It is to be stated that Islam is a practical religion. It does not float in the stratosphere of imaginary ideals but remains with the human being on the ground of realities and day-to-day concerns. It does not regard people as angels but accepts them as mortals who eat food and walk in the marketplace. Islam does not require of Muslims that their speech should consist entirely of pious utterances, that their silence should be a meditation, that they should listen to nothing except the recitation of the Qur’an, nor that they should spend all their leisure time in the mosque. Rather, it recognizes that Allah has created human beings with needs and desires, so that, as they need to eat and drink, they also need to relax, and to enjoy themselves.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “Many of the scholars of Islam, both ancient and modern, consider all forms of musical instruments except duff (tambourines) as forbidden; but there are other scholars, who consider music and musical instruments as forbidden only if and when they are used for themes or messages that are declared as forbidden or undesirable. Based on the second view, as long as you stay clear off undesirable themes, and messages, then what you are doing can be considered as permissible. You must, however, remember that this permission is conditional on the fact that you are resorting to music as an occasional outlet only; for there is no doubt whatsoever that if your indulgence in music in any way interferes with your performance of your worship or other obligatory duties, then it shall be considered as strictly forbidden.
So, use it only as an occasional outlet. The Prophet, peace be upon him, has permitted us to have occasional outlets in order to help us recuperate and refresh ourselves. Resorting to such occasional outlets may in fact be beneficial for our enhanced productivity/creativity. May Allah help us to maintain proper balance in our life, avoiding all forms of extremes, Amen.”
It has become clear from the above Fatwa that playing guitar, as a musical instrument, is not categorically Haram as long as the aforementioned guidelines are observed. Playing guitar as an occasional outlet does not run counter to Islamic teachings as long as one does not neglect religious observances.