As Allah - the Most High - states, it is part of our belief that we shall be questioned and are responsible for the following:
"Verily! Hearing, Sight, and the heart, all will be questioned (by Allah)." [Al-Qur'an 17:36]
And as the Rasulallah - sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam - said, on the Day of Repayment, no one will move until they are asked about three things ... "And his youth - what he exhausted it with?"
A close friend of mine told me his experience when leaving Canada to go overseas and study Islam. He said that he went to a person's house to say salam to the family and as he left he noticed the son - who was 7 years old at the time - slacked out on his stomach, chin locked in his two hands, staring deathly at the TV. He says, when he returned after a full 4 years, he entered the same house and found the same boy slacked out on his stomach, chin locked in his two hands, staring deathly at the TV - only now he was 4 years older.
Today - insha'Allah - we would like to speak about TV and it's dark side. It is not our intention to make you race home to throw the TV off the balcony - although that would be nice. It is our hope that you will leave today insha'Allah with a better understanding of the destructive nature the TV has on a persons life and hereafter, not only his own, but also his family and children.
In Qawa'id Fiqhiyyah there is a principle that says, 'al-wasa'il ta'khudhu hukm al-ghayat' that 'The means takes the same ruling as the intention of what is trying to be attained.' A television set, with the wires, screen, box, and plug is nothing more than a means. It is what is trying to be attained by that box that makes it haram or halal. Similar to a gun, something that can be used for noble purposes, such as defending one's land from aggression, or can be a means of considerable harm - especially when given to a child.
In an Arab ESL class, the teacher - as his opening class - would ask the students what English words were taken from the Arabic. A few hands would jerk up and say things like, 'Chemistry from Kimiya', Algebra from Al-Gebr, Physics from Fisiya', etc.' Then he would interestingly ask them what Arabic words were taken from the English, the answers come quick, 'Radiyo from Radio, Dosh from Satellite Dish, and of course Tilfaz from TV.'
What did the west take from us, and what did we take from them?
Hence Shaykh ibn Baz, may Allah have mercy on him, said in al-Fatawa 3/227:
With regard to television, it is a dangerous device and its harmful effects are very great, like those of the cinema, or even worse.
We know from the research that has been written about it and from the words of experts in Arab countries and elsewhere enough to indicate that it is dangerous and very harmful to Islamic beliefs ('aqidah), morals and the state of society.
This is because it includes the presentation of bad morals, tempting scenes, immoral pictures, semi-nakedness, destructive speech, and kufr.
It encourages imitation of their conduct and ways of dressing, respect for their leaders, neglect of Islamic conduct and ways of dressing, and looking down on the scholars and heroes of Islam. It damages their image by portraying them in an off-putting manner that makes people despise them and ignore them.
Without doubt, anything that produces so many bad results should be stopped and shunned, and we have to close all the doors that could lead to it. If some of our brothers denounce it and speak out against it, we cannot blame them, because this is a part of sincerity towards Allah and towards other people.It shows people how to cheat, steal, hatch plots and commit acts of violence against others.
In Sahih al-Bukhari, when Gurayj was praying and his mother called him, he said to himself, "O Allah, my salah or my mother?" He did not know whether to continue his prayer or discontinue it and reply the wishes of his Mother. She cursed him. And her curse was one that we may inadvertently be doing to our children the day we sanctioned the introduction of the third parent called TV. She said, "May you see a prostitute!" She did not say, may there be any relationship between you and a prostitute, no she just said may you see one. HOW many times has the main theme of prime time TV revolved around prostitutes? HOW MANY TIMES have our children witnessed it? How many times have they been cursed to be in such a situation?
Abdullah ibn 'Umar - radiallahu 'anhu - once passed by some people killing time by playing chess. He became shocked at what was happening and angrily said to them - quoting the verse of Qur'an, "What are these IDOLS that you are standing in vigilance over?" What would he think if he saw the 'ummah and it's welcomed hug in most Muslim homes.
