No More Music for Muslims: The Spiritual Journey of Tamerlan Tsarnaev

If the family members’ story is accurate, which, of course, it may very well not be, it isn’t hard to imagine what happened. The “new friend,” this “Muslim convert,” told Tsarnaev that the music he was playing was sinful, un-Islamic, forbidden, and would only lead him and those who heard it to hell. He had to give it up.

We have seen this before. In this series on Jazz and Islam, we have seen how Bilal Philips, whose guitar playing had been compared to that of Jimi Hendrix, gave up his instrument when he converted to Islam, explaining: “When I became a Muslim, I felt uncomfortable doing this and gave it up both professionally and privately.” Now a noted Islamic supremacist imam with a history of inflammatory statements, Philips has declared:

A heart filled with music will not have room for God’s words.

This accords with words ascribed to Muhammad: “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress,” for “song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage.” The dark day, he is supposed to have said, when some Muslims would go so far astray that they would dare to “hold fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful.” (‘Umdat al-Salik r40.0)