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The Between Religion And Music Essay

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Music and religion are often intertwined, whether it be religious chanting or hymns used to worship. However, in the case of Islam, the relationship between religion and music is more strained, as Islamic law strictly forbids listening to music. However, there is a very strong religious debate on what constitutes music as diversion and what is acceptable to use in worship and religious purposes. There are two concepts in Islam which are relevant to this conversation: sama and ghina. The ghina is the simpler of the two, referring to music and performance associated with secular art music; this is normally banished. Ghina is the only genre which is referred to as “music”. The sama, on the other hand, is more complex. Sama, which literally means “listening” and thus, includes the music being listened to (as well as dance as performed by mystic societies) is more complex. The abundance of writings about the sama is chiefly due to the debate surrounding the legality of music and dance from a legal, mystical, and religious perspective. Some elements of music have been categorized as acceptable sama by religious authorities, including Koran cantillation, singing of unaccompanied hymns, old Bedouin songs, and simple functional folk songs used to mark events in a community or individual’s life, thus considering them to be “non-music”.
Since the beginning of Islam, there has been disagreement on what is to be considered sama, with religious leaders’ stances ranging from
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