Interview with an exiled Pakistani singer in the US who wished to remain anonymous out of concern for the safety of his family at home in Pakistan.
Austin Dacey, a philosopher who serves as an adviser to Freemuse, asked the singer what he makes of the argument that music leads to sin. “I strongly oppose this notion. Had it been a sin, God would not have gifted me with this very special gift; i.e., the ability to understand sur (tune) and lay (beat). These conservative and uneducated mullahs have wrongly interpreted the Qur’an and Hadith, and have thus confused ordinary Pashtuns, of whom, unfortunately, a big majority are uneducated. There are verdicts from some very learned Islamic scholars who consider music bad only when it becomes vulgar in its lyrics and/or presentation. After the advent of Islam, Pashtuns have been staunch Muslims while listening and dancing to their music. A rich heritage of their folklore testifies to this fact.”
You’ve pointed out that even the Taliban have a musical tradition of their own. What is that?
“They are Pashtuns and therefore cannot live without listening to their own melodies. That is why they have crafted their own hymns, based on all-time popular Pashto tunes.”