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Does the Qur'an Forbid Musical Instruments?

The Qur'an does not prohibit the use of any form of art, creative media, or musical instruments. Such art-forms and media, including music, can be used for many positive, useful and beneficial purposes, and the Qur'an does not restrict such positivity. On the contrary, it encourages the good things and considers them as blessings from God, as can be seen in the following verse of the Qur'an:

Say: Who has forbidden the good/beautiful things from God, which He has provided for His servants, and the
things that are good/pleasant as provision? Say: They are in the life of this world for those who believe, and
they are for them on the Day of Judgment. Thus We explain the signs clearly for those who understand. (7:32)

قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنَ الرِّزْقِ قُلْ هِيَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ
الْقِيَامَةِ كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

The following verse adds that all good and pure things in life are permissible and not forbidden:

This day, all good and pure things have been made permissible for you. (5:5)

الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ

The Qur'an warns people not to prohibit the good things in life which have been made lawful for them. The following verse makes clear that we must not prohibit the good things and also not transgress or commit evil:

Oh you who believe, do not make forbidden the good things which God has made permissible for you, and do 
not transgress. God does not like those who transgress. (5:87)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلا تَعْتَدُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

The verse below further states that ascribing false laws and prohibitions to God must be avoided and those who do it will not be successful:

Do not say with any false saying that your tongues put forward, 'This is permissible and this is 
forbidden', ascribing false things to God. Those who ascribe false things to God will never be successful. 

وَلا تَقُولُوا لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَذَا حَلالٌ وَهَذَا حَرَامٌ لِتَفْتَرُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ لا

The following verse shows that Prophet Muhammad allowed all the good things while forbidding only bad/evil things. He would not attribute false teachings to God by making good things forbidden:

"He commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil. He makes permissible for them what is good 
and prohibits for them what is bad" (7:157)

يَأْمُرُهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ

In the verse below, it is highlighted how some people make things prohibited without permission from God and by doing so, they attribute lies against God:

Have you considered how God sends down all kinds of provisions but then you make some of them prohibited 
and some of them permissible? Say, 'Did God give you permission to do this? Or do you attribute lies to God? 

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ مَا أَنْـزَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ مِنْ رِزْقٍ فَجَعَلْتُمْ مِنْهُ حَرَامًا وَحَلالا قُلْ آللَّهُ أَذِنَ لَكُمْ أَمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ تَفْتَرُونَ

In the following verse, we are told that there are people who accept baseless 'statements / sayings / narrations' and use them to mislead others from the path of God. Consequently, they make a mockery of God's path through their own version of religion:

Among mankind, there are those who uphold baseless statements / sayings / narrations without knowledge, 
misleading others from the path of God and making a mockery of it. For such people, there will be a humiliating 
punishment. (31:6)

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ

In this verse, there is no mention of music or musical instruments; however, the Arabic term used for 'baseless statements / sayings / narrations' is لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ (lah-wal-hadith). This is important because the verse uses the word 'Hadith', highlighting that the dangers of following unreliable and baseless Hadith can cause misinterpretation of any verse of the Qur'an and mislead us from God's true path. In conclusion, there is no verse in the Qur'an which prohibits the use of musical instruments or any other form of creative art. On the contrary, there are verses which encourage all the good, positive and beautiful things in life. The verses also warn against the attribution of false prohibitions to God.

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