Music was one of the favourite cultural traditions of the
Arabs in the days of the Prophet Muhammad (sws). Music and musical instruments
were frequently used in worship rituals. It was also employed in the expression
of delight and sorrow. Music accompanied wars and festivals too. A study of the
traditions ascribed to the Holy Prophet (sws) reveals that not only did he
express his likeness for Music but he also encouraged others to play it on
festive occasions. Some reliable narratives in this regard make it clear that
the mother of the believers, ‘A%’ishah (rta) listened to songs in the very
presence of the Holy Prophet (sws). The Holy Prophet (sws) himself is reported
to have encouraged people to use music on wedding ceremonies. On his migration
from Makkah to Madinah, the women sang welcome songs on the Daff and the Holy
Prophet (sws) expressed his approbation of this. At another occasion, a
professional female singer and musician approached him and requested him to
listen to her song. The Holy Prophet (sws) not only himself listened to her song
but also took ‘A%’ishah (rta) to listen to her. The mother of the believers
leaned on the Holy Prophet’s (sws) shoulders and enjoyed the performance for a
considerable time. During journeys, the Messenger of God showed his likeness for
the Hida, a kind of desert song. He is also reported to have appointed a Hadi
for his camels who was endowed with a very sweet sound. He also emphasized
beating the Daff in order to announce Nikah. Various traditions have been
recorded in the books of Hadith on these issues. A study of some of these
i. Music on the ‘Id Festivals
عن عائشة قالت: دخل علي رسول الله وعندي
جاريتان تغنيان بغناء بعاث فاضطجع على الفراش وحول وجهه ودخل أبو بكر فانتهرني وقال
مزمارة الشيطان عند النبي فأقبل عليه رسول الله عليه السلام فقال دعهما فلما غفل
Narrates ‘A’ishah (rta): The Messenger (sws) of God came to
my residence while two female singers were singing the songs of Bu‘ath.
The Holy Prophet (sws) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Meanwhile
Abu Bakr (rta) entered and [seeing the singers] rebuked me thus: ‘Satanic
musical instruments in the presence of the Holy Prophet (sws)?’ On hearing this
God’s Messenger (sws) turned towards him and said: ‘Let them [sing and
rejoice]’. When Abu Bakr was engaged in some other business, I signaled to the
girls [to go out] and they left. It was on the ‘Id day.
(Bukhari, No: 907)
conclude from this narrative the following points:
The Mother of the believers, ‘A’ishah (rta), was
listening to songs on ‘I%d day.
The songs were being sung in the residence of the
Holy Prophet (sws).
A professional singer was performing.
The song was not a hymn to God; rather a relic of a
war fought before the advent of Islam.
The mother of the believers did not stop listening
to the song even after the Holy Prophet had arrived.
The Holy Prophet (sws) did not forbid her from
listening to the song.
He did not stop the female singers either.
He himself was not attracted to the performance but
he must have heard the song as he could hear Abu Bakr’s comments.
Abu Bakr (rta) condemned the practice at first
sight and declared that these were satanic instruments.
When he tried to stop the singers and censure the
listeners, the Holy Prophet (sws) stopped him from doing so.
evidently proves that the Holy Prophet (sws) allowed singing music during
religious festivals. This is evidenced by the fact that Holy Prophet’s (sws)
wife enjoyed singing and music. Although Abu Bakr (rta) tried to stop the
function, the Holy Prophet (sws) did not interfere with it, and let the
performers and the audience enjoy themselves. Therefore, in light of this
evidence we can conclude that music can justifiably be considered allowable in
narrative also deals with the issue:
عن أم سلمة قالت دخلت علينا جارية لحسان بن ثابت يوم فطر
ناشرة شعرها معها دف تغني فزجرتها أم سلمة فقال النبي دعيها يا أم سلمة فإن لكل قوم
عيدا وهذا يوم عيدنا
narrates: A slave girl belonging to Hassan Ibn Thabit (rta) came to us on ‘I%d
al Fitr. Her hair was unkempt and she carried a tambourine and was singing [some
song]. Umm-i-Salamah rebuked her. But the Holy Prophet (sws) said to her:
‘Ummi-i-Salamah, let her [sing and rejoice]. Certainly every nation has an ‘I%d
and this day is our ‘Id’. (Mu‘jam Al-Kabir, No: 558)
ii. Music on
عن بن عباس قال أنكحت عائشة ذات قرابة لها من الأنصار فجاء
رسول الله فقال أهديتم الفتاة قالوا نعم قال أرسلتم معها من يغني قالت لا فقال رسول
الله إن الأنصار قوم فيهم غزل فلو بعثتم معها من يقول أتيناكم أتيناكم
‘Abbas: ‘A’ishah (rta) arranged the marriage of a close Ansari girl. The Holy
Prophet (sws) also came to attend the ceremony. He inquired from the people:
‘Have you sent forth the bride?’ ‘Yes’, they replied. ‘Did you send any singer
with her?’ He asked. ‘A’ishah (rta) replied in the negative. The Holy Prophet (sws)
then remarked: ‘The Ansar cherish singing. It would be better that you sent
along with her a singer who would sing’4
‘We have come
to you; we have joined you. Peace be upon us. Peace be upon you.’
