The Sharing Group Discussion: British Muslims Dancing to Pharrell Williams' "Happy"

 بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

There are two threads here about the same music video, on The Sharing Group.  One is by people from The Honesty Policy dancing to the song, and the other was a response by a scholar.

The following was posted on The Sharing Group, by Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez, on the 17th April, 2014.  It was about British Muslims Dance to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”.

Brother Justin Taylor: The question was asked previously on what is a moderate Muslim.  Is a moderate Muslim one prepared to give up certain ideas of faith for general acceptance?

Brother Marquis Dawkins: I was hoping there were a few Muslim ones.  If I lived in Dubai or one of the Gulf States, I would like to make a ‘Happy’ video with some friends.  The countries are beautiful and being that we love God, we should be dancing!  Before promptly being beheaded by Wahhabis.

Brother Colin Turner: The uproar this has caused among Salafis, Hizb al-Tahrir et al does not bear thinking about.

Brother Yusuf Abdulrahman: Salaam all, may Allah (s.w.t.) Bless you.  Many of the people in the video are well known to the UK Muslim community; activists, musicians, scholars, journalists, and advocates.  The organisation behind the video can be found here: The Honesty Policy, and a list of participants is available on their blog.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Even some non-Salafis are not happy.  Many Muslims have some sort of cultural hubris - if it is not “Islamic”, then doing anything to have fun is automatically wrong.

Brother Marquis Dawkins: Brother Terence, is that a cutural or religious thing?  My inclination is of the latter, since some Christians tend to think the same way.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Thank you, Brother Yusuf Abdulrahman.  Brother Marquis Dawkins, it is more cultural, less religious.

Sister Shereen Aziz-Williams: I loved seeing the happy faces; especially of friends that I recognise.  People are moaning about all sorts in the video and the reputation bashing has started.  No one is there shaking their booty to seduce anyone.  They are doing a silly dance and knowing some of the people in that video - they are that happy, crazy, silly in real life!  The hijab bashing has also started and you know we got far worse problems that what a woman decides to put on her head.

Brother Marquis Dawkins: I have seen it five times since this posting.  Loved it and of course, you have one party-pooping Wahhabi talking about liquor and earthquakes and apes and swine and what not.  I am tempted to log on there and tell him off explaining that no one is drinking and there have been no earthquakes, pigs or monkeys in the video.  Subhanallah, it is hard to accept.  It is like being newly married into a gigantic beautiful loving family on the surface, and then you find out that while your wife, the Diyn, is indeed beautiful, but the majority of in-laws and cousins are a bunch of deranged psychos and numbskulls.  al-Hamdulillah for this group, I know the good side of the family.

Brother Salahudeen Muhammad: This is clearly haram; they are ridiculing themselves, especially those women with tight jeans which is also haram.  Haya’ is a quality of both muslimin and muslimat; they are not observing it.  A muslimah’s beauty lies in its shyness, modesty and humility.  Can you imagine ‘Aishah (r.a.) or Fathimah (r.a.) doing these acts of lunacy?  Pertaining to the hadits of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), music is haram and those who do it are apes and pigs.  Dancing to a tune made by a non-Muslim who maybe fornicates, drinks alcohol, eats haram?  Astaghfirullah, you will be questioned on the Day of Qiyamah for promoting these haram things.

And Brother Terence, sorry to say this but you are a deviant, you are one who follows his nafs, one who follows his whims and desires.  If you are sinning, at least admit it but do not ever try to mix it with Islam.  I know that you think you are a too kind of an intellectual to heed to my advice but consider it because Islam is not to pick and choose.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Since you brought up shari’ah, Brother Salahudeen Muhammad, let us break it down.  Something that is haram is Forbidden by Allah (s.w.t.).

Firstly, on the issue of music, music by itself is not haram.  Please refer to the relevant fatawa by Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.), Imam ibn Hazm (r.a.), Shaykh al-Judayy and Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Bayyah, and others.  On the ikhtilaf amongst the ‘ulama on the elements in music that make it haram, we err on the side of Rahmah and consider the ‘urf.  Therefore, the music itself is not definitively haram.

Secondly, on the issue of dancing, we must also consider the niyyat.  There are several ahadits of women dancing before the Prophet (s.a.w.) and he found nothing offensive in that.

Thirdly, on the manner of the dress, we do not follow the Wahhabis and say that the wearing of pants and jeans is haram.  The first ordinance is to lower the gaze.  No one I know looked at the women and saw them as sexual objects.  We saw our sisters in Islam exhibiting joy.  Whilst haya’ is very much part of the Diyn, it does not mean that people may not exhibit emotions.  There are ahadits of ‘Aishah (r.a.) and others exhibiting joy before the Prophet (s.a.w.) and he did not censure them.

Fourthly, it does not matter who wrote the song.  There is nothing objectionable in it.  If we follow your logic that since the person who wrote this song engaged in what you termed “haram”, then the song itself is haram, can you do anything in life with another person considering we do not know what “haram” things they are engaged in?

Fifthly, on the issue of uswul al-fiqh, Muslims are judged according to the shari’ah.  The ghayr muslimin are judged according to their laws.  As such, whatever Pharrell Williams does is not necessarily haram to him since he is not a Muslim.  Who knows?  Perhaps Allah (s.w.t.) will Guide him to Islam and Raise him as a wali and an ‘alim who knows the shari’ah better than you?

There are so many other things that you have said which is incorrect.  You would note that there are several asatidzah and one really big scholar in the video itself.  On the basis of the verdicts of the Prophet (s.a.w.), the pious predecessors and the current scholars I have mentioned in passing, nothing that these people have done here is haram.  Do you know better than the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself, brother?

The thing about Wahhabis that makes them so hypocritical is this exactly.  They do not know their religion, but they think they are fit to advise.  The only thing they can say is haram, haram, haram ...  They know nothing else.  Some Muslims dancing and being happy is haram.  But Wahhabis cutting off the heads of captives is “halal”. Wahhabis making takfir against our scholars and other Muslims is “halal”.  What hypocrites!  The things they say are haram, we have clear ahadits showing that it is permissible.  And the things they condone, the Prophet (s.a.w.) forbade.  So who are the real Muslims here?  And who are the munafiqin, Condemned to the Fire?

