The Reality of Music [and Other Forms of Entertainment] 

An article by Maulana Shamsul Haq Faridpuri (rahimahullah), 1895-1961

Translated from the Bengali by Maulana Badrul Islam

The Author

Maulana Shamsul Haq Faridpuri (rahimahullah) was born in 1895 C.E. in a respectable family in the Faridpur district of the then Bengal. During his period of secular studies in Calcuttas Presidency College he went to meet Hakimul Ummah Imam Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahimahullah). This incident is mentioned in very much detail in the Bengali book Tazkiratul Awliya (Memoirs of the awliya) which contains a chapter on the life of Maulana Faridpuri (rahimahullah). Then, under Hakimul Ummah (rahimahulla)’s guidance he studied Fiqh, Hadith, Tafsir and other sciences of Islam in the famous Madrassah Mazahirul ‘Uloom Saharanpur and Darul ‘Uloon Deoband. After completing his formal studies he initially spent five years in Brahmanbaria Yunusia Madrassah and fifteen years in Dhaka Ashraful ‘Uloom Madrassa teaching with proficiency books of Hadith. This patron of learning, who was well-known to both the ‘ulama of the Indian sub-continent and the ‘ulama of the Arab world, founded Dhakas historic Lalbagh Jami’yah Qur’aniyah and Faridpurs Gawhar Danga Khadimul Islam Madrassah. He believed that without presenting Islam through the medium of the mother-tongue a complete reformation of society was virtually impossible. Toward this end he had written and translated some seventy-six valuable books. He passed away in the year 1961 (may Allah enlighten his grave with noor).

Hadhrat Maulana Shamsul Haq Faridpuri (rahimahullah) writes:

Regarding music, dancing, cinema, drama and the like it should be known that Allah, Most High, has created man with a mortal body and a fine soul for a special purpose. That purpose is that man, being Allah’s Vicegerent, or Khalifah, shall establish peace on earth, attain salvation in the life hereafter and seek the proximity, or qurb of Allah.

Just as man’s outward body is constructed of separate limbs, the inner soul is divided into five parts. Inside man there lies above all a supreme human soul. Subjugated to that are the angelic soul, carnal or animal soul, cruel and ferocious beast soul, and the satanic soul. The former two souls together are known as the rooh while the latter three are known as the nafs or the low desires of man. The angelic soul experiences pleasure and ecstasy in the dhikr and obedience of Allah, Most High, for angels are free from transgression and sins. They are protected from lust, anger, greed, hatred, pride, and other animal characteristics.

On the contrary, the animal soul finds pleasure in laziness, comforts and luxuries, free mixing of men and women, spectation of dances and dramas, listening to music and going to cinemas. You will see that cinemas and dramas need no mention even the rickshaw man has behind his rickshaw, in hotels and restaurants, the pan-seller on his stall, such pictures of half-naked women that by seeing which the human soul is forced to lower its head down in shame. In seeing the mother gender’s extreme dishonour and exploitation and the human soul’s extreme downfall and misery, the animal soul, in being able to satisfy its lusts, feels joyful and utilises all its power to loot the chastity of the mother gender.

When a man is attacked, overpowered, and dominated by the beast soul, he enjoys taking ferocious revenge. The satanic soul bewilders and damages man’s conscience. If such a man can cheat people, harm people, [suck] people’s blood and intoxicate himself with pride and vanity, he finds bliss. Thus you will see that a category of people in our society find peace and happiness in cheating others and exploiting the poor and vulnerable in order to gain wealth and power.

The [imperial] British after subordinating us to their usurped power have implemented such a system of education that as a result of which we have been deprived of the light of the true knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah and, consequently, fallen into an abyss of darkness. Such a system of education and culture have they implemented in our society that as a direct result of which the animal and satanic souls have been awakened and stimulated while the human soul and the angelic soul have become weak and exhausted. For this reason man has forgotten the aim and purpose of his life and drowned himself in music and other forms of immoral and wicked entertainments. The man who was once the bondsman and vicegerent of Allah and the master amongst the creations has, as a consequence of forgetting Allah and His bestowed vicegerency, become the slave of all the creations. He has become the slave of his low desires, greed, satanic soul, and beast soul whereas Allah, Most High, had made man his special vicegerent on earth. Allah has blessed man with such a high and grand station that even the angels were subjugated to him and the sun and moon had been created to serve him so that he could purify his human soul from the animal soul, beast soul and satanic soul. But due to the lack of true knowledge he has tyrannized himself and become the slave of his slave, forgotten his Lord and Creator, and is destroying his morality and the human soul. His Lord, Most High, has issued the warning:

[‘O people, your rebellion is in fact against your own selves. It is only worldly life that you are enjoying. Thereafter, it is to Us that you have to return; then We will tell you what you have been doing.’ (Surah Yunus 10:23)]

[…]

Since man has been kept in the darkness of ignorance and away from the illuminating knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah, he has subordinated the human soul and the angelic soul to the animal and satanic soul. As a direct consequence of this he fails to perceive that such vices as music, dancing, cinema and drama are all instigating and strengthening for the animal and satanic soul and fatal poison for the human soul. He is deriving enjoyment out of the aforementioned vices and killing the human soul. He is fattening his mortal body, polluting and causing unrest in the world and, thereby, destroying his chances of an eternal bliss in the life hereafter.

Dear reader, consider this matter very deeply and there will be no need for a fatwa or a debate. If instead of creating and spending time on sculptures, pictures of women, romantic novels and music one writes an inspiring poem on the love for the beloved Prophet of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then the praiseworthiness of that need not be mentioned, for that is the nourishment of the human soul. It is extremely sad and pitiful to see that some people, deceived by Shaytan and urged by the animal soul, feed the animal soul and fatten it to the peak while killing the human soul.

O foolish man! Think and understand. Do not try to win by arguing, debating, and relying on the abundance of wealth and status. A day will inevitably dawn when there will be an end to your wealth and power. You will have to stand in the court of the Mighty Lord and answer for oppressing [and degrading] yourself, Allah’s bondsman, to the level of being Shaytan’s slave.

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