(Ibn Majah, No: 1900)
delineates the following points:
The way the Holy Prophet (sws) inquired about
singing and playing music on this occasion reveals that it was customary for the
Arabs to send a singer with the bride when sent to join the bridegroom.
The Holy Prophet (sws) was not pleased to hear that
the custom was abandoned on that occasion.
He encouraged people to adhere to the custom.
He suggested some couplets to be recited on such
occasions though he did not sing them.
He referred to the characteristics of the Ansar and
did not express his disapproval of the same.
proves that the Holy Prophet (sws) approved of singing and playing music on
marriage ceremonies. Some other versions of the narrative reveal that the
Prophet (sws) noticed that there was no singing or music being played in the
house where the marriage ceremony was being conducted. He felt strange and
inquired about the reason. Consider the following text of the narrative:
عن عائشة قالت كان في حجري جارية من الأنصار فزوجتها قالت
فدخل علي رسول الله يوم عرسها فلم يسمع غناء ولا لعبا فقال يا عائشة هل غنيتم عليها
أو لا تغنون عليها ثم قال ان هذا الحي من الأنصار يحبون الغناء
reports: An Ansari girl lived under my guardianship and I arranged her marriage.
The Holy Prophet (sws) came to my house on the day she was married and did not
hear any songs or any other joyful activities. [Observing this] he asked of me:
‘Did you people sing to her or not?’ ‘This is the tribe of the Ansar who like
singing,’ he added. (Ibn Hibban, No: 5875)
iii. Use of
Music on Joyous Occasions
عن ابن عائشة لما قدم رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم المدينة
جعل النساء وصبيان يقلن:
طلع البدر علينا
من ثنيات الوداع
وجب الشكر علينا
ما دعا لله داع
أيها المبعوث فينا
جئت با لأمر المطاع
narrates: When the Holy Prophet (sws) came to Madinah, the women and the
children started singing: ‘The Moon has risen upon us from the hillocks of Wida‘.
We eowe gratitude [to God] as long as those who call God continue doing so. O
Prophet (sws) you have brought a religion that is worthy to be followed’.
2. عن أنس بن مالك أن النبي مر ببعض المدينة فإذا هو بجوار
يضربن بدفهن ويتغنين ويقلن:
نحن جوار من بني النجار
يا حبذا محمد من جار
فقال النبي الله يعلم إني لأحبكن
Ibn Malik: [Having entered the city], the Holy Prophet (sws) passed through a
certain part of the town. Suddenly some slave girls appeared singing on the Daff
the following ditty: ‘We are the slave girls of Bani Najjar.
How lucky! This day the Holy Prophet (sws) has come to be our neighbor’. At this
the Holy Prophet (sws) remarked: ‘God knows that I love you people’8
(Ibn Majah, No: 1899)
narratives deal with the Holy Prophet’s arrival in Madinah after his migration
from Makkah. Their content can be summarized in the following points:
The Holy Prophet’s arrival in Madinah was an
extremely joyous occasion.
People expressed their joy by singing joyous songs.
Slave girls were also from among the singers.
They had musical instruments to play with their
The Holy Prophet (sws) and the Companions (rta)
heard these songs but they did not express their disapproval.
