Is It Permissible to Sell Musical Instruments?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question

I used to play the guitar in my not-so-practicing days, but alhamdulillah, I stopped. Is the money I gain from selling my guitar halal? What will I do with the money if not?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

The dominant opinion from the majority of scholars is that musical instruments other than the daff (frame drum) is that they are not lawful to play or listen to, and therefore not lawful to buy and sell either (the Shafi’i school makes an exception for most percussion instruments, however). [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa al-Nadha’ir]

That which is not lawful in itself cannot be bought or sold either. This would mean that the proceeds of the sale of a guitar would not be lawful, and if money was obtained in this way, it should be given away to some charity without the intention of gaining a reward. [Ibid]

If you were to not sell it as an instrument, however, but merely for the extent of its material as scrap wood, for example, its value would be considered and its proceeds would be lawful. [Kasani, al-Bada’i wa al-Sana’i]

That being said, there were a small minority of scholars, such as Imam al-Ghazali and Shaykh Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi, that permitted listening to musical instruments if done for a spiritually uplifting or wholesome purpose, as long as free from other impermissible elements. For the one who acted on that position, then by implication, the sale of such instruments would be lawful, though the more precautious view is to remain on the dominant majority opinion.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.