Fawad Andarabi was an Afghan folk singer who played the ghichak, a lute played with a bow, and sang about his native land. One of his songs contained the lyric: “There is no country in the world like my homeland, a proud nation. Our beautiful valley, our great-grandparents’ homeland.” The Taliban, showing their commitment to inclusivity that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the rest of Biden’s handlers so dearly wish them to demonstrate, murdered Andarabi on Friday, likely for the crime of playing music for pleasure, which is forbidden in Islamic law. As CNN’s Peter Bergen recently noted, millions of Afghans “have good reason today to be skeptical of the ‘kinder, gentler’ Taliban” that some of the perennially eager-to-be-fooled have insisted exists. Indeed, they do. But will Blinken and company get the message?
Fawad Andarabi’s son Jawad recounted: “He was innocent, a singer who was only entertaining people. They shot him in the head on the farm.” The Taliban’s ubiquitous spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said he didn’t have any information about what happened. Most likely, Andarabi was murdered for doing what he loved, for aside from nasheeds, a capella exhortations to jihad, Islamic law forbids music.
This prohibition is not a manifestation of “extremism”; though widely ignored, it is based on the highest authority. While it is not in the Qur’an, it is in the Hadith Qudsi, that is, reports of Muhammad’s words and deeds in which the prophet of Islam is quoted saying that Allah said something. In one of these, “the Prophet said that Allah commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance” (Hadith Qudsi 19:5). In a similar tradition, Muhammad is also depicted as saying: “Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance.”
Other traditions have Muhammad saying: “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress.” And: “Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage.” If that isn’t enough to get you to throw out your old Led Zeppelin LPs, yet another tradition attributes these words to Muhammad: “This community will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones.” Someone asked, “When will this be, O Messenger of Allah?” and he said, “When songstresses and musical instruments appear and wine is held to be lawful.”
Music is taken to be a sign of decadence: “There will be peoples of my Community who will hold fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful.” (Reliance of the Traveller r40.0)
Because the Taliban has many times made clear its intention to implement Islamic law in its entirely, it was no surprise when Business Times reported Friday: “The Taliban has said it will ban music in public in Afghanistan because it is forbidden in Islam, despite the assurances given by the insurgent group that it will be more tolerant than it was two decades ago. The restriction on public playing of music acts as a return to one of the harshest policies of the Taliban in the 1990s. The previous emirate only allowed religious chants, with nearly all other forms of music forbidden because it was viewed as a distraction that could encourage evil thoughts.”
Zabihullah Mujahid explained: “Music is forbidden in Islam…the only exception to the ban during the Taliban’s original governance in Afghanistan was for some vocal religious pieces with no musical accompaniment.”
Agnes Callamard, the secretary-general of Amnesty International, found all this appalling: “There is mounting evidence,” she wrote indignantly on Twitter, “that the Taliban of 2021 is the same as the intolerant, violent, repressive Taliban of 2001. 20 years later. Nothing has changed on that front.”
No kidding, really? And yet Antony Blinken has told them to be inclusive! Why haven’t they snapped into line?
In reality, the fact that anyone even expected them to change is evidence of the naivete and willful ignorance regarding Islam of Callamard and Blinken and their ilk. They continue to behave toward the Taliban as if they expect it to pull itself together and play by the rules established by the international community. The killing of Fawad Andarabi shows that this is a fond and baseless hope, and yet another manifestation of the fact that the foreign policy “experts” don’t have a clue about what they’re dealing with in the Taliban, or about the fact that the global order established during the Cold War is finally breaking down, and they will not be able to repair or salvage it.