Music and Religion

There are two different ways to view this combination of cultural influences: What is the role of music in religion? And - what is the position of religion towards music?

Music sometimes plays an important role in the practice of religion. In ancient civilizations it has been found that the Pharaonic rites included music, seen on the tombs of many pharaohs and noblemen. In other religions, such as Judaism and Christianity, people use music as an integral part in the performance of their worship and religious celebrations.

When religious rituals contain music as a basic element, the use of music becomes set and religiously codified as well. However, in religions that do not clearly mention the use of music, for example, Islam, there are some interpretations that exploit this position and attempt to distort the ancient relationship between music and religion. Although Islam also uses some music, it doesn't form a basic part in its religious rituals. The muezzin (caller to prayer) uses a type of melody in his call. The Quranic recitation is also based on well-studied musical metres, but in a way uncommon in worldly music. The same applies to Islamic religious celebrations, although they consist of free poetry rather than Quranic words. Thus, different elements of music related to religious celebrations which differ according to place and occasion are found.

The degree of the society's adherence to religion influences its general modes of behaviour and its use of music. In the Omani society, it is found that its relationship to religion is very strong and evidence of this is found in society's behaviour and the governmental support of religious matters. This is due to the fact that Omanis had already embraced Islam voluntarily and not under pressure, during the era of the prophet Mohammed (PBUH), whose teachings were brought to them by Amr bin Al As in 630AD. The Omanis used their naval and commercial power to spread their Islamic religion along with their economic goods and political influence in the East and along the East African coast.

In Oman, there are several religious celebrations comprising various elements of music. These celebrations include (among others): the malid; the mauled; the taumina; the shabaniya; the tahlula; and Ahmad al-Kabir.

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