Monday, December 24, 2007



The issue of the influence of music not only has been the subject of discussion by Muslim scholars and intellectuals but also attract the attention of the Western scholars and thinkers. Music has become the most influential element in the society especially to the youngsters. Hedonism has become a culture in the society and this is afraid will creates such an unaware and negligence society. Apart from that, music now has been mix with ideology and belief of certain group which can affect the Aqidah of a Muslim such as black metal music. In accordance to this, there were books and articles written by contemporary scholars on this issue.

This small-size published booklet also discuss about music. In this 12 pages booklet (without including the appendix) published by Pusat Pengajian Umum Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 1993, the author of this book, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sulaiman Nordin focuses on discussion about rock music, its moral and ethical aspects. This booklet on the whole, it reads easily and is well worth reading. Although it was being published in 90’s but it still relevance with out situation nowadays. In the preface, the author mentions that music is a tool that can be manipulated and used in a wrong way. Apparently, the author successfully presents this idea in his discussion about the bad influences of rock music such as the relation between this music with drugs and occult which will be mentioned below.

Besides, the author supports his discussion by quoting some of the findings of researches done by the Western’s researchers on the bad influences of rock music and on the techniques used by the rock music to influence the listeners. All of these findings will be discussed below. The findings that were quoted by the author expose the readers to new knowledge and exposition about the manipulation of music. To be precise, the author successfully presents to the readers an interesting and new exposition about the manipulation of music by using certain techniques.

The author also supports his discussion by providing the readers with appendix. The first appendix is a song lyric of Paula Abdul Spellbound which has the element of sex. The second appendix is an analysis done by Professor Wilson Bryan Key on a song lyric entitles “Bride Over Troubled Water” which has relation with drug usage. While the third appendix is a short article by Charles G.B Evans entitle “Teens and Devil Worship”. The writer shared his experience with the readers as he himself had involved in the occult and Satan worship because of the influence of heavy metal music. Lastly, the author also enclosed appendix on the “Pavlov’s Conditioned Reflex Technique” to give more clear view to the readers on the subtopic “Artificial Neurosis.” It has to be remark here that the author has made an excellent effort to enclose those appendixes because apparently they help the author in giving a clear and detail explanation for his discussion on this booklet.

The author divides his discussion to eight points. In the first part of his discussion, the author says that what he called as “popular music” will spread the “New Morality”. But unfortunately, the author only gives example of “popular music” which is Rock-n-Roll without explaining the term clearly. He further claims that this so called “New Morality” is actually gives a license for a freedom concept of morality which gives permission for doing anything without rules or limitation. The author clearly enlists the objectives of this “popular music” to the society which among them are vanish the institution of religion and belief, destroy the structure of family, society and lastly destroy the elected government.

While rejecting the concept of “New Morality”, the author said that we have to be aware of this concept by knowing in detail description of the concept and how it is been proposed. Relevance way of preventing this concept of “New Morality” must be taken so that our young generation will not be influenced by it especially through music. He further suggests that we have to train and educate them especially who are still in schools. But however he does not propose any suggestion or idea on how to train and educate the youngsters.

The author stresses that music is very influential and can affect the human soul. He quotes Aristotle’s view on the influence of music which he said that many emotions can be created with melody and rhythm and music can shape the behavior and character of certain individual. The author claims that popular music promotes sex, drug and deviated teaching and occult in their lyrics and songs. Due to this, he bravely links the popular music such as Rock-n-Roll with the social decadent of the society such as homosexual, rape cases, sodomy and child abuse.

Utilizing the findings of an early study by the Western scholars on the four basic elements of rock music which are sex, drug, rebellion and occult, the author demonstrates how the rock music promotes drugs. He quotes S.Taqi from his article in UN’s report, who said that drug abuse is common in Rock-n-Roll’s world. The rock stars believe that drugs will lead to such a meaningful and invaluable experience. Besides, in the West when the popular musicians are arrested for drug possession, some of the media, especially the rock music radio stations, portray them sympathetically and mock the enforcers of the drug laws.

The terrifying and shocking part in his discussion is when the author points out some titles of rock’s songs that related to drugs such as “I Get High With Little Help From My Friends” (High means drug trip, Help from my friend means drug usage) and “The Yellow Submarine” (Yellow capsule containing amphetamines or other drugs). This finding can make the readers realize that music has been manipulated in such a way to promote bad culture to the society in conscious and unconscious manner.

