Praise be to Allah the Lord of the world, blessings and salutation on the prophet Muhammad (SAW), his entire household, his companions and those who follow in his footsteps.
It can be argued that television is one of the medium of communication without which the society may be in abysmal ignorance. Though this assertion is to some extent true; television is also a tool for the propagation of lots of evil and haram acts. The most common of which is music and immoral and illicit dressing both of which Allah says in the Quran:
“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing etc.) to mislead (men) from the path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the path of Allah, the verses of the Quran) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment” [luqman: 6]
Also “O children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts, etc.) and as an adornment, and the raiment of righteousness, that is better. Such are among the ayat of Allah that they may remember” [Al Araf: 26].
Since every home in every corner of the earth now has a television, it has become a necessity to shed more light on the issue and explain the dangers of television in a clear and broad manner for the benefit of every Muslim who is seeking pleasure from Allah the most high.
THE DEFINITION OF TELEVISION
Television (TV) is a telecommunication medium which converts visual images (with sound) into electrical signals, transmits them by radio or other means and displays them electronically on a screen either in monochrome (black and white) or in polychrome (several colors). Television is used by several people for different purposes some of which includes: creating awareness, advertising of products, airing of television shows, news, movies, religious programs and inspirational talks.
ISLAMIC VIEW ON WATCHING TV
The issue of watching TV is not free from numerous reservations from the shar’ia point of view. While some are of the opinion that TV watching is forbidden unless one limits it to what is beneficial, good and lawful, others are of the opinion that TV is an embodiment of sin and immorality and should be totally shunned.
TV if used properly is a great invention and must be used effectively by the ummah to propagate the truth of Al-Islam, or used to watch good scientific or educational programs or news programs. There are many Islamic channels on television like the IQRA CHANNEL, SAUDI CHANNEL, which are extremely good and wholesome and at times invite some of the best scholars of our time to give their views and sermon. But in addition to these advantages of television, there are a lot more disadvantages which accompany the institute of television some of which are discussed below:
MUSIC AND TELEVISION
Music has become an integral part of TV programs so much so that no TV show is complete without music. Islam has forbidden music in unambiguous terms as music in Islam is regarded as a great sin. Narrated by Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari, the Prophet (SAW) said: “from among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcohol, and the use of musical instruments as lawful.” Allah also says in the Qur’an: “successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their salat will all solemnity and full submissiveness. And those who turn away from vain talk” [Al-muminun: 1-3].
TELEVISION AS AN AGENT OF ZINA (Fornication)
All practices, things and institution which aid and foster fornication and immodesty are forbidden by Islam. There are different categories of zina. The messenger of Allah 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 that 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 hadith, the zina commited by the various parts of the human body is emphasized. 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 of nudity, lascivious and perversive content on the TV screen constitutes the zina of the heart. Television therefore is a powerful stepping stone for fornication. Allah says in the quran: “today (the day of qiyamah) we shall seal their mouths- and, their hands shall speak the evil they committed, and their feet will bear evidence as to that which they practiced.” [Ya-sin: 65].
TELEVISION AND TIME
Time in Islam is of great importance so much so that Almighty Allah in the Quran takes an oath by time and says: “by the time…”[Al-asr: 1]. Nowadays, all kinds of films are projected during prayer time to restrict people from attending to their prayers on time. How many muslims get up for congregational prayers while watching football? How many muslims turn off the TV late at night so as to be able to get up for fajr? The student undoubtedly neglects his duties and his learning. Friends nowadays instead of recommending to each other various Islamic books recommend movies,shows etc. “by the time. verily! Man is in loss. Except those who believe (in Islamic monotheism) and do righteous deeds and recommend one another in truth and recommend one another to patience.” [Al-asr: 1-3]
TELEVISION DIVERTS MAN’S ATTENTION FROM THE REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH
TV does not only prevent you from remembering Allah while watching it, but even prevents you from thinking of Allah all the time. During the day, instead of Allah, you think about which program you have watched last night and what movies are waiting for you tonight. While praying all you are able to think about was what went wrong with your football team last night and why they lose. Allah says in the quran “the life of this world is but play and amusement, and the abode of the hereafter is best for those who fear Allah. Will you then not understand?”[Al-anam: 32].
