Jihad through ‘music’: The Taliban and Hizbullah | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2043-1015
  • E-ISSN: 2043-1023


This article discusses the cultural politics of the Taliban and Hizbullah. While Hizbullah embraces ‘resistance art’ and encourages purposeful music and artistic expressions as pious entertainment, the Taliban censor music and restrict artistic activities, considering them innovations (bida‘) that distract from the practice of ‘authentic Islam’ and ‘true worship’. To discuss the interplay between the ‘power of music’ and ‘music in power’, this article uses samples of anashid (songs, hymns and anthems) of the Taliban and Hizbullah, both of which practice jihad through music. Most notably, both employ the same Qur’anic concept of ‘action of excellence under God’s guidance’, either to legitimize and justify certain artistic expressions and practices (Hizbullah) or to ban and prohibit them all together (the Taliban). Hizbullah’s contextual argument leads to a music theory, whilst the Taliban’s prohibition in the absolute curtails cultural politics all together.


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