(And of mankind is he who payeth for mere pastime of discourse…) [31:6]. Al-Kalbi and Muqatil said: “This verse was revealed about al-Nadr ibn al-Harith. He used to travel to Persia for trade. He bought the events of non-Arabs and related them to the Quraysh, saying: ‘Muhammad relates to you the events of ‘Ad and Thamud, and I relate to you the events of Rustum and Isfindiyar and the Chosroes’. They found his tales more entertaining and they shunned listening to the Qur’an, and so this verse was revealed”. Mujahid said: “This verse was revealed about the buying of slave-girls and songstresses”. Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Muqri’ informed us> Muhammad ibn al-Fadl ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Khuzaymah> his grandfather> ‘Ali ibn Hujr> Mishma‘ill ibn Milhan al-Ta’i> Muttarih ibn Yazid> ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Zahr> ‘Ali ibn Yazid> al-Qasim> Abu Umamah who reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “It is forbidden to teach songstresses [to sing] or to sell songstresses, and the price gotten from selling them is unlawful. It is about the like of this that this verse was revealed (And of mankind is he who payeth for mere pastime of discourse, that he may mislead from Allah’s way without knowledge…) up to the end of the verse. No man raises his voice to sing except that Allah, exalted is He, sends him two devils, one on each side, who will keep banging with their feet until it is him who keeps quiet”. Thuwayr ibn Abi Fakhitah reported from his father that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “This verse was revealed about a man who bought a slave-girl who sang to him day and night”.
Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi , trans. Mokrane Guezzou