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The retirement of an artist sparks a debate in Egypt: is singing authorized or contrary to religion?


CAIRO – Egypt and several other Arab countries are questioning whether singing and performing are haram after Jordanian artist Adham Nabulsi announced his withdrawal from singing because “it is not in accordance with God’s commandments.”

In a video he posted to Facebook on December 20, Nabulsi said: “The main focus is to worship God and obey his commandments, and throughout my current career I don’t see that. happen. He called his retirement announcement “good news”.

Nabulsi first rose to prominence in 2013 as a candidate for the Arab edition of the X-Factor and has gained notoriety considerably over the years.

According to media reports, Dar al-Ifta in Egypt stressed that “Listening to music, attending concerts, learning music and playing instruments are allowed, unless they incite passion, the temptation, flirtation and promiscuity associated with alcohol, provocative dancing and immoral acts, or preventing people from performing their duties, in which case they are prohibited.

Dar al-Ifta noted that it is permissible to start singing as a source of income unless it incites haram, as mentioned above.

But the clergy, artists, and writers disagree on the extent to which singing and performing are prohibited. Sheikh Saeed Noman, a former member of the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, told Al-Monitor: “Singing and music are allowed, but they are prohibited if they offend religion or incite haram, like promiscuity, alcohol, provocation. dancing and so on.

Noman pointed out that the Prophet Muhammad allowed poetry and that he had a fellow poet, Hassan ibn Thabit, explaining that poetry and literature are emotional language to soften emotion, politeness and uplift the spirit.

Meanwhile, Al-Azhar University professor Mabrouk Attia posted a video on his YouTube channel on December 21, explaining that singing is not prohibited unless it stirs up sedition, calls for distraction or incites to haram.

“The proof is that the Prophet Muhammad, on his travels, used to require chants to facilitate the journey of armies… and the good word is sung and chanted and people memorize it,” noted Attia.

Egyptian author Khaled Montasser told Al-Monitor: “Preachers and religious consider art in all its forms as an adversary that rivals them for the conscience and spirit of the recipient, for art and religion play on the harmony of emotion and spirit.

Montasser added: “The clerics are afraid of losing their power over the popular conscience to the benefit of art, which has more tools of joy and influence than the clergy. The clerics regard the artists as their enemies because of this.

Meanwhile, Lebanese singer Maya Diab attacked Nabulsi, dismissing all claims that singing is haram. “Art is not haram. You are part of it, it is “, she tweeted.

Nabulsi responded in an interview on Dec. 24, saying he never claimed that art is haram because he is neither a mufti nor a sheikh to decide this issue.

“I was only talking about myself and my personal experience. I can only judge my own life and the things that I have been through. I never mentioned anyone else, ”he explained.

Nabulsi thanked those who supported his decision, expressing his desire to resume reciting the Quran.

Days after Nabulsi retired from singing, an audio recording of him reciting verses from the Quran went viral.

He has since deleted 10 songs from his social media and YouTube accounts.

Many other artists besides Nabulsi retired for religious reasons, including Egyptian actresses Hanan Tork and Hala Shiha, and many more.

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