After making a surprise announcement that he will not be singing anymore and will focus mainly on acting, popular Saudi artist Hammed Aldabaan has said that singing is not ‘haram’ (forbidden) in Islam.
Aldabaan’s announcement stirred a controversy and his followers appeared divided on the subject, going by their posts on social media. Al-Arabiya.net interviewed Hammed Aldabaan to discuss the reasons behind his retirement and return to the stage.
Why did you stop singing your poems?
Several musical instruments are now used in the art of singing and it is no different from singing songs. If I wanted to continue making music, I would do so openly and without lying to the public.
Do you see think that singing is permissible?
There are many who have turned the issue of music into a great “cause”. They depict those who listen to it as if they have committed a crime. I do not think music is “haram” (forbidden) but is indeed controversial. I have come to this conclusion after years of research and asking scholars. I found out that there are those who believe it is forbidden and there are those who think it is permitted while there is also a third party that believes it is a controversial issue that hasn’t reached a conclusion for lack of evidence.
You have also expressed opinion about growing a beard. What is your take on the issue?
Beard is another subject where opinions diverge. I follow the interpretation that considers any hair on the face as beard.
Is it true that a large number of your followers were upset with you and criticized you?
It is natural as these are controversial issues and people look for the strongest evidence and correct interpretation.
Do you fear that this might affect your large following?
Yes, it will cost me but they will be convinced at the end. They might be perceived as victim of those who stereotyped musical instruments and other such matters. I have given my followers food for thought and will continue to present my work to the audience. I am sure that everyone who disagreed with me and criticized me will join me in the future.
Why did you address this issue at this time?
My conviction on these issues have come to fruition. I have already presented a number of songs but in an “Islamic” way, going by descriptions in the conservative media. All I did was presented popular songs and shillas, or songs without music.
Does this suggest that there exists a belief that music is permissible?
Yeah. Those close to me understand that my views on music are a matter of disagreement and not absolute taboo. I preferred to remain silent because society rejects these views at a time when scientists and advocates speak in their favor. The society is also more receptive today.
What do you think of those who refuse to accept scientistific views on the subject?
Those who reject the opinion of scientists or science students in the Kingdom or the Islamic world, in favor of music, do not consider the strength of their argument, but rather their personality.
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