The ill Effects of Television
By Abu Mohammed Abdur-Rauf Shakir
The great need for discussion of the Islamic perspective concerning the issue of television is clear to us all. Since television has entered the homes of people in every corner of the earth, the rich and the poor, the educated and un-educated, Muslim and non-Muslim – it has become a necessity to address the issue and explain the problems and dangers of television in a clear concise manner for the benefit of every Muslim who is seeking to please Allah, the Most High, and earn His reward.
The Definition of Television
The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines television as follows:
The electrical transmission of pictures in motion and the simultaneous electrical transmission of the accompanying sound.
The Encyclopaedia International explains television as:
The unique feature that distinguishes television from radio is the conversion of an image into an electrical current, which is later reconverted into the original image…
The Working of Television
The equipment consists of a camera, which converts the image into electrical impulses; these are transmitted by radio to a receiver which converts the impulses by means of a cathode-ray tube into a corresponding image on the screen.
The illusion of motion in television is produced by showing 30 still pictures, or frames, each second. Through persistence of vision the brain retains each picture until the next comes along. We are not aware of the fact that our eyes are really seeing a rapidly changing sequence of a large number of slightly different still pictures. Each still picture consists of about 250 000 picture dots of varying brightness which appear as if painted on the screen. This process is called scanning.
It should at this juncture be said that the undesirability and the Islamic prohibition of this institution of television is not based solely on the stand that photography (picture-making) of animate objects is employed. Without minimizing the importance and the decisiveness of the prohibitory factor of picture-making it has to be said that a number of other evil and un-Islamic factors accompany the institution of television. It is this conglomeration of evil factors which make television illegal in Islam although, in most cases, each single one of these factors is sufficient to secure the verdict of illegality of TV. Insha’Allah, we shall outline these prohibitory factors (Asbaabul Hurmat) of television in the ensuing pages.
Picture-Making – The Mother of Television
Photography which is merely a method of picture-making is the actual basis of TV. Without the institution of photography television is not possible. Whether shows are” live” or otherwise, the institution of photography is employed. Now, according to the Law of Islam picture-making of animate objects is severely criticised and banned.
Music and Television
We can consider music as an integral part of television programs. No TV show is complete without music. Islam has forbidden music in no unmistaken terms.3 For the purposes of the present subject it will suffice to state that Islam categorically forbids all types of music. Music in Islam is regarded as a Kabirah (great) sin. With regard to music our Prophet (saws) said:
“There will be men from among my Ummah who will consume alcohol, giving it another name (so as to deceive themselves and others). Singing girls and musical instruments will be playing to them. Allah, Ta’ala will cause the earth to swallow them. Allah will transform them into apes and swine.”4 Ibn Maajah
It is reported from Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (May Allah be pleased with him):
“Music shows hypocrisy in the heart like water causes seeds to grow in soil.”5 Ad-Durru al-Manthoor
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And when they (the believers) hear what is futile they turn away from it, and they say, Unto us our deeds; and unto you your deeds. Peace be upon you. We do not follow the ignorant ones.” [Qur’an Al-Qasas 28:55]
The Female Voice
The female voice, according to Islam, is also included in the category of Satar, ie. it has to be ‘concealed’ and not ‘revealed’. Since the female voice is an entity not to be displayed or advertised, it is not permissible for males to listen to women singing or even reciting the Qur’an…
When necessity demands that they have to speak to males then their speech should not be attractive, gentle and alluring like the deliberate ‘lure’ put in speech by ‘trained’ women of the disbelievers. Recognizing the danger of allurement in the female voice, the Qur’an commands women thus:
“And do not speak in alluring tones so that he in whose heart there is a disease (of lust) desires.”[Qur’an al-Ahzab 33:32]
Van de Velde in his book Ideal Marriage, states:
“The tone-colour of a voice, and the intonation of a single word – and it may be a word of no special meaning or association in itself – may excite incredible intensity of desire. The unique and precious significance that a woman’s voice can give to “you” can suffice to overwhelm man’s power of endurance and control…”
Islam has, hence, forbidden its women to speak in a soft or “sexually” sweet tone. If anyone is aware of the springs of sex-psychology he will clearly see the justification for Islam’s restriction in this matter.
The importance of television programs, like the importance of all the mass media of the disbelievers, hinges on maximum exhibition of the female body and the female voice which have been subverted by the bestial culture of the unbelievers, to pamper the inordinate sexual desires of men who have no belief of Allah in them – of men who have no fear of Allah left in them.
Serials, Romances and Stories on Television
What is Islam’s attitude to fiction, novels and romantic stories? Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
“And among mankind are those who purchase idle tales (lahwu’l-hadith) so as to lead astray (others) from the Path of Allah. And, they make a mockery of the Laws of Allah.
To them, there is a disgraceful punishment. And, when our verses are rehearsed they turn away in pride as if they did not hear, as if there are plugs in their ears. Give them the news of a painful punishment.”[Qur’an Luqman 31:6,7]
These verses of the Qur’an were revealed to prohibit, according to the Mufassireen and Jurists, music and the stories of romances imported from Persia. Since these things divert man’s attention from the remembrance of Allah and transport one into the realm of illusion and imagination the Qur’an outlaws them. Islam strongly discourages fiction and encourages one to live in reality and not in illusion which has the tendency to make one negligent and forgetful of the prime purpose of man’s creation which is to gain Allah’s Pleasure by fixing the gaze on the Akhirat (Hereafter) and not on the TV screen. Islam, therefore forbids the wasting of time in listening to idle tales and fiction or false stories.
Nudity, Immorality and Television
The most glaring evil propagated by the television media of the world is the crime of nudity and sexual immorality. Commercialized nudity and sexual immorality under the camouflage of “educational” pictures are accepted and necessary features of the world of television. The Western world is haunted by the obsession of illicit sex, and it is this carnal obsession of illicit sex coupled with the unbeliever’s god of materialism, which makes capital of the female body on TV as well as all other mass media.
The Islamic concept of morality and modesty is the very antithesis of the immorality and lascivity dished out to the world via TV. Islam demands the concealment of the female body.
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said:
“Woman is an object of concealment.”6At-Tirmidhee
TV is an institution, which is widely used to exhibit the female body. Islam has banned all forms of immorality and immodesty, but TV exhibits immodesty and immorality in their crudest forms by depicting the actual sex acts and, above all, it audaciously and shamelessly passes these off as “educational”. Television as a prime agent of immorality is very well known…
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said:
“Shamelessness (immodesty) is vice, and vice will be in the fire.”7 Muslim
Television As An Agent of Zina (Fornication)
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And come not near to zina.” [Qur’an Al-Isra 17:32]
The term, come not near, means stay away from all such things and practices 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 T said:
“The zina of the eyes is the gaze (at that which is unlawful, eg. Nudity); the zina of the ears is to listen (to talks of nudity which excites the carnal desire); 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.” 8 Muslim
In this hadith the Messenger of Allah 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 talks of the television is zina of the ears. Lust which is aroused by the display, discussion of nudity and lascivity 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 (saws) said:
“Modesty is a part of Iman (Faith).”9 At-Tirmidhee
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 Ta’ala protect us and our children from the filth and depravity of the Western world sunk in perversion and immorality.
“Today (the Day of Qiyamh) we shall seal their mouths – and, their hands shall speak
(the evil they committed); and their feet will bear evidence as to what they practiced.” [Qur’an Ya-Sin 36:65]
To be cont..