1) I would like to know whether it is permissible to watch television or listen to music whilst one is fasting and after one has broken the fast?
2) What will happen if one watches television or listens to music whilst fasting?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful
Music is prohibited in Shariah. There are numerous evidence in the Quran and Sunnah in support of this.
1) Allah (SWT) says: “And there are among men, those that purchase idle tales, to mislead (men) from the path of Allah and throw ridicule. For such there will be a humiliating punishment.” (Surah Luqman, V. 6)
Abdullah Ibn Masud (RA) states in the explanation of the word “idle tales”: “By Allah it’s meaning is music.” (Sunan al-Bayhaqi, 1/223 & authenticated by al-Haakim in his Mustadrak, 2/411)
Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RA) said: “The meaning of the word is music, singing and the like.” (Sunan al-Bayhaqi, 1/221& Musannaf Ibn abi Shayba, 132/5) He also added: “Music and the purchase of female singers.” (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba, 132/5)
Hasan al-Basri (RA) said: “This verse was revealed in relation to singing and musical instruments.” (Tafsir ibn Kathir, 3/442)
Therefore, Islam clearly prohibits music. It also serves a severe warning to those who are involved in the trade of music in any way, shape or form, as Allah (SWT) warn them of a “humiliating punishment”.
2) Allah (SWT) says, whilst describing the attributes of the servants of the Most Compassionate (Ibad al-Rahman): “Those who witness no falsehood, and if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honourable avoidance.” (Surah al-Furqan, V. 72)
Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas relates from Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) that the meaning of “falsehood (zur)” is music & song. (Ahkam al-Qur’an, 3/428)
3) Allah (SWT) said to the Satan: “Lead to destruction those whom you can among them with your (seductive) voice.” (Surah al-Isra, V.64)
Mujahid (RA) interpreted the word “voice” as music, singing, dancing and idle things. (Ruh al-Ma’ani, 15/111)
Imam Suyuti (RA) quoted Mujahid as saying: “Voice (in this verse) is singing and flute.” (Al-Iklil fi istinbat al-tanzil, 1444)
Dahhak (RA) also interpreted the word “voice” as flutes. (Qurtubi, al-Jami` li Ahkam al-Qur’an, 10/288)
The are many Ahadith of the Prophet (SAW) which prohibit music and the use of musical instruments
1) Abu Malik al-Ash’ari (RA) reports that he heard the Prophet (SAW) say: “There will appear people in my Ummah, who will hold adultery, silk, alcohol and musical instruments to be lawful.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The above hadith mentions that certain people from the Ummah of the Prophet (SAW) will try to justify as permissible the use of musical instruments, along with adultery, silk and alcohol, in spite of these things being unlawful in Shariah. More importantly, by mentioning music with the adultery and alcohol, it shows how grave the sin is regarded by the Prophet (SAW). The one who permits music is the same as the one who permits alcohol and adultery.
2) Imran ibn Husain (RA) reports that the Prophet (SAW) said: “This Ummah will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones”. A man from amongst the Muslims asked: “O Messenger of Allah! When will this be?” He said: “When female singers and musical instruments appear and alcohol will (commonly) be consumed.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)
3) Ali ibn Talib (RA) reports that the Prophet (SAW) said: “When my Ummah begin doing fifteen things, they will be inflicted with tribulations, and (one of those 15 things is): “When female singers and musical instruments become common.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)
There are many narrations of the Prophet (SAW) which prohibit musical instruments and unlawful singing.
In conclusion, it is clear that music is haram. Furthermore, very few television programmes have a content which is halal, i.e. free from music and unlawful images. Therefore, to listen to music and to watch television whether in Ramadan or any other month is Haram. Of course, the sin greater in the holy month of Ramadan.
The object of fasting is to avoid food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset. (Hindiyyah) Therefore, since the above three conditions have not been breached by the person listening to music or watching television during Ramadan the fast will still be valid.
Allah (SWT) states in the Quran “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.” (Surah Al Baqarah V 183) Clearly listening to music and watching television does not achieve piety and therefore this act, to some extent, defeats the object of fasting.
Allah knows best.
Darul Ifta Birmingham