Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"The next two examples touch on the legal status of instrumental music and producing two and three-dimensional images of living things.

It is commonplace to hear that Islam unconditionally forbids both. Yet there are noteworthy positions permitting them under certain conditions, as the following examples indicate. In any case, whether music and images are judged to be prohibited or permissible in the law, each ruling regarding them is predicated upon readings of presumptively authoritative evidence. Islam's position toward both questions is not immutably fixed like rites of worship; both issues are based on rationales and have tangible purposes, which leave their status open for discussion.

The majority of legal scholars forbade music; generally they did so on the ground that music was closely associated with drinking, dancing girls, and licentiousness, which was often the case in Middle Eastern and South Asian culture. But there were notable dissenting views on music when performed in other contexts. The famous Andalusian judge Abu Bakr ibn al-'Arabi and the notable scholars Ibn Hazm and 'Abd al-Ghani al-Nablusi wrote legal opinions in defense of music. Al-Kattani, a contemporary Moroccan scholar, cities twenty Muslim jurists who wrote on various types of musical instruments and the art of audition (sama'). [23] In many Muslim lands, hospitals made regular use of musicians, comedians (muharrijun), and teaching hobbies to cure the sick and the clinically insane. As a rule, Muslim hospitals were pious endowments under the supervision of Islamic judges; their allowance of music, humor and hobby therapy constituted legal validation of each. [24]
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-Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah, "Living Islam With Purpose," p. 10

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