The debate over music in Islam, forbidden or sanctioned, has resurfaced in the Egyptian media after popular Egyptian Islamic Salafist scholar Hazem Shoman stormed the stage of a concert last Tuesday, telling the audience that what they were watching was sinful.
Students at Nile Academy campus in the city of Mansoura were surprised when Shoman took the stage of Hisham Abbas’ concert “advising” them that music is “haram,” or forbidden in Islam, and that they should not be watching or listening to it.
The students reportedly responded with chants against the scholar, and in order to prevent the escalation of the situation, the academy’s vice president Mohamed Abdel Ghaffar and other officials interfered and persuaded Shoman to vacate the venue.
In a TV interview by Nile channel, Shoman later said that he was “shocked” to enter the concert hall and see female dancers mixing with men.
He said that he decided to give “advices” to the concert’s youth whom he described as responsive to his concerns. According to him, the concert was later canceled after the withdrawal of a “sizeable group of the attendees.”
Khalid Saeed, a spokesman for the Salafi Front, hailed Shoman’s “good behavior” but said Shoman only represented himself as an individual Salafi advocator.
But Saeed told the electronic al-Ahram newspaper that the concert is “unacceptable” and that it was “full of sins” with both genders mixing.
Prominent Islamic figure Salim al-Awa, likewise, said Shoman’s behavior was his own and did not represent any religious or political bloc in the country and that whether singing is forbidden in Islam was still an unresolved issue among the clerics and scholars.
Awa said that there was no evidence in the Quran or in the teaching of the prophet that singing is “haram,” but he said there was “evidence” that anything that leads to committing sins should be banned.