Brother Hossein Turner: They see themselves as a sort of vanguard to protect Islam from all corruption.  Since they perceive these times as the “end times”, they are constantly on the watch-out for anything they perceive as bid’ah or part of any perceived corruption of Islam.  Fair enough, you might think - given that many of the signs of the end of time have passed.  Unfortunately, the self-appointed vanguards are the ones who are the useful idiots for the corrupt Dajjals that hate Islam.  The way I see it there are two significant problems:  Firstly, the groups in the world who want to ‘reform’ Islam by appealing to a liberal philosophy and hence approving things such as homosexual relations and usury; and, secondly, the groups in the world who claim to guard the purity of the faith, but in fact - are used by the atheist and materialists to destroy the religion in a haze of hate and bigotry.  And thus we have a dialectic that would even make Hegel blush.

Brother Colin Turner: Masha’Allah, an interesting dichotomy, Brother Hossein Turner.

Brother Salahudeen Muhammad, which particular version of Islam do you represent?  There are quite a few, but yours appears unrecognisable.  Is it something recent?

Brother Sadali Ami: Those who are forced into war, pray to never see one again.  Those who have yet to, aches to start one, even over the faintest of ideas.

Brother Tarek Walad: Much respect to you, Brother Terence, for explaining to someone who calls you a deviant.  This is indeed a blessed sunnah!

Sister Marjorie Abdullah: Very good counter argument, Brother Terence.  I salute you.  I loved the video; it is so joyful.

Brother Omar Grant: It took the West centuries to attain to the knowledge of Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) on what we now call psychology.  The criticisms of the video by the brother above speaks volumes about him as an individual and the notions expounded by the mentally deranged cults which poison Islam.  ‘Piety’ as envisaged by these type of sick people fall under the ahadits of the Messenger: “Do not speak to me of pious men… pious men broke my back!”  These criticisms originate in a mentality so insecure in its own faith that it seeks to make and impose ‘rules’ out of Islam in order to avoid temptation without personal effort.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Brother Salahudeen certainly did not express himself in the right way but I wonder if there can be at least a bit more middle ground.  I mean, the position that many forms of music are prohibited is certainly a respectable one in all four schools, even if it seems unreasonably strict to many of us.  If someone wants to apply the strict position in their own life, there is certainly nothing wrong with that.  But if you want to call other people to a strict position it needs to be done with the right adab.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Strictly from the ‘ulama, brother, the following is by the former shaykh of al-Azhar himself, a fatwa by al-Azhar on music concerning the position of the four Sunni madzahib al-fiqh: A Muslim Convert Once More: The Ruling Concerning Music.

And this is by Shaykh Ahmad al-Juday.  I did not have the time to translate the entirety of the 48 or so papers so this is only the summary.  There is a link to the original Arabic text somewhere in the post: A Muslim Convert Once More: A Detailed Fatwa about Music & Singing.

And as a balance, the opinion of Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad himself, which is the more conservative position: A Muslim Convert Once More: Traditional Islam & Music.

Brother Justin Taylor: I gave a very successful lesson to some young teens about song and the process of putting communication to music.  I drew parallels between birds, whale song and poetry.  I played a whale song, and then I asked the students if they knew any other type of communication which is based on ‘tunes’ - bird songs!  All the faces lit up with obvious recognition.  Do not angels sing?  And where would chanting fit here, the type all mystics do irrespective of creed?

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Do not get me wrong.  I certainly listen to music so I am not in any way getting on a high horse.  There are a range of scholarly opinions on the subject of music and you, Brother Terence have a strong basis for what you are saying.  But someone who wants to promote a stricter position also has a good foundation, or to put it differently, even if we go by the rulings that you are mentioning, the music they permit is music which is religious and promotes piety.  And when I think about the music I listen to, sure some of it is Islamic, and contains dzikr, but then what about the secular music I listen to?  Some of it may be positive.  But some of it may not be, so I am not even trying to point fingers.  I am just reminding myself that maybe it would not be so bad to be pickier about the music I listen to or think about how I spend my time.

Brother Justin Taylor: Music is frequency vibration.  It is the very building blocks of the universe.  However, because it is so strong it can easily be used to subvert and influence.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I understand, Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez.  I have no issues with the stricter view or the more lenient one.  The adab, and that is the one that is missing here, is that no matter the opinion, we respect those who holds a different position.  For example, I would respect the opinion of someone who says that music is haram based on such and such.  But he cannot say that those following a different position are deviants or such.  However, I would like to point out that within the schools of jurisprudence, there is actually no credible position that states music is haram per se.  The disagreement is on the parameters of permissible instruments, subject matter of the performance and gender issues.  Certain elements may make that particular piece of music haram, but there is no position in Islam that can say music in all forms is haram. Why?  Because we know that there were several performances before the Prophet (s.a.w.).  The most famous is the incident when the city of Yathrib, later Madina, collectively sang Thala al-Badru ‘Alayna to welcome the Prophet (s.a.w.) at the Hijrah.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Brother Justin Taylor, I doubt very much that whale songs or bird songs count as music for the purposes of the shari’ah.  It is more likely to be dzikr.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) famously ruled them as both.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Also, I do not think that Islamic descriptions of angels, mention “singing”, although I could be wrong.  If there were such a clear text I think the issue of music would be decided differently.

Brother Justin Taylor: Humans are so very egocentric, we think we create everything.  I wanted to explain what lyrical was and the connection between poetry song and music.  These teens saw poetry as something old people like to read.  I wanted them to take ownership of their cultural inheritance.  I think you are correct though in regards to shari’ah.  But in my mind, I think, did not God Create those who sing and those who do not?  My whole family is musically inclined, so I may have a slight bias.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Regarding this, “However, I would like to point out that within the schools of jurisprudence, there is actually no credible position that states music is haram per se.  The disagreement is on the parameters of permissible instruments, subject matter of the performance and gender issues.  Certain elements may make that particular piece of music haram, but there is no position in Islam that can say music in all forms is haram.”  I would actually agree with that but that is almost the exception that proves the rule.  Because when we take all those factors into account, the ‘strict’ view says that the only music permitted is a male voice, possibly accompanied by a drum or a flute where the content is pious.  Which certainly restricts huge categories of music.

