As reported by Sudarsan Ragavan for the Washington Post, and initially brought to my attention by Robert Spencer's jihadwatch. The statement I have included in my headline above the single most telling paragraph in the entire article.
'In Northern Mali, music silenced as Islamists drive out artists'
'Khaira Arby, one of Africa's most celebrated musicians, has performed all over the world, but there is one place she cannot visit: her native city of Timbuktu, a place steeped in history and culture but now ruled by religious extremists.
That is: ruled by pious zealous-for-sharia Muslims who know their Quran, Sira and Hadith all the way through, and take Islam fully to heart. - CM
'One day, they broke into Arby's house and destroyed her instruments.
Just like it says Mohammed said in one of the Hadith: "Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me [Muhammad].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". - CM
'Her voice was a threat to Islam, they said, even though one of her most popular songs praised Allah.
The problem is, she is a 'songstress'. And it's very bad, Islamically, to be a songstress. According to one of the Hadiths, "On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress". And it doesn't make an exception for songstresses who sing about Allah..Indeed, if one reads all the descriptions of the Islamic 'paradise' in the Quran, there is not one line, not even one word, that suggests that there is any music there; there is nothing, in any of those descriptions, that corresponds to the angelic choruses and white-robed harpists of the Christian vision of heaven. - CM
"They told my neighbours that if they ever caught me, they would cut my tongue out", said Arby...
'Northern Mali, one of the richest reservoirs of music on the continent, is now an artistic wasteland.
A wasteland created by the imposition of classical straight-out-of-the-book Islam, Islam, Islam. - CM
'Hundreds of musicians have fled south to Bamako, the capital, and to other towns and neighbouring countries, driven out by hard-liners (that is, sharia-pushers - CM) who have decreed any form of music - save for the tunes set to Koranic verses - as being against their religion.
This is not an aberration. A strong rejection of virtually all music - vocal and instrumental, sacred and profane - is clearly visible in the canonical texts of Islam.
For instance, the Sahin Bukhari, one of the most authoritative Hadith collections, states: "Narrated Abu Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash'ari - that he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful". [Bukhari, vol 7, book 69, 494].
In other words, 'the use of musical instruments' is on a par with drinking wine - strictly forbidden by the sharia - and 'illegal sexual intercourse', also absolutely forbidden. One can only conclude that it is forbidden.
In the 'Reliance of the Traveller', a manual of orthodox Sunni sharia law, it is stated flatly that 'musical instruments are unlawful'.
"As for the condemnation of musical instruments, flutes, strings, and the like...The Prophet...said: "Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings...", and "On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress', and "Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage"...All of this [concludes the author of the Umdat] is explicit and compelling textual evidence that musical instruments of all types are unlawful".
The two Quranic verses usually interpreted as referring to music (though I gather they don't use the Arabic word for music, per se), are negative. Surah 17: 64 '"And istafziz [literally means: befool them gradually] those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e. songs, music, and any other call for Allah's disobedience) [here, the putative speaker seems to be someone represented as hostile to the Muslims - CM], make assaults on them...". But Satan promises them nothing but deceit'. In Surah 31: 6, "And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah...and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Quran) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire). In other words: the two main verses taken as referring to music, represent music as a tool of the enemies of Islam/ Muslims.
And two more Hadiths, from a translation of the popular Hadith anthology, the Mishkat al Massabih, relate that Mohammed said that "None raised up his voice with a song but allah sent him two devils upon his shoulders who beat his chest with their heels until he stopped", and also relate that "He [Mohammed] once heard the sound of a flute and put his fingers in his ears and turned to go another way". - Book 2, chapter 12, no. 283, and no. 20. - CM
'The exiles describe a shattering of their culture, in which playing music brings lashes with whips, even prison time, and MP3 and cassette players are seized and destroyed.
"We can no longer live like we used to live", lamented Aminata Wassidie Traore, 36, a singer who fled her village of Dire, near Timbuktu. "The Islamists do not want anyone to sing anymore".
Traore: this is sharia, the sharia of classical Islam. You are being punished for transgressing against the sharia, which forbids singing, and forbids musical instruments. CM
"In Malian society (in which, it seems, up until now, a large-ish chunk of pre-Islamic culture has hung on, in the shape of music - CM) music anchors every ceremony, from births and circumcisions to weddings and prayers for rain. Village bards known as griots sang traditional songs and poems of the desert, passing down centuries-old tales of empires, heroes and battles, as well as their community's history. In this manner, memories were preserved from generation to generation, along with ancient African traditions and ways of life.
'In current times, lyrics serve as a source of inspiration and learning...They have also been used to expose corruption and human rights abuses, and have helped eradicate stigmas and given a voice to the poor.
And there are even - as I learned from the website of the Bible Society in France, a couple of years ago - converts to Christianity in Mali who have used this traditional medium to retell stories from the Christian Gospels...with some success. - CM
"In northern Mali, music is like oxygen", said Baba Salah, one of northern Mali's most respected musicians. "Now, we cannot breathe."
'In March, amid a military coup that left the government in disarray, Tuareg rebels who once fought for Libyan autocrat Moammar Gaddafi joined forces with secessionists and Islamists linked to Al Qaeda. They swept through northern Mali, seizing major towns and effectively splitting this impoverished nation into two. Soon afterward, the Al Qaeda militants (that is, the sharia-pushers, the proponents of pure classical Islam - CM) took control.
