Why Did Lenin and Muhammad Hate Music?

Editor's Note: "Politics is downstream from culture" has been one of PJ Media's mantras in response to the election. It's with this direction in mind that I've invited my friend, the courageous writer-scholar-activist Robert Spencer, to contribute regularly to PJ Lifestyle. Since May of last year Robert has written a weekly article for PJM, bringing his deep understanding of Islam and Jihadist terrorism to analyze current events. Robert is an exemplary polemicist, but the time has come to reach out and bring his ideas to new readers. And so we introduce today a new Friday feature: Jazz and Islam. Each week Robert will explore the culture, history, values, and philosophy of both, some weeks focusing on Islam, others more on jazz, and often, as with today's article, a juxtaposition of both. Reader feedback and suggestions are very much encouraged as we continue to develop this new feature.

- David Swindle, PJ Lifestyle Editor

Ultimately, the war between the forces of jihad and the free world is a conflict between individualism and collectivism. Nothing shows that more vividly than each side’s attitude toward music.

“I cannot listen much to music,” Lenin once said. “It excites my nerves. I feel like talking nonsense and caressing people who, living in such a filthy hell, can create such beauty. Because today one must not caress anyone; they will bite off your hand. One must break heads, pitilessly break heads, even if, ideally, we are opposed to all violence.”

Another totalitarian man of peace, Muhammad, is quoted 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.”