Or, look at Ustadz Shuaib Webb’s answer to this: Regarding the Permissibility of Music.  So, he holds music to be permitted and he points out that many scholars hold it to be permitted, but the general overview is: “It is quite true that, historically, the prevalent opinion in Islamic jurisprudence regarding the use of and listening to musical instruments is that of prohibition.  It is the official opinion of the four schools of thought, although various scholars from different schools held it is only disliked and many others deemed it permissible with the condition that the song is not immoral.”

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I have read this before.  There is a slight disagreement here.  I believe the prevailing position was that it was makruh, not haram.

Brother Colin Turner: A beautiful aria from a Puccini opera.  How can it not be a reflection of Divine Beauty?  How can it not be the Voice of God Reflected in the voice of man?  How is that not possible?  And this is not a rhetorical question.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Hence why there has been a substantial shift in the opinion of our major scholars in the West that music is halal.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: I think, in the case of music, most people are willing to ignore the rulings and compromise.  I mean, music is in the environment and hard to avoid in ways that other behaviours are not.  There is music on television, on the radio, in movies, in elevators, on the computer.  Even if we accepted the ruling and made a good faith effort to avoid it, it would be really, really, really hard to avoid.

Brother Colin Turner: Most people know when the music they are listening to is not wholesome.  Conscience was not given for nothing.

Brother Marquis Dawkins: An interesting discussion this has morphed into.  So then, what is the feelings about Yusuf Islam?  I know his first comeback album, he only did camel skin drums and vocals, with perhaps light synthesiser effects.  His next ones he was back to playing guitar and made excellent music.  My favourite song from him is, “Heaven / True Love.”  Also, why are string instruments haram again?  Is not the word ‘guitar’ Arabic in origin, and did Muslims not basically create Spanish Flamenco dancing and a few different types of guitars?  I do eventually plan to play bass again.  In fact I never stopped for a religious reason, I am just lazy as heck and between trying to learn Arabic and my studies, I have not had the time.  It is noteworthy that there are a few branches of Christianity that have the same exact prohibition.  International Churches of Christ was one; anything not a capella was haram.  To them, gospel music was on the same level as Snoop Dogg.  Church of God in Christ was another.  They excommunicated an 80s pop singer for having a hit album.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Right, I was thinking of him too.  I do not know the details of how his positions and decisions on music have evolved.  I guess when he first converted he followed the strict opinion and made a clean break from his old life; maybe now he has mellowed out.

Here is another opinion: Shaykh Hamza Yusuf: Is Music Halal or Haram according to the Four Madzahib?  The above actually mentions Andalusia, but basically the scholars there were a little softer on the subject.

About Puccini, Martin Lings has an interesting comment about art and religion.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: When Yusuf Islam met Shaykh Nazhim al-Haqqani (q.s.), the shaykh told him to make music.  He learnt along the way that there are opinions that music is halal.

On the issue of stringed instruments, this position developed early in the Maliki madzhab. Imam Malik (r.a.) disliked stringed instruments and poets, not for what they were but what they represented then - immorality.  And that is how the position developed.

On What is Sufism by Shaykh Martin Lings, page 14-15, the text is talking about the ways in which sacred art is and is not universal.  A Sufi can appreciate a great Hindu Temple or a great Gothic Cathedral.  But he or she cannot give themselves over to it or ‘wear’ it as if it were part of their own tradition.  I think Shaykh Ling’s (q.s.) point is probably more subtle than the impression I am giving above.

Brother Marquis Dawkins: Brother Terence, so is it only the Maliki school that feels that way?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: No, brother.  Within every madzhab there are a plethora of opinions.  A madzhab unites by its methodology.  Even within a madzhab, major scholars may differ.

Brother Tarek Walad: The following is the reaction post from The Honesty Policy: “Shocked at the fabricated Shaam article regarding Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad and the extent some are willing to go to.  Shaykh has asked us to quote this on his behalf: ‘I am delighted to see the outcome of the Happy British Muslims video, which has unlocked a remarkable tide of goodwill around the world, and significantly tilted the image of Muslims among many sceptics.  Islamophobes must be grinding their teeth to see Muslims of different races and age-groups united by happiness.  No one will produce a shari’ah argument against jumping for joy!  I look forward to working with The Honesty Policy on future productions.’”

Brother Omar Grant; Thank you, Brother Tarek Walad!

Brother Nur Rasyida: This is such a beautiful video and I could feel the joy!  Watched it way too many times.  I just do not get why people can turn all negative when there's so much positivity to take and learn from this.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The following is Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad’s comments on the Happy Muslim video by The Honesty Policy.  He said, “The responses have been interesting.  But let us begin by recalling an important point.  The scholars today are not reaching teenagers at all, and they hardly even know it.  At Friday prayers today, during school holidays, I saw children and adults; but not one teenager.  There are no bridge builders to take them by the hand!  If you know them you will know that they still want to be Muslim, and that they love Islam, but do not want to listen to what they call ‘boring lectures’.  They usually don’t object to the content of those lectures, but they cannot listen to them.  They are in a different world – of quick social media, apps, and YouTube.  Now, either we can cut them off entirely, and let them work things out from their own resources – and this is happening with tens of millions of young Muslims across the planet, even in Makkah and Madina – or we can find some way of standing among them and hearing them.  They know perfectly well that we don’t acquiesce in all the forms of their culture, but they should know that we have more to offer them than an endless scowl.  So of course I did not dance along with them; but to be present, to be a witness, affirming their love of life and of Islam, without in any way approving in any absolute way of anything at all – and they know this! – is the way of those who love humanity and love the young.  I revere the memory of those of my teachers who insisted on being with and for young people: who went to cafes and music-halls in Cairo and Mombasa, not to dance, but just to be there with them, to smile, to listen to them with love and to remind them through their own state that the best joy is only an invitation to the Afterlife.

