Told like it is, by Fatima Barkatullah......please NOTA BENE (NB, meaning note well) provocative title choice is mine NOT sister Fatima's!
I decided to go to the Global Peace & Unity Event with just my eldest son to see what it was like and to feel that good feeling one gets when in an environment where our Brotherhood can be felt. I only went for the second day: Sunday. Ma Sha Allah many of the talks were inspiring: Yaasir Qadhi set out the solution for the problems the Ummah faces: returning to the Deen and doing what we can as individuals to make sure we are on the straight path....Salman al-'Awdah, George Galloway and others had powerful speeches reminding us of the situation many Muslims find themselves in. There was something for everyone really.
I think the scale of the Global Peace & Unity Event was different: apparently 50000 people attending between the two days (Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th of November). That is a lot of people. But if you're going to organise an event that big...you've got to meet the challenge, by thinking of everything. Many people accepted Islam at the event and others felt their Iman increase. The comedian was very funny and gave an important message at the same time. The food was good masha Allah.
I looked at the event as a mother. My son would have felt the Unity of the Muslims for quite a long time during the event. He would have seen that Muslims can excel in having quality businesses designing and selling Multimedia products, modern clothing, services, food and everything in between! That is something that would have boosted my confidence when I was a young girl - the only practicing Muslim in sight at my school. He would have also seen the amount of litter everywhere as well as the free-mixing. Unfortunately though, if he had been older, he would also have probably learnt that singers are more important than scholars. Imagine scholars being told they had to shorten their talks. Do you think anyone would ask a singer to shorten their songs? There was one point when Suhaib Webb was told to finish his talk in one minute. He in fact refused saying that he had been given twenty and he intended to speak for twenty minutes because he had a message he wanted to convey to the people. He even said to the audience many of whom seemed not to be paying attention to him: "If you can listen to singers then you should listen to your Imaams!"
I feel afraid. I am afraid that the Ummah is giving our children, dangerous mixed messages. We tell them not to follow their desires or imitate the disbelievers and then they see the following: Two singers who are known for their good work for Muslim children and education, singers who children often recognise, turn up on the stage with musical instrument in hand and start to sing and strum guitars in a Muslim event, for Muslims, organised by Muslims. One of them did apparently warn the audience and asked for tolerance. I had left the room as soon as I saw the first guitar. I truly believe that this is the fulfillment of the Prophet's prophecy:
“In my ummah there will be people who allow fornication/adultery (zina), silk, wine and musical instruments [ma’aazif].
(Reported by al-Bukhaari in al-Saheeh mu’allaqan, 51/10. Reported mawsoolan by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra, 3/272; al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 3/319; and Ibn Hibbaan in al-Saheeh (8/265-266). Classed as saheeh by Ibn al-Salaah in ‘Uloom al-Hadeeth (32), Ibn al-Qayyim in Ighaathat al-Lahfaan (255) and Tahdheeb al-Sunan (5/270-272), al-Haafiz in al-Fath (10/51) and al-Albaani in al-Saheehah (1/140)).
But the event was meant to be for Global Peace & Unity. As soon as the instruments were brought out....they divided the Muslims. Why would you do that? Is it so important that your song, (which you claim is for da'wah and to give an Islamic message), be accompanied by a musical instrument that you know half the audience regard as haraam - forbidden by Allah, so they cannot expose themselves or their children to it? I mean was it that important to do that? I heard sister Yvonne Ridley saying on her show once how uncomfortable the new emerging pop nasheed culture was to her. I agree. It is a slippery slope.
I suppose the key is not to expose ones children to the nasheed culture. I have a Ahmad Bukhatir CD, a Junaid Jamshed CD, some Arabic songs which teach the pillars of Iman and rules of Tajweed, the five pillars of Islam, the six pillars of Iman tapes, which have innocent Muslim poems and rhymes on them. I also had Dawud Wharnsby Ali tapes which I only brought out occasionally but I am seriously considering getting rid of them, for this reason alone: whoever I bring into my children's lives will be a role model for my children...if they see him with a guitar, that will affect them, especially since one of my relations has a guitar (which I cover whenever I see it at their house) and if they notice that guitar and the guitar of nasheed artists (?) I mean musicians (that's what they are), then what message does that send them? Then on top of that if those musicians are 'bigged up' by the event organisers, (How many times were people at the GP&U event told that Yusuf Islam was in the building? So many times, with so many cheers and applause and takbeers. Much more than the scholars and students of knowledge were bigged up.) If the singers are bigged up and the audience hyped up, then that will be such a strong influence on my child, especially as he gets older. Human beings are affected by those who surround them.
No doubt about it.
At the GP & U event Allah protected my son. Before the Nasheeds and songs even started, he fell asleep on my lap. Then when the guitar came out - I picked up all of my bags and my heavy son and walked out of the hall.
Remember the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand (by taking action); if he cannot, then with his tongue (by speaking out); and if he cannot then with his heart (by hating it and feeling that it is wrong), but that is the weakest of faith.” (Narrated by Muslim, 49). About that Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Denouncing it in one’s heart is obligatory for everyone. That means hating the evil action and shunning those who do it, if one is unable to denounce it by taking action or speaking out.” From: al-Durar al-Saniyah fi al-Ajwabah al-Najdiyyah, 16/142.
We cannot be witness to such things nor can we pretend they are not that important. My son woke up, way after the nasheeds finished.
So many brothers and sisters who I know didn't listen to music just stayed in the room. That's how forbidden acts eventually get accepted by people: apathy. Not enjoining the good and forbidding the evil - not even protecting ourselves from witnessing the evil. I am not exaggerating when I say that I think this is the slippery slope that could lead our children into becoming wishy-washy Muslims. That is a disease of the heart.
One brother did speak out and did it in the nicest way: Br Jalal ibn Sa'eed. After the banjo strumming was over, he came and with a smile on his face said that the guitars were not his cup of tea and then clearly said for all to hear that Music is haraam. The crowd cheered. He called on them to do takbeer and there was loud cheering because so many people there agreed with him. He then said that he doesn't dislike the brothers who used musical instruments because he knows they thought they were doing good - or something like that. That took guts to do. Barak Allah feehi. He enjoined the good at the event when it was so easy to just act like everything was going fine.
The only reason I am speaking openly about this is because the singers so openly played their instruments to audiences of millions of Muslims if you include all those who could potentially watch the event on TV and later on DVD. So many children and young people will be influenced by their actions.
I will be writing to Islam Channel insha Allah and I hope things can improve in the future but I don't feel that optimistic because there is a current trend to just go along with anything that will impress non-Muslims and show them that we're not that different to them. It's sad to me, but I will not be attending such events in the future. I know what the crowd can do to your Iman because I've been there.
If anyone has any doubt about music, read these proofs:
It is not just one scholars opinion. It is the opinion of the Sahabah, and the early generations, who are the ones who preserved Islam for us because they knew the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. The three infallibles prove it: The Qur'an, the Sunnah as well as the consensus of the early generations of Muslims.