Is Television Destroying You?
Sheikh Muslim Bhanji – Dodoma, Tanzania
Television has become the most common way of entertainment and amusement today. It has replaced many physical activities, like sports and reading, which were previously utilized by people to spend their leisure time. However, television is not the correct substitute for those activities, which besides entertaining also enhance skills and talents. Research performed on the impact of television undoubtedly prove its ill effects upon the viewers! Moreover, most part of the entertainment programs displayed on television transgress Islamic bounds…
The Messenger of Allah (saww) said: “Everything with which a man amuses himself is Baatil (baseless, null and impermissible) – except three, his practicing with bow (and arrow); his training the horse and his playing with his family.”
This Hadeeth encourages the Muslims to choose amusements that benefit him, either by improving skills, sports, or strengthening family ties. Television, on the other hand, severs family bonds. Unfortunately nowadays, television programs dealing with family and personal matters suggest a lifestyle far from reality; single-parent families, children out of wedlock, continuous disputes and problems are publicized as normal way of life and divorce is portrayed as the easiest way out!
Islam does not allow any amusement, which make people negligent of Allah (swt). Television does not only make one negligent of Allah’s remembrance, but it also makes people negligent of their obligatory duties, especially the Salaah (prayer).
Some programs in television also transmits fictitious stories, which greatly attract the viewers, as it takes one away from the reality into the world of desires and fantasy. Islam is in strong opposition to such illusions, because illusions make man negligent of death and
Hereafter. The Prophet (saww) said: “Make mention of the destroyer of desires (i.e. death) very often.”
Major programs of television also destroys the Muslim’s Aqeedah, Character, Health, wealth, and it has also become a cause of wasting time, as we shall see in the following:
Destruction of Aqeedah:
Many television channels display images and stories of Shirk, un-Islamic cultures and rituals that inevitably influence the viewer’s belief. Many Muslims have been lead to believe in the false ideas and beliefs presented on the television – the proof for this is the increasing number of un-Islamic beliefs that are rampant in the Muslim society, like spirit possession, belief in good luck charms and amulets, belief in auspiciousness and inauspiciousness of particular days and numbers, belief in fortune telling and astrology, etc.
Sometimes, television propagates false ideas and beliefs in such subtle way that the viewer learns them unknowingly, especially in children programs, where ‘super heroes’, like superman, etc. are often portrayed as the saviors of the Universe and its inhabitants, who reach anywhere and everywhere to help people and protect them from any kind of dangers!! Such ideas corrupt the basic beliefs of Islam that Allah Alone is the Ruler and Savior of mankind and He alone can protect the people from all harm.
So, television can gradually destroy our Aqeedah and subsequently ruin our Hereafter, because Aqeedah is the foundation of Islam. It is necessary that the Aqeedah be free from all un-Islamic influences, in order to escape the Hell-Fire. This requires that we avoid all chances and means that cause danger to our Aqeedah – one of which is watching television!
One should not only be concerned about his beliefs and actions, but he should also take precautions to safeguard the Aqeedah of his family members, since on the Day of Judgment, everybody will be accounted for his actions and the actions of those under his guardianship. Allah says in the Qur’aan: “Oh you who believe, save yourselves and your families from the fire which is fueled by men and stones. Over it are Angels who are stern, and strong, who do not disobey Allah’s orders and they do what He orders” [Soorah at-Tahrim 66:6].
The Messenger of Allah (saww) said: “Every one of you is a protector and a guardian of his
immediate charge and is responsible for the actions of those people who are committed to his charge. A man is a guardian in respect to the family members of his house. A woman is a guardian in respect to her husband’s house and his children.”
Destruction of Islamic Morals:
Immoral behavior, violence, crime, music, singing, use of tobacco, alcohol and cigarette are some of the many un-Islamic behaviors taught by the Television. Especially children, television teaches them to lie, cheat and steal from early ages!