I did not make this video, nor did I follow its development or see its final shape; but I see it not as a preachy film but as a kind of informal guerrilla documentary capturing a moment in the development of the Muslim community here as it actually is.  Questions of Divine Law, which, believe it or not, do matter to the neglected and abandoned young, are non-negotiable of course.  In this case, observing the people known to me, I see only married couples together, or siblings or families.  I can’t see any exceptions.  May Allah Preserve us from ugly suspicion!  Regarding the music, I personally do not use instrumental music; but I would like to see a fully-reasoned fatwa about musical sounds produced digitally by synthesisers: do they count as the ma’azif which are surely forbidden in the sound ahadits?  If so, are doorbells, or harmonised ringtones, ma’azif?  What about a voice which is trained to sound exactly like a trombone?  Personally, I don’t know.  Once we have some sort of consensus on synthesisers, then the ijtihad discussion about this clip can begin.  It will be interesting.

May Allah Grant us all baswirah to serve His Diyn and remember Him in all times and places. Amin!”

Brother Jak Kilby: Since there have been criticisms concerning this video regarding Muslims, singing and dancing, here is a response from a participant: Happy Muslims, Angry Puritanical Muslims.

Brother Colin Turner: The one good thing to come out of all this is the revelation that many people in this group have an excellent knowledge of fiqh, which is a bounty for all of those of us who would not know a fiqh book if it dropped off the shelf onto our heads.  Masha’Allah!

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: Disagreement can also a good thing; I hope that The Honesty Policy do not let the abuse hold them back.  If we fear criticism, we will never change. We can't continue to have the cultural assumptions of the old world hold us hostage here.  Yes there are many things that still apply but others not.  As one of the The Honesty Policy blogs wrote, “We will slowly lose Islam if we do not adapt to our new situations.”

Brother Hossein Turner: This hadits is graded “swahih” by Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.): “There is bad luck in three things: women, horses and houses.”

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: “Bad luck”?  There must be a translation issue.  Why would a hadits talk about luck?

Brother Tarek Walad: This hadits is weak.

Brother Colin Turner: Even if it were weak, Brother Tarek, the spirit of the hadits stands.  The three areas where people foul up the most are the areas of the opposite sex and possessions, both moveable and immoveable: “Spouses, houses, and horses” - think trophy wife, villa on the Costa del Sol and a fleet of Rolls Royces.  Do they bring happiness in and of themselves?  Clearly not.  For most, they signal desperate misfortune much of the time.  But is it any fault of the spouses, houses and horses?  Not at all.  The fault is the cupidity of the “owner”.

Sister Nimali Rodrigo: The Qur’an States:

Your riches and your children may be but a trial ... (Surah at-Taghabun:15)

This does not mean there is anything inherently wrong with wealth or children, but that they are a means of testing our character.

Sister Sakinah Tan: I am late in commenting but I reckon the idea of music being haram is to do with its function.  If music can cause you to rise to the level of feeling intoxicated, then it is bad, no?  Like how some youngsters my age partake in clubs and such for just the music.  I personally do not find all that stuff “music”, but it can make you feel delirious.  “Music is haram” is not a one size fits all solution.  Some music make people feel depressed, make people feel like they have to take away their life.  While some makes you remember God and your purpose.  How can they all be housed under the same umbrella?  It is all on a case by case basis.  And I think it is precisely because there are so many cases that we, as humans, do not have to be bothered by these cases.  We leave it to Allah (s.w.t.).  We can warn fellow Muslims of the dangers of certain activities, but that is all we can do really.

Brother Marquis Dawkins: And now this.  Might have to remove one of our mutual friends, Brother Terence.  He always rants and raves against Wahhabis, but on the position of the video, he is Wahhabi himself!  Subhanallah!  He posted this video: Happy British Muslims: A Message by Dr. Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf.  I listened the entire way, and I cannot agree.

Sister Shima Umm Ramy: I watched the link, Brother Marquis.  Gobsmacked when he said, “Is it not just another form of extremism in Islam?”  Anyway, for me, the opinions of Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad is enough.  He has inadvertently, or perhaps not, undermined the opinions of scholars who do not share such opinions.  Even though he's said it is just naswihah, it surely did not sound like it!

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: He is not a Wahhabi.  But I respectfully disagree.  I have difficulty accepting the opinions of scholars from the Indian subcontinent on many issues.  They come from a culture where women are like house plants.  I do not accept their version of Islam.

Brother Jak Kilby: Brother Marquis, regarding criticism of this video, to denounce it does not mean being a Wahhabi.  It is a difference of opinion.  We have to accept that. It is just that most people, let alone Muslims do not think outside the box.  And this will be the case for many with the video, music and dancing.  They will be so conditioned they will not see or understand the intention or the reason for it.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: The speaker is specifically not making women dancing the point.

The following here is a continuation of the discussion on another thread.  Brother Khalil Muhsin, via Lamppost Education Initiative, posted the video above on the 20th April 2014.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I do not agree with what he says.  The opinion of Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad is more relevant in this case.  The majority of people who have a problem with music and dancing come from South Asia.  That is their cultural interpretation and it is irrelevant to us.  I do not subscribe to this notion that dancing is shameless.  Their lack of husn azh-zhan is shameless.  This is an extension of the issue that Muslims of India and Pakistan have with women.  Seeing a woman move excites the senses?  Are men animals that we cannot control ourselves?  Perhaps this applies to their community but it is irrelevant to a community primarily of converts.  I did not convert to his 7th century, mysogynistic version of Islam.

Sister Latiefah Da Costa: I just saw the video.  Why the fuss?  On every little thing, we want to make big issues.  It is not reverse extremis.  It is meaningless drivel!

Brother Colin Turner: Since this video is not available here in Turkey, I have no idea what the mufti is saying.  But one does not have to be Plato to guess.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Colin Turner, they are referencing the “Happy” Muslim video.  There is nothing to it, just people dancing and others pretending to be pious getting offended.  The way I see it, people need to feel relevant and important.  Every mufti, village mullah and self-righteous commentator has come up with their take why it is haram.  In Islam, apparently everything fun is haram.

