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The Third Parent
category: Family Life
A close friend of mine went overseas to study Islam, and before he left he visited a family he knew. He said that as he left, he noticed the son – who was seven years old at the time – slacked out on his stomach, chin locked in his two hands, staring deathly at the TV. When he returned after four full years, he visited the same family 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 four years older.
This khutbah looks at the dark side of television. It is not intended to make you throw your television set off the balcony – although that would be nice. It is hoped that this khutbah will give you a better understanding of the destructive nature TV has on a person’s life, in this world and in the hereafter, not only on his own life, but also the lives of his family members.
In Qawaa’id Fiqhiyyaah there is a principle which states, "Al Waasaa’il ta’khudhu Hukm al-Ghaayaat," meaning, "The means takes the same ruling as the intention of what is trying to be attained." A television set, with its 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 halaal. Another example is that of a gun; it can be used for noble purposes, such as defending one’s land from aggression, or it can serve as a means of considerable harm, especially when given to a child.
In an Arab ESL class, the teacher, in his opening lesson asked the students what English words were taken from the Arabic language. A few hands went up and students said things like, "Chemistry from keemiyaa," "Algebra from al-gebr," "Physics from feesiyaa," etc. Then he asked them what Arabic words were taken from the English language and answers came quickly. "Raadiyo from radio, " "Dosh from satellite dish, "and of course "Tilfaaz from television."
What did the West take from us, and what did we take from them?
With regards to television, Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Al-Fataawa [3/227]:
"…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 that it is dangerous and very harmful to Islamic beliefs (aqeedah), 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 by portraying them in an off-putting manner that makes people despise them and ignore them. It shows people how to cheat, steal, hatch plots and commit acts of violence against others."
He continued, "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."
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, when Guraayj 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 to his mother. Because he did not reply to this mother’s call, she cursed him. She said, "May you see a prostitute!" She did not say, "May there be a relationship between you and a prostitute." She just said, "May you see (one)." And her curse is one that we may inadvertently be inflicting on our children the day we sanctioned the introduction of the third parent called TV. 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 radi Allahu anhu once passed by some people killing time by playing chess. He was shocked at this and angrily said to them, quoting the verse of the Qur’an: What are these IDOLS that you are standing in vigilance over?
What would he think if he saw the television set and the welcoming hug it receives in most Muslim homes? When a Muslim nation plays in the World Cup, over three million Muslims from that one country tune in to television to watch the game. Multiply that by the duration of the match, and you have almost five 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?
RasulAllah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said:
"The person shall be (on the day of Judgment) with those that he loves."
Tell a Muslim child that if he loves Michael Jackson so much, then on the Day of Judgment he will get to be with him. 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, even just the names, of those people that we hope them to be with!
Let’s ask ourselves, if we allowed our sons or daughters to put up a poster of their hero, the one whom they think is the 'coolest,' would their hero 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 a cartoon character) 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?
Some argue that TV time is monitored in the house by the parent. However, 95% of parents with children aged 8 and over don’t monitor the viewing material. Besides, what happens if the parent dies on the way to work one day and the children inherit the TV? RasulAllah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said:
"There is not a single shepherd (Ameer) that Allah entrusted with a flock – who if he dies in a state where he cheated them – Allah shall forbid him from entering paradise!" The 'ulama would quote this hadith in regard to the father in a Muslim country that would allow a satellite dish to enter into the home of 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 risaalah (message)! When Rib’ee ibn 'Aamir radi Allahu anhu stood at the hands of the king of Persia, he announced the message as proudly and as clearly 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!"
Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala states in the Qur’an:
"Verily! Hearing, sight, and the heart, all will be questioned (by Allah)." [Al-Israa 17/36]
And RasulAllah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam informed us that on the Day of Repayment, no one will move until they are asked about three things, one of which will be their youth and how they spent it.
How are we spending our time? Why do we waste it watching TV? What do our eyes see, what do our ears hear on TV and how is our heart affected by this?
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author: Yaser Birjas
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