The major contribution of this work is found in the later part of the discussion where the author successfully presents to the readers how the rock music promotes the practice of occult by using technique of “Backward Masking” and the using of “Artifial Neurosis” as a technique to control and influence the mind of listeners.

The “Backward Masking” is a technique that allows a cassette to be played although we turn it backward. A rock music band named Led Zeppelin used this technique. Some of the lyrics in their song when the cassette is played in the usual way is “Yes, there are two paths you can go by but in the long run there’s still time to change the road you’re on and it makes me wonder.” But when the cassette is turn backward, the lyrics turn to be “There’s no escaping it. It’s my sweet Satan. The one will be the path who makes me sad; whose power is Satan.” The author, therefore, emphasizes that in occult practices, spelling from backward is a common practice.

The “Artificial Neurosis” technique is discussed by the author in a quite detail explanation. This technique is done by putting pressure to the excitatory process. When stimulation or excitement is given in an excessive manner (over excitement) to an excitatory group, they will become neurotic and experiencing mental breakdown. The stimulation and excitement in rock music is a beat that produces by drum, guitar and others music instruments. When a tempo or rhythm is played faster that the pulse rate an emotional pressure and tension will occur. The author brilliantly links this technique with the rock music. When the youngsters listen to the rock music, their mind will be in frenzy and tension state because of the high and loud beat of drum and other music instruments used in rock band performances. That is why in a rock band performances and concerts, the audience will become frantic, hostile, uncontrolled, screaming, maniac and become unrecognizable beings. Besides that, with this mentally conditioned process, these young people, in this highly excited, hypnotic state, can be told to do practically anything and they will.

Although this booklet is well-worth reading, but there are also some flaws in this booklet as well. The most apparent and clear weakness of this booklet is the arrangement of ideas. The points are not continuous. For example, in point 2.0 the author enlists some of the media and techniques used by the rock music to influence their listeners. But he only discusses them in detail at the later part of discussion which is in point 5.0 and 8.0. Therefore it creates confusion to the readers and this will reflects the ability of the author in arranging his ideas.

Apart from that, the author does not discuss the concept of rock music and its influence by referring to our local and societal context. He just states and recognizes the influence of music in the Western framework. I believe that in the 90’s, the rock music also very influential in Malaysia. Therefore it will give more understanding and clear view to the readers if the author try to come out with some example and phenomena of the influence of rock music to the Malaysian such as the drug cases that involve the rock stars in our country.

Besides that, the author fails to give deep analysis on the influence of rock music in many aspects and from different angles. He only focuses on the relation of rock music with drug abuse and occult practice although the title of this booklet reflects the importance of explaining the influence of rock music to the morality of an individual. Here, we can see that the author reduces the scope of morality in his discussion to only drug and occult cases although the rock music and rock band also involve in alcoholic usage and sex.

This booklet will be more interesting if the author provides Islamic point of view on this issue. The author can propose a brief discussion on how the Muslim scholars relate the influence of music with morality (akhlaq) of an individual. For example, in discussing the technique of “Artificial Neurosis”, the author can gives the explanation of Ibn Miskawaih and al-Ghazali that there is a close relation between the soul and outward behavior. If the soul is in the state of tension and anxious, it will lead to immoral behavior. While if the soul is in peace and tranquil state, it will lead to good and moral behavior. Therefore, here it explains why the “Artificial Neurosis” that being used by the rock music can give bad influence to human behavior.

Besides that, this booklet does not provide any conclusion or any resolution to this problem. Therefore, this booklet seems to be just like an explanation and exposition of what rock music is all about and it influences to the society. It will be more interesting and more valuable contribution if the author provides suggestion on how to overcome this problem.

The discussion on music and its influence to the society is actually needs further discussion. This work is, in contrast, only provides a brief discussion, perhaps, considering the space of the disposal. Therefore, the discussion on this issue hopefully can be continue in another work by trying to explain from different angle and perspective and come out with contemporary issue that related to music such as the issue of black metal, punk and gothic in the light of Islamic perspective.

In sum, this booklet is well worth reading and undoubtedly is a significant contribution to the debate on the issue of the influence of music to the society. It is also a valuable contribution towards understanding not only the relation and link between rock music with drug and occult, but also the technique used by them in order to influence the listeners such as “Artificial Neurosis” and “Backward Masking” techniques.

Menukang Arca Hikmah




About Me

Pelajar Ijazah Sarjana (Usuluddin dan Pemikiran Islam) UIAM. Boleh dihubungi di dan ym: ghafirahidris



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