With Christmas around the corner, it seems the whole world is busy celebrating the season with music of one form or another. Concert and symphony halls throughout the world are filled with Christians, Jews, Confucians, Hindus, Buddhists, you-name-it. Shopping Malls….even office buildings…are filled with familiar (and too often cheesy) music. No doubt, most people’s spirits are lifted and souls restored over the winter solstice with the aid of sublime music.
Music, it seems, has the power to give us a glimpse of the divine.
But not for our Muslim friends. For many, if not most Muslims, music is “haram” an evil distraction. So while the divinely inspired and devoutly Christian music of Mozart, Haydn, Bach and Handel (to name a very few) bring so much of the world closer to God, Muslims, like Grinches, want nothing to do with it. But why? We do know that some Christian and other religious sects have, over the years, sought to deny themselves many earthly pleasures such as music and dancing, art, and even modern technology. It’s kind of understandable that a few well intensioned but misinformed individuals might join a cult and deny themselves life’s pleasures. But Muslims comprise almost a fifth of the worlds population. How is it so that so many, supposedly intelligent individuals would reject one of life’s greatest and most innocent of pleasures. Well, even Muslims are not sure about this. In Islam, there appears to be no direct prohibition against music in the Quran. Rather, it seems more than a few malcontent Imams have declared from on high that music is not allowed.
One is tempted to say that this is simply another example of Islam’s apparent inability to pull itself out of the dark-ages (that famous period in which civilization in western Europe seemed to go dormant). But even throughout the dark-ages, music produced by Catholic Monks flourished. Complex and intricate chants, still marvelous by today’s standards were being produced and sung every day and even today are a delight to any sincere music lover.
Was Muhammed musical? I am not aware of any historical source saying so. One suspects that the brutish man who led armies to slaughter women and children, wasn’t too keen on music. His world was more inclined to dark, austere, obedience; not joy and love.
It seems Jesus, on the other hand, enjoyed music or certainly tolerated it. We know from the Gospels that the angels sang to shepherds in the fields to announce Christ’s birth. Jesus’ first miracle, turning water to wine, at the wedding of Cana, certainly indicates the Lord was not opposed to music. Pretty well any fool knows that a Jewish wedding must certainly have been a celebration filled with music and dancing (as it is today) In Matthew 26:30 we hear that Jesus and the Apostles sang together at the last supper. “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” Additionally, St. Augustine mentions in his “Confession” in the fourth century, that many church goers were singing hymns. Ever since then, the Christian church has not only supported and encourage musicians; through it’s auspices the greatest music the world has ever known has been nourished and preserved. Pope Emeritus Benedict, is an accomplished piano player and loves Mozart. We know that the currant Pope, Frances, also loves all kinds of music.
We know that pretty well ALL the greatest composers of this world have been devout Christians. Secularists and Muslims would wish to deny this, but it seems ALL the worlds greatest music has been inspired by Christ.
Maybe that’s it. The Muslims know, they haven’t got a chance when it comes to Mohammed inspiring music. Let’s face it, not many Muslims have inspired anything. Oh we hear about the concept of the numberal “0” (borrowed from Indians) the numerical alphabet (borrowed from the Indians), Muslim philosophers (borrowed from Aristotle) Muslim architecture (borrowed from the Romans and Greeks). The great advances in the so-called Muslim Golden Age, were mostly carried out by Christians and Jews, dominated by the Muslims in the middle east.
Even the so-called great poets of Islam, such as Omar Khayyam, was clearly not a Muslim. Come on!
“A jug of wine a loaf of bread
And thou beside me in the wilderness
And wilderness were paradise now”
What’s with the “jug of wine”. Clearly, Mohammed declared unequivically. No booze!
Oh, what a miserable, unfortunate lot is that of the poor Muslims. We must pity their unfortunate state and reach out to them in the hope that one of these days they’ll wake up and realize it’s all been a terrible mistake.
Let them join the rest of the world in Joy and Love. Let them take up musical instruments and burst into song and dance and truly love life. Life short and precious enough and with plenty of personal misery without making it worse with abstinence from those little graces God provides to make it all tolerable.