The Holy Prophet (sws) expressed his love and
kindness for singing women.
other similar narratives sufficiently prove that when the Holy Prophet (sws)
reached Madinah after his migration from Makkah, he received a warm welcome. The
city had a festive appearance. Every one was filled with joy on the Holy
Prophet’s arrival. Women, slave girls, singing women and children expressed
their joy by singing welcome songs and playing the Daff. The Holy Prophet (sws)
appreciated this. Therefore, one cannot deny the fact that the Holy Prophet (sws)
sanctioned celebrating joyous occasion by singing melodies using musical
iv. Use of
Music during Travels:
عن سلمة بن الأكوع رضي الله عنه قال خرجنا مع النبي إلى خيبر
فسرنا ليلا فقال رجل من القوم لعامر يا عامر ألا تسمعنا من هنيهاتك وكان عامر رجلا
شاعرا حداء فنزل يحدو بالقوم يقول:
اللهم لولا أنت ما اهتدينا
ولا تصدقنا ولا صلينا
فاغفر فداء لك ما اتقينا
وثبت الأقدام إن لاقينا
وألقين سكينة علينا
إنا إذا صيح بنا أبينا
وبالصياح عولوا علينا
فقال رسول الله من هذا السائق قالوا عامر بن الأكوع قال
Ibn Al-Akwa‘: ‘We set off for Khaybar in the company of the Holy Prophet (sws)
at night. A man from the group said to ‘Amir: ‘O ‘Amir, would not you let us
hear your poetry?’ ‘Amir who was a Hida poet got down and started reciting for
the people [the following verses]: ‘O God, were not it for your guidance, we
could not have been able to offer the Salah and pay the Zakah. So please forgive
our sins that [we have committed] and the ones we may commit in future. We are
ready to offer our lives for your cause. Grant us perseverance when faced [with
the enemy] and pour down your mercy upon us. [We are the people] who refuse to
surrender when the enemy challenges us to fight. And [we leave them] to cry for
help against us’.
Prophet asked: ‘Who is that signer?’ They replied: ‘‘A^mir bin Al-Akwa‘’. ‘God
bless him’, prayed the Holy Prophet (sws).
(Bukhari, No: 3960)
We learn from
the narrative that:
The Companions were along with the Holy Prophet (sws)
on his way to Khaybar.
Some of the Companions requested ‘A%mir (rta) to
sing from his Hida (i.e. song sung primarily to drive camels, which correspond
to their walk). He complied with the request and began his recitation with such
a loud voice that the Holy Prophet (sws) could hear him.
The Holy Prophet (sws) inquired about the singer
Since he had recited good verses the Holy Prophet (sws)
prayed for him.
Hida is a form
of the desert poetry. The verses in this kind of poetry are rhymed corresponding
to the pace of the footsteps of the camels. Ancient Arab camel drivers would
sing this kind of poetry while travelling through the desert. Though the primary
purpose of this singing was to encourage the camels to walk speedily yet the
camel drivers themselves enjoyed it a lot. Many Hadith narratives refer to this
practice of the time and evidently prove that the Holy Prophet (sws) and his
Companions would enjoy this kind of poetry.
other narratives on the same subject, the Holy Prophet (sws) had appointed
Anjashah, who had a very pleasing voice, to serve as a Hadi (i.e. camel driver)
during his travels in the desert. During one of the travels, the camels started
to pace very quickly affected by the sweetness of his sound. The Holy Prophet (sws)
stopped him lovingly from singing Hida. He asked the singer not to force the
beasts to walk at a faster pace so that female riders do not fall down. ‘Anas
Ibn Malik reports:
كان للنبي حاد يقال له أنجشة وكان حسن الصوت فقال له النبي
رويدك يا أنجشة لا تكسر القوارير قال قتادة يعني ضعفة النساء
Prophet had a Had, Anjashah. He had a very sweet sound. [During one of his
journeys] the Holy Prophet (sws) said to him: ‘Slow down, Anjashah, lest you
should break the delicate goblets. Qatadah explained that the Prophet (sws) was
referring to delicate women. (Bukhari, No: 5857)
the scholars Hida’ definitely is a type of singing. Dr. Jawwad Ali writes:
ولحداء هو من اقدم انواع الغناء عند العرب و يغنى به في
الاسفار خاصة ولا زال على مكانته و مقامه في البادية حتى اليوم. و يتغنى به في
المناسبات المحزمة أيضا لملائمة نغمته مع الحزن. و قد كان للرسول حادى هو البراء بن
مالك بن النضر الأنصاري و كان حداء للرجال. و كان له حداء آخر, يقال له انجشة
الحادي و كان جميل الصوت أسود, و كان يحدو للنساء النبي, و كان غلاما للرسول.
Hida is of the oldest type of singing in Arabia that was
specifically used during travels and is still used in contemporary Bedouin
society. Besides, since the Hida songs suit sorrowful situation, this type of
singing was used in mourning etc. as well. The Holy Prophet (sws) got a Hida
singer appointed for him called Al-Barra’ Ibn Malik Ibn Nadar Al-Ansari who
would drive camels for male riders. Another Had of his was Anjashah who had a
very melodious tone. He was a black slave of the Holy Prophet (sws) who was
employed to serve as a Had for the camels of the wives of the Holy Prophet (sws).
