It is pertinent to call attention (of all) to the prevalence of recorded tapes of Nasheeds in the hands of youths striving to be religious; tapes that contain recorded voices sung in congregations. They are popularly referred to as ‘Islamic Nasheeds.’ (In actual fact, they) are music. These Nasheeds are often sung with captivating voices and sold in stores where the Qur’an and religious lecture tapes are sold.
Naming these Nasheeds ‘Islamic Nasheeds’ is not correct because Islam does not permit Nasheeds. What Allaah has legislated (for the Muslims) are (saying) words of remembrance, recitation of the Qur’aan and (learning and) teaching beneficial knowledge. As for Nasheeds, they are from the innovated religious practices of the Sufis (deviant mystics); the Sufis who have turned the religion to a play and amusement. To say Nasheeds is part of the Deen, is an emulation of the Christians who have turned their religion into singing of hymns and other congregational songs.
It is obligatory (on all) to shun these Nasheeds. They should not be sold and spread about. Not spreading them will curtail what they have brought of tribulations and sentimental dispositions, and what they have caused in terms of conflicts among the Muslims.
Some people have justified listening to these Nasheeds by saying poems used to be chanted in the presence of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and he would listen to them.
The answer to that is that the poems that were chanted in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) were not chanted in congregation as music is sung, and they were not called ‘Islamic Nasheeds’ rather they were known as Arab poems that contained words of wisdom, anecdotes and descriptions of bravery and generosity. The Companions used to chant them singularly due to what they contained of those meanings (earlier mentioned), and they used to chant some of the poems when they engaged in hard activities such as building (mosques, trenches, etc.) and when travelling in the night. That therefore indicates the permissibility of such in circumstances that were mentioned alone but not that they should be made a discipline among the educational and Da’wah fields as they are today. Learners chant Nasheeds today and call them Islamic or religious Nasheeds.
It is therefore obligatory (on all) to pay attention to this hidden danger. They should not be sold as tapes. An evil starts small and becomes big when it is not nipped in the bud.
Source: Waqafaat Ma’a Tandheem Al-Ikhwaani al-Muslimeen p.138.
Question to Shaykh Al-Fawzaan: What is your view about Islamic Nasheeds, in congregation, without the duff or sounds effects?
Answer: We do not know of any basis for them, these are innovations. And if they are attributed to Islam and they are called ‘Islamic Nasheeds’, this would mean that Islam legislated them, but rather, there is no basis for this.
And also, if these Nasheeds were composed for obedience and closeness (to Allah), then surely it is from the signs of the Sufiyyah, as they are the ones who adopted Nasheeds and took it as a form of worship for Allah.
The best result would be that a Muslim should not turn towards them.
Yes, the composition of poetry which is beneficial and useful, there is no problem with it. One person singing alone (is allowed), not in congregration, and not chants in chorus, but rather only one person singing (is allowed).
Poetry benefits people, and benefit is taken from it. Just as there were poets at the time of the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). They would recite their poetry and the Messenger would listen to them, upon him be salutations and peace.
And similarly, at the time of work or boredom from work, they would recite about the activity of their work; this is not called Nasheed. These are just short outburts in between activities whilst working.
And these chants should not be done in chorus in a unified manner, or in dispersed tones etc., all of these (different styles) are from that which has been innovated.
And if they are not attributed to Islam then it is Lahw (Lahw means false or vain talk used for the purpose of amusement). And if it is attributed to Islam then it is an innovation.
Question: Some people make these Nasheeds a habit; in their car, in their house, with their children, meaning they put all of their time in this.
Answer: This is because there is no basis for them (Nasheeds) and because they are a Fitnah, and it is more fitting from them to listen to Al-Qur’an and recordings of Murattal (Murattal is a type of melodious Qur’an recitation), and videos. And that contains what will be enough for a person, and that which will suffice them and be sufficient for them
And similarly lectures and religious study sessions, and one should not waste their time with Nasheeds from which no benefit is taken except delight
Shaykh Muhammad Saalih Al-Uthaymeen – may Allah bestow mery on him – was asked:
Is it permissible for men to chant the ‘Islamic Nasheeds’? Can beating of the duff (tambourine) be accompanied with the chanting? And is it permissible to chant Nasheeds on circumstances other than Islamic festivals and occasions?
Answer: ‘Islamic Nasheed’ is an innovation. It resembles what the Sufis innovated in the Deen (of mystic chants). Therefore, it is better to turn away from it and go instead for preachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah except on battle fronts where such can be chanted to encourage bravery in the path of Allah, then that is good. And when beating of the duff is accompanied with it, it becomes more reprehensible.
Source: Al-Ajwibah Al-Mufeedah as quoted by the author of Waqafaat Ma’a Tandheem Al-Ikhwaani al-Muslimeen p.139.