All Music Haram? I don't think that was the view of Imam Ghazalli. Please
read his words below.
CONCERNING MUSIC AND DANCING
AS AIDS TO THE RELIGIOUS LIFE
By Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazalli
Chapter 5. Alchemy of Happiness
The heart of man has been so constituted by the Almighty that, like a flint,
it contains a hidden fire which is evoked by music and harmony, and renders
man beside himself with ecstasy. These harmonies are echoes of that higher
world of beauty which we call the world of spirits; they remind man of his
relationship to that world, and produce in him an emotion so deep and
strange that he himself is powerless to explain it. The effect of music and
dancing is deeper in proportion as the natures on which they act are simple
and prone to motion; they fan into a flame whatever love is already dormant
in the heart, whether It be earthly and sensual, or divine and spiritual.
Accordingly there has been much dispute among theologians as to the
lawfulness of music and dancing regarded as religious exercises. One sect,
the Zahirites,  holding that God is altogether incommensurable with man,
deny the possibility of man's really feeling love to God, and say that he
can only love those of his own species. If he does feel what he thinks is
love to his Creator they say it is a mere projection, or shadow cast by his
own fantasy, or a reflection of love to the creature; music and dancing,
according to them, have only to do with creature love, and are therefore
unlawful as religious exercises. If we ask them what is the meaning of that
"love to God" which is enjoined by the religious law, they reply that it
means obedience and worship. This is an error which we hope to confute in a
later chapter dealing with the love of God. At present we content ourselves
with saying that music and dancing do not put into the heart what is not
there already, but only fan into a flame dormant emotions. Therefore if a
man has in his heart that love to God which the law enjoins, it is perfectly
lawful, nay, laudable in him to take part in exercises which promote it. On
the other hand, if his heart is full of sensual desires, music and dancing
will only increase them, and are therefore unlawful for him. While, if he
listens to them merely as a matter of amusement, they are neither lawful nor
unlawful, but indifferent. For the mere fact that they are pleasant does not
make them unlawful any more than the pleasure of listening to the singing of
birds or looking at green grass and running water is unlawful. The innocent
character of music and dancing, regarded merely as a pastime, is also
corroborated by an authentic tradition which we have from the Lady Ayesha,
 who narrates: "One festival day some Negroes were performing in a
mosque. The Prophet said to me, 'Do you wish to see them?' I replied, 'Yes.'
Accordingly he lifted me up with his own blessed hand, and I looked on so
long that he said more than once, 'Have not you had enough of watching?"
Another authentic tradition narrates what follows: "One festival day two
girls came to my house and began to play and sing. The Prophet came in and
lay down on the couch turning his face away. Presently Abu Bakr  entered,
and seeing the girls playing, exclaimed, 'What! the pipe of Satan in the
Prophet's house!' Whereupon the Prophet turned and said, 'Let them alone,
Abu Bakr, for this is a festival day'."
Passing over the cases where music and dancing rouse into a flame evil
desires already dormant in the heart, we come to those cases where they are
quite lawful. Such are those of the pilgrims who celebrate the glories of
the House of God at Mecca in song, and thus incite others to go on
pilgrimage, and of minstrels whose music and songs stir up martial ardour in
the breasts of their auditors and incite them to fight against infidels.
Similarly, mournful music which excites sorrow for sin and failure in
religious life is lawful; of this nature was the music of David. But dirges
which increase sorrow for the dead are not lawful, for it is written in the
Koran, "Despair not over what you have lost." On the other hand, joyful
music at weddings and feasts and on such occasions as a circumcision or the
return from a journey is lawful.
We come now to the purely religious use of music and dancing: such is that
of who by this means stir up in themselves greater love towards God, and, by
means of music, often obtain spiritual visions and ecstasies, their heart
becoming in this condition as clean as silver in the flame of a furnace, and
attaining a degree of purity which could never be attained by any amount of
mere outward austerities. The Sufi then becomes so keenly aware of his
relationship to the spiritual world that he loses all consciousness of this
world, and often falls down senseless.
It is not, however, lawful for the aspirant to Sufism to take part in this
mystical dancing without the permission of his "Pir," or spiritual director.
It is related of the Sheikh Abu'l Qasim Girgani that, when one of his
disciples requested leave to take part in such a dance, he said, "Keep a
strict fast for three days; then let them cook for you tempting dishes; if
then, you still prefer the "dance," you may take part in it." The disciple,
however, whose heart is not thoroughly purged from earthly desires, though
he may have obtained some glimpse of the Mystics' path, should be forbidden
by his director to take part in such dances, as they will do him more harm
Those who deny the reality of the ecstasies and other spiritual experiences
of the Sufis merely betray their own narrow mindedness and shallow insight.
Some allowance, however, must be made for them, for it is as, difficult to
believe in the reality of states of which one has no personal experience as
it is for a blind man to understand the pleasure of looking at green grass
and running water, or for a child to comprehend the pleasure of exercising
sovereignty. A wise man, though he himself may have no experience of those
states, will not therefore deny their reality, for what folly can be greater
than his who denies the reality of a thing merely because he himself has not
experienced it! Of such people it is written in the Koran, "Those who have
not the guidance will say, 'This is a manifest imposture.'"
As regards the erotic poetry which is recited in Sufi gatherings, and to
which people sometimes make objection, we must remember that, when in such
poetry mention is made of separation from or union with the beloved, the
Sufi, who is an adept in the love of God, applies such expressions to
separation from or union with Him. Similarly, "dark locks" are taken to
signify the darkness of unbelief; "the brightness of the face," the light of
faith, and "drunkenness" the Sufi's ecstasy. Take, for instance, the verse:
1. Literally, "Outsiders."
2. Muhammad's favourite wife.
3. Subsequently the first caliph.