NUDITY AND IMMORALITY
The most glaring evil perpetrated by television is nudity and sexual immorality. TV as an institution is widely used to exhibit the female body. TV exhibits immodesty and immorality in their crudest and wildest form by depicting the actual sex acts and above all it insolently and audaciously passes it off as “educational”. Islam has banned all forms of immorality,immodesty and shamelessness. Narrated by Abdullah ibn mas’ud the messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “be shy of Allah as much as is his due. Whoever is shy of Allah as much as is his due should protect his head and that which it comprises (i.e. mind, mouth, ears), his stomach and that which is adjoining it (i.e. preserve it from unlawful wealth and protect the private parts from the unlawful), and he should remember death and that which is to come after it; and whoever desires the hereafter should abandon the adornments of this world. Whoever fulfills these duties has been shy of Allah as much as is His due.”(Musnad Ahmad). Allah (SWT) also says: “verily, those who like that fahishah (shamelessness,promiscuity) should be circulated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not” [An-noor: 19].
TV AND VIOLENCE
Violence is frequently depicted (such as rape, killing etc.) on television and may have negative effects on impressionable children (and adults). Kids who see violent acts are more likely to display aggressive or violent behavior. Studies have shown a lasting correlation between watching violence on television and aggression that begins in late childhood and continues into adulthood.
LOSS OF HAYA (Modesty)
Islam is a religion which teaches muslim men as well as women to cultivate shame (haya) in them because shame is a quality which helps cultivate mutual respect. The holy prophet Muhammad (SAW) has even made us known that Allah (SWT) joined shame (haya) together with iman (faith). As long as someone has shame in him, his faith shall be alive, but if he loses his shame, he loses also his faith, and he begins to act like an animal. The prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “haya will not bring anything except good” and “iman (faith) consist of more than sixty branches and modesty is a part of faith”. Through the various obscene TV channels proposed to people, television has taken away shame from that community.
BEING NEGATIVELY INSPIRED
Our favorite actors are often shown consuming alcohol or smoking a cigarette also inclusive are scenes where we see the actors stealing or hatching plots. Young people often get negatively inspired to do what these actors are doing as a lot of them have taken them as their role models. Of which Allah says in the quran: “o you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, altars and arrows of chance are afflictions which are the work of the devil; so avoid him, that you may succeed”.
TV CREATES ILLUSION
Series and stories of romances divert man’s attention from Allah and transports one into the realm of illusion and imagination. 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. The prophet PBUH said that Allah says: “if my servant draws near to me a span of a hand length, I draw near to him an arm’s length, and if he draws near to me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to me walking, I go to him at speed.” [Bukhari, Muslim, Trimidhi, Ibn majah and Imam ahmad].
Nowadays it is not uncommon to see young adults who know how to operate a gun or break in to a house as they have learnt a lot of this from watching movies and series on the TV. Also from the above, we can see that TV includes the presentation of bad morals, semi nakedness, immoral pictures etc. it encourages imitation of ways of dressing which are not accepted by Islam, committing of acts of violence, drinking, gambling and also cheating. Children gather incomplete knowledge from a lot of adult channels which have been made accessible and more often than not try to repeat what they have seen being done as we now hear about in stories of sibling having sex with one another.
From the above, we may conclude that what the television is causing the ummah is more than the benefits derived from it. If television can be censored to air only that which is lawful and allowed, it is an effective tool for Da’wah.
EXCERPT: AL-BAYAAN (A publication of MSSN UNILORIN) Issue no 18, Shawaal 1440H June 2018 C.E , page 22.