pure unadulterated Beauty
One of the deal breakers for me and Orthodox Islam was it’s prohibition against music. While it is a bit of a contentious issue, the fact is, the overwhelming majority of scholars of past and present have declared it haram. I could never wrap my mind around this idea as I’m a music lover and believe music is one of the greatest gifts we have and one of the most extraordinary inventions we can attribute to our species.
As I said, I never really bought into the idea that music is forbidden, so I never fully gave it up. However, many Muslims continue to “struggle” with music. I continue to read blogs even today by young muslimahs who are buying into the Salafi mindsets and have been told and believe music is haram. They’ve either shunned it altogether or write about the guilt they feel that they’ve not been able to “give it up”.
The idea that music is somehow evil and a sin brought about much anger and it became difficult for me to even listen to something as innocuous as Bach, or any other type of music, even if it was void of sexuality or any subject that is looked down upon by the conservative crowd. Even music consisting of sexual overtones or fraught with rebellion or perhaps feminist ideas are a legitimate part of the human experience. So, I began to see the opinion against music as simply an assault on human thought and emotion, or at least that which doesn’t involve love for Islam, either directly or indirectly. In this way, as in many others, orthodox Islam seeks to monopolize the human experience by harnessing the emotions of the believer and claiming the only legitimate love and admiration one can have is for Allah, his messenger, his book and the sunnah. Everything else is sin and fuel for the fire.
Indeed, one of the primary reasons given as to why music is haram is because it evokes such strong human emotion and runs the risk of weakening one’s feelings and love they feel when listening to the Quran. And perhaps that idea is right. Because when I listen to the Barber piece above, I’m sure that the composer who brought forth such a profound piece of beauty was surely very insightful, and my own knowledge of the human condition and existence is fortified more than it ever was by Islam or the Quran.