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.