Listening to music, enjoying a song that makes one happy, or feel better by expressing his or her emotion happens to be one of the major signs of Allah. You may have not thought of how a simple song you may be listening to right now in the background as you read this is a sign from your Lord of His existence.
Why has He made the sounds of the instruments, the melody, the voice and lyrics so appealing to you? Have you ever thought how your brain need not interpret those sounds as beautiful, or romantic, while other sounds such as the sound of a train is un-appealing? Allah has wired your brain to be able to appreciate sounds of certain nature, such as the sounds of your favourite songs. What does He wish to show you? Why did He create this mechanism in you? And why did He give people the ability to play and orchestrate such tunes and bless them with voices to sing that in turn delights your mind and arouses feelings such as romance, optimism or resolve?
To the majority of the people who do not think about the purpose of their lives deeply enough, they simply enjoy the blessings that falls their way and fail to identify them even.
The secrets of such questions are all revealed in the Qur'an, the Revelation of the Creator of every detail we see and cannot see. Focusing more on a song you are enjoying, let us now ponder on what Allah wants of you. Listening to it, your mood may change and you start to feel better again. This is great, but is that all that is wanted by Allah? You may have missed the main objective Allah has set for you while enjoying the effects of the song.
The secret revealed in the Qur'an is that a believer should not only enjoy, he also needs to identify such things as his ability to hear with his ears. Certainly if we could not hear, that would be the end of that.
"Say, 'It is He who has brought you into being and made for you hearing, sight and understanding, how little thanks you give!' " (Qur'an 67:23)
The snail-like cochlea inside your ear is filled with liquid. This liquid is vibrated by a set of bones (1) connected to the ear drum. Different points within the snail-like structure are triggered at different pitches of sound.
Notice how the width of the cochlea increases towards the centre. The reason for this parallels with the reason why tapping a glass half-full of water with a spoon makes a lower pitch sound compared to a full glass. Without the frequency detection feature of the cochlea, there would be no high notes and low notes in a song, and music would not exist!
Adding to the ability to hear, is his ability to interpret and have emotions to the sounds of the musical instruments and the singer's voice. These sounds are stimulants that arouse a variety of emotions, such as hope, acceptance, feelings of love / romance. So the sense of hearing is not sufficient to enjoy the song - we need to be programmed to find the sound pleasurable and enticing of those emotions. And this feature we have been programmed with (Allah says, He has given us "hearing, sight and understanding", in the above verse).
The lyrics in the song express emotions in our spoken language. Languages are extremely complex ways of communication, but as humans we can decode them instantly. Yet there are many different languages all able to express the same thing. This is another bounty of Allah - languages:
"And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know." (Qur'an 30:22)
When a lyric of a poem is sung, we find that the meanings within it sounds even more powerful than they originally sound when read! This is a designed phenomenon that we find it so. It need not be? Therefore, we can say that listening to a song is indeed a miracle of Allah! These are some of the blessings of Allah on us that we cannot easily point out, but we are surrounded by them. About these Allah says:
"And (He has created) horses, mules, and donkeys, for you to ride and use for show; and He has created (other) things of which you have no knowledge." (Qur'an 16:8)
Allah wants you to identify His blessings, each time you listen to a song and feel happy, romantic, excited or calm, turn to Allah in His remembrance - thinking about His favor on you and thank Him truly from your heart for designing these blessings for you:
"Worship Allah and be among the thankful." (Qur'an 39:66)
Believers who enjoy the feelings brought by blessings of Allah and feel appreciative of Allah in this meticulous way find the best rewards in the hereafter:
"Those who are mindful of their Lord will have Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever: hospitality from Allah. What is with Allah is better for those who are truly good." (Qur'an 3:198)
But a terrible end awaits people who enjoy good things in the world and fail to identify them as blessings. Enjoying music and songs without appreciating and thanking Allah for having given the capacity to do so, adds to a disbelievers' account of bad deeds, but for a believer the opposite is true.
"That is because you
enjoyed and rejoiced on earth. Enter the gates of Hell, there to remain
- an evil home for the arrogant". (Qur'an 40:75-76)
"And we shall reward the grateful ones." (Qur'an 3:145), "Is Allah not best aware of the grateful ones?" (Qur'an 6:53)
We can either rightly enjoy a blessing, or wrongly enjoy it. In everything that delights our mind, we must remember Allah immediately and feel awe of Him.
For example, listening to a romantic song entices feelings of love for your spouse and makes you want to be close to him or her, that indeed is a blessing of Allah. The ability you had to hear, and then find it romantic - the processes He designed that achieved that feeling in you through that song is astonishing and deserves your thanks. Indeed, the fact that he created spouses for you to feel love for is a big favour to begin with. You should immediately thank Allah for this. Thriving in good things while failing to surrender our thanks to Allah is a sin before Allah's eyes. Imagine a hand extending out blessings to us, and we keep taking from it without ever expending a thought to what this generous being wants from us.
The true believer loves Allah sincerely in return for all the blessings He gives in every way or form. Ofcourse, we will never be able to identify everything which Allah has mercifully given us when it is in hidden ways. But believers are those who at least try to see Allah in everything they have, do and see and hear around them. In everything that delights their souls, they appreciate Allah more and more. Having realised that there must be many overlooked blessings which they cannot identify, they thank Him for those unknown blessings too and seek forgiveness.
"If you tried to number Allah's blessings, you could never count them. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Qur'an 16:18)
This is how even music or a song can increase a believer's love for his or her Creator and desire to follow His ways - to have good conduct, worship Allah and learn from the Qur'an. The good feelings aroused in us should be turned into ways to thank Allah. Just as Prophet Solomon states in the Qur'an:
"And he (Prophet Solomon) said: 'Truly do I love the love of good, with a view to remember my Lord." (Qur'an 38:32)
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