The Prohibition of Sufi Singing Sessions (Sama’) – An Exposé of the Pseudo-Shafi’is


[The Great Shafi’i Sufi Saint, Shihab-ud-Deen Suhrawardi on the prohibition of the sufi singing sessions]


Due to the massive deception committed by the growing glut of Bidati ‘Ulama’ masquerading as upholders of the Shafi’i madh-hab, both the fervent break-dancing ones and the silent, dumb shayateen ones, who all seek refuge under ambiguity to justify their deviances and/or satanic silence, there has developed a need to demonstrate a clear distinction made by the Shariah between:

(1) Organised, pre-planned sessions of singing to which people are invited; singing as an occupation; professional singing; and the like.

(2) Impromptu and extemporaneous singing, or singing or listening to songs in privacy e.g. singing by an individual to banish loneliness, or as admonition (naseehat), the occasional singing of Ulama during their lectures; and the like.

The first falls under the general prohibition on singing, whilst the second is permitted by the Shariah. The tafseer of the relevant Qur’aanic aayaat and numerous Ahaadith, confirm the above distinction conspicuously.

Clear, unambiguous and explicit rulings of the authoritative Shafi’i fuqaha will be quoted to highlight this important distinction – a distinction which is, in fact, made by all the madh-habs. These rulings will also serve to expose the deviance and deception perpetrated by the fraudulent, pseudo-sufis of today who scavenge desperately for anomalous and isolated (shaaz) rulings, far-fetched taw’eel (baseless interpretation), salafi-style ‘quran and sunnah’ interpretation, hopping into other madh-habs – particularly the shafi’i madh-hab which currently is suffering from an almost total lack of Ulama-e-Haqq to guard it, and every other possible loophole, in order to justify their indulgences in singing, dancing, and their many other satanic shenanigans.

This brief exposition will not elaborate on the obvious distinction made by the Shariah between singing that contains lewdness, profanities, imitation of kuffaar, etc. and singing that is devoid of such Haraam elements. Even the greatest ignoramus is able to understand well that anything that contains Haraam becomes itself Haraam. Thus there is no need to dwell on this self-evident principle which would render as Haraam even the specific, restricted type of singing permitted by the Shariah, such as impromptu singing in private, or singing on Eid day, or singing during a wedding, should such singing ever contain any Haraam elements.

Since the scope of this article is largely focussed on exposing the Satanic silence of the fake, pseudo-Shafi’is who deceptively claim to be upholders of the Shafi’i madh-hab, we will not expound on the numerous verses of the Qur’an and Hadith, on which the Fuqaha of all madh-habs base their ruling of prohibition. We will cite just one example of a Hadith which demonstrate that even singing devoid of Haraam elements is included within the scope of the prohibition of singing. In the Hadith below Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sharply rebukes a person as an ‘enemy of Allah’, after he sought permission to “sing such songs which will be devoid of any immorality” as a profession:

“Safwaan Bin Umayyah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Amr Bin Qurrah said (to Rasulullah – sallallahu alayhi wasallam): “I am very unfortunate. I do not see any way for acquiring my rizq except by means of my duff. Therefore, grant me permission to sing such songs which will be devoid of any immorality (evil).’ Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied: “I do not give you permission. There is no honour and no goodness (in what you are saying). O enemy of Allah! You are a liar. Most certainly, Allah has ordained for you halaal rizq, but you have chosen what Allah has made haraam for you in place of what He has made halaal for you of the sustenance He has decreed for you.” (Baihaqi, Tabaraani, Dailami)

For forty more Ahadith on the prohibition of singing see:

The few instances of singing that occurred in the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) without similar condemnation were clearly of the unplanned, extemporaneous type, without any formality or invitation. Even on those few occasions, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was clearly not an active participant in the singing, nor the listening. Rather, he (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) displayed reluctant tolerance,  or even abhorrence, for the singing that may have been permitted due to an exceptional reason granted exemption by the Shariah, such as the occasion of Eid.

We shall now proceed with the rulings of the Shafi’i fuqaha which provide an adequate summary of the actual ruling and attitude of the Shariah towards singing according to all the madh-habs.



Ibn al-Jawzi relates with a direct chain to Imam Shafi’i:

“I left behind in Iraq something which heretics (al-zanaadiqah) introduced; they call it taghyeer; with it they distract the people from the Qur’an.”

What exactly is taghyeer? Was it singing that involved lewdness, illicit love, immorality, or was it singing that was devoid of such Haraam elements which the pseudo-sufis of today claim for their sessions?