He further writes:
والحداء هو في الواقع غناء أهل البادية, …
هذا النوع من الغناء مما يتناسب مع لحن البوادي و نغمها الحزينة البسيطة التي تطرب
بها طبيعة البداوة نفس الأعراب
Al-Hida’ actually is the singing used among the desert
dwellers … this kind of singing corresponds with the tones cherished by the
desert dwellers and also with their simple and natural mourning songs that
please the nomadic tastes of these Bedouins.
writes in his book, Muqaddamah, that the basic purpose of Hida was not only to
please the caravan members but also to urge the camels to proceed faster.
of joy is even found in speechless animals not to mention humans. Therefore we
see that the camels respond to the Hida of the riders, and the horses are
affected by the whistles and shrill sounds. We already know that animals receive
effects of the songs if they are rhythmical, and correspond to the rules
governing the art of music.
عن الربيع بنت معوذ قالت دخل علي النبي غداة بني علي فجلس
على فراشي كمجلسك مني وجويريات يضربن بالدف يندبن من قتل من آبائهن يوم بدر حتى
قالت جارية وفينا نبي يعلم ما في غد فقال النبي لا تقولي هكذا وقولي ما كنت تقولين
Rabi‘, daughter of Mu‘wwadh: On the occasion of my transfer to my husband’s home
after marriage, the Holy Prophet (sws) came to visit us and sat down on my bed
just as you [the next narrator] are sitting before me now. Some slave girls were
beating the Daff and singing in lamentation of their forefathers who had been
killed during the battle of Badr. Then one of the girls sang: ‘Among us is the
Prophet (sws) who knows even what will happen in coming days’. At this, the Holy
Prophet (sws) said: ‘Do not say this, but go on singing.
(Bukhari, No: 3779)
We learn from
the narrative that:
The Holy Prophet (sws) attended a marriage ceremony
where some slave girls were singing.
Singing was not stopped on his arrival.
The singers used the Daff with their singing.
The Holy Prophet (sws) heard them [this is evident
from the fact that he stopped them from uttering certain words.]
He however ordered them to continue with what they
were singing before.
effectively proves that the Holy Prophet (sws) did not impose any restriction on
using the Daff, a common musical instrument used in that society. Keeping in
view the information we received through the above mentioned narratives we can
conclude that Arabs of the times of the Holy Prophet (sws) would use musical
instrument to accompany their singing on joyous occasions. This has been done in
the presence of the Holy Prophet (sws) to which he did not object. Some other
narratives even tell us that the Holy Prophet (sws) even ordered the people to
use musical instruments at the occasion of marriage.
قال رسول الله فصل بين الحلال والحرام الدف والصوت في
Prophet (sws) said: ‘the only thing that distinguishes the allowable act (i.e.
Nikah) from the forbidden one (fornication) is the beat of the tambourine and
open declaration of the Nikah.
(Ibn Majah, No: 1896)
The Daff no
doubt is an old musical instrument to be played by hand, which remained in use
from ancient times. In this regard, Dr. Jawwad ‘Ali writes:
The Daff is
one of the most well known primitive musical instruments. It is used to express
joy and high spirit. Women also play it. The Arabs would commonly use it on
their most joyous occasions. When the Holy Prophet (sws) reached Madinah he was
welcomed with the singing of songs and playing of the Daff. Usually, the Arabs
would use it on joyful ceremonies like weddings, and would sing songs along with
The Bible also
contains references to the Daff as a musical instrument at various occasions.
One of the Urdu Bible dictionaries, Qamus Al-Kitab, defines the instrument thus:
It was a kind
of narrow hoop musical instrument which was held in [one] hand and played [by
striking it with the other.] It was used to create rhythm while singing and
dancing. It would offer much cheerfulness in celebrations and processions.
vi. Art of
عن السائب بن يزيد أن امرأة جاءت إلى رسول الله فقال يا
عائشة تعرفين هذه قالت لا يا نبي الله قال هذه قينة بني فلان تحبين أن تغنيك
Ibn Yazid: A woman came to the Holy Prophet (sws). He asked ‘A’ishah (rta): ‘Do
you know her?’ ‘No, O Prophet (sws) of God’ she replied. ‘This is the female
professional singer of such and such tribe. Do you want her to sing to you?’ So
the woman sang for her. (Bayhaqi,
We learn from
A woman connected with the art of music
came to the Holy Prophet (sws).