Music is an integral part of television – Allah’s Messenger (saww) said: “Verily, I forbid two voices, which are imbecilic and sinfully shameless; one, a voice (of singing) accompanied by musical instruments and Shaytaan’s wind instrument…” Scholars mention many wisdoms behind the prohibition of music, like music sprouts hypocrisy, prevents the heart from Allah’s remembrance, excites sinful desires, etc. but the fact that Allah’s Messenger (saww) called it the voice of Shaytaan should be enough for the believer to understand the great harm and danger associated with music!
Advertisements on television fully exploit female voice and use semi-nude female pictures to promote and sell their products. Whereas, Islam has even prohibited the women to speak in soft voice with the strangers, Allah (swt) says: “…be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire, but speak in a honorable manner.” [Soorah al-Ahzab 33:32].
Immodesty, nudity and free mixing of men and women are the most apparent evil spread by the television. Islam teaches that modesty is a part of Eemaan and prohibits the mixing of sexes. But television puts great emphasis on immorality and fornication (zina) regarding which Allah says in the Qur’aan, “…come not near to zina. Verily, it is Fahishah (immoral sin) and an evil way.” [Soorah al-Isra 17:32].
Islam does not only consider the actual act of fornication to be zina, but Allah’s Messenger (saww) said: “The zina of the eyes is the gaze (at which is unlawful, e.g. Nudity); the zina of the ears is to listen (to the unlawful, e.g. talks of nudity which excite illicit desires, music, etc.); the zina of the tongue is to speak (what is evil); the zina of the hand is to touch (the female who is unlawful to you); the zina of the feet is to walk (towards unlawful); the zina of the heart is to desire (what is unlawful) and it is the private parts which either commit or shuns the actual act of fornication.”
So, watching nudity and evils displayed on television is zina of the eyes, listening to them is zina of the ears, and the illicit desires aroused by them means zina of the heart. Allah says: “Verily! Hearing, Sight, and the heart, all will be questioned (by Allah).” [Soorah al-Isra 17:36].
Repeatedly watching the evil displayed on television so adversely influence the viewer’s mind that he considers them to be the acceptable mode of behavior, he gradually looses his Haya (modesty, shame and shyness) and imitates the evil.
Allah’s Messenger (saww) said: “…If you do not have Haya, then do whatever you want.” In the commentary of this Hadeeth a Scholar said, “When he looses his Haya, he will freely indulge in what Allah has prohibited. This is similar to the Hadeeth, “…Let him take his seat in Hell-Fire”, meaning he will take his seat in the Fire… What prevents a person from indulging in sin is al-Haya that he has. When he abandons al-Haya, he will be like the one whose character and habits order him to indulge in every type of evil.” Researches testify to the fact that many people actually enact the crime and violence displayed on television!
Destruction of Time and Health:
People spend hours watching television, which is damaging to the physical and mental health. It also increases obesity, which is the root cause of many treacherous diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Television causes laziness and inefficiency in people. Students spend more time watching television and neglect studies and learning.
We should realize that time and health are two great blessings of Allah for which Allah will account us on the Day of Resurrection. The Messenger of Allah (saww) said: “The servant of Allah will remain standing on the Day of Judgment until he is questioned about his life, how he spent it…” It is therefore necessary that we make good use of our time and health and perform those acts, which will benefit us in the Hereafter.
Allah’s Messenger (saww) has warned us against spending time and health foolishly, he
(saww) said: “There are two blessings that many people lose, health and free time.” and: “Lose no time to do good work before you are caught up by one of the seven calamities… A starvation which may ruin your wisdom, or a prosperity which may mislead you, or an ailment which may damage your health, or an old age which may harm your senses, or a sudden death or the appearance of Dajjal. All these are bad events which may be awaited; or the Doomsday, but this Day is indeed very hard and bitter.”
The Only Solution: Turn Off the Television
The only solution to escape the enormous dangers of television is to limit viewing it if not completely abandoning it. Islam not only forbids violating the laws of Allah, but also condemns all means that may lead to it. For example, Allah says about zina (fornication or
adultery): “And come not near to zina. Verily, it is Fahishah (immoral sin) and an evil way.” [Soorah al-Isra 17:32]. Scholars say in the explanation of this verse, do not even tread the paths or acquire the means, which may lead to the evil act of committing zina or any other sin. Thus, television, which is the stepping-stone towards zina and a number of other evils, should be thrown out of the Muslim houses, or at least the amount of time spent in viewing the television should be limited.
Alternatives for Television
When the television is turned off, you will find plenty of time for other activities. Develop the habit to properly manage your time, and engage in beneficial activities. Always remember the Hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger (saww), “Lose no time to do good work before you are caught up by one of the seven calamities… A starvation which may ruin your wisdom, or a prosperity which may mislead you, or an ailment which may damage your health, or an old age which may harm your senses, or a sudden death, or the appearance of Dajjal. All these are bad events which may be awaited; or the Doomsday, but this Day is indeed very hard and bitter.”
Below is a list of creative activities, which will Insha’Allah, help you and your family make beneficial use of the time that you save by not watching the television:
- Outdoor Activities:
Encourage outdoor activities like, swimming, horse riding, archery, etc. Allah’s Messenger (saww) always encouraged outdoor activities, it is reported that Allah’s Messenger (saww) once arranged for horse race. He also once passed by some people from the tribe of Aslam practicing archery and said, “O children of Ishmael! Throw (arrows), for your father was an archer. I am on the side of Bani so-and-so,” meaning one of the two teams. The other team stopped throwing arrows, whereupon the Prophet said, “What has happened to them?” They replied, “How shall we throw while you are with Bani so-and-so?” He said, “Throw for I am with all of you.”
- Family time:
Islam encourages maintaining close family ties. The Messenger of Allah (saww) said: “Whoever severs the bond of kinship will not enter Paradise.” Spend ample of time with your family, communicate and know each other’s needs, and help them out. This is the best way to develop meaningful relationship with your spouse and children.
It was the practice of Allah’s Messenger (saww) that after finishing the Asr prayer, he would
visit his wives and stay with one of them at that time. This is also the best time to teach your children discipline, respect and Islamic etiquettes. You can also read to them stories of the Prophets, give them short Du’aa (supplication) to memorize, recite Qur’aan, etc.
- Community Living:
Brotherhood and mutual consent among the Muslims is the basis of a strong and powerful Islamic society. Allah’s Messenger (saww) first established brotherhood and love among the believers even before he initiated the Muslim society in al-Medina. Abdullah Ibn Salaam said: “When the Prophet (saww) arrived in Medina, the first thing he said was, ‘Extend peace greetings among yourselves, provide food to the needy, maintain upright relations, observe prayer at night while people are asleep, then you will peacefully enter the Gardens (Paradise).”
So, part of our community living is to strengthen the bond of brotherhood with other Muslims by visiting them often. Allah’s Messenger (saww) said: “Believers in mutual love, are like the human body where, when the eye is in agony, the entire body feels pain, when the head aches, all the body will suffer.”
There are a number of ways to build mutual relationship, like, knowing the needs of
other Muslims and helping them out. Allah’s Messenger (saww) said: “A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim; he neither oppresses him not does he fail him. Whosoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one grief of the Day of Judgment. Whosoever shields a Muslim, Allah will shield him on the Day of Resurrection.” He also said:
“Allah helps His slaves as long as he helps his brother.”
Also, visit the sick people, share their pain, encourage patience, give them hope in Allah’s Mercy, etc. all these acts create closer relationship and are from the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (saww). He said: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick and free the captives.”
- Other Activities:
(a) Enroll in Classes of interests, like, gardening, sewing, cooking, computers, swimming, etc.
(b) Read Islamic books in particular and also other informative books.
(c) Listen to tapes, lectures by Islamic scholars.
(d) Perform acts of worship, like Dhikr, voluntary prayers, reading Qur’aan, etc.