Brother Colin Turner: Ah, the “Happy” Muslim video.  Yes, things like that turn every Tom, Dick and Ali into instant mujtahidun.  They complain that it is every shade of unIslamic, yet pay no heed to the fact that their own condemnation is a waste of time and a digression.  If there is a drunk in the road, there is a drunk in the road.  If he is not bothering anyone, who would be foolish enough to remonstrate with him?  We have too much time on our hands, really we do.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: We see all these supposedly learned people rush to condemn things.  When was the last time we saw Muslims rush to positive affirmation, to encourage, to support, to demonstrate love?  When Mu’awiyyah (r.a.) spoke during swalah, when the Bedouin urinated in the mosque, when ‘Usamah ibn Zayd (r.a.) killed that man rashly; did the Prophet (s.a.w.) rush to condemn and make it public?  No, he spoke to them quietly.  All these people claiming to defend the sunnah defend nothing but their own ego.  They have committed shirk by worshipping the shari’ah but forgot God in all this.  But the greatest fitnah for me is that they quote His Books and His Prophet (s.a.w.) but they forgot mercy, compassion, love.

Brother Colin Turner:

Allah loveth not the evil should be noised abroad in public speech, except where injustice hath been done; for Allah is He Who Heareth and Knoweth all things. (Surah an-Nisa’:148)

Which one of these muftiyyun and self-styled mujtahidun can claim that injustice has been done to them by this video?

Brother Tarek Walad: Thanks for the comments, brothers, I also disagree with him. It is a real shame that they made such a big issue out of it.  This video is over analysed.  They should think about it that a giant like Shaykh Murad still supports it.  The problem is that the video has little or nothing to do with religion, it is really just a good way to break down prejudices.  The Rasul (s.a.w.) said a good deed is to make a Muslim happy.  Well, they have done it for me at least.  I wrote a support article but unfortunately it is in German.  But al-Hamdulillah, there is also a halal version without women: Sufis Dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: But what sort of message does it send?  That women do not matter?

Sister Samra Hussain: Why is it halal with no women?  Men are attracted to women, and women are attracted to men, so that logic is flawed.

Brother Tarek Walad: You did not get my sarcasm.

Brother Martin Zabelovic: The joy and celebration is over, ladies and gentlemen; here we go again into another round of this: Straight Path: Comment on “Happy Muslims”.

Brother Tarek Walad: Another beautiful written article here: Clap Along If You Feel That Happiness is Halal.

Brother Colin Turner: If we take all of this to its logical conclusion, men should not mix with men either, in case of same-sex attraction.  How far do we want to take this, people?

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: This question keeps being asked; should we be happy with Muslims suffering so much?  Did the Prophet (s.a.w.) chuck it all in and stay miserable because the Makkans were not being nice to him and to his companions?  If he had, then Islam would have died in its cradle. and he had it much more difficult than we do.  But no, he was full of joy regardless.  The arrogance and narcissism of the naysayers in believing that their suffering is somehow greater than the Prophet’s (s.a.w.), and so they not only have a right to be joyless but also to suck the joy from the lives of others is simply astonishing.

Brother David Rosser Owen: I think that there is a universal ignorance of what actually constitutes khalwat abroad, and it would appear that Muslim men have no self-control.  Will these afflict all of us converts in time?

Brother Louis Llewellyn Shann IV: Great, great post, Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi.

Brother Khalil Muhsin: I really wonder how many of you who feel so strongly about the happy video really took the time to listen and try to understand what Mufti Abdur Rahman is saying.  Mufti Abdur Rahman is far from condemning in his response.  A critical assessment of the validity of this video goes beyond simply asking whether or not it is halal or haram.  But it should also give us pause to question whether or not we are being true to other values that the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) emphasises.  The value of haya’ or modesty which is one of the reasons that dancing and ‘shaking the booty’ is generally frowned upon.

I guess the effort to encourage Qur’anic Injunctions that we lower our gaze should be cast aside in favour of a more ‘moderate’ acceptance of song and dance.  I guess all of our classical scholars who discouraged music and dance were simply repressed ignoramuses who cared nothing about culture.  What is grossly exaggerated is this notion that if one frowns upon a bunch of singing and dancing that it reflects a dour and miserable existence devoid of any ‘happiness’ so Muslims doing a jig to a song about being ‘happy’ is now the ultimate reflection of our happy state in this dunya that can joyously share with others.

Please!  What Mufti Abdur Rahman stated is pretty obvious and true.  Many of us, particularly in the UK and US, would much rather to da’wah with song and dance, than engage in non-Muslim communities by way of helping the poor, feeding the hungry and demonstrating the lofty character of our Prophet (s.a.w.).  Our Prophet (s.a.w.) was not a dancer.  He helped people and he was happy too!  So I do not see why a video of Muslims dancing should be beyond reproach and serve as some representation of Islamic ‘balance’. I am having a hard time buying that.  If we have to dance in an effort to demonstrate ‘balance’, I really think we need to reassess our thinking and realise that being critical at times can be acceptable.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I went through both videos of what he said and I feel his argument is disingenuous.

Brother Khalil Muhsin: You may “feel” that way, but I think his argument is responsible and very thoughtful.  But outside of you raising our very respected Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad beyond reproach, I do not see any legitimate reason for your blatant disrespect of Mufti Abdur Rahman.

Brother Tarek Walad: There is no condemnation or disrespect for the mufti or you from my side, brother.  Just disagreement. Your opinion is fine.  If you have a better working alternative for the young people except a bearded preacher, I welcome you to show it me.

Brother Khalil Muhsin: Sure!  It is easy to show you, Brother Tarek Walad.  How about encouraging young people to help others?  I see the non-Muslims have youth involved in programmes that places them within communities fixing up houses, feeding the poor, and work like that.  We cannot increase our emphasis on that?  If all we do is place our youth before a bearded preacher saying, “Haram, haram, haram ...” then I agree we will not get very far with our youth.  However, if we think song and dance will reach our youth, I believe we are in big trouble

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Khalil Muhsin, it may surprise you but yes, we have used song and dance in our programmes and it did reach the youth, the disenfranchised, the bereft.  There are different ways to get different people.  There is nothing inherently wrong with dancing and singing.  It is a means and we should not demonise it simply because some bearded mullah does not like it.

Brother Tarek Walad: I agree for your first part: but why compare these two things?  Helping the poor is one thing and culture another.  Songs will reach our youths as Yusuf Islam shows.

Brother Khalil Muhsin: Some of the ‘ulama disagree with you.  Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, is this by consensus of our ‘ulama that song and dance are permissible, or is it just the ‘ulama with slightly shorter beards that you like?  Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad certainly would not argue that himself.  Also, to reduce the critique of the video to an argument about music and dancing is ridiculous.

