Disaster in Our Homes
Video Games, Blockbuster Movies and Television
Shaykh Sulayman Gani, Special to sunniforum.com
Says Almighty Allah: “And there are among men those who purchase idle talk in order to mislead others from Allah’s path without knowledge, and who throw ridicule upon it. For such there will be a humiliating punishment.” (Luqmaan 31:6)
Al-Aalusi relates that Al-Hasan Al-Basri was reported as saying that ‘lahwal hadeeth’ includes “everything which distracts one from worship and the remembrance of Allah such as whiling the night in idle coversation or entertainment, jokes, superstitious tales, songs and the likes thereof.” Al-Aalusi supports this view, saying that the verse should be interpreted to include all such blameworthy words and deeds which divert one from Allah’s plan.
From what has preceded, it is to be understood that undoubtedly, the viewing of television, movies and the playing of violent video games falls under the general censure, blame and rebuke cast upon those who fall into this category.
In these days of moral turpitude every sunshine heralds a greater widespread of spiritual retrogression, tyranny and disaster. Our society is riddled with social maladies- drug abuse, violence, murder, rape….Today, one in four teenagers has committed a crime and parents are threatened with prosecution if their children persistently play truant. About 1.25 million of all young people have committed a criminal offence in the last 12 months, according to a draft official report on youth justice.Children as young as 13 are starting to experiment with drugs and these early users are more likely to move on to hard drugs such as heroin.
So as not to leave any room for doubt in the mind of the conscientious, truth-seeking believer I deem it necessary to turn to some real life situations.
A Daily Mail survey found a shocking range of violent games widely available on the high street and over the internet with minimal checks on the buyer’s age. Stefan Pakeerah a pleasant, harmless 14 year old was killed by his 17 year old friend in emulation of one such game-Manhunt- in which the ‘hero’ slaughters everyone who crosses his path, for no reason whatever beyond the fun of causing death.Thus a young man was obliterated as if he were a blip on the screen. Our children are born into an age where computer games celebrate and even glorify brutality for its own sake.
Research has shown that 12 to 14-year olds became markedly more aggressive the longer they played violent games.So watch out for the following games: Manhunt, Unreal Tournament, Hitman Contracts, Soldier of Fortune II , Grand Theft Auto 3, State of Emergency, The Suffering, Doom III. Michael Carneal, 14, serving life for killing three students during a 1997 gun rampage at a school in Kentucky enjoyed playing violent video games such as Doom and Redneck Rampage. In Doom III , Hell has opened and released the undead onto a terrified world. Players must destroy them and then enter the underworld itself or the world will succumb to evil. Players ‘survive by killing, killing and killing’. The original version is said to have played a part in the Columbine high school massacre.
Hamish McRae writes in the Independent: ‘Watch out: television makes us unhappy. TV damages society in two ways: it makes people more violent and makes them less satisfied with what they have.The impact of violence has been well documented. You can measure how children become more aggressive the more time they spend watching the box.’
On 20 April 1999 in the Columbine high school in Denver the teenagers responsible for the massacre of twelve fellow pupils as well as a male teacher were said to be influenced and inspired by Leonardo DiCaprio’s drug addicted student character in the film, Basketball Diaries” in which he guns down teachers and classmates at a school wearing a black trenchcoat. A 15 year old student went on a shooting spree at his high school, near Atlanta, leaving six pupils in hospital. The attack came exactly a month after the Denver massacre in America
Hollywood broke into a cold sweat as the parallels between the Denver massacre and a host of populur “killer teen” flicks became clear, I came across an article in the Independent Review on 5 May 2004 entitled, We’re all doomed (to watch disaster movies). Hollywood’s latest blockbuster promises epic death and destruction.There is a case that being allowed to look at so many levels of cinematic torture or cruelty only builds indifference to such things.Palestine: the suