Music Junkie Syndrome A Memoir by

I’m such a music junkie.

I mean I was, but then I gave it up gradually, Alhamdulillah. I got rid of all the music from my mobile, then from my iPod, then from my laptop and then from my heart.

It has not been that easy though; inadvertently do I hear music everywhere. It’s on TV, it’s when I go eat out with friends, and it’s in our cars, our gyms and everywhere else, even in washrooms. When I was younger, I loved listening to music, I knew every single song, and it was my life. When I used to come home from school, instead of praying Zuhr, I played music loudly. My mum used to only notice that I was home when she would hear Urdu Qawwalis being played at a very loud volume.

We were such music-addicted people. At weddings in our family, my uncles would invite these female singers and we would request them to play classic Mehdi Hassan songs. Life was literally full of music and low on Iman (a term practically unheard of); we prayed whenever we could take out time from our elite schedule; we fasted in Ramadan but spent the whole day listening to music (“Oh, I’m starving, but let me fill myself with some music”). Honestly, we were born as Muslims but were living our lives in a completely contrary manner.

So life was pretty Iman-less…and then I noticed it; I read the Quran, but it never penetrated my heart, I never cried. I gave sadaqah (charity) and helped the poor, amongst other things, but my heart was stony hard, and sometimes so alien. Why was it that my heart was so lifeless even though I was performing all of these good deeds? Then I met my Qari Sahib (my Quran teacher). He told us that the effect of music on one’s heart is that it creates a seed of hypocrisy in the heart; the seed becomes a plant and it keeps growing until the heart becomes black. When the heart becomes black, it becomes hard and then the words of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) do not penetrate the heart anymore.

I was devastated when I heard that. All the hard work I did, all the time when I said that I loved Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and didn’t act upon what I believed, I felt ashamed of myself. I felt like I wanted the best of both worlds while what I was doing would benefit me in neither. It was like I had my feet in two separate boats and with the wind blowing, I could fall into the river anytime. I had to make a strong base. Thus I left the love of my life—music— and replaced it with something better and worthy of being called the love of my life—the Quran.

SubhanAllah, I noticed that I felt that change. When I left music, I stopped acting like a robot – I had Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) in my heart and thoughts, and I could think and live reasonably. It was a stark contrast from the weird impact that music used to have on my soul; it made me Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it made me do all sorts of crazy things. I would feel wild and animal-like.

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said regarding the person whose habit is to listen to music:

“His state of emotions becomes less passionate when he hears the Quran. On the contrary, when he listens to instruments of the devil (music), he dances a lot. If the prayer is established, he either prays while sitting down or performs it as fast as when the roaster picks seeds. He dislikes listening to the Quran and does not find beauty in it while reciting it. He has no taste for the Quran and feels no love for it or pleasure when it is read. Rather, he finds pleasure if he listens to Mukaa’ or Tasdiyah. These are satanic pleasures and he is among those whom Allah mentioned in the Ayah, “And whosoever turns away from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah), We appoint for him Satan to be a companion for him. [43:36].” [Awliyaa' Ar-Rahman].

I would give up everything in the world for the companionship of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and I would never even think of having Shaytan as my friend. I pray that the love of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) takes precedence over the love of people and our desires. Ameen.


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  • http://JawaadAhmadKhan.com/ Jawaad Ahmad Khan

    SubhanAllah..(wait)
    MashaAllah this article is such a deep and honest reflection.

    But, the reason I say SubhanAllah is because in the Similar Posts, I’d clicked back to the iPod Complex article I’d previously written about 10 months ago, and scrolled down to the comments (http://www.muslimyouthmusings.com/the-ipod-complex/#disqus_thread)
    There, I found that you’d commented, quote: “SubhanAllah. perhaps ill write my side of the story someday inshaAllah, ”

    I’m so happy that now you have, sister Maryam, and so eloquently with this memoir piece. May Allah reward you for each view this article receives and each heart it touches and each mind it influences. Ameen.

    • Maryam

      JazakAllah khayr br. Jawad for the editing, may Allah ta’ala bless you with all good in both worlds ameen.

      And subhanAllah, after you comment i realized that it took me 10 months to come up with this , to work on myself.. but you know what helped the most- it was my company- for my MYM family helps me walk on the straight path alhamdulilahi rabbil alaameen.

  • Shiney

    Ameen to your du’a Sr. Maryam and I have to say, this short piece is full of so much wisdom and emotion masha’Allah! I can relate to you in this matter-when you listen to music, your world is different but when you quit it for the sake of Allah, the Qur’an and and every other good speech starts to sound so beautiful, and not only that, but the Qur’an also sticks in your heart.
    I was once listening to a mini-lecture about death in which the speaker was talking about evil endings. One of them was the story of a man who was attached to songs by an Arabic singer, Umm Kalthoum. The man was one his death bed and there were people in his house partying and listening to Umm Kalthoum music. A pious man happened to pass by and saw the unbelievable scene. He said, “Have some shame, the man is dying and you are listening to music?!” The people decided to then put on some Qur’an. The man who was dying started getting agitated and said, “No, turn it off and play Umm Kalthoum, for she soothes my heart.” So his life ended doing what his passion was, which happened to be something that brought about his downfall.
    When I heard this story, I realized something. When I used to listen to music, it used to soothe my heart too, or so I thought (see how Shaitan beautifies evil?) and now when I talk to people who still listen to music, they always say that they can’t live without music. I thought the same but Alhamdulillah, when I quit, I was proved wrong. May Allah (SWT) guide us all and keep us on the Staright Path and gaive us all a good ending. Ameen.

    • Maryam

      Ameen sweetheart. jazakAllah khayr, may Allah ta’ala give you all good in both worlds ameen :)

      The example you stated up, is so true subhanAllah- Shaytan makes the haram look halal all the time. There was this accident i heard about, that happened in Islamabad. Two people were driving this car and they had this major accident. One of them died on the spot, the other was still alive but his condition was so bad; so the people gathered around him to make him read the kalima before death and they tried, but when one of them put his ear to that persons mouth- he didnt hear the kalima, he heard him singing a song which he was listening to prior to the accident! And subhanAllah he died singing that song.

      May Allah ta’ala protect us. May we live and die in His submission alone ameen.

  • http://dearlittleauntie.blogspot.com Little Auntie

    OK, I’m addicted to this site.
    Wonderful read.

    Jazakillah for sharing.

    • Shiney

      lol i find myself addicted to this site too! sometimes i come back to re-read posts because i learn something new from them everytime! keep visiting =)

      • ♥13:28♥

        Same here!

  • Faba

    Very nice article mashallah!

  • Sabera

    Masha’Allah. This story is VERY relatable for most of the Muslim youth everywhere. I only wish more people would understand what music does to them.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mzuhurudeen Muneer Zuhurudeen

    Awesome stuff; went through a similar transition myself after playing three instruments for the majority of my life. Very good reminder for those who are going through the same thing masha’Allah.

  • EM

    Awesome stuff; went through a similar transition myself after playing three instruments for the majority of my life. Very good reminder for those who are going through the same thing masha’Allah.

  • http://www.hsisters.wordpress.com saleha

    LOVE! especially ibn taymiyyah’s quote. great article!

  • http://profiles.google.com/fsf430 Faiza Khan

    Great article. It is very true to the process I am going through now. When I listen to music, I feel amazing, overjoyed, however, afterwards, I feel so guilty! Thank you for this article. I know that others are going through the same thing!

  • NM

    how to stop listening to music?

    • Abd Al-Baasit Khan

      You may find this short response very useful: http://islamqa.com/en/ref/50687

      It is kind of like leaving any other sin once you learn that it is Haraam; there is an internal struggle to leave it, and a physical wanting to keep going back to it. A person has to resist the temptation, but additionally, one must fill that void, that place in the heart – with Qur’aan, with constantly 24/7, at home, in the car, head-phones, listening to the most beautiful, most soothing, touching & melodious lyrics; the Words of the Creator (جل جلاله).

      It is like leaving alcohol. For addicts (alcoholics) who gave it up, they will tell you the long & hard struggle they went through, the step by step abandonment of their addiction, and the entire gradual process. One of my non-Muslims neighbors was just talking to me about his own story the other day…

      Anyhow, the advice that the Mashaayikh (حفظهم الله) usually give is to: (a) have the Taqwa of Allah (fear of Allah, love of Allah, a sense of awe & awareness of Him, being conscientious of your duty to Him, putting things in perspective, remember the Hereafter: Paradise/the Fire, the rewards & punishments), remember the words of Prophet Muhammad (*may Allah raise his rank & grant him peace*) إِنَّكَ لَنْ تَدَعَ شَيْئًا لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلاَّ أَبْدَلَكَ اللهُ بِهِ مَا هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ مِنْهُ “There is nothing that u give up for the sake of Allah, except that Allah WILL compensate u with something that’s better for you than it.” (b), try to get addicted to seeking knowledge from sound sources. (c) Read Qur’aan a lot and listen to it being recited by those who recite it well. (d) Turn to Allah with du’aa’ (supplications), asking Him to set your affairs straight and help you give this up.

      - Abk.

      • NM

         thank you. your advice have been really useful to me. syukran !

    • http://www.muslimyouthmusings.com/ Maryam

      Brother Abk explained everything beautifully mashaAllah. Here’s my tuppence worth- see everything we do becomes a habit. habits can be replaced with better habits. The question is- are we ready for the replacement?

      Replacing our old (and sinful) habits with the good (pious) ones is a struggle. If a person makes an intention and prays to Allah ta’ala for it and subsequently works hard for it, there is nothing one cannot achieve. Its about yakeen, tawakkal, dua, hardwork and love.

      Now the next question is- who is important to us and whom do we love the most? When we fall in love with Allah ta’ala, then everything falls into place, difficulties and hardhips dont disappear but they somehow weigh lighter. Thats what Allah ta’ala does. We go to Him, He comes to us. Alhamdulilahi rabbil alameen.

      Also let me just add another thing here, when you decide to leave music, replace it with something better as br.Abk mentioned earlier- recitation of the Quran. Also try listening to lectures online [ http://www.sacredlearning.org/general-talks/category ] , that will help inshaAllah, pray for good and pious company, and remind yourself constantly that His Companionship is better than the world and everything thats in it.

      Allahu Alam

      peace be with you.

      • NM

        that advice really touch my heart. thanks for helping me ! :D

      • Ali M.

        jazakAllah khair for the great article. Music is definitely not easy to eradicate from one’s life especially since the sound of instruments resonate with your emotions and give you a temporary high. In reality, that is a manifestation of the weakness of one’s imaan reflecting one’s poor judgement in choosing music over the remembrance of Allah swt who is The Giver of Sustenance and The only One who gives us all the breaths written for us. May He grant us to use those breaths to remember Him and thank Him instead of wasting them on anything else. ameen. 

        tabarakAllah mashaAllah sacredlearning.org is AMAZING!! The best thing about Dr. Sattar is that he gives succinct reminders as a very successful physician, professor, father, husband, shaykh and incredibly humble human being at the same time. His brother sh Khalid Sattar apparently lives in MD!! May Allah swt preserve them and their families. ameen. 

        subhanAllah, MYM is one of the few blogs I follow and enjoy. may Allah swt reward you all for the kind reminders and increase you all in sincerity. ameen. 

        wassalaam

    • Rima

      Best way to quit? Just start listening to the Qur’an. It WILL take over your heart. I used to memorize Qur’an while I listened to music. And slowly but surely I decided I loved music, but my love for the Qur’an surpasses it by millions of light years! Remember what ever you give up for the sake of Allah in this world, will be replaced by something much much better in the hereafter.

      May Allah provide you with ease and equip you with the love of His book.

  • http://www.facebook.com/musa.ktk Muhammad Moosa

    MashAllah,
    i can relate myself to it. I was not a real music lover though,, but when i decided to remove it from my lappy and cell, it was hard to act upon, but i did it eventually,,
    beautifully written article,,
    be blessed

  • Zain Akram

     very well-written and true.
    thanks for this opportunity to go through this piece of work.
    we all have our inner struggles and you just gave mine a push=)

  • SumaiyahKhan

    I LOVE THIS SITE! u get such nice and deep reflections on all different topics, all which can relate almost directly to yourself. i like how u were completely honest in this article…it was amazing.

    • Guest

      ^^ same!

  • Rima

    Ah music. I don’t even know how I managed to rid myself of this addiction. But subhanAllah through the mercy of Allah, I was guided to the Qur’an. I started memorizing Qur’an but still listened to music. I simply wasn’t able to give it up. I thought I could have both, just like you said “Best of both worlds”.But gradually the Qur’an took over my heart. I started listening to different qari’s. Before I used to sing all the time, in the car, while doing dishes etc. I was always humming some random tune. Now AlhamdulAllah I recite Qur’an and revise portions I have memorized. 

    JazakAllahu Khairan for sharing! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/skarifmahir Sk Arif Mahir

    Assalamu walaikum

    Beautiful topic! I think this topic will help me a lot because i also think that i can’t become a good muslim until i stop listening musics. I also composed several musics. But now I’m trying hard to break this habit. It is very tough but after reading this topic i think i can do it and i have to do it!! Thanks for your valuable topic …. may Allah bless you… :)

  • blurgh

    masyaaAllah.. such an inspiration.. i actually did give up listening to music..
    i was really into hearing the quran..memorizing..but now i’ve come back to my old habit of listening to music..i find it hard to give it up..i’ll try my very best n be as strong as u insyaAllah..

  • Irum

    I was listening to music whilst reading this piece and immediately switched it off. One thing im curious about though as you mentioned in your piece, music is all around us whether it be english, indian, french etc. it’s at out gyms, when we go out, on the tv and so forth how then do we remove it completely from our lives?

    • http://www.muslimyouthmusings.com/ Arif Kabir

      Sr. Irum, you’re held responsible for what you actively listen to. You could of course try to avoid every place that has music, but it is also said that you can just tune it out and not listen to it (i.e. your ears hear it, but your mind doesn’t listen to it). I know it may seem that it’s impossible to escape the throes of music, but even living in America, I’ve found it possible to minimize the amount of music that comes my way, whether it by muting certain videos, choosing to shop somewhere else, etc.

  • i2hope

    i can not tell you, how much you have made me realise, i am just like how you were, I hate music, and i never ever ever want to voulentarily listen to another song again, i know it will be hard, but if u can do it, i can as well. May Allah guide us to the straight path. Thank you

  • onlinebusiness

    Bless of Allah

  • ash

    I recommend listening to bird sounds, if you ever want music :)