'They have installed an ultraconservative brand of Islamic law in this moderate Muslim country, reminiscent of Afghanistan's Taliban and Somalia's al-Shabab movement.
That is: they are forcing the syncretic, unorthodox and somewhat lax Muslims of Mali back into line with Islam-as-written, the Islam of the Quran, Hadith and Sira, and of all four schools of classical sharia law. - CM
'Now, women must wear head-to-toe garments. Smoking, alcohol, videos and any suggestions of Western (that is, of un-Islamic - CM) culture are banned. The new decrees are enforced by public amputations (in conformity with the Quranic instructions to cut off the hands of thieves - CM), whippings and executions (also in conformity with what is commanded in the Quran, Sira and Hadith - CM) , prompting more than 400,000 people to flee. The extremists also destroyed tombs and other cultural treasures, saying they were against Islamic principles.
Practices such as the veneration of tombs are indeed forbidden by the sharia. - CM
'The death of music was inevitable.
The killing of music was inevitable; because of the canonical Islamic texts, anathematising music, which I have already cited, above. - CM
"It is, perhaps, Mali's strongest link to the West..
The sharia-pushers are not just attacking music, in Mali, because nominal or less-orthodox Muslim musicians of Mali have visited the West, or performed with Western musicians. They are attacking music because the scripture of Islam requires them to do so. - CM
'Since 2001, Western artists such as Robert Plant have performed at the Festival of the Desert, outside Timbuktu, transforming Mali into an international artistic and tourist destination.
That's all done with, now. - CM
'In January, U2 frontman Bono performed with Tinariwen. This February, though, the festival will be held in neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Until that region, also, is forced into conformity with the Sharia...- CM
'The international recognition helped spark a new generation of young artists in the north. Some fused songs in their native Songhai and Tamashek languages with Arabic and French. Others melded traditional rhythms of the desert with rap, hip-hop, reggae, funk and blues. Bands weaved traditional Malian lute and fiddles with electric guitars. In recent times the lyrics have addressed social and political issues...
'Music is against Islam.
'Today, in the city of Gao, 39 year old singer Bintu Aljuma Yatare no longer listens to music on her phone. The Islamists will confiscate it, she says.
'Five musicians in her band have fled to neighbouring Niger; two others are in Bamako. She cannot leave because she has to take care of her ageing parents.
'Every evening, she risks being sent to prison: she shuts the windows and doors of her house and sings in her native Songhai language. "Sometimes I lie in my bed and hum my songs softly", she said. "The only way for me to survive this nightmare is through music"...
'For reggae musician Alwakilo Toure, his home in Gao was not a sanctuary. He was strumming his guitar when six armed militants (that is, six sharia assassins, the kind of people that Nonie Darwish calls 'Allah's enforcers' - CM) barged into his compound.
With gu'ns pointed at his head, one Islamist grabbed the guitar and smashed it to bits with his foot.
"The guitar was my life", Toure recalled. "I had nothing else to do". Two weeks later, he fled to Bamako.
And now for the most telling - and disturbing - portion of the entire article, the one that the Washington Post should have quoted in its headline - CM
'In a telephone interview, one of the Islamists' top commanders declared that his fighters would continue to target musicians.
"Music is against Islam", said Oumar Ould Hamaha, the military leader of the Movement for Oneness (that is, Tawheed, 'unity', a central obsession in Islam - CM) and Jihad in West Africa, one of the three extremist groups (that is, one of the three sharia-pushing organisations - CM) controlling the north.
"Instead of singing, why don't they read the Koran? Why don't they subject themselves to God (that is, Allah - CM), and pray?
"We are not only against the musicians in Mali.
"We are in a struggle against all the musicians of the world".
Vaste programme, Monsieur. But note that line, 'we are in a struggle against all the musicians of the world'. I would bet good money that he said, not 'struggle' but...Jihad. "We are in a Jihad against all the musicians of the world". - CM
'Artists without a home'.
'In a cramped apartment in Bamako, about a dozen young artists were recording a song, a fusion of rap and traditional melodies..
'All the artists were from northern Mali, and none were playing with their own instruments because they had either been burned or shattered by the Islamists...
'But their escape to Bamako is bittersweet...".
And the Jihad, if not resisted, will follow them to Bamako. And it will follow them everywhere. Indeed, tragically, if they do not apostasise from Islam, if they do not recognise that the assault upon them - upon them as musicians and singers, upon their songs and their musical instruments - is in full conformity with the classical teachings of Islam and the music-hating example of Mohammed, then wherever they go, they may find that even their own children or grandchildren may morph, horrifyingly, into the kind of people who would stamp on a man's guitar in front of him..or cut out the tongue, or slit the throat, of a singer.
Let us reflect, once more, upon the paragraph I bolded above, the most telling and terrifying passage in the entire article.
Music is against Islam", said Oumar Ould Hamaha, the military leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa...
"Instead of singing, why don't they read the Koran? Why don't they subject themselves to God, and pray?
"We are not only against the musicians in Mali.
"We are in a struggle against all the musicians of the world".
That is the voice - and there, bluntly stated, is the menacing intention - of a perfectly orthodox proponent of the sharia, based on the sunnah of Mohammed, in perfect conformity with what Quran, Sira and Hadith, as interpreted by orthodox Muslim scholars throughout the history of Islam, teach about music. - CM