In the name of God. Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known (as such) so as not to be molested." (Qur'an 33:59)
MY family’s television set broke down recently. I purposely delayed sending it to the mechanic to be repaired, thus my family and I had a free TV week.
Except for the sound of games played from my son’s PC, the atmosphere in the house was more relaxed; mind you the blaring sounds from the idiot box was a nuisance to me and my wife when my five boys and girls took turns; watching their favourite programmes.
During weekends and public holidays, the set was switched on right from the time they opened their eyes till the wee hours of the night; at times they would doze off in front of the idiot box while it was still showing silly films from Bollywood, Hollywood or Hong Kong.
It was difficult to stop the children from being hooked on to the idiot box. You can lecture them and tell them about the bad effects of TV, but in the end, the TV would be still on; you switch it off, they would switch it on. Perhaps an imaginary equation, TV=teenagers would wake us up that our youngsters are being shaped by the idiot box instead of us parents bringing them up.
I only watch the news bulletin and informative newsmagazine and features, but sometimes would have glances on other things on the screen when I was resting on the family’s settee. At times my wife would also be there, and on one occasion when the whole family were there, watching a movie, they showed us a passionate kissing scene.
I became very embarrassed and angry at the TV’s station for showing such a scene. I quickly stood up and walked away, knowing that I could not look into the eyes of my children, what more if the younger ones were to ask what the couple in the film were doing.
The one week without TV passed away quickly. But it was one period I love most. The atmosphere was serene, no arguments among the siblings fighting over their favourite programmes and channels and the best part of it, I could have good naps in the afternoon or go to bed early at night.
But as other modern families, we encounter strange feelings when the TV was not there. Some studies conclude that the addictive influence of TV over its viewers is a serious malady which has reached alarming proportions. Viewers become so addicted to TV that it becomes most difficult for most viewers to live without TV.
Research in this field of the 'addictive influence of TV' has established that if those who are addicted to TV are deprived of television they become increasingly nervous, short-tempered and unhappy.
After much complaining from my children especially the youngest who wanted to watch her favourite cartoons programmes, I kowtowed to their request to have the TV repaired, thus our life without TV only lasted for a week.
Regarding the bad effects of TV, a friend had e-mailed to me a summary of an excellent and enlightening book entitled ‘Television and the Institution of Photography or Picture-Making’, published by the Majlis al-Ulama, of South Africa.
Citing a number of evil and un-Islamic factors that accompany the institution of television such allowing forbidden practises of life such as those concerning music, the female voice, nudity and immorality, the Majlis al-Ulama declared that television is as an agent of zina (fornication).
Allah, the Most High, says in the Qur'an: “Keep away from zina, for it is an indecent thing and an evil way." (Al-Qur'an 17:32)
The terms, keep away, mean: stay away from all such things and practice: which lead to zina - which are stepping-stones to fornication.
All practices, things and institutions which aid and foster fornication and immodesty are forbidden by Islam. There are different categories of this abominable crime of zina. The Messenger of Allah, may the prayers and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “The zina of the eyes is the gaze (at that which is unlawful, e.g. nudity); the zina of the ears is to listen (to talks of nudity which excites the carnal desired); the zina of the tongue is to speak (what is evil); the zina of the hand is to touch (the female which is unlawful to you); the zina of the feet is to walk (towards immorality); the zina of the heart is to desire (what is unlawful), and it is the private parts which either commits or shuns the actual act of fornication." (Muslim)
In this statement, the Messenger of Allah, may the prayers and blessings of Allah be upon him, speaks of the zina committed by the various parts of the human body. Thus, to look at the nudity and evil portrayed on the television screen constitutes the zina of the eyes. To listen to the immodest and illicit sex elks of the television is zina of the ears. Lust which is loused by the display, discussion of nudity and passivity and perversion on the TV screen constitutes the zina of the heart.
Television, therefore, is without any doubt a powerful agent and a stepping-stone for fornication.
We find today the whole family - father, mother, sons and daughters - sitting huddled together around the TV screen. Together, in a display of stark shamelessness, the whole family is committing zina of the eyes, zina of the ears and zina of the heart, and Allah alone knows how many multitudes of men and women indulged in the final act of fornication as a result of watching and being aroused by the evil on the TV screen.
Islam lays great emphasis on modesty, so much so, that our Prophet; may the prayers and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Modesty is a part of iman (faith)." (At-Tirmidhi)
But TV with its emphasis on illicit, depraved and bestial immorality is the very negation of the Islamic concept of modesty and shame. Mother, father and children together viewing the zina -- the fornication and vice on the TV screen.
What is now left of humanity? May Allah, the Most High, protect us and our children from the filth and depravity of the Western world sunk in perversion and immorality.
Allah, the Most High, says: “This day We seal up their mouths, and their hands speak out; and their feet bear witness as to what they used to earn." (Al-Qur'an 36:65)
Television besides being a powerful agent of immorality; generally fosters various types of crime. Violence, aggression, robberies, murder, etc., are crimes which the young readily learn from TV shows. Much of the delinquency and youth crimes being perpetrated in the Western world could be traced to the TV.
Television is here and its biggest fans are children. Overnight they've become instant pundits, immediately recognizing personalities who are still just faces to the rest of us.
It's the kids who grab the TV guide and plot their viewing with military precision; the kids who know every cop and cowboy and exactly why it could not have been the butler who did it.
The ulamas says, television diverts man's attention from the remembrance of Allah - The Prophet, may the prayers and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
“Every sport or amusement that a Muslim occupies himself with is ‘batil’ (baseless, null and not permissible) - except three: (the three types beings his practicing with your bow (and arrow); his training horse and his playing with his family." (Ibn Majah)
A Muslim is not permitted to waste time but the addictive grip of television over its viewers is so powerful that the viewer becomes a helpless victim wasting sacred hours glued to the TV screen, thus neglecting his salat (prayer), his family duties and his social duties.
"By Time! Man is indeed in loss! Except those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth, and exhort one another to patience." (Al-Qur'an 103). – ES