Assalamu Aleykum warahmatu Allah wabarakatuh,
I am a 16 year old boy and I have been addicted to listening to music since I was little and Alhamdulillah I have been guided by Allah and want to leave music completely but I mostly finds myself being taken back to listening to music yet I sincerely want to leave it but I am surrounded by a family to whom music is a necessity in their lives.
I battle with my nafs every day to leave it but I feel the way that I have chosen to make myself leave music is not the right way.
Please ask your counsellors to show me the right way by offering tips on how to overcome this disease that always attacks me and am not able to control my desires to music.
Waaaleikum salaam Wa Rahamatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
First of all brother, I would like to thank you for this question. I think music is a very pertinent problem in the Ummah today. Especially, considering that music is everywhere.
Alhamdulillah, you have already decided on quitting music, and as this is a counselling question, we would not discuss the rulings here, but the focus of our discussion would be how to quit it entirely now that you have made the decision. In sha Allah.
Listening to music is a bad habit that most of the young Ummah develops because music is everywhere. You cannot even go buy groceries without hearing music at the store or on your way there. Now, the problem, disregarding the fattwas that have been made against music is that how to quit this habit when the problem is everywhere. We can break down this into seven simple steps in sha Allah.
Step No. 1: Decide You Want to Change and Believe You Can
Our minds are beautiful blessings of Allah , we truly don’t realize how much our minds control us. Once we really, truly decide to do something then Subhan Allah, there is no stopping us. But if we decide that we cannot do something, then we won’t do it. Our minds are stubborn that way. All psychological models of change, be it the cognitive model, or the behaviorial model, they all emphasize that you need to commit to change first.
Because your commitment to leave the music is the very first step along the way. And this commitment will help you when you slip or miss a step. This commitment will be the reminder along the long journey of changing the habit of listening to music or any bad habit.
The additional factor here is believing that you can truly leave music. Don’t start with the confusion that what if you will be able to or what if you go back to music? What if you find it too hard? No, Alhamdulillah Allah made you a very strong human being and you can do anything to please Allah .
What should you do to truly commit? Well, you can commit to your close family or friends! But remember, that you choose these people wisely. You do not want to discuss your goals of quitting music at the tender stage of just starting with someone who would discourage you from doing so. Because, there are many people who would go fatwa shopping to different people and bring out a fatwa from somewhere that would say that it is okay to listen to music. If you think you do not have anything who would encourage you. Write down your goal to quit music in large and bold letters and stick it to your bedroom wall. Make it your phone and desktop wallpaper. Commit and make it so that you are constantly reminded of the commitment.
Step No. 2: Purify Your Intentions
Which brings us to our next step, which is very very important.
Remember that every deed, even the action of going to school and studying can be counted as Ibadah, if you have the intention of pleasing Allah and using the knowledge in the cause of Allah. As in the narrated by Umar bin al-Khattab said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say, “Surely, all actions are but driven by intentions and verily every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus, whose migration was for Allah and His messenger, his migration will be for the sake of Allah and His messenger. And he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.”
So, the very first step for you would be to purify your intention and continuously remember that you are quitting music for the sake of Allah and to seek His pleasure. And once you start doing things solely for the sake of Allah, remember that Allah’s Help is always near.
Step No. 3: Switch to Nasheeds
Quitting music instantaneously is hard. Some people leave it all the way and then after a while, they are so tempted they end up going back to music after one slip. Thinking that, “What’s the point? I can’t seem to quit entirely anyways!” And usually, these slips occur when you are tempted to listen to music. Or you are at the gym surrounded by blaring music and you just get in the flow at the mall. Now, it is entirely understandable because, as we discussed before, music is everywhere. But you can cut it off. Alhamdulillah, we have noise cancelling headphones, so, whenever you feel like you are getting an urge to listen to music – listen to beautiful nasheed instead, which will remind you to come back to the path of Allah – instead of performing sin that the modern songs are bound to do.
Step No. 4: Avoid Places or People That Trigger You
We all have that friend who has the latest song from the latest pop artist that we must absolutely listen to. Or there is a café where you and your friends hang out, but they constantly play music. It’s okay, we have all been there. Avoid these people, at least, until you know that you are strong enough that you will not slip into listening to music again. Also, I think this is the perfect time to remind you the seriousness of the friends you choose. It is recorded in Abu Dawood that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “A man follows the religion of his friend, so each one should consider whom he makes a friend.” This is not to say that you should stop interacting entirely with the people who are not religious. But at the same time, learn to walk out when you know that these people are trying to lure you away from the right path.
Step No. 5: Keep a Record and Reward
The moment you start on this journey of quitting music, keep a record. Keep a record of all the times you were able to successfully walk away from music, and the number of days you went without music. Write down your struggles and how good it felt when you were able win against the struggle with your nafs. These records will help you when the time is tough. You know, during those times when you are wondering, “Why am I doing this? Will I really be able to do this? Should I continue this?” And also, reward yourself (with something halal, of course) when you finish a streak. A day without music means an hour of doing something you love. A day without music, buying yourself your favourite lunch, a week and so on. And also remember, the reward of the hereafter is the greatest.
Step No. 6: Find Likeminded People Who Would Support Your Decision
This is a follow up of step four. But remember that you need good company. You need people who would appreciate the efforts you have been taking. It could be a good friend, or your brother or sister, or your mom and dad – find someone trust worthy who understands what you are going through and will motivate you and keep going.
Step No. 7: Don’t Quit After A Slip
I have mentioned this in passing before, but it is very understandable for you if you slip if you listen to music once, twice or maybe ten times. But don’t entirely quite on your goal because you slipped. No, repent and go back to step one. Remind yourselves why you are doing this and why you should continue on it. Now, Shaitaan would definitely try to convince you that this is not worth it, but remember, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said (as noted in At-Tirmidhi), “Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.”
And it is also noted in Muslim that the Prophet ﷺ said, “By the one in Whose hand is my soul, if you did not omit sin Allah would do away with you and bring people who would commit sin and then pray for forgiveness.”
Repent sincerely, turn to Allah, beg for forgiveness and start again. It is okay, because our Lord, is All-Forgiving and Most Merciful.
Handbook of Counseling and Guidance by M. K. Tajne
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