Ibn al-Jawzi quotes the great early Imam of language and literature, Abu Mansoor al-Azhari (370AH), who states that the type of singing involved in taghyeer was purely in remembrance of Allah (azza wa jal):

“Abu Mansoor al-Azhari mentioned: “Al-mughayyirah [it is the name of the people who make taghyeer ] refers to people who change by remembering Allah with prayer and showing humility, and they have called the poetry in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala with which they get ecstatic taghyeer. It were as if when they sung it with a tune, they become inebriated and danced, so they called it al-mughayyirah for that reason.”

Inspite of the esotericism of the songs, Imaam Shafi’i brands those involved as zindeeqs – a class of unbeliever.

What shall we now conclude of the view of Imaam Shafi’i regarding the flagrant indulgences of the pseudo-sufis today, whose singing and break-dancing sessions are poles apart from the relative innocence of the singing sessions of the early sufis whom Imam Shafi’i condemned so harshly?

Ibn al-Jauzi reported directly from the student of the great early Shafi’i scholar, Abu al-Tayyib al-Tabari, that he said:

“Al-Shafi‘ said: “Singing [ al-ghinaa’ ] is objectionable play [ lahw makrooh ]; it resembles untruth [ al-baatil ]; whoever indulges in it a lot, he is a fool and his testimony is to be rejected [in a court].”

Ibn al-Jawzi also quotes directly from the student of another prominent Shafi’i authority, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Muzaffar al-Shaami [d. 488 / 1095] also known as Qadi al-Qudaat, that he said:

“Singing is not permitted nor listening to it, nor drumming with sticks. He said: Whoever attributes to al-Shafi‘ [the permissibility of] that has lied about him. Indeed, al-Shafi‘ stated in his book Adab al-Qaadi that if a man persisted in listening to singing his testimony [in court] must be refused and his integrity [ ‘adaalat] would be vitiated.” 



Regarding Allamah Ibn Hajar Al-Haythami, we shall first focus on the following statement of his which is often quoted by pseudo-sufis to justify their pre-planned, organised and institutionalised singing and break-dancing sessions:

“As for listening to singing that is not accompanied by instruments one should know that singing or listening to singing is offensive (disliked) except under the circumstances to be mentioned in what follows. Some scholars hold that singing is sunna at weddings and the like and of our Imams, Ghazali and Izz Ibn Abdus Salam say that it is sunna 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 Sunna or shun disobedience, is sunna to write, sing, or listen to, as more than one of our Imams have stated is obvious, since using a means to do good is itself doing good.” (Kaff al Raa an Muharamat al lahw wa al sama).

The use of this statement of Allamah Ibn Hajar Haythami is typical of the ingrained, devious habit of the pseudo-sufis to misuse, twist, and contort the statements of the Fuqaha to justify their numerous deviances.

Firstly, the book from which the quote is surgically extracted from is dedicated specifically to condemning the religious singing (Samaa’) sessions of the sufis! We shall soon see what Allamah Ibn Hajar Haythami has to say specifically regarding the Samaa’ sessions of the Sufis, in the very same book.

Secondly, nowhere in the statement above, or the statements of the genuine sufis, is there any justification for the planned, orchestrated, and institutionalised singing sessions of the imposter sufis. The singing of the true Sufis is a spiritual remedy only applicable to the elite Sufiya who act under the supervision of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil. Furthermore, such practices of the Sufiya are performed in privacy, and are not open to the public.  Their singingin in privacy, or impromptu singing is not for public entertainment which is haraam even according to the Sufis. The practices and the statements of the Sufis may not be cited as fataawa in abrogation of the explicit rulings of the Fuqaha who were the Physicians of the Ummah and the Standard Bearers of the Shariah.

Clarifying explicitly that unplanned, impromptu singing, or singing in privacy does not fall under the general prohibition, Allamah Ibn Hajar states:

“If a person is alone in his house and sings, it is permissible otherwise haraam….”

“Another view is: Engrossment in singing renders it haraam. However, if one sings in an impromptu manner for a short while, then it is permissible.”

It is  most significant that the Fuqaha prohibit ghina (singing) in all aspects, even impromptu singing, even a little singing. They were the Hukama of the Ummah. They were extremely farsighted, hence they understood that any leeway granted will open a wide avenue of abuse just as consumption of a little liquor leads to incremental consumption and ultimately intoxication and addiction. The qawwaals which are nowadays polluting the Musaajid with their nasheeds and those miscreants who organise  naa’t sessions in the Musaajid vase their corrupt case of ‘permissibility’ on the couple of verses of poetry which genuine Ulama would recite/sing in their bayaans and lectures.