She expressed her desire to sing to ‘A’ishah (rta)
The Holy Prophet (sws) did not express dislike
for this nor did he rebuke her.
He introduced her to ‘A’ishah (rta).
With the permission from the Holy Prophet (sws),
the singer sang to ‘A’ishah (rta).
evidences that the Holy Prophet (sws) did not consider singing evil in its
nature. Had it been the case he would have hindered the woman from doing so or
at least he would not have allow ‘A’ishah (rta) to listen to her song. Some
other narratives tell us that such professional singers and dancers, both men
and women, were common among the Arabs of that time, and the Holy Prophet (sws)
did not deem it undesirable to enjoy their performance.
عن عائشة قالت كان رسول الله جالسا فسمعنا لغطا وصوت صبيان
فقام رسول الله فإذا حبشية تزفن والصبيان حولها فقال يا عائشة تعالي فانظري فجئت
فوضعت لحيي على منكب رسول الله فجعلت أنظر إليها ما بين المنكب إلى رأسه فقال لي
أما شبعت أما شبعت قالت فجعلت أقول لا لأنظر منزلتي عنده إذ طلع عمر قال فارفض
الناس عنها قالت فقال رسول الله إني لأنظر إلى شياطين الإنس والجن قد فروا من عمر
‘A’ishah (rta): The Holy Prophet (sws) was present among us when suddenly we
heard children creating noise. The Holy Prophet (sws) stood up. [We found out]
that a black slave woman was dancing encircled by children. The Holy Prophet (sws)
[called me] saying: ‘‘A’ishah (rta), come and watch’. I came [to him] placed my
chin over the Prophet’s shoulders and watched through the space between his
shoulders and head. The Holy Prophet (sws) asked many times: ‘Have you not got
enough of it?’ In order to know how he cares for me I continued replying in the
negative. Meanwhile ‘Umar (rta) came and the gathering disbursed [seeing him].
At this the Holy Prophet commented: ‘I see that the devils from among the Jinn
and the humans have fled at ‘Umar arrival.’
(Tirmidhi, No: 3691)
حدثنا عبد الله بن بريدة عن أبيه أن النبي قدم من بعض مغازيه
فأتته جارية سوداء فقالت يا رسول الله إني كنت نذرت إن ردك الله سالما أن أضرب بين
يديك بالدف فقال إن كنت نذرت فاضربي قال فجعلت تضرب فدخل أبو بكر رضي الله عنه وهي
تضرب ثم دخل عمر رضي الله عنه فألقت الدف تحتها وقعدت عليه فقال رسول الله إن
الشيطان يخاف منك يا عمر
Buridah narrates on the authority of his father: The Holy Prophet (sws) returned
from some of his military expeditions. A black slave girl approached him and
said: ‘I had vowed to beat the Daff before you if God brought you back unhurt’.
The Holy Prophet replied: ‘If you have, then proceed’. She started beating the
Daff. Meanwhile Abu Bakr (rta) came and she continued beating it. Later when
‘Umar (rta) came she covered her instrument under herself as soon as she saw
him. At this the Holy Prophet (sws) commented: ‘‘Umar, even Satan fears you’. (Bayhaqi,
situation depicted in the above narratives makes it clear that the word
‘Habshiyyah’ and ‘Jariyyah Sawda’u’ connote professional singer slave-girl. For
it would not be possible for a common lady to perform before the general public.
‘Qaynah’ in the above mentioned narrative from Sunan Al-Bayhaqi connotes a
professional female singer. The context does not permit any other explanation.
Besides, it is a known fact that in the Arabic language the word has been used
as a term for a professional female singer. The author of Lisan Al-‘Arab writes,
‘and the word ‘Qaynah’ means female slave singer.’
Black male and
female slaves excelled in the art of dancing and music. Many narratives provide
sufficient evidence that they exhibited their skill in the presence of the Holy
Prophet (sws) at numerous occasions and he did not condemn it.
عن أنس قال كانت الحبشة يزفنون بين يدي رسول الله ويرقصون
ويقولون محمد عبد صالح فقال رسول الله ما يقولون قالوا يقولون محمد عبد صالح
narrates: Black slaves were dancing in front of the Messenger (sws) of God and
sang the following words: ‘Muhammad (sws) is a pious person’. The Holy Prophet (sws)
[did not understand their utterances] and asked what they were saying. The
people replied: ‘they say that Muhammad (sws) is a pious person’. (Ahmad, No:
We learn from
the narrative that:
Some black slaves were dancing in the
presence of the Holy Prophet (sws).
