The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.
In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.
....The German imagines even God singing songs
. So said the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.
However, the Saudi does not imagine Allah singing songs. Or at least our Imams don't. We're going thru one of our periodic "things" about music, especially music at weddings. There's an article in the Saudi Gazette
about the ladies who sing at weddings. (If you're not familiar what happens at a Saudi Wedding, you might look at Saudi Weddings 101
.) The ladies who sing in the "female half" of the wedding are coming in for some criticism.WHILE many have called for their banning, and families threaten to have them murdered, female wedding singers continue to make an absolute killing. Dancing all the way to the bank, the Saudi Arabian wedding songster is demanding upwards of SR15,000 per matrimonial bash. More than 120 alone are entertaining people in Jeddah.
Why would "families threaten to have them murdered
"? Why do they provoke this extreme reaction?....Waad was a wedding singer who worked in the Kingdom for many years before she decided to turn professional appearing on TV and producing her own albums. She now lives in Lebanon, rejected by her family and in fear of her own life after receiving death threats from her own outraged brother.
....because with the wedding guests themselves, they are very popular.Without a good singer the wedding is going to be dull, said Sahara Al-Jilany, a 26-year-old from Jeddah. Like many people, Jilany seems to enjoy the one way to sing and dance the night away to live music in this country, and she certainly feels they are well-worth the lucrative rates they demand. The singer I got at my wedding was paid SR18,000, and she was worth it, said Jilany.
Two answers. The first is that some people do not like to see women making an independent living, or developing their own and hi-profile reputation. They should be staying at home, having endless children, devoting themselves to their husbands. And it is the families who often feel this the most strongly.
But the second answer, and the excuse that these homicidal families latch on to, is the opinion of Islamic so-called scholars. Switch on any Arab TV channel, or listen to radio stations in Saudi Arabia, and you will hear music. We have shops full of CD's. But our so-called scholars have a real problem with music, especially live music.
Now there is nothing in the Quran that specifically prohibits music. All the pronouncements of the Imams are instead based on their own narrow prejudices, although they do try and dig out Mohammad's reported sayings in support. If we consult our resident Islamic scholar
, he tells us that...The case with music and unlawful singing is the same. It has been decisively prohibited in Shariah, as the evidences mentioned further along will show. Yet there are individuals that are not ready to believe that it is Haram (prohibited).
Music is bad for you, partly because it's an evil plot by unbelievers...Music is a direct ploy of the Non-Muslims. One of the main causes for the decline of the Muslims is their involvement in useless entertainment. Today we see that Muslims are involved, and at the forefront perhaps, of many immoralities and evils. The spiritual power which once was the trait of a Muslim is nowhere to be seen. One of the main reasons for this is music and useless entertainment.
"Useless entertainment". He must mean the "Jerry Springer" show. Especially now it's a musical. And of course music can lead to all kinds of naughty things...
.... it effects one’s emotions, creates arousal, passion and excitement, and also leads to various physiological changes in the person. It is a psychological proven fact that two things are instrumental in arousing the human sexual desire, one being the voice of a female (for males) and the other music.
Such is the complete garbage that this guy dreams up. "Psychological proven fact", indeed. It has been psychologically proven that if I had to listen to Ruby Wax's voice for more than an hour, I would become celibate. More than a day, and I'd cut my throat. I'm sure everyone has their own favorite example.
So he scratches around for some reports that Mohammad didn't like music...Na’fi reports that .... heard the sound of a Sheppard’s flute. He put his fingers in his ears, turned his mule away from the road and said: “O Nafi’! Can you hear? .... He carried on walking (with his fingers in his ears) until I said: “the sound has ceased” He removed his fingers from his ears, came back on to the road and said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) doing the same when he heard the flute of the Sheppard”
OK, so Mohammad couldn't stand the sound of the shepherd's flute. That's because the shepherd's playing was crap. If he were any good, he'd have been doing world tours like James Galway. Instead, he's hanging out with sheep. Doesn't mean that Mohammad didn't like real music.
In fact, there is real evidence that Mohammad did in fact enjoy music....As for those who hold music to be lawful usually present the Hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari in which two girls were singing in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her).
....so faced with this threat to his argument, our miserable scholar tries to pretend that it was a "special case", a one-off....the content of the song was regarding war, thus perfectly lawful.
....claiming that it was a song about war. A catchy little number about decapitating prisoners, perhaps? But no-one kept the music, or did a live recording, so we'll never know. Especially not our "scholar", who has obviously invented that bit of nonsense, and is clearly talking out of a rarely-seen orifice. He can't alter the fact that Mohammad was listening to girls singing.
Finally, after a load of tedious quotations, our wise one comes to the conclusion thatHowever, to play the tambourine....at weddings .... will be permissible.
So there's nothing wrong with what our wedding singers are doing, singing with tambourines, according to general Islamic scholarly opinion. Unfortunately, that's not good enough for our home-grown Imams, the product of our beloved Imam University. What do they say?
Let's dial 1-800- S-T-O-O-P-I-D and find out.These ladies should be banned from the country, said Sheikh Yousuf Edrees, an imam at a Jeddah mosque, who is voicing his personal opinion. They are thieves and every penny they earn is haram; they are outlaws. Edrees noted the singers are not only doing something haram but also getting money for it, two sins at one time, he added.
"Two sins at one time
". He's obviously impressed. Like most of us, he can only manage one sin at once. But tonite he's going to have a go at whistling while abusing himself.
Meanwhile, you may be wondering, why are we only allowed the tambourine?
Well, I am sure that God intended us to use whatever we could invent. The Christians, Jews, and all the rest seem to have got this message from Him, and have kept up with the march of progress. How many different instruments are there in a symphony orchestra? But in Saudi Arabia, around 622 CE, they hadn't come across many instruments. In fact, apart from our shepherd, all they had was the tambourine. And it is quite possible that, when the Archangel Gabriel was relaying the message on to Mohammad, the conversation went something like this...AG
OK, time to get on to music. Ready?M
Sure, fire away.AG
It is permissible to sing....M
...OK to sing...AG
...and play the tambourine...M
...and blow the trumpet...M
...sorry, forgot you guys don't have the trumpet. Curly pipe, you blow a raspberry down one end. The Israelites were great trumpet players. Did a gig outside Jericho. "as soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and all the people shall charge straight ahead
." Seriously cool, that, you should have seen it. So that's the trumpet....
...and play the violin....M
Oh, sorry, it's not been invented yet. But it will be. Stretch the intestines of a cat across a wooden box and rub them with a horse's tail. Sounds stupid, I know, but it sounds great. So that's the violin.
....and the Moog Synthesiser...M
1400 years time. Guy called Robert Moog will revolutionize popular music. It's an electronic...M
OK, I see your problem. Perhaps I was expecting too much. Best not walk before you can run. Tell you what, let's keep it simple for now. Let's stick with singing and the tambourine. That way, when the guys invent a new instrument, they can just update the book and carry on from there. Anyway, let's move on to another subject. Much more important, but related in a way. Related to trumpets, that is. Let's deal with passing wind
But thanks to our scholars, we have never moved on from there, even after 1400 years. Somehow we have embraced the automobile, and air conditioning, and the cellphone, but the great outpouring of human creativity that is music, has passed us by. Now they even want to ban the tambourine.
And if the muttawa
catch even God singing songs,
he'll be in Big Trouble.