If the senior Ulama had heeded the total prohibition ruled by the Fuqaha this satanic door of nasheed singing for public entertainment in the Musaajid would not have  developed. Taking advantage of the little, the qawwaals and their supporters have gone overboard with their haraam singing. Special singing sessions are organized in the Musaajid after Isha in total and flagrant violation of the Shariah.

Let us now have a look at some of the other contents of this book, which are conveniently ignored by those masquerading as ‘sufis’, and which prove categorically that there is a clear difference between singing in private, or in an impromptu manner, and the organised, pre-planned Samaa’ sessions of the imposters to entertain the public consisting of even fussaaq and fujjaar. Thecategorical prohibition on singing stated by the Shafi’i Fuqaha is directly applicable to such Samaa’ sessions.

Confirming the categorical ‘Haraam’ ruling on singing, even without instruments, as stated by the authoritative Imams of his madh-hab, Allamah Ibn Hajar states:

“In two places of Imaam Raafi’i’s famous kitaab, Ash-Sharhul Kabeer, it is mentioned with much clarity: ‘Singing is Haraam’. In Raudhah, Imaam Nawawi adopted this view.”

He also confirms that this ‘Haraam’ ruling is also the ruling of the other madh-habs:

“It [i.e. singing] is absolutely Haraam. According to Imaam Qurtubi, this is also according to the Math-hab of Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh). Abu Ishaaq said: ‘I asked Imaam Maalik about the leniency shown towards singing in Madinah, and he replied: ‘In Madinah too singing is the practice of the fussaaq (immoral violators of the Shariah). The masses (in Madinah) consider it forbidden. This is the way of the people of Madinah.’ Ibrahim Bin Sa’d is a solitary exception who does not see anything wrong in it.”

“Imaam Abu Hanifah and all the Ulama of Kufa among whom are Hadhrat Ibraaheem Nakh’i, Imaam Sha’bi, Hammaad, Sufyaan Thauri and others, are unanimous in this ruling (of prohibition). Two views are attributed to Imaam Shaafi and Imaam Ahmad. The one view is absolutely haraam. Haarith Muhasabi says that singing is just as haraam as carrion (dead animals).”

Leaving absolutely no room for doubt that the general prohibition of singing is applicable to the Samaa sessions of the Sufis, Allamah Ibn Hajar al-Haytami states that another important basis for the prohibition of Samaa’ sessions is the authentic Hadith condemning every bid’ah – a Hadith which tends to induce severe allergic reactions and convulsions amongst the pseudo-sufis today – perhaps one of the causes of their break-dancing antics:

“Among the things that indicates the reprehensibility of those who indulge in the practice of samaa‘ is a hadith which the authorities are agreed is rigorously authentic, the statement of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) : “Whoever innovates in this matter of ours [that is, in the holy shariah] what does not belong to it, it stands rejected” and in another version of the hadith there is “anything that that is not under our order it stands rejected.”

Finally, if there remained any ambiguity regarding the type of singing involved in the Samaa’ sessions to which the prohibition of singing directly applies, the following fatwa quoted by Allamah Ibn Hajar al-Haythami for support, closes all avenues satanic wriggling and manoeuvring for justifying the singing of frauds:

“Qurtubi (rahmatullah alayh) narrated from Imaam Tartusi (rahmatullah alayh) that he was asked about those people who gather at a place and begin the proceedings with Tilaawat of the Qur’aan-e-Kareem. Thereafter one person stands up and sings some poetry. Then all present lapse into ecstasy and begin swaying (in a form of a dance) simultaneously beating the duff. Is it permissible to join this company of people?

He (Imaam Tartusi) replied: ‘According to the Akaabir Sufiya’ this practice is highly erroneous and deviation. Islam means only Kitaabullah and the Sunnat of the Rasool (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It is never permissible for any person who has Imaan in Allah and the Aakhirah to join such people nor aid them in this unlawful practice. This is the Math-hab of the Four Imaams and of other Mujtahideen. Some people cite the stories of the Mashaaikh in substantiation of dancing and singing………..