In the UK, acts of terrorism have occurred.  Is it okay, as some have argued that this is a way to demonstrate that Muslims in a ‘different light’?  Is it okay to respect the intent, as Mufti Abdur Rahman does, but disagree with the methodology?  Why is it wrong to assess the video in light of other agreed upon Muslims values, like haya’ or the development of self-restraint which many men do suffer from which is why Allah Ta’Ala in His Mercy has establish the fast, the encouragement of lowering the gaze and other means to address what He Knows that we suffer from: a lack of self restraint  The criticism directed towards Muslims who object to the video is, in many ways, extreme, the reflection for a failed liberalism that ignores traditional Islamic values.

Brother Tarek Walad, you asked me a question about working alternatives.  I responded directly to your question.  When you talk about ‘culture’, you are talking about a multi-faceted issue that cannot be reduced so easily.  Yusuf Islam songs will not reach youth in my community.  Jay-Z and Beyonce will reach the youth but perhaps not in the way that we like.  And when you try to come up with alternatives to Beyonce and the ‘booty bounce’ with people who are not as talented as Beyonce, well, our youth will reject that.  The reality is that we need to develop cultural alternatives that enrich our youth with the beauty of the Qur’an and the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.).

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: I watched the AR Mangera’s video yesterday and yes, I disagree with him, although he was more measured than most.  Shaykh Abdal Hakim was the most measured; neither approving or condemning the dancing, but merely being there.  This is what our youth need, not thinly veiled condemnations.

We are not in 1950s India and Pakistan, or 7th Century Arabia.  The culture that we have grown up with here is different - some is good and some is damaging - but we cannot avoid it.  For second or third generation Muslims and for many converts especially, they do not know any different.  We have to engage with the native culture to get a healthy balance because otherwise we will end up with two extremes.  Many of our leaders have not even begun to understand that yet.  Every change is considered haram - until it is not.

I agree that we should try to come up with suitable alternative activities but to be honest, our new cultures will develop organically.  Imposing scholarly-sanctioned fun will be highly unlikely to work.  A vicar at one of our local churches, when asked about the influence of Muslim culture on them, replied that they will have to let the wind blow both ways.  Same for us: we will influence in some ways and must be willing to be influenced in others.

My comment however related to the argument made by many that we should not be happy because of a picture of a bloodied martyred woman they posted, or because of any number of injustices.  But Rasulullah (s.a.w.) had it much worse and was always cheerful and happy.  His companions were martyred, tortured, forced into exile, and yet their actions and teachings were always about being happy.  So being told not to be happy really annoys me.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Khalil Muhsin, there was a thread posted here previously where I put the position of the various scholars and the various dala’il on music in Islam.  The consensus is that music is halal.  The ikhtilaf is in the technicalities such as the subject matter, the lyrics and the instruments.  On the issue of dancing, there is no ijma’ whatsoever in this matter.  There is a limited ijma’ where certain opinions are prevalent in particular regions and madzahib.  And this is also with regards the hadhrah itself.  The majority veer towards dislike, makruh.  Your mufti gave his opinion.  It is not a binding fatwa.

Brother Khalil Muhsin: Maybe you need to do a little more study on the issue, my brother.  And on the issue of what constitutes ijma’ as well.  To say that something is halal and that the consensus of the ‘ulama is that it is halal is wrong.  The issue has been debated for centuries.  The debate itself is proof that there has been no unanimous consensus that music is ‘halal’.  The ikhtilaf on the technicalities is a proof against any blanket statement that says music is halal.

What annoys me, Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi, is not the disagreement with Mufti Abdur Rahman..but the slander of him, instead of a critical assessment of what he stated.  Some of the proponents of the video are terribly naive about music and culture.  As if we need music and dancing to be happy, or to get the attention of our youth; we have to dance our way into their hearts.

I do not buy it.  I think there is a balance.  I personally am not ‘enraged’ by the video of some Muslims singing and dancing, but to suggest that all criticism of this video comes from a source of bitter, unhappy Muslims who do not want any fun is ridiculous.  Some see the video as a pathetic expression of Muslim apologetics rather than any real, substantial effort towards da’wah: “Look we are happy.  We are not terrorists. We like pop culture too.”  May Allah (s.w.t.) Assist us and Keep us with the Qur’an and the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) as the ultimate solution to our problems;

Brother Daniel I. Montenegro: It's annoying seeing the learned personalities waste their energy in issuing an opinion on a dumb video.  Are there not better or more important matters to opinion about such as alcoholism in the ummah, drug abuse, drug dealers in Muslim countries, extremism, wars, famine, prostitution, spouse abuse, lack of proper education and so many other high important matters?  Sincerely, to me it is annoying and boring and even ridiculous to see these learned men or women go at it.

Brother Khalil Muhsin: So I guess everyone in the ummah is not that ‘happy’ then, Brother Daniel I. Montenegro?  However, let us be clear, Mufti Abdur-Rahman said nothing about Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad’s participation in the video.  He did not criticise him.  The reality is that this ‘dumb video’ has garnered a lot of attention and has generated a lot debate amongst common Muslims.  As a result, our scholars should engage in the discourse and not simply stick their head in the sands like it does not exist.

There reasoned and legitimate criticism should be done in the way that Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf criticised the video, with adab, not condemning anyone, and providing a clear assessment of what and why he disagreed with the video.  It is the extremist who demand absolute adherence to their positions.  I do not see much difference between the Wahabbis and their viscous attacks on positions they do not like and some of the people on this thread.  Not much separation at all in terms of methodology - slash and burn the opinion or views that you do not like.  May Allah (s.w.t.) Help us!

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Khalil Muhsin, this debate is merely proof that Muslims do not know their fiqh.  And even if there is ijma’, and there are various categories of ijma’, that does not preclude further debate as the conditions change.  Muslims do not live in a time warp.  Also, ikhtilaf on technicalities is not proof against something being halal.  Unless you forgot, the default condition in fiqh al-mu'amalah is that everything is halal unless proven haram.  The debate, therefore, is in the particularities that make the halal into haram. Going by your logic then, the debate on the technicalities and particularities of anything would render it haram.  So what are the Muslims to do?

