Jun 13, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Music Made Me Do It [An In-Depth Study of Music through Islam and Science]

by Amina Edota


written by
Dr. Gohar Mushtaq

{International Islamic Publishing House, 2011}

Music has inevitably become a huge part of our everyday life. We get bombarded with different kinds of music while shopping, at work, travelling, at family events and other special occasions. Children may be mandated to compose music and perform musical acts, while at school, thereby forming a foundation for their future. It becomes confusing for many Muslims to understand what Islam says about this issue.

Is there such a thing as 'Islamic' Music?

How do we set limits as Muslimahs, Parents, Guardians & Educators regarding Music in our lives?

Do we know enough from authentic sources to boldly face this modern challenge?

Dr. Mushtaq's book, covers the topic of Music and its position in Islam. It could be the first Islamic work of its kind, analysing the effects of music in the light of modern scientific research. p.29

With a background in the Sciences (Biochemistry & Biophysical Chemistry) and Islamic sciences, Dr Mushtaq draws heavily from both authentic Islamic sources as well as scientific evidences to produce an extensive work.

He sought to address the concern of many Muslims today, about whether the issue of music is indeed controversial or rather one of consensus in Islam. The author regards faith as the main ingredient that needs to be nurtured in the heart of the Muslim in order to accept right as right and wrong as wrong.

Through 282 pages and eight (8) chapters, he examines Music & its effects from different perspectives. First, from an Islamic viewpoint (in the light of Qur'an and Prophetic Hadiths) and then from the lenses of contemporary research in areas of medical and behavioural sciences. This framework of using two viewpoints gave a defining structure to the heavily referenced discussion throughout the entire book.

Furthermore, the opinions of various companions of Prophet Muhammad, Sallalahu alayhi Wasallam, The Tabi'oon, Four Imaams and other Islamic scholars were compiled relating to listening to Music. Scholars such Imam Ibn Taymiyah, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali & Shaykh 'Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz among many others.

The chapters clearly showed that Music and singing ultimately affect listeners' behaviour as well as eat into the moral fabric of the society. It was shown that subliminal lyrics - whether intentional or unintentional are usually embedded into music. And these lyrics are mostly about drugs, promiscuity, revolting against elders and religious traditions.

The last chapter covered stories of Muslims who had some background in Music; From the story of Imam Malik ibn Anas whose ambition was to become a singer to the life story of Dr. Bilal Philips with some profound reminders for the youth.

Life stories of other former music stars were also given chronicling their musical experience; how they lived wholly immersed in a life of music then found their path back to Islam and its correct teachings.

Notable, was this profound insight from many years gone past. ''One quick way to destroy a society is through its music.'' (Vladimir Lenin, 1870-1924 CE) p.207

This sentence clearly reflects the state of our Ummah today, where our celebrations are heavily infused with music and the youth typically have headphones stuck in their ears listening to music for most of their productive hours.

The findings make it glaring that music has a big impact on the worldview and behaviour of its listeners as it furnishes them with lifestyle choices and helps shape their identity. Therefore, ''Music and Singing are not simply harmless forms of entertainment'' p.122

The book ends on a beautiful note with a quote by a Muslim revert, Sister Yvonne Ridley, who calls on the Muslim Ummah to wake up and listen to the pain of their global family, rather than to what is haram. p.240

This piece of work is a wakeup call for me and you. It is an important book for all Muslims and every home should have a copy, to serve as a source of reference for learning about this contemporary issue.

If you've read this book, I'd love to hear your views on it. Please tell me in the comments section below.


Nice review. Jazakumullah khair. Looking forward to getting it one day.

Asalam o alaikum!

It is one of the best books I have read so far. Modern research and References from Quran and Hadith literature. I identified after reading, those areas of my life which were ruined by listening to music most of the time. Alhamdulilah, Allah SWT helped me get over it. I feel free; literally free in the real sense of the word. Music made me feel intoxicated otherwise. And it actually has its withdrawal symptoms that one has to fight for.

Must Read!


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