When a Muslim nation watches their country play in the World Cup, over 3 million Muslims from that one country tune in. Times that by the duration of the match, 3 hours, and you'll have 9 million hours of the 'ummah's time wasted on a football game. In one sweeping night. If Karl Marx said in 1844 that 'Religion is the opium of people', then what about TV?
Dear brothers and sisters, Rasulallah - sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam - said, "The person shall be (on the day of Judgement) with those that they love." Tell that to a Muslim child, that on the Day of Judgement, if they love Michael Jordan so much they'll get to be with him on that horrific day. It's sad, but most Muslim children would get happy and excited about the prospect - isn't that enough to strike fear into our hearts? Who are the Muslim children really going to be with on the Day of Repayment? Most of them cannot tell you the names, just the names, of those people that we hope them to be with!
Let's ask ourselves, if we gave a chance for our sons or daughters to put up a poster of their hero, the one whom they think is the 'coolest' - would it be their father or mother? Would it be the Prophet or his Companions? OR would it be a basketball player that he saw on TV? Or an actor (even cartoon) that he saw on TV? Or a model that she saw on TV? Or a musician that he/she saw on TV? Who would it be?
Ok, the TV is monitored in the house by the parent, correct? (95% of parents with children 8 and up don't monitor). Now what happens if the parent dies on the way to work one day and the children inherit the TV? Rasulallah - sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam - said, "There is not a single shepherd (amir) that Allah entrusted with a flock - who dies and in a state where he cheated them - except that Allah shall forbid him from entering paradise!" The 'ulama would quote this hadith in light of the father in a Muslim country that would allow a Satellite Dish to enter his family which Allah entrusted him with.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are not here on earth to entertain ourselves to death. We are an 'ummah with a risalah! When Rib'i ibn 'Amir - radiallahu 'anhu - stood in the hands of the King of Persia, he announced the message as clear and as proud as every Muslim should, "Allah sent us to rescue humanity from slavery to slaves - to the slavery of the Lord of all slaves; And to rescue them from the choke of the material life to the expanse of this life and the next, and from the corruption of the cults to the justice of Islam!"
If we don't know how to read Qur'an, why aren't we registering for the Qur'an institute here at Al-Huda. If we don't know the language of the Qur'an and sunnah, why aren't we registering for the Arabic institute? If we don't know about the life of Rasulallah - sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam - and his companions - radiallahu 'anhum - why aren't we coming to the sirah and fiqh classes on Fridays and Saturdays?
Doesn't Allah - the Most High - tell us in the Qur'an:
"Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do." [Al-Qur'an 24:30]
How do reconcile those verses with the television that assaults our eyes with haram almost every second that it is on? How do we reconcile it?
Have you heard of Cupid? Of course we have. They portray Cupid in cartoons and comedies as a chubby child with wings who is supposed to be the Angel of Love, shooting arrows of 'love' when the male looks at the female. Rather dear brothers and sisters, it is Iblis! For Rasulallah - sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam - told us, "Verily the 'look' is a poisoned arrow from the arrows of Iblis!"
Shaykh at-Tahhan once told his students, "It was late at night when our phone rang one day. This Muslimah whispered into the phone, 'Is this Shaykh at-Tahhan?' I said, 'Yes it is me.' She kept saying is it really you? And he said, 'Yes, what is wrong?' At that she just started sobbing and sobbing into the phone. After some time, she explained, 'The children's father bought a TV and video 2 days ago. Tonight I found my young son practicing the haram that he saw on his younger sister!' Then she collapsed sobbing again."
Everything starts with a look / and big fires start from a little spark.
Turn OFF TV, Turn ON Life
After a gruelling first year in the Faculty of Sharî'ah, I came home to Canada where I spoke to a friend whom I hadn't spoken to for over a year. In the conversation he said, "Last night on TV Seinfeld said ... " I was puzzled and realized that for an entire year I had not heard anything other than Imam Shafi'i said, and Imam Abu Hanifah said. It was an ignorance that as Shaykh Abdul-Muhsin al-'Abbad would say "that we ask Allah - the Most High - to increase us in it's ignorance."
