What is the ruling on spoken word?


We asked Shaikh Saleem al-Hilali hafidhuhallah about spoken word during one of our classes and he said it is allowed.

Obviously it should be free of haram things like bad speech as comes in the Hadith:

‎عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو قَالَ‏:‏ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏:‏ الشِّعْرُ بِمَنْزِلَةِ الْكَلاَمِ، حَسَنُهُ كَحَسَنِ الْكَلامِ، وَقَبِيحُهُ كَقَبِيحِ الْكَلامِ

[Saheeh Adab al-Mufrad no. 865]

Or taking a wage or imitating the disbelievers.

And Allah Knows Best

Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan
Abu Sulaymaan

The Scholars differed about the permissibility of accepting a wage for poetry.

It is stated in Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah:

“Some of the Jurists have taken the opinion that earning from poetry is from the filthy wages and the unlawful [earning]”


Imam al-Qurtubi rahimahullah said:

“Also In the Saheeh on the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him):

بَيْنَا نَحْنُ نَسِيرُ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِالْعَرْجِ إِذْ عَرَضَ شَاعِرٌ يُنْشِدُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ خُذُوا الشَّيْطَانَ أَوْ أَمْسِكُوا الشَّيْطَانَ لأَنْ يَمْتَلِئَ جَوْفُ رَجُلٍ قَيْحًا خَيْرٌ لَهُ مِنْ أَنْ يَمْتَلِئَ شِعْرًا

We were going with Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). As we reached the place (known as) `Arj there met [us] a poet who had been reciting poetry. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘Catch the satan or detain the satan, for filling the belly of a man with pus is better than stuffing his brain with poetry’.

[Muslim no. 2259]

Our Scholars said that verily the Prophet (ﷺ) said that with this poet [i.e. about this poet] because of what he knew from his condition. So perhaps he was from those known to take poetry as a means for wages. So he goes to extremes in praise if he is given and scolds and dispraises if he is denied. He harms the people in their wealth and their honor and there is no difference of opinion regarding the one who is upon this or similar to this condition. For everything he earns of wages from poetry is haram, everyone who it is recited for is haram upon him, and it is not allowed to listen to it. Rather it is obligatory to denounce that upon him…”

[Tafsir al-Qurtubi (13/150)]

There are some narrations that have been reported that show that the Prophet (ﷺ) paid a poet for his recitation. However, they are weak.

On the authority of ‘Ikrimah that a poet came to the Prophet (ﷺ). So he said, ‘Oh Bilal, silence his tongue from me’. So he gave him forty dirhams.

[Reported by Bayhaqi (10/241) and Imam al-Bayhaqi rahimahullah said: this narration is disconnected]

The Prophet (ﷺ) said regarding ‘Abbas ibn Mirdaas; Go [i.e. to the Companions] and silence his tongue from me. So he gave him [‘Abbas] until he was pleased

[The origin of this narration is found in Muslim no. 1060, but this additional wording is reported by al-Waaqidi in al-Maghaazi (3/947). Hafidh al-Iraaqi rahimahullah said, As for the wording ‘silence his tongue’, then it is not found in the well-known books and Ibn Ishaaq reported it without a chain (Takhreej al-Ihya (4/1673) no. 2619. See: Ma Shaa’ wa lam yathbut fi Siratul-Nabawiyyah pg.199]

The Prophet (ﷺ) gave K’ab ibn Zuhayr his Burdah and it was with the Caliphs until now

[Reported by Ibn Abdul-Barr in al-Isti’eeab and mentioned by Hafidh ibn al-Isabah (5/594). It was mentioned by Ibn Atheer in Usud al-Ghaabah under the biography of K’ab ibn Zuhayr. It is a weak narration due to the presence of unknown narrators (“a group of the people of Madinah”) and it has other corroborating reports that are weak and mursal].

Umar ibn Abdul Aziz gave the poets at his time some money

[Mentioned by Ibn al-Arabi in Ahkam ul-Quran and Hafidh Ibn Kathir in Bidayah wan-Nihayah (9/288) and in its chain is Haytham ibn ‘Addi who was declared a liar by Yahya ibn Ma’een and Abu Dawood]

So the evidences for giving a wage to a poet are weak.

However, Some Scholars say that it allowed.

Shaikh Bin Baz rahimahullah said:


Is it allowed to earn from poetry?


“If the poetry is permissible, good, and in the benefit of the Muslims, then the author can sell it and earn from it. For example, poetry about the Legislated etiquette, poetry about the rulings, and poetry about the permissible manufacturing, and he sells it, then there is no harm. It is similar to the authored books that are sold”


And Allah Knows Best

Translated and Answered by

Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan
Abu Sulaymaan