They were singing the praise of the Holy
The Holy Prophet (sws) did not stop them from
He was interested in their performance. This
is revealed by his question about their utterances.
literature contains enough evidence to the fact that professional dancers from
among the Abyssinian slaves used to perform before the Arabs. The nobles of
Arabia would not consider enjoying such performances as undesirable. Therefore
they would invite such artists to perform on their festive occasions. Dr Jawwad
و قد عرف الحبش بحبهم للرقص. و كان أهل مكة و غيرهم من أهل
الحجاز إذا أرادوا الإحتفال بعرس أو ختان أو أية مناسبة مفرحة أخرى احضروا الحبش
للرقص والغناء على طريقتهم الخاصة
The Abyssinians were famous for their love of dancing. The
people of Makkah and of other territories of Hijaz would call upon them to
perform their special dances and sing songs whenever they would hold joyous
ceremonies like marriage, circumcision and other similar festive occasions.
narratives show that ‘A’ishah (rta) enjoyed the dancing feast of the Abyssinian
slaves along with the Holy Prophet (sws).
عن عائشة قالت جاء حبش يزفنون في يوم عيد في المسجد فدعاني
النبي فوضعت رأسي على منكبه فجعلت أنظر إلى لعبهم حتى كنت أنا التي أنصرف عن النظر
‘A’ishah (rta): Once on an ‘Id day the Abyssinian slaves came and started
dancing in the mosque. The Holy Prophet (sws) called me. I placed my head on
the Holy Prophet’s shoulder and started watching their performance. [The Holy
Prophet did not stop me] until I myself got tired of watching them and turned
away. (Muslim, No: 892)
Prophet’s Praise for a Melodious Voice
عن أبي موسى رضي الله عنه عن النبي قال له يا أبا موسى لقد
أوتيت مزمارا من مزامير آل داود
Musa: The Holy Prophet (sws) [heard him recite the Holy Qur’an] and commented:
‘O Abu Musa, you have been given one of the musical wind-instruments of the
nation of David’.
The Holy Prophet (sws) liked reciting the Qur’an in
He rendered it analogous to using musical
He appreciated the musical instruments used by
people of David (sws).
shows that the Holy Prophet (sws) liked melodious utterances. The words of the
narrative shows that the reason the Holy Prophet (sws) praised Abu Musa’s
recitation was the sweetness of his voice. Obviously, this sweetness of sound
should always be considered a desirable thing; not only this sweetness will be
enjoyed while reciting the Holy Qur’an but also other poetry, for example,
poetical compositions in praise of God and exalting Him and in expressing other
good subjects or poetry. In all these things, a beautiful voice should be
equally considered a virtue. The art of music and singing is nothing but
rhythmical melodious themes. There is no doubt that the principles of reciting
the Qur’an beautifully are different from the ones used in common musical notes.
However, this is equally true that the treble and bass and beauty and delicacy
of utterance are elements common in the Qur’anic recitation and other types of
singing. Seen in this perspective, both arts have a common trait of some sort.
the narrative approves of the musical instruments of David (sws). Thus the Holy
Prophet (sws) recognized Biblical accounts regarding David (sws) and his
followers about their use of music and musical instruments in singing the
praises of God. That is the reason the great exegetes of the Qur’an have
recorded this Hadith narrative in connection with the Qur’anic verses dealing
with David’s praises of God. While commenting on verse 79 of Surah Anbiya, the
celebrated commentator of the Qur’an, Ibn Kathir writes:
And this was
because of his reciting the Psalms in a melodious voice. When he would sing it
the birds would stop in the air and sang in response to David; so did the
mountains. It is for this reason that when the Holy Prophet (sws) passed Abu
Musa Ash‘ari (rta), when he was offering his night prayer, he stopped and
listened to his recitation for he had a very beautiful voice. The Holy Prophet (sws)
said: ‘Indeed he (Abu Musa) has been bestowed one of the musical instruments of
the people of David (sws)’. Hearing this, Abu Musa said: ‘Had I known that he
[the Holy Prophet] was listening, I would have pleased him more’. Abu ‘Uthman
Nahdi says that he did not find any drum, flute or a reed sound more pleasing
than the voice of Abu Musa.
may safely be concluded that the Holy Prophet (sws) believed in the fact that
David (sws) had a melodious voice.