Brother Colin Turner: If there is a problem with this video, it is not a jurisprudential one, it is an ideological and political one.  What we should be asking is not whether this or that aspect is haram or makruh, because these things have already been cleared up, by, among others, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis.  So if there is any discussion to be had it should focus on why Muslims in Britain - or elsewhere - thought it necessary to make such a statement. Is it, as some suggest, emblematic of Muslim servility?  What is the rationale?  Who benefits from it?  These are the important issues - not whether music is haram or women should lip-synch and make dance moves.  Leave that to those who sponge off the legacy of the real jurists of the medieval period, the self-styled muftiyyun and bargain basement mujtahidun.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: I do not think the argument is if there is ikhtilaf, it is haram.  It is more like the dominant view of all four madzahib is that broad categories of music or use of almost all musical instruments is prohibited or at the very least, frowned upon and so, maybe it is better to find ways of showing how ‘happy’ we are which don't involve music.

Brother Tarek Walad: Most of the people acting in the video have a lot of fiqh and Islamic education.  It sounds like we need a fatwa for being happy.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: There are a lot of asatidzah in that video and one mufti level scholar.  And the dominant position of the madzahib is that music is not haram unless elements make it so.  And they were careful to avoid all those elements.  Since when did a gharib position become the dominant one?  Show me a hadits or an ayat of the Qur’an that says so?  Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) famously said, that if we want to outlaw music, we might as well tell the birds to stop singing.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Daniel I. Montenegro, I think the video by Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf was about the larger issues.

‘Imran ibn Husayn (r.a.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “In this ummah, there shall be collapsing of the earth, transformation and qadzf.”

A man among the Muslims asked, “O Messenger of Allah!  When is that?”

He replied, “When singing slave-girls, music, and drinking intoxicants spread.”

It was narrated from Abu Malik Ash’ari (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “People among my ummah will drink wine, calling it by another name, and musical instruments will be played for them and singing girls.  Allah will Cause the earth to swallow them up, and will turn them into monkeys and pigs.”

There are several scholars who said ‘idle tales’ here refers to music.

Allah (s.w.t.) Said:

But there are, among men those who purchase idle tales, without knowledge (or meaning), to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah and throw ridicule (on the Path): for such there will be a humiliating Penalty. (Surah Luqman:6)

Imam al-Wahidi (r.a.), along with other scholars of tafsir, said that ‘idle tales’ in this ayah is singing.

ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) said, “This means singing.”

Mujahid (r.a.) said, “This means playing the drum,” as recorded in Tafsir ath-Thabari.

Shaykh Hasan al-Baswri (q.s.) said, “This ayah was Revealed concerning singing and musical instruments,” according to Tafsir ibn Katsir.

Imam as-Sa’di (r.a.) wrote in his Tafsir, “This includes all manner of haram speech, all idle talk and falsehood, and all nonsense that encourages kufr and disobedience; the words of those who say things to refute the truth and argue in support of falsehood to defeat the truth; and backbiting, slander, lies, insults and curses; the singing and musical instruments of the Shaythan; and musical instruments which are of no spiritual or worldly benefit.”

Imam ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.) said, “The interpretation of the swahabah and tabi’in, that ‘idle tales’ refers to singing, is sufficient.  This was reported with swahih isnad from ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) and ibn Mas’ud (r.a.).”

There is no contradiction between the interpretation of ‘idle tales’ as meaning singing and the interpretation of it as meaning stories of the Persians and their kings, and the kings of the Romans, and so on, such as al-Nadr ibn al-Harits used to tell stories to the people of Makkah to distract them from the Qur’an.  Both of them are idle talk.  Hence ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) said, “‘Idle tales’ is falsehood and singing.”  Some of the swahabah said one and some said the other, and some said both.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The first ahadits are essentially the same with different chains of transmission.  It is not enough to state that music alone by itself is haram.  Rather, it is addressing the conditions of the people.  The use of 'idle talk' to refer to all music even in this time is tenuous.  It is not in Tafsir al-Jalalayn for example.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: I think the pro-music position is dominant in the sense that most Muslims, myself included, listen to music.  I do not think that the dominant opinion in the sense of the relied upon opinion of the schools is as pro-music as we might like.

Here is Reliance of the Traveller: Imam ibn Hajr Haytsami (r.a.) said, “As for the condemnation of musical instruments, flutes, strings, and the like by the Truthful and Trustworthy (s.a.w.), who ‘does not speak from personal caprice: it is nothing besides a Revelation inspired’, let those who refuse to obey him beware lest calamity strike them, or a painful torment.”

He was referring to the following:

Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire.  It is no less than Inspiration Sent down to him: (Surah an-Najm:3-4)

Imam ibn Hajr Haytsami (r.a.) continued, “the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘Allah Mighty and Majestic Sent me as a Guidance and Mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance.’

And, ‘On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will Pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress.’

And, ‘Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage.’

And, ‘This ummah will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones.’

Someone asked, ‘When will this be, O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.)?’

And he said, ‘When songstresses and musical instruments appear and wine is held to be lawful.’

And, ‘There will be people of my ummah who will hold fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful …’

All of this is explicit and compelling textual evidence that musical instruments of all types are unlawful.”

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) said, “It is unlawful to use musical instruments-such as those which drinkers are known for, like the mandolin, lute, cymbals and flute-or to listen to them.  It is permissible to play the tambourine at weddings, circumcisions, and other times, even if it has bells on its sides.  Beating the kuba, a long drum with a narrow middle, is unlawful.”

Imam ibn Hajr Haytsami (r.a.) said, “As for listening to singing that is not accompanied by instruments, one should know that singing or listening to singing is offensive except under the circumstances to be mentioned in what follow.  Some scholars hold that singing is sunnah at weddings and the like, and of our a’immah, al-Ghazali and ‘Izz ad-Din ibn ‘Abd as-Salam say that it is sunnah if it moves one to a noble state of mind that makes one remember the hereafter.  It is clear from this that all poetry which encourages good deeds, wisdom, noble qualities, abstinence from this-worldly things, or similar pious traits such as urging one to obey Allah, follow the sunnah, or shun disobedience, is sunnah to write, sing, or listen to, as more than one of our a’immah have stated is obvious, since using a means to do good is itself doing good.”