Some people argue that TV is just a harmless avenue of entertainment and that there should not be a big deal made about it. It is interesting however that we see in shari'ah that what is more deadly than haram is bid'ah. Why you ask? Because when someone does haram like eating pork, he knows it is haram and that one day it is hoped that knowledge will lead him to fear Allah and refrain. Bid'ah - on the other hand - is something a person does with the hope of reward from Allah, something that the person considers to be 'harmless'. It is deadlier because the chances of this person correcting the situation are less due to the ignorance which causes lack of motivation.
Other people will say that we have a TV for the news and Islamic or educational programs? Dear brothers and sisters, is there no other avenue to get the news? Is there no other means by which a child can be educated and stimulated to learning?
Didn't anyone ask why we get all this 'FREE' TV? What does the TV sell? No it doesn't sell Coke or Nike or McDonalds burgers, it sells the AUDIENCE TO ADVERTISING COMPANIES! Why do you think they charge $1 million for 30 seconds of advertising in a Superbowl game?
Consider these facts:
- Brand loyalty starts at age 2 - they can snatch a child into a lifetime of allegiance to their product from that tender age. How old were you when you started loving Coke or Pepsi?
- On average, a viewer watches 20,000 commercials each year. If we repeated a page of Qur'an to you that many times, do you think you would memorize it?
This is just for the products, what about the 'aqidah that they are being taught, a whole stack of beliefs that gets fed to them every time they sit to listen to their third parent. Where are the horrific stats for that?
To give just a simple example that we all know, go to a lecture where the Imam is talking about women's rights in Islam. Listen to the Muslim males and females debate with the Imam. Where did they get their points? Where did they become so hostile to anything that contradicts the Western view of women's rights? Why is there no hostility to the Western view? Most of it was learnt on TV, the rest was learnt in the public school curriculum.
If this is the programming, the brain washing of our youth, then where shall they be reprogrammed when they prefer the TV over anyone else. Dear brothers and sisters, it is a fact that more than half of American children would rather watch TV than spend time with their mother or father.
After surveying a lot of young children and asking them what is the one thing that they would sacrifice their favourite TV shows for, many replied that if there were some sort of outside activity they would give preference to that. Meaning, if someone took them by the hand and organized some after school activities they would embrace the idea.
Here are some other things that you can do instead of being shackled to the TV, the option is yours:
- Play outdoor games;
- Build extra curricular skills, such as martial arts or calligraphy or sewing;
- Visit the library;
- Take on a job where they one can become serious about life and work;
- Do acts of worship such as reciting dhikr and wird, salah, reading Qur'an, fasting, and thinking about the signs of Allah in His creation;
- Adopt an Islamic cause in the place where you live, and take part in it, such as teaching Muslim girls;
- Support an Islamic magazine by sending articles, statistics and useful information of interest concerning Muslims in the West;
- Take part in charitable projects to help Muslim orphans, widows, divorcees and elderly, or joining a committee to help organize social programs and celebrations for Muslims on 'Eid;
- Find righteous friends to meet with and good neighbours to visit;
- Read Islamic books in particular and useful stories in general;
- Take part in da'wah activities, men or women's activities and preschool programs in Islamic centres;
- Listen to tapes and lectures, write summaries of them, and distribute the summaries to anyone who could benefit from them;
- Do arts and crafts;
- Cook items to be sold to raise funds for the Islamic centre;
- Take an interest in computers and computer programs. This is a vast field that can fill a lot of time, and the computer can be used to do a lot of good things as well as providing entertainment in the form of permissible games;
- Spinning, weaving, cutting out and sewing;
- Gardening; or
- Exercising outside or at home.
In conclusion dear brothers and sisters, today is the beginning of a new day. Allah gave us this day to use as we will. We can waste it or use it for something good and beneficial.
But let us know that what we do today is important because we are exchanging a day of our life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; and in it's place shall be something that we left behind ... lets let it be something good and something beneficial.