So we were worried about the Taliban based on how they behaved previously. This time they said they were going to be different. They would allow women to study, respect their rights under Islam (whatever that means). But now we are seeing that Taliban is still the same old Taliban.
Fawad Andarabi, a local artist, was dragged out of his home yesterday and killed by the Taliban in the Kishnabad village of Andarab. He was a famous folk singer in the valley. His son has confirmed the incident. Thousands of Afghan musicians fear again being silenced as the country’s Taliban rulers say they will not allow anything that violates Islamic Shari’a law. The Taliban regime enforced a complete ban on music during its first stint in power, 1996-2001.
We have a situation now where young and old artists alike are in danger. Imagine that your livelihood is art, that you are a musician, or an artist, or an actor, and now Taliban rolls into town. Imagine that you are a woman, and also in one of those fields. All the progress from the last few years is down the drain now.
In an article on Gandhara, which touts itself as the “go-to source for English-language reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan” Haroon Bacha and Abubakar Siddique write: “In an interview with The New York Times, Mujahid said music would not be allowed in public. “Music is forbidden in Islam,” he claimed, “but we’re hoping that we can persuade people not to do such things instead of pressuring them.”
But so much for ‘no compulsion’ right? The mere existence of an Islamist government shows that there is compulsion. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have Islamism or political Islam. You would just have secularism. Back in 1996-2001 the Taliban destroyed musical instruments, hung them on trees, and punished people for playing learning or listening to music.
Opened in 2010, ANIM is a vibrant music school that has revived Afghanistan’s musical heritage. Its orchestra has performed around the world and the institution has trained a new generation of musicians, composers, and singers. But the school has been closed since the Taliban rolled into Kabul, and the school says it won’t open unless there are security guarantees from the new authorities. “I am worried about the safety and security of our students and the future of our school,” he says.
Is Music banned in Islam? Well according to many, it is. It’s widely disputed what a ban on music would include. Does it include all instruments or only wind instruments? Is it allowed at weddings? Or is it never allowed? The reason for this confusion comes from the fact that there are several hadith about music, and the rules/interpretation are not always clear cut.
For example in Mishkat al-Masabih it says
Abu Umama reported the Prophet as saying, “God has sent me as a mercy to the universe and as a guidance to the universe, and my Lord who is great and glorious has commanded me to annihilate stringed instruments, wind instruments, idols, crosses, and pre-Islamic customs, and my Lord who is great and glorious has sworn, ‘By my might, none of my servants will drink a mouthful of wine without my giving him a similar amount of pus to drink, but he will not abandon it through fear of me without my giving him drink from the holy tanks’.” – Ahmad transmitted it.
Groups like this have an issue with music because of what it stands for: liberty, freedom, expression, joy, creativity. The exact opposite of Submission and obedience to Islam.
Boko Haram, another extremist group means “western education is forbidden”. You see that these groups don’t like progress. They want the world to stay in the 7th century. They want instability and poverty so that they can be in charge and say “Look, We’ll fix this!” Education and progress is a threat to these groups. Women working is a threat. Music is even a threat!
In another hadith Abu Bakr got mad about musical instruments on Eid but Muhammad said it was okay:
Abu Bakr came to my house while two small Ansari girls were singing beside me the stories of the Ansar concerning the Day of Buath. And they were not singers. Abu Bakr said protestingly, “Musical instruments of Satan in the house of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) !” It happened on the `Id day and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “O Abu Bakr! There is an `Id for every nation and this is our `Id.”
So now you see where the confusion comes? The Quran doesn’t mention music, altho some scholars interpret a certain ayah to mean music. I’m not going to go through the list of hadith regarding music, because it doesn’t matter. The point is that the Taliban consider if forbidden, and are even killing musicians now.
Interestingly, The week Magazine states His son said he wanted justice and that a local Taliban council promised to punish his father’s killer. Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, told the AP that the insurgents would investigate the incident, but had no other details on the killing.
This goes to show you something else that I think is worth highlighting. Even if the Taliban leadership says something like “We will allow women to work”, do you think these ultra-conservative jihadis would allow it? Of course not. It’s not clear if this was an official command from the Taliban leadership or some local leader took matters in his own hand, but it appears that they hunted him out. The Week writes “The Taliban previously came out to Andarabi’s home and searched it, even drinking tea with the musician, his son Jawad Andarabi told the AP. But something changed Friday.”
Imagine that you are so threatened by the existence of music that you have to kill someone for it. What kind of dark world are they trying to bring here? The beauty and wonder of art and music is destroyed by these wicked people. The same people who blew up statues of buddha. The Pakistani Taliban in 2016 killed Amjad Sabri, a Pakistani Qawali singer. He sang Sufi songs and poems.
This is the legacy of Islam and Muhammad. Maybe not all interpretations of Islam as you know, but this is one such result. And it comes directly from the preserved sayings of Muhammad.
We have to remember not to assume things about individual Muslims based on the worst examples of Islam that we find in the world. Each Muslim may have a different perspective on matters. Some do support Islamic law and even the Taliban, and some do not. It’s better to ask before assuming things. Check out my video on “Are the Taliban Islamic” for more on this.
What do you think we need to do now? How can we best fight this scourge? Leave a comment in the description and share this video with your friends and family.