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Background

Music is one of those things which are declared Haram (unlawful) by Islam, yet there are a lot of people here (and in other Islamic countries) who listen to it. So Music isn't considered a taboo here by the public as do other sins like Vulgarity, Drinking, Gambling, etc. but still, people know that it's Haram.

Common Situations

I will give you some examples of the situations I get caught up in, like:

  • Sitting in a gathering and someone plays Music on their mobile phone - it gets even worse when they assume me similar to them and often start with "Do you enjoy this song too?", "Have you seen this movie?", bla bla.
  • Sitting in a public transport and driver playing music on the bus/van/rickshaw
  • Public events and music being played in the background

Question

I want to ask someone to stop playing music (or use head-phones if it's very necessary) without sounding a religious person.

What I have tried so far

  • When loud music is played around: I find it easier to stop them as I simply say "Please attenuate the volume of music, I am studying/doing my work" - though I am yet to find a way to stop them once music volume is somewhere between inaudible to too noisy.
  • Events which may have music: It's an easy one as I simply refuse to attend them.
  • Public Transport: If music is being played, then I don't sit in that vehicle; if driver plays music mid-way through the journey, then at times, I ask him to stop but often it leads me to sound stupid as everyone stares at me as if I am alien. Also, I can't lie that I am having headache or reading, etc.
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    I understand, but @nvz answer tells you more or less the same: you can't tell people to do something they don't want just because it bothers you. Even when they break the moral, ethical or local laws (i.e. Littering / loitering / noise and so on) it's quite impossible to have them change just by asking. So about personal feelings or beliefs, you know... – OldPadawan Sep 17 '17 at 12:14
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    @Talha Irfan Is passive listening Haram? It is not your doing if others play music. Are you afraid that you might end up liking the music, is that it? – user3114 Sep 17 '17 at 18:45
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    @TalhaIrfan I don't see how this question significantly differs from the proposed duplicate. Everyone practices religion differently. Your interpretation of your religion is not necessarily identical to everyone else's, even if they definitely do follow the same general religion, so expecting them to follow the same rules you do is not possible. As such, all of the answers on that question are the same as this one. – Catija Sep 17 '17 at 19:43
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    Isn't the "without sounding religious" part out of place, since it is indeed for nothing else than religious reasons ? – deg Sep 18 '17 at 5:39
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    If you want music turned off without sounding religious, than how do you want to sound? Do you want to lie to people about headache/being busy/any_common_lie_here? Is it okay to lie according to Islam? Is it okay for you to say something like "I want the music off just because i want" to avoid lying? Since you do not provide this information i cannot imagine how to answer the question properly and with no ambigous. – fixerlt Sep 18 '17 at 8:37
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First of all, not everyone interprets the religion the same way. Some consider it haram, some don't.

There's not much you can do here to change others. To your friends who already know your beliefs, you may remind them that you wish they would stop.

Other than that, you cannot tell others to stop playing their music.

I've travelled in a lot of buses in India, and in most of them, they play some crappy song, which I find irritating not for religious reasons but, because I hate the song.

I do try and ask the conductor if he could reduce the volume, and sometimes they do reduce it for me.

Even if the persons around you are of the same religion, their dedication to following the religion may be different. They might know that it's haram, but do it anyway, or they might not even consider it haram. Telling them that the religion does not allow it will most likely backfire on you, and they will think that you're acting like you're better than them.

(edit: I don't know for sure whether music is haram, and I'm not taking any sides on that matter.)

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    It's disingenuous to say they "know" it is haram, both for his question and your answer. Many of them may believe equally, if not more, strongly that it is not haram. – ttbek Sep 17 '17 at 18:16
  • I might have misunderstood OP (thats why I'm vtc'ing it), but as I read it the focus is on "without sounding religious". Where quiet much can be done. But I neither get OP's current problem, nor what OP tries to archive. – dhein Sep 18 '17 at 11:49
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    Also, they might disagree on whether it is haram. There is no explicit prohibition of music, but it is mentioned alongside things that are haram, and thus some scholars infer that it is prohibited generally, while others opine that it is context dependent (discotheques are prohibited, as they promote adultery, but listening at home is fine), while again others claim that the content of the music is what matters. Thus, it's not as clear cut as presented in the question. – Simon Richter Sep 18 '17 at 14:32
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"All power lies in self-control."

You want to change things about your environment that you are obviously powerless over, you have no control in these situations, and seek to be deceitful as a means to gain your control, which seems to only contradict your faith.