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) said, “It is not prohibited to dance. because it is only motions made while standing or bowing.  Furani and others have expressly stated that neither is it offensive, but rather is permissible, as is attested to by the hadits related in the Swahihayn of al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (s.a.w.) stood before ‘Aishah (r.a.) to screen her from view so that she could observe the Abyssinians sporting and dancing, unless it is languid, like the movements of the effeminate.”

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I have already posted on the other thread the list of scholars and positions.  I have also included the fatawa by al-Azhar and several other institutions.  Please refer to the other thread.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Yes, but the reason why isolated scholars are mentioned is because the schools on the whole, even if there is an admitted amount of nuance, express negative things about music and singing.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: That was also explained, brother.  Makruh does not equate haram.  There are various categories of things that are not haram, forbidden.  When it is not forbidden, it is permissible, halal. But not all kinds of permissible are the same.  Something that is makruh is halal, but is to be avoided.  Something that is mubah is neither praiseworthy nor blameworthy.  Something that is sunnah is encouraged. But they are all halal in the sense that they are not explicitly forbidden, haram.  And that is the point.  The default position for music is halal.

People should not be arguing positions of jurisprudence when they do not understand the very basics of it and that the problem with this little kerfuffle.  We have all these bloggers, random intellectuals and people of strong opinions but no foundation talking about the fiqh of music, when they do not even know what fiqh is.

Brother Khalil Muhsin: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, my dear brother, so we should ignore Shaykh Nuh Ha-Min Keller's work in favour of your opinion?  What Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez posted is a position that many of the ‘ulama take and encourage people towards out of caution for their Diyn.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Firstly, Brother Khalil Muhsin, you would note that I did not contradict Shaykh Nuh's position.  Please read carefully.  Makruh does not equate to haram.

Secondly, Islam was made to be easy.  In essence, In fiqh al-mu’amalah, everything is halal unless it is proven to be haram.  The other two positions were found to be untenable.  However, in fiqh al-‘ibadah, the opposite is true.   There is no harm if you want to take the more difficult position. But remember, the reason why the majority of the ‘ulama adopted this is because it is an injunction that Islam was Sent down to make things easy.  Excessive legalism leads to false piety and it the death of faith.  And it is swahih that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said to make it easy and not difficult.

One of the conditions of fiqh is to make Islam relevant whilst safeguarding the ‘aqidah.  This is a case of putting the cart before the horse.  We must find means to connect to the young, the disenfranchised to bring them back to the fold.  It is the same reason Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) told Yusuf Islam to go back to music.  What is happening now, is death by fatwa.  Can the Muslims move their noses from the books and see the world and realise what is going on?  Many of our mosques are empty, except for Juma’ah.  Our Muslim institutions are corrupted and rent.  The brotherhood of Islam is dead.  And people want to worry about a harmless video?  What happened to husn azh-zhan?  We cannot even give it amongst ourselves and yet we want to demand it from the ghayr muslimin?  Islam will endure as Allah (s.w.t.) Wills but if this is the case, the ummah is doomed. Death by a thousand fatawa.

Brother Khalil Muhsin: Yes, I agree people who do not understand the basics should stay silent on these matters.  Firstly, who said that makruh equated to haram?  Did I say that or are you just throwing that in?  Just because something is permissible, does not mean that it is the best thing to do that serves the interest of the Muslims.  This was Mufti Abdur Rahman's argument.  Perhaps you missed that, brother?

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: My understanding is that, broadly speaking, there are five values to any act: fardh, sunnah, mubah, makruh and haram.  And then, if we want to get more detailed, there are subcategories.

Brother Tarek Walad: Yes, Brother Terence Nunis, and because of the legalistic mind set which lost the wisdom of the heart, Muslim culture is dead.  Every try to open it will be bombed with fatawa.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: I do not understand where the conflict is.  I am fine with the original video and enjoyed it.  But I also have no problem with Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf's statement and think there is some benefit in it as well.  I think Muslims should continue to find interesting, positive, ways to engage in the popular culture, but we should also do so without excessively compromising our values.  I do not expect it to be a cut-and-dried matter with clear lines but it is something we will have to work out over time.  This is a process.  Or to put it differently, the tension between music and religion is hardly a new one.  Especially in American Black music, there are a lot of musicians who got their start within the church but then went off and did secular music.  Even among Muslims, you can find similar kinds of paradoxes.  Q-Tip become Muslim and even put clips from Siraj Wahaj sermons on one of his albums but then still put video vixens in the videos to his songs.  Again, it is a process.

Brother Khalil Muhsin: Regarding, “The other two positions were found to be untenable.”  Who found the two other positions to be ‘untenable’, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis?  You?  The reality is that the majority of the scholars adhered to the third position which says we do not call anything halal or haram unless the sacred text deems it as such.  However, since you like the video in your subjective opinion, it is you who have engaged in excessive legalism to defend it.  It is you who have brought up fiqh al-mu’amalat and the issues related to it.  You then cite a single aswl as a standard and then assert that it was the only standard.  You then say, ‘makruh is not haram’, even though no one said that it was.  You are not reading what is stated, brother.  And I doubt that you listened to what Mufti Abdur Rahman stated because none of your objections were mentioned or raised by him.

The knee-jerk reactions to Mufti Abdur Rahman and the condemnations are more indicative of the problems within our ummah.  We condemn the Wahhabis but then act just like them when someone disagrees with us.  What is more harmful is your incessant demand of silence for anything that you do not like.  Many Muslims have legitimately and responsibly criticised the video and there are areas of concern that can legitimately be raised.  I think tolerance is a two-way street.  Many of us who share a healthy regard for the tradition of Islam and traditional scholarship abandon that and become Wahhabi like when our views are challenged.  We need to stop that and learn how to better engage

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I have already stated what I stated, brother.  And that was only after I had heard his entire tirade in full.  I am not going to be drawn into a cyclical argument.  We agree to disagree then.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: The fallout from this shows why we, as Muslims, are rotting so badly with the vultures circling: any attempt to move forward is stamped upon by the naysayers.  The situation in France is a warning of what will happen to us too if we do not change.


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