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It is quite clear from the verdicts of the Mutaqaddimeen (early) Hanafi Fuqaha that the Asal (actual and original) Math-hab of the Ahnaaf is the prohibition of the duff even on marriage occasions. The aforementioned statements from the authoritative kutub of the Ahnaaf, as well as from other Hanafi kutub emphatically prohibit the duff.

The Hanafi argument of the abrogation of the permissibility of the duff is based on the following evidences:

(a) Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) said:“Verily, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade beating of the duff, playing the dhanj and the flute.”

(b) Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) had branded the duff ‘the musical instrument of shaitaan’. This was in the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) who maintained silence. He did not criticize Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) for this comment.

(c) Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said about the lady who was beating the duff, ‘Shaitaan blew into her nostrils’.

(d) It is not recorded in even any dhaeef Hadith that any Sahaabi had ordered his Nikah to be announced with the duff inspite of their awareness of the Hadith permitting the duff as an instrument to announce a marriage, not for the purpose of music. The Sahaabah were the devotees of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Yet they did not give practical expression to the duff Hadith. (e) Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had married a plurality of wives and he had also arranged the performance of the marriages of his daughters. Not on a single occasion did he instruct that any of his marriages be announced with the duff.

The Hadith of Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) clearly announces the abrogation of even the duff for Nikah purposes. In certain kutub of the Ahnaaf, permissibility of the duff is stated. This is an error and in conflict with the Asal Math- hab and Zaahirur Riwaayaat.

Hakimul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) has presented a wonderful elaboration on this issue in Imdaadul Fataawa, Vol. 2, from page 278 to 286. It will do the Ulama well to carefully study the dalaail presented in substantiation of the prohibition of musical instruments in general, and the duff in particular.

Casting aside all the technical ramifications and differences regarding the duff, it is essential to bear in mind that the musical instruments and the singing with these instruments have absolutely no resemblance with the duff. Deviates are at rigorous pains in their bid to confuse the unwary and the ignorant with the duff. But this primitive instrument has not been cited as a basis for permissibility of musical instruments by even those Ulama who are of the opinion that the duff is permissible on marriage occasions. There is therefore just no valid basis for legalizing music and singing – the “voice of shaitaan”, according to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah.

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