My roommate isn't clean, I can't change that, so I focus on self-control, which leads me to being humble of the situation, and cleaning more than I should.

The room stays clean, but only because I acknowledge that life and power is received through sacrifice, which gave me self-control and the power I wanted.

Don't control your environment, control yourself.

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    This is the answer. Forcing others to follow your standards is what should be considered haram. My belief is that all music is from God. So why should your beliefs win and mine suffer? Do you see the juxtaposition? The best solution is to control yourself as I control myself. – paqogomez Sep 17 '17 at 23:22
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As others have noted, it can be hard to get other people to do what you want. However, you could try and avoid or ignore it as well as possible.

Sitting in a gathering and someone plays Music on their mobile phone - it gets even worse when they assume me similar to them and often start with "Do you enjoy this song too?", "Have you seen this movie?", bla bla.

This is a tricky one. You say you have tried to use the argument that you're trying to concentrate on work/study and get distracted. This is a valid reason to ask to lower the volume. And has nothing to do with religion, so you shouldn't get as weird looks.

You could ask someone to put on headphones, but this is not always a reasonable thing to ask. Instead, you could don headphones yourself.

Get a set of noisecancelling headphones and either play white-noise or something neutral like the sounds of a beach. This should block out the music around you, without bothering anyone else.

  • I am not sure to what extent using headphones and sounds to block out the haram music would be haram in itself. If this is the case, please tell me and I'll delete this answer. – JAD Sep 17 '17 at 12:43
  • Nothing to delete in it - you can add another answer if you have more ideas. – Failed Scientist Sep 17 '17 at 12:46
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I don't think you can do much beyond what you have already tried.

It's one thing if they are playing music at extremely loud levels in public spaces. Then you should be able to ask them to keep it down anyways.

If it's music being played in a non-disruptive fashion, this becomes more of a personal issue. As long as playing music in public spaces is not illegal, I cannot imagine that they have any less right to play music than you do to avoid it.

I would suggest getting a pair of high-attenuation headphones, or earplugs. This way, regardless of the situation, you should be able to block the sound personally.

If you're in a situation where you have to listen for something; I think it would also be acceptable to ask for the music to be turned off. You could justify that by saying the music would not allow you to focus on what you need to hear.

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If you have a spiritual leader you recognize, ask him for advice. It must be a solution foreseen when you just cannot control the environment you are in. Is it haram to sink in the sea of alcohol when there is nothing you can do to escape? I assume, you will be just forgiven.

  • Ah. This is a pretty clever answer. As this is motivated by religious beliefs, I'd think talking to someone of knowledge in your faith is smart. I'm sure if you're dealing with it; they would have at some point. – JMac Sep 18 '17 at 18:22
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I don't understand if your concern about sounding religious is that you don't want people to know you are a Muslim, or you don't want to come across as proselytizing, or you are not sure about the status of music in Islam (where reasonable scholars can disagree over what a Hadith does or does not say, after all).

If it is the first, this is a little worrying. You're either ready to stand up for your beliefs or your not. Which is it? You don't have to be a jerk about it but a simple statement that you don't listen to it as you believe it is not supported by Islam is fine.

If it's the second, there are many ways to do it. You can say you don't listen to a lot of music. Or that that particular kind of music gives you a headache. Or that you are trying to simplify your life and learn to really "hear the world" again. Or that you've found that not listening to music allows you to be more open to God. Really depends on the situation.

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    Your answer seems more related to telling people why you don't listen to music, but the question is how to tell other people to turn their music off in your presence. – Erik Sep 17 '17 at 20:02
  • I think another possible relation with religion is that op doesn't want to come across as a stick in the mud when it comes to music. While their religion doesn't allow it, not everybody takes this as serious as op would like. Addressing this might come over as preachy. – JAD Sep 17 '17 at 20:18
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    @JarkoDubbeldam But he is being preachy. That's the entire point of his question. It could simply be summarised as "how can I force my will on others without telling them why". – Sod Almighty Sep 17 '17 at 23:59
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Are you able to present alternatives, rather than just asking them to stop?

In my experience, for things like drivers playing music on public transport, it's partly because they want to listen to the music and partly just to have some sort of background noise. Asking him to switch to a specific talk radio station may have better success than asking him to turn it off completely.

Aside from that, I'd like to second the suggestion for noise-cancelling headphones. Use them with a media player while playing white noise, ambient noise, audiobooks, and so on to help drown out music completely.

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