Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to swear by Allaah that the aayah “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talk to mislead (men) from the Path of Allaah . . .” [Luqmaan 31:6] referred to singing. Abu ‘Aamir and Abu Maalik al-Ash’ari (may Allaah be pleased with them) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Among my ummah will be those who make permissible al-hira(adultry or zinah), silk, khamr and musical instruments . . .” (Reported by al-Bukhaari; see al- Fath, 10/51).
Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “In this ummah there will be punishments of earthquakes, showers of stones and deformity (transformation into animals); that will be when the people drink khamr, listen to female singers and play musical instruments.” (See al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2203; attributed to Ibn Abi’l-Dunyaa, Dhamm al-Malaahi; the hadeeth was narrated by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2212).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade the “koobah” (a kind of drum), and described the flute as the voice of the immoral fool. The early scholars such as Imaam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy on him, stated that musical instruments such as the 'ood (lute), tanboor (a long-necked stringed instrument), reed flute, rabaab (stringed instrument resembling a fiddle) and cymbal, were haraam; no doubt modern instruments such as the violin, qaanoon (stringed musical instrument resembling a zither), organ, piano, guitar, etc., are also included in the Prophet’s prohibition on musical instruments, because their effect and impact is greater than that of the ancient instruments mentioned in some ahaadeeth. They are even more intoxicating than khamr, as scholars such as Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned. No doubt the prohibition, and the sin involved, are greater when the music is accompanied by singing and the voices of female singers, and it is even worse when the lyrics speak of love and describe physical beauty. Hence the scholars said that singing paves the way for zinaa (adultery or fornication), and that it makes hypocrisy grow in the heart. Generally speaking, music and singing form one of the greatest temptations of our times.
What is very difficult is the fact that nowadays music is a part of so many things, such as clocks, doorbells, children’s toys, computers, telephones, etc., and avoiding it takes a great deal of determination. Allaah is the source of help.