by Imam Numaan Cheema (Boston, Massachusetts)
Salāh. A connection to our Allah. A means of stopping ourselves from lewdness. A source of finding inner peace along with outer. Many a time, salāh is the only part of the day when we turn to our Lord Almighty and rekindle the spark of imān. Unfortunately, we tend to be spiritually deprived from this sacred ritual with distractions ranging from crying children to burping adults. But the most disturbing—and quite frankly, annoying—distraction of all occurs when the Imam is beautifully reciting the blessed words of the Qur’ān or the musallīs are praying quietly, and suddenly the fragile, glass-like sanctity of salāh along with its peace, focus, and spirituality is shattered by a continuous flow of brain throbbing tunes followed by words, “I’m bringing sexy back.” There goes the neighborhood…
We as an ummah have become so used to this that the only part of this scenario we actually consider wrong isn’t the part where the Bollywood song or music ringtone is playing. Music has become such a part of our lives that we don’t consider something sinful as a sin anymore. We are insensitive and unresponsive when we even hear or see something sinful, just as a bodybuilder’s muscles stop growing if he always lifts the same 25 pound dumbbell. Allah states:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
“Among men are those who purchase idle talk, without knowledge, to mislead [men] from the path of Allāh”1
The predominant interpretation of this verse is that it refers to singing. The Companions, ‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd, ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās, Jābir ibn ‘Abdillāh, Mujāhid ibn Jabr and ‘Ikrimah (May Allah be pleased with them) all interpret the above mentioned verse as referring to singing.2
“There will certainly be from my ummah groups [of people] who will regard illicit sexual intercourse, silk, wine and musical instruments (ma‘āzif) as halāl.”3
Ok, ok, I get it. Music is haram but what about the music in video games, football games, and basically everywhere when you don’t intend to actually listen? Remember the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless and give him peace) taught us all deeds will be judged according to our intentions, and Allah will only hold us accountable for what we are responsible. Now does this mean we blast the TV when the Eagles are playing in the Super Bowl? Of course not! Sins are like a poison, and these poisons will have an effect on us, regardless if we drink the poison intentionally or by mistake.
Now where does that put the average Joe Muslim? Joe Muslim should live abstaining from sin but should also keep a dose of repentance in his daily intake as he knows the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless and give him peace) used to repent 70 to 100 times daily!4
Now let’s take a step back and absorb all the info being thrown at us and ask ourselves a question. Since when was “rrring rrring” not enough that we have to now express ourselves “by bringing sexy back”?