahs. Ameen.

That’s all I have for you! Have you used any of these tips to work on your goals in the past? Do you have any strategies of your own that have worked for you? Share your experience in the comments below!

Friends

by Sarah Ahmed

Last month, I came across a (really long) article about friendships. It divided people up into 5 groups: Tier 1 friends, Tier 2 friends, Tier 3 friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Tier 1 friends are your best friends. These are the friends who are basically your brothers and sisters. You know each other inside and out. They are the ones you can talk to about anything. Tier 2 friends are your “Pretty Good Friends.” You can have good, semi-deep one on one conversations with them, but they’re not at the level of your Tier 1 friends. Tier 3 friends are your “Not Really Friends.” You basically only hang out in groups. Acquaintances are the people you know but wouldn’t really consider them a “friend.” And the fifth category? Strangers.

I love lists and find them super helpful, so I loved that article. When I first read it, I ended up making lists of my own friends and dividing them up into Tiers. When I was done, I noticed that all of my friends in Tiers 1 (and also 2) had some things in common…so I eventually made another list:

10 Qualities Your Closest Friends Should Have:

  1. Love for the sake of Allah
    This is definitely the most important quality from everything in this list. I actually think that all of the following points kind of stem from this one.
    The strongest bonds are made for the sake of Allah. I was listening to a talk a few years ago about love for the sake of Allah (I think it may have been this one). The speaker said friendships are like triangles. You’re connected to Allah, your best friend is connected to Allah, and that’s how your bond was made. You’re both connected through Allah. It’s kind of like a friendship love triangle. Imagine how much barakah this friendship has if it’s for Allah!
  2. Bring you closer to Allah
    I know this kind of goes under the last category, but it’s so important that I wanted to make it its own point. These friends are the ones who will help you become closer to Allah. our closest friends encourage you to practice your deen and become a better Muslim. While you’re shopping, they’re the ones who pull you aside and pray with you in the fitting room. When you have conversations, you somehow end up talking about Allah or Islam in some way.
  3. Trust
    You can tell your best friends your deepest secrets. You know they won’t tell anyone else anything you told them. If you had a briefcase full of cash you needed to keep safe, you’d be able to let them keep it without any worries.
  4. Respect
    These friends treat you well. You never feel inferior or insulted around them. They value your opinions, even if they disagree. They love you for who you truly are. These friends aren’t like this just to you. They’re respectful towards others as well.
  5. They don’t trash talk
    Your best friends don’t talk bad about other people to you. They don’t gossip, slander, or backbite. People who trash talk to you will have absolutely no problem going to others and talking trash about you.
  6. They encourage you to be the best version of you
    If you are slipping in any aspect of your life and you don’t really notice, your friends will respectfully and non-judgmentally call you out. Were you rude to someone? Your friends will tell you and they’ll make you go apologize. They’ll probably help you draft your apology. Been slacking on Fajr? They’ll call and text you until you wake up on time and pray.
  7. They help you grow
    Your best friends help you grow and become who you want to be. They support and encourage your goals and dreams. You want to run a marathon? Your best friend is cheering you on as you train…or maybe even training and running the marathon with you. Your closest friends will even find a way to support you and help you grow from bad situations. Did you do awful on an exam? These friends will find a positive from that situation. They’ll help you extract life lessons from it completely non-judgmentally.
  8. They’ve got your back
    You know if you’re in any kind of trouble, your best friends will be there for you. If you’re stranded on the side of a road, you can count on them to come save you. If anyone talks trash about you in front of them, they’ll jump to defend you.
  9. They let you do you
    These friends aren’t clingy, jealous, or controlling. You don’t constantly have to be talking to them. You can go days without seeing or texting each other, and nothing about your relationship changes. You both are allowed to have other friends. You can do things without each other. You probably even have different hobbies and activities. But when you are doing something together, they don’t control your every plan. If you go to the movies and both want to watch something different, they’re willing to sacrifice their movie for yours (there may be exceptions to this example).
  10. Forgiving
    We are all human and make mistakes. We often hurt the people we love most. The beauty about these types of friendships is that if we do hurt our friends, they let it go. Forgive and forget. They don’t hold onto grudges…both with us and other people in their lives. This saves us from so much unnecessary conflict and drama.

One more thing to remember: Quality over quantity. Sticking with just one friend who meets these criteria will be more beneficial in the long run than having lots of not-so-good friends.

If you have any hadith/ayat/quotes that you thought of or if you thought of other characteristics that should be on this list, leave a comment below!

Until next time, peace out ✌

Putting the (I)slam Dunk on College

by Sara Fadlalla

Bismillah.

Asalamualaikum HSYC!

