Stage 1: Purification of the Ears

Sins of the Ears


There are great benefits in this world and the next for avoiding committing sins with our ears, as what we hear is like pouring goodness or poison into our minds, which we then reflect over and act upon.

If we listen to beneficial talks and advice and education then we will improve our character, however if we listen to gossip, swearing and sinful acts then we will reflect on these and it will create a desire for more sinful behaviour.

Summary of Sins to Avoid

1. Listening to lying
2. Listening to backbiting
3. Carrying on tales
4. Listening to stringed or wind musical instruments
5. Listening to sexually explicit lyrics

Explanation of the Sins

1. Listening to Lying

Usually, a person hears truth and lies, so if he speaks of everything that he hears, he is lying by narrating things that did not happen and lying by speaking of something other than the way it happened and he does not have to do that deliberately in order to be regarded as telling lies.

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said: “It is enough sin for a man to speak of everything that he hears.”

2. Listening to backbiting

The lethal plague of backbiting destroys one’s good deeds, destroys brotherhood and destroys one’s reward. So the true Muslim does not backbite, nor does he allow backbiting to take place in his presence. Refuse to listen to what other people have said or done. It is backbiting, just to hear it. If what we are being told is not true, it is an even greater sin, both for the person telling it and the person listening to it. Even if we force our minds not to believe what we heard, there is still a slight possibility of that matter entering our heart. Then, the very next time the person whom you heard the news about commits an act similar to what you heard, you will certainly remind yourself of what you heard and may have belief upon it.

Note that the one who hears any backbiting about a Muslim should refute it and rebuke the one who says it. If he does not rebuke him in words he should rebuke him by his actions. If he cannot rebuke him by his actions or his words, then he should leave that gathering. So strive to remind the person of the ruling on backbiting, and explain to him the punishment of the one who does that. Perhaps he will give up what he is doing of sin.

Abu’l-Darda (may Allah ﷻ be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever protects the honour of his brother, Allah ﷻ will protect his face from the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.”

3. Carrying on tales

The beauty of Islam is that it seizes the sin from its roots. Instead of presenting a remedy after a sin has been committed, Islam believes in elimination of the evil from the very first point of its origination. Islam advises against foul speech in the first place so as to prevent the evil speech being heard by someone else.

Therefore in Islam it is advised that if you have heard something which happens to be true, you should not pass on the tale to someone else. Even if you have seen the action that you heard about, Islam recommends you to hide the sin of that person. Therefore, if you have not told anyone, you have not entered into the sin of backbiting.

The higher level is not to even hear any such speech. Shut your ears against any tale you hear. Do not engage yourself in such discussions and if by chance you do hear ill speech of others do not believe it until you have in your possession solid facts regarding the matter. Never listen to rumours and do not contribute towards spreading the rumour. Even if the story or news is true, just restrict it to yourself.

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah ﷻ be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said:

“Do you know what calumny is?” They said: Allah ﷻ and his Prophet ﷺ knows best. He said:

“Conveying the words of some people to others in order to create mischief between them.”

However, it should be noted that it is not considered scandaling, if a man informs his brother what was said about him, if there would be some benefit from this. However one must verify the tales or stories brought by the carrier of tales, lest he act upon his words, thus harming someone who is innocent. Allah ﷻ, the Most High, said:

“O you who believe. If a rebellious evil person comes to you with news, verify it – lest you harm a person to ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful of what you did”. Quran 43:6

The tale carrier should be advised, admonished, and even prevented from doing such an evil action. One should also express his hate for tale carrying, by desisting from listening to such a person. In addition to the above, one should not perpetrate the evil of the tale carrier, by entertaining bad thoughts about his brother, or disclosing what was said by the tale carrier.

4. Listening to stringed or wind musical instruments

Allah ﷻ says in Surah Luqmaan,

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing) to mislead (men) from the path of Allah ﷻ…” Quran 31:6

Everything besides the one-sided tambourine is unlawful to play or listen to. Thus among the instruments that the person travelling the path should refrain from listening to are:

  • String instruments e.g., harp, guitar, banjo, violin
  • Wind instruments e.g., clarinet, saxophone
  • Percussion instruments e.g., piano, cymbal
  • Horned instruments e.g., trumpet, bugle


As most popular and classical music currently contain sounds from these instruments, the person travelling the path should try his best to avoid listening to such music. Some say that music and musical instruments have the effect of softening people’s hearts and creating gentle feelings. This is not true, because it provokes physical desires and whims. If it really did what they say, it would have softened the hearts of the musicians and made their attitude and behaviour better, but most of them, as we know, are astray and behave wrongly.

The Prophet ﷺ warned of a severe punishment for people who sing or listen to singing in such a situation when he said “some people of my Ummah will drink wine, calling it by another name, while they listen to singers accompanied by musical instruments. Allah ﷻ will cause the earth to swallow them and will turn some of them into monkeys and swine”. Ibn Majah.

This does not mean that they will be physically transformed into the bodies and outward form of monkeys and swine, but rather in heart and soul, carrying the heart of a monkey and the soul of a pig in their human bodies.

Music and all musical instruments are an evil and it is not permissible to listen to them. It is narrated in Sahih Bukhaari that the Prophet ﷺ said: “There will be people among my ummah who regard as permissible zina, silk, alcohol and musical instruments.”

He compared musical instruments to things that are definitely known to be haraam, namely zina and alcohol. If instruments were not haraam, he would not have made this comparison. The evidence of this hadith that singing is haraam is definitive. Even if no other hadith or ayah spoke about musical instruments, this hadith would be sufficient to prove that they are haraam, especially the kind of singing that is known among people nowadays, the essence of which is obscenity and foul talk, based on all kinds of musical instruments that make it more enticing.

5. Listening to sexually explicit lyrics

Listening to lewd lyrics and bedroom voices are unlawful to listen to in real life and real-sounding electronic devices. As for using music as a remedy, there is no basis for this, rather it is the work of fools. Music is not a remedy, but it is a disease. It is a kind of entertainment which causes sickness in the heart and leads to deviation of morals.

The beneficial remedy that can calm the nerves is making the sick people listen to the recitation of the Holy Qur’an, beneficial exhortations and beneficial hadith. Using music as a remedy is something that gets people accustomed to falsehood and makes them even sicker. It makes listening to the Qur’an and Sunnah and useful exhortations burdensome for them.

Remember that the religion of Allah ﷻ does not follow the whims and desires of anyone. Allah ﷻ is the One who has created the universe and mankind, and He knows what is best for them in this life and in the Hereafter, so He issues commands and prohibitions for what is best for them in both realms.