I was speaking with some music therapists recently. A few of them were interested in the methods that Sufis employ with music.It was interesting to hear their opinions and perceptions of how Sufis use music.
Music therapy is a great and honorable profession. May Allah bless, protect, and inspire them!
This, however, begs the question of why music does what it does. It is clearly no mere jumble of sounds that either entertain or irritate human beings. Most people are unaware of the fact that the structure of the universe operates on the exact same principles that music does. I will not bore you with a long detailed explanation. Suffice it to say that music and all that exists in Allah’s creation are identical in essence and method.
This, of course, places a great responsibility upon the musician. In the wrong hands, music can be a dangerous thing; a spiritual poison. It can ennoble and exalt, or damage the body and the mind. We have been given an astonishingly powerful gift. We can heal and we can kill. The choice is ours.
I know a bit about music therapy. I’ve done my homework and my research. Quite a bit of it, actually: my knowledge of music and its effects, history, and nature is quite extensive. But for my own part, I cannot be content sitting among books and cloistering myself in laboratories. I need to be in the trenches. I’m happiest when I’m out in the world somewhere causing music to happen where its needed the most. If I were a martial artist, katas would bore me to death; I would have to fight real battles. Such is my nature, and what has been written for me.
But I dare not forget that I am accountable for the music I play. I will be answerable for every note; and for the results the produce as they reverberate throughout all time and all creation.
If you are a musician, make your prayer – talk to Allah. Study and practice music and refine your skills (and don’t forget to keep the business end of thing together. Such is the nature of the age we live in: we are not subsidized, and must eat). Then, pick up your instrument – or open your mouth – and make music with all your heart. Command your nafs to step aside and allow the music to happen. Nothing else matters. Allah is the great musician: we are the instruments. Tune your instrument, and the music will happen.
Its been there, waiting for you, since Allah commanded His creation to be.
Allahu Alim (Allah is Best to Know)