The most important argument in this regard is that we do not believe that these stories (which are attributed to the Mashaaikh) are true. It is quite probable that just as the zindeeqs have attributed many fabrications to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), so too have they done with regard to the Mashaaikh. On the assumption that the Mashaaikh did practise these deeds, which obviously they did not, then it should be understood that for us proof is firstly Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), then the Sahaabah, then the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen…”



Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullah alayh) states in Raudhatut Talibeen:

“Abul Farj Az-zaaz narrated one view that much listening to singing is Haraam, except if it is a little. Another view (narrated by Abul Farj) is that it is completely Haraam (whether much or little).” (Raudhatut Taalibeen)

He further states:

“The singing of a person is either with or without instruments. If it is without instruments, it (singing) and listening to it are Makrooh [Tahreemi].” (Raudhatut Taalibeen)

Allamah Ibn Hajar Haythami explicitly confirms that the Makrooh ruling is that of Tahreem i.e. Haraam:

“In two places of Imaam Raafi’i’s famous kitaab, Ash-Sharhul Kabeer, it is mentioned with much clarity: ‘Singing is Haraam’. In Raudhah, Imaam Nawawi adopted this view.” (Kaf-fur Ruaa’)

While the ruling of singing in privacy, or in an impromptu manner, is that of permissibility, all other singing not accompanied by musical instruments are forbidden, as also stated by Imam Nawawi in his Minhaaj-ut-Talibeen:

“It is lawful to sing and listen to the song to which the camel-drivers make their animals walk; but the law blames all other singing not accompanied by instruments of music.”

Elsewhere in the same book, Imam Nawawi clarifies that the permissible type of singing must not contain anything lewd:

“And it is permissible to speak and to sing poetry, unless it satirizes someone, is obscene, or alludes to a particular woman.”

Sufi Singers Are Shayateen and Ignoramuses

In one of the authoritative texts of the Shafi’i madh-hab, al-Mughni al-Muhtaaj, Imam al-Shirbini quotes one of the major Imams of the Shafi’i madh-hab, Tajuddeen as-Subki, in condemnation of Samaa’ (sufi singing sessions):

“As-Subki said – and he was amongst the major Imams of the Shafi’is – that: “ The Samaa’ in the form that is well known is rejected and is a misguidance, and it is from the actions of the ignoramuses and Shayateen (devils). Whoever claims that it is a means to closeness (to Allah) has lied and fabricated upon Allah. Whoever says it increases in Zawq (spiritual sensation) he is an ignoramus or a Shaytaan. Whoever links the Samaa’ to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is to be punished most severely and is to be entered under the heading of Liars upon him (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and whoever lies upon him (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) intentionally then let him take his seat in the Hell-fire. This is not the way of the Auliya of Allah Ta’ala and His group and the followers of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Rather it is the way of the people of desires (Ahlul Hawaa), play, and falsehood, and upon this it should be refuted by the tongue, hand and heart.” [Al-Mughni al-Muhtaaj (4/426)]


Deviant Bid’ah and Animal Cravings

Another authority of the Shafi’i madh-hab, Imam Adhra’i states regarding his refutation of the anomalous view that singing is permissible:

“I have explained in my book Ghunyah al-Muhtaaj fee Sharh al-Minhaaj the proofs for the opinion that singing is unlawful or [at least] very offensive and I answered those who argue that it is permissible and those who too lenient in the matter and I presented there what will persuade any enlightened heart to follow the sunnah without sullying it with any deviant innovation [bid‘ah ] or any animal cravings.”


‘Sufis’ Have Adopted the Way of Disbelievers and the Insane 

Regarding the Hadith in which two girls were singing the songs of Buath, the great Shafi’i scholar, Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani refutes the imposter ‘sufis’ who misuse such evidences:

“Some Sufis used this hadeeth to prove the permissibility of singing songs, and listening to them with instruments and without instruments. It suffices to refute this with what Aisha explicitly states in the hadeeth in the same chapter: “and they were not singers”. So, she negated the meaning that may be misunderstood from the word. Because “ghinaa” (singing) can mean raising one’s voice and it can mean chanting, which Arabs call “Nasb”. And the one who does that (the latter) is not called a mughannee (singer), rather he is called one who chants with tamteet and takseer and arousal and thrill; either directly or indirectly mentioning indecency and immorality. Al-Qurtubi said: “Her saying ‘they were not singers’ means they were not ones who knew al-ghinaa (singing) the way female singers, who are well-known for it, know it. She said this so that one may not misunderstand it to mean the singing which was popularly performed by the famous singers. And this is the type which “moves the still”, and makes the hidden apparent. And this type, if it is a poem that describes the beauty of women or wine or other prohibited matters, then there is no difference of opinion regarding its prohibition.”

Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani categorically confirms, by quoting Allamah al-Qurtubi, that there is no difference of opinion regarding the prohibition on what the deviant Sufis have innovated in this regard:

“As for what the Sufis have innovated in this regard, then there is no difference (of opinion) over its prohibition. However, the souls full of desire have overcome many people who have attributed themselves to righteousness; To the extent that many of them practiced the acts of lunatics and children. To the extent that they would dance in uniform motions and continuous abrupt stops. Their disrespect reached a level where some of them considered these actions from those that draw one closer (to Allah), a righteous action, and one that will earn them an exalted state. In reality, this is from the ways of the disbelievers, and the sayings of the insane, and Allah is the one we seek aid in.” End of Qurtubi’s quote. (Fath al-Bari, vol. 2, p. 570-571, no. 949)


The fuqaha of all the madh-habs confirm the unanimous prohibition as explicitly clarifed by the rulings above cited from the Shafi’i fuqaha. To cite just one example, Imam Khairuddin Ramli, clarifies the official position of the Shariah on singing in his book, Fatwa Khairiyyah:

“The most authentic version narrated from Imaam Abu Hanifah, Imaam Maalik and Imaam Shaafi (rahmatullah alayhim) is that such singing (i.e. singing without instruments) is Makrooh Tahrimi (which is a sinful and a forbidden act).”

Elsewhere he states:

“To sing for an audience even without musical instruments is a kabeerah (major) sin.” (Fataawa Khairiyyah)

He specifies that the difference of opinion on this matter pertains to only singing in privacy:

“Among the Fuqaha there is difference of opinion on the question of singing without music. According to some Fuqaha singing is totally haraam and it is sinful to intentionally listen to it. However, if the sound comes to the ears unintentionally, then it is not sinful. According to others, if the singing is in privacy by an individual for banishing loneliness, then it is permissible. But the condition for this permissibility is that it must not be for mere play and amusement. Shamsul Aimmah Sarakhsi also inclines to this view.” (Fataawa Khairiyyah)


The true Sufis have always affirmed their subservience to the rulings of the Fuqaha. The great Shafi’i, Shihab-ud-Deen Suhrawardi, amongst the chief of the Sufis, upholds the prohibition on singing in his renowned book, Awaarif-ul-Ma-aarif:

“Listening to singing is among the sins. Only a handful of fuqahaa’ [jurists] permitted it and as for those that did they did not permit inviting the people to the masjids and holy places to hear it” (Awaarif-ul-Ma-aarif)

It should be clear that those Fuqaha who permit singing, refer to such singing which is in privacy on an impromptu basis by a person who happens to be alone. There is no difference of opinion regarding the prohibition of singing for public entertainment as the  frauds masquerading as ‘sufis’ nowadays perpetrate in the Musaajid, and which the evil molvis  organize..

He states that the ruling of the Salaf-us-Saliheen must always take precedence, not the ruling of a few late-comers whose errors are pounced upon and taken full advantage of by those who seek to override the official position of the Shariah:

“Furthermore, if there were any merit in such gatherings, surely the Prophet (sallallahua alayhi wasallam) and his Companions would never have neglected them and whoever claims that there is any merit in such gatherings has no knowledge or any idea even of the way the Prophet (sallallahua alayhi wasallam) and his Companions and the Followers and rather takes refuge in the fact that some late-comers approved of that. [Although this reasoning and its conclusion is quite sound], people so often reason wrongly here, for when one argues against what they advocate by pointing out that the salaf of old never held such gatherings they reply to such objections by citing the practice of people of a very late period. However the salaf were closer to the time of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahua alayhi wasallam) and their example more like the example of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahua alayhi wasallam), [so it is incumbent on us to follow them not the late-comers] (Awaarif-ul-Ma-aarif)

He states that the sessions of Samaa’ (sufi singing) that were permitted once were extemporaneous, without planning, and was never made into a regular habit:

“So observe that they did not use to go in for samaa‘ except with conditions and restraints and protocol [rules, proprieties]… furthermore, they used to hold such sessions extemporaneously on occasion and they did not make it a regular habit.”

In addition, the sama’ sessions of the genuine Sufis were spiritual remedies which may not be adopted as ‘sunnah’ practices by the masses, noit by the Ulama. Finally, in conclusion, he states that it is incumbent to avoid even such assemblies of singing which involve purely the remembrance of Allah:

“In conclusion: Now, for the Jamaa’at of Sufiya’ there remains only one way—they should totally abstain from these kinds of functions, and stay away from places of suspicion. Tasawwuf is the embodiment of sidq (truth/honesty) and haqeeqat (spiritual reality). Never contaminate it with futility and mockery.” (Awaariful Ma-aarif)


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