Ruling on Dancing

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Asslam-u-aleikum, I pray this e-mail finds you in the best of health and imaan. Our ISoc is planning an event for Black History Month and an idea was brought up of break dancing that will be done without music and it will be only males performing it. Is this permissible?  I found these two hadiths on a website-  Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised, “Entertain your hearts, for hearts become blind when they are weary.” (Bukhari)  Bukhari narrates that whilst the Prophet (peace be upon him) was watching a show put on by some Abyssinian entertainers and ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) expressed some concern, he said, “Leave them in order that the Jews of Madinah know that our religion has space (for this).” (Ahmed, 24771)

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.


Dancing is haraam by the consensus of all the Fuqahaa (Jurists).

(Shaami: vol. 6 pg. 396, Darul Ma’rifa)

(Tahtaawi: pg. 319, Al-Ilmiyya)

Imam Ahmad relates from Anas (Allah be well pleased with him), with a chain of transmission all of whose narrators are those of Bukhari except Hammad ibn Salama, who is one of the narrators of Muslim, that the Ethiopians danced in front of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace); dancing and saying [in their language], “Muhammad is a righteous servant.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “What are they saying?” And they said, “‘Muhammad is a righteous servant’”
(Musnad al-Imam Ahmad. 6 vols. Cairo 1313/1895. Reprint. Beirut: Dar Sadir, n.d.., 3.152).

There is no doubt in the authenticity of the Hadeeth. It has been mentioned on the foot notes of Musnad Ahmed (Darul Hadeeth – Cairo) that it has been narrated by an authentic chain of narrators.

However, it is incorrect to prove the permissibility of music, dancing or zikr while dancing through this Hadeeth.

Firstly, the words mentioned in the Hadeeth are yazfinoon (??????) and yarqusoon (??????); and the most appropriate translation for these two words is: “they were engaged in sports”.

Lisanul Arab Vol:3 Pg:186 (Dar Sadir)

( ??? ) ????? ????? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??????

 ( * ???? ??? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ????? ????? ???? ?? ????? )

 ??? ???? ????? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ?? ????? ???? ????? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ??? ???? ???? ??? ??? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??????? ?? ??????  

Secondly, Ahadeeth of similar meaning have been narrated in Bukhari and Muslim and the word yal’aboon is used, which clearly means that they were doing some activity of sport.

Sahih Al Bukhari Vol:1 Pg:65 (Kutub Khana Rasheediyah)

?? ????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? ???? ??? ??? ????? ??????? ?????? ?? ?????? ????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ???? ??? ????? 

Dancing will not be allowed even in gatherings that are segregated as the moves in most dances are copied from professional dancers and non Muslims. The dances that are common and widespread effects a person’s emotions, creates passion and excitement. In the Hadith related by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan, the Messenger of Allah  said: “Whoever imitates a nation will be amongst them.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 4031).

Even if the above factors are not present, dancing is such an act which diverts a person from the remembrance of Allah. It has been narrated by Uqbah that Allah’s Messenger  said, “… Everything with which a man amuses himself is vain, except his shooting with his bow, his training of his horse, and his playing with his wife, for they pertain to what is right.” (Tirmidhi, no 1078)

Only Allah Knows Best

Written by Molana Yusuf Zaman.

Checked and Approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham.

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