Aishah, the Prophetâs wife, reports: âGodâs messenger came in my home when I had two maids singing some of the poetry said on the occasion of the Battle of Buâath. He reclined on the bed and turned his face away. Abu Bakr came in later and he reproached me, saying: âHow can Satanâs tool be played in Godâs messengerâs home?â The Prophet turned to him and said: âLeave them alone.â When he was preoccupied, I gave them a signal and they left.â (Related by Al-Bukhari). A fuller version of this Hadith mentions that the Prophet said to Abu Bakr: âLeave them alone, for these are Eid days.â
The Eid is a joyous occasion, and people like to play games, sing and enjoy themselves on such occasions. They are entitled to do so. Muslims have two Eids every year, and both are associated with an act of worship that requires much effort. The Eid Al-Fitr comes immediately after the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting during which Muslims endure the hardship of going without food or drink from dawn to sunset, every day. They also attend to a strongly recommended additional worship every night. When the month is over, they deserve to have a period of relaxation and the Eid serves that purpose. The other Eid is associated with the pilgrimage, which is a major act of worship that involves tiring physical effort for pilgrims. Muslims who do not go on pilgrimage are recommended to fast the nine days preceding this Eid, or any number of them.
On the occasion described in the Hadith, the Prophet found those two maids singing. He neither reproached his wife for bringing them in, nor did he order the maids to stop singing. It was left to Abu Bakr to do that when he came in later. He rebuked his daughter, the Prophetâs wife, for having those two maids singing, describing the singing as Satanâs tool and expressing amazement at finding it done in the Prophetâs home. Obviously, Abu Bakr would not have used such words without having had some knowledge from the Prophet that singing is not acceptable from the Islamic point of view. On this occasion, however, the Prophet turned his face towards Abu Bakr and told him to leave the maids alone, explaining that these were days of Eid.
It does not follow that on Eid days relaxation of the rules goes as far as making lawful what is unlawful in other days. The Prophet meant simply that on such joyous occasions there is nothing wrong with singing. However, we may deduce that perhaps the censure that Abu w might have heard earlier about singing related to the songs themselves. If the singing uses frivolous language, obscene words, or false exaggeration, then it may be prohibited for that. What those maids sang was of the serious nature, since it commemorated the heroics of the Ansar in their pre-Islamic wars.
We note how Aishah took the first chance, when the Prophet and her father were preoccupied to signal to the maids to leave. Now that the Prophet and his guest were engaged in some serious talk, the singing became out of place. ¬