Praise be to Allaah.
haraam, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stated that musical instruments are haraam when he said: “There will be among my ummah people who will regard as permissible adultery, silk, alcohol and musical instruments…” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5590.
This hadeeth indicates that musical instruments are haraam in two ways. Firstly, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said “they will regard as permissible,” which clearly indicates that the things mentioned – including musical instruments – are forbidden in sharee’ah but those people will regard them as permissible. Secondly, musical instruments are mentioned alongside things which are definitively forbidden, namely adultery and alcohol. If they were not haraam, they would not be mentioned alongside these things. ( al-Silsilah al-Saheehah by al-Albaani, 1/140-141).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This hadeeth indicates that musical instruments are haraam.
(Majmoo’ al-Fataawa , 11/535).
It is possible to do without these haraam tunes by setting the phone to ring with an ordinary tone, or something else that is not regarded as a musical tune.
The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas was asked about the ruling on musical tunes on mobile phones. They replied:
It is not permissible to use musical tunes for telephones or any other devices, because listening to musical instruments is haraam, as is indicated by the evidence of sharee’ah. It is possible to do without them by using the ordinary ringing tone. And Allaah is the Source of strength.
Majallat al-Da’wah , issue no. 1790, p. 42.
The questioner mentioned that it is possible to set the ringing tone as a verse of Qur’aan, but it is better not to do that, because there is the fear that this may be a kind of disrespect towards the Holy Qur’aan. Allaah revealed the Qur’aan to be a Book of guidance showing the right way, to be recited and pondered and acted upon, not to be a means of alerting people. It is sufficient for the questioner to set his phone to an ordinary ringing tone. And Allaah knows best.
~Raja Muzafar Ali