HAZRAT UMAR HAD A MELODIOUS VOICE
HISTORY OF PROGRESS OF MUSIC UNDER ISLAM
Priests are always anti-culture in spirit and tone
Sir Richard Burton, the great explorer, toured Arabia in the 19th century, and found ‘Music’ being treated not as ‘haram’ but as makroo’ in that Islamic society. And yet in pockets of that society even, he found people singing and enjoying themselves. Immediately you go through any library of manuscripts, and you find dozens of books written on MUSIC by Muslim scholars of all times.
The most melodious voice in the time of the Prophet himself, was of course Hazrat Bilal, the negro. And he was entrusted with the first AZAN. And history remembers that Hazrat Umar had also a melodious voice and used to sing songs. And number of hadees(s) are even there of music being played in the Prophet’s time as well as afterward. Many books bear testimony to music under Islamic hands.
The Wahabis took power in Arabia and put Music in the ground of ‘Makroo” but music was ever popular in the times of the Prophet himself. In fact many sayings exist where the Prophet had praised some sort of musical instruments. It is often said that ‘Drum is the music sound of Islam’ and it may be so, but the Prophet liked the “tambourine”. And music was played on many occasions. Weddings are obvious and such festivals as even circumcisions of boys in the family. But music was also heard for pure enjoyment.
The ‘Kitab al-Aghani’ mentions the name of the leading musicians of the time of the Prophet and it included Ibn Misjah, Ibn Muhriz, Ibn Suraij, as well as Yahya Al-Makki. In fact Ibn Misjah was a systematizer of Arabian Musical theory.
The Musical instruments in vogue at that time were the Lute (in Mecca called Qabus), Viols (in Mecca called Rebab), Reed-pipes (in Mecca called Mizmar), Oboe (in Mecca called Zunami), Flute (in Mecca called Qussaba) and the Tambourine (in Mecca called Duff and Ghirbal). The best part is that a selection of the ancient musical instruments of Mecca are preserved in the Rijk Museum in Leyden.
The most remarkable statement is given by the Arab Music Scholar Henry George Farmer and Miss Schlesinger is that MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS WERE INTRODUCED IN MEDIEVAL EUROPE BY THE ARABS, AND THEY HAD INNOVATED SOME INSTRUMENTS AND BORROWED OTHERS FROM PERSIA. It is amazing that Western scholars admit the introduction of many musical instruments in Europe from Islamic sources. And yet we think that Music is ‘Makroo’ based on obsolete views of outdated Mullahs of our time.
I came across a book written in Delhi on how to play the TABLA in the end of the 19th century, and the Maestro says that the beat of the Tabla is as perfect as the calculations of MATHEMATICS. For Music advancement, the backbone was mathematics itself.
The simple fact is that MUSIC is food to our senses and Allah has asked us to enjoy the Blessings that Allah has given us, and Music is one of them.