Note: please also read the accompanying beneficial footnotes .
Question: In these summer centers, staged plays and anaasheed (songs) take place. What is your view on that?
Answer: The caretakers of these centers must prevent those things that have no benefit in them or which are harmful to the students from (entering) into their schools. They must teach them the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, ahaadeeth, Fiqh and the Arabic language. Doing these things should be sufficient to preoccupy one’s time over all other things. They should also teach them the subjects they will need for their worldly endeavors, such as writing, maths, and some useful craft.
As for those things, which they hear just for amusement, then in reality, these things should not be included in their programs1 since it fills a portion of their time with no benefit. Rather, it may even preoccupy them and make them forget the benefit for which they came (to the summer centers). So from among the things (that have no benefit in them) are plays and anaasheed for they only consist of entertainment and amusement. And they accustom the students to follow the actors and singers that are propagated throughout the various forms of media.
Shaikh Saalih bin Fawzaan Al-Fawzaan
1 In his book al-Khutab al-Mimbariyyah (3/184-185, 1411H Edition), Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan said: “What deserves attention also is: The tapes that are being increasingly circulated amongst the practising youth in which anaasheed done in group voices are recorded. They call them Islamic anaasheed, but they are a form of singing and sometimes they occur with provocative voices. They can even be found being sold at tape exhibitions along with tapes of the noble Qur’aan and religious lectures.
Calling these anaasheed ‘Islamic’ is incorrect, since Islaam has not legislated anaasheed for us. Rather, it only prescribed for us the remembrance of Allaah, the recitation of the Qur’aan, and the acquiring of beneficial knowledge. As for anaasheed, then they are from the ways of the innovating Sufis, those who take their religion as play and amusement. Furthermore, taking anaasheed as part of the religion contains in it imitation of the disbelievers, i.e. those who make their religion into collective chanting and musical melodies.
It is an obligation to warn against these anaasheed and prevent their sale and distribution. In addition to this, these anaasheed contain an incitement towards fitnah with reckless zeal and they cause instigation amongst the Muslims. Those who spread these anaasheed justify it by claiming that poems would be chanted in the presence of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and he would listen to them and concur with that.
The response to this is that those poems that would be chanted in front of Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم would not be chanted in a group voice in the form of singing, and they would not be called ‘Islamic anaasheed.’ On the contrary, they were just Arab poems that contained points of wisdom, parables, and descriptions of valor and nobility. The Companions would recite these individually due to the meanings they contained. And sometimes they would chant these poems at the time of doing some laborious work, such as construction and traveling at night on a journey. So this proves that this type of chanting is permissible under these similar specific circumstances, not that they should be made into one of the subjects of education and da’wah, as is prevalent nowadays, such that students are dictated these anaasheed and call them: ‘Islamic hymns’ and ‘religious chants.’
This is innovating in the Religion and it is from the ways of the innovating Sufis, for they are the ones who are known to take these anaasheed as part of their religion. We must be cautious of their plots and prevent the sale of these tapes since evil at first begins small and them progresses if it is not terminated at its inception.
The noble Shaikh, Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen was asked the following question about anaasheed: “Is is permissible for me to chant Islamic anaasheed? And is it permissible to beat the duff along with these chants? Also, is it permissible to chant these hymns on occasions other than ‘Eid and wedding festivities?”
So he responded by saying: “Islamic anaasheed (hymns) are innovated hymns. They resemble that which Sufis have innovated, which is why we must refrain from them and turn instead towards the admonitions found in the Qur’aan and Sunnah. This is unless, these hymns occur at times of war, in which case they can be used to promote and build up courage for Jihaad in the Cause of Allaah as this is good. But if these hymns are accompanied by the duff, they stray even farther from what is correct.” [Transcribed from the book “The Fataawaa of Shaikh Muhammad Al-‘Uthaimeen” compiled by Ashraf ‘Abdul-Maqsood (1/134-135); 1412 Edition; Dar ‘Aalam-ul-Kutub]
Source: from the book, Beneficial Answers to Questions on Innovated Methodologies. Compiled and Commented by Jamaal bin Furayhaan Al-Haarithee, Al-Ibaanah Book Publishing.