I know a lot of you are getting ready for college, which is a very exciting time! I know when I was getting ready for college just 3.5 short years ago I was worried. Let me give you some background: I was coming from a predominantly white high school with maybe 5 Muslims and by the time I was a senior there were maybe 2 other Hijabis in a school of about 1000 students. We never had a Muslim Club or youth group, and I hadn’t heard much about MSA’s either, so I didn’t know what to expect or if I’d (as I had to in high school) have to fend for myself and be that token Muslim in practically all situations. I was worried. I had a decision to make before heading out into the world of college: grow stronger in my faith, or let my surroundings define who I was or weaken my resolve in my religion. That was a decision I had to reflect on before getting to school—having that conviction from the get-go to stick to Islam and our religious moral values is what I challenge all of you to have when heading to college—consciously make the decision to use college as that challenge that will strengthen your faith inshaAllah, not weaken it. How to do that? Well, I’m glad you asked because here is a little guide of learned experiences I have gone through in college that could help all of you put the (I)slam dunk on college.

Own your differences.

  • I’m a hijabi, so by default I already looked differently than the rest of the population at school, but rather than shy away from the looks or questions, I found that confidently owning my different experiences, characteristics, physical representations of faith (that Sunnah beard for the brothas), gained me a lot of respect. I never donned the hijab as a statement, but an act of worship for Allah (Swt), and in that way I have been able to utilize the hijab as a form of da’wah and constructive discussion with many who had never met a Muslim. Main takeaway, BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR DEEN, and iA Allah (swt) will give us all ease in our lives and decisions (…and classes).

Get your prayer on.

  • Even though college can get very hectic remembering to pray on time will benefit you a million times over. Something I always like to keep in mind when selecting classes is when the prayers are and whether I’ll be able to pray in between classes or will have to pray during a class. I think, even with myself sometimes, we start to feel nervous about disrupting class to get up for 5 minutes to pray, or thinking it will be too much of a hassle to make Wudu and pray between classes, so we lump prayers together later in the evening. However, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you for college is to always set aside time to pray. Not only do professors completely understand and appreciate being in the loop on their students’ needs, salah is like a set study break. Using the prayers as a study break is the best motivation because seeing an end of studying in sight helps me get through any assignment I need to do. Main takeaway, PRAY ON TIME and notice the happiness it brings you in this dunya and iA reap those benefits in the afterlife as well!

Battle of the Classes.

  • When choosing classes I only have a few words of advice. I already mentioned this above, but keep in mind when salah is, especially Jumah, because there are always class options that can make praying and catching Jumah each week more feasible. The next point I want to hammer in about class selection is never ever be afraid to try something new and that you may think you hate. I have taken several random courses, one of them being Introduction to Painting, and found it to be something I have grown to sincerely love (when in high school that was the class I abhorred more than all classes combined).
  • Another point that took me a long time to really internalize is everyone does things at different rates and paces, and learns in entirely individual ways as well. College should be a time of self-reflection, not comparing oneself to those around you; so the more time you focus on how your neighbor may be studying will only be time lost on learning how to handle the new, vast, and oftentimes challenging information presented for yourself. Only when you start really focusing on how you learn best and seeking help to work to meet your needs will you truly find out the secret of how to succeed. :)
  • Furthermore, the Prophet (S) has said, “Verily, Allah (swt) has prescribed perfection in all things…” meaning, whatever you do decide to study or whichever classes you decide to take, always put in all of your effort. Always strive for perfection in all that you do in college and in life. Lastly, ALWAYS ask questions! You can never go wrong, and maybe at the time you may feel silly or like everyone else in the class understands everything, when in reality, you are in class to learn and making sure you understand everything is exactly what you should always strive for in class. Main takeaway, put yourself in classes that challenge you to grow, that you may not know anything about, do your best, and always always always ask questions!

Keep that good character on lock.

  • Having the best of character is not only the duty for each of us as Muslims and human beings, but can get you a long way in classes and college. Remembering that the Prophet (S) has praised smiling as an act of charity and he is known to have smiled almost all the time, live your life like the Prophet (S), smile always. Kindness is often overlooked in the academic sphere, but I’m going to take this opportunity to let you all know, being kind to those who drive the shuttles, teach you advanced economics, take out your dorm’s trash, and run your whole university always leads to happiness for all parties. I can definitely think of several examples where my ideal of being kind to those around me has led to benefitting me in a subtle and often surprising way, from having a special Halal entree made in the dining hall for all Muslim students, to some extra credit in class, being kind is always the simplest way to grow into an upstanding Muslim, but also to spread the happiness–you feel better when those around you likewise feel better; it works! Oh, and lastly, GO TO CLASS! Being present is legitimately 50% of the battle. Main takeaway, SMILE IT’S SUNNAH, be kind to all those around you, and GO TO CLASS.

Most of all, remember Allah (Swt) for He has promised us that if we remember Him He will remember us. And what could be better than that? :) Good luck on applications and the newest (impending) chapter of your lives! :D

Jazakum Allahu Khair,

Over and Out.

–SFad

Welcome to the IFN HSYC Blog!

Assalamu Alaikum!

Welcome to the IFN HSYC Blog! This is a place for the HSYC community to come together and share our knowledge, ideas, and reflections. InshaAllah you’ll be able to read a post from one of your teachers every week. Hopefully they will inspire you to share your thoughts as well!

You can contribute by 1) replying to a post they’ve written by posting a comment and/or 2) submitting your own post to the blog! Every time you comment or post, you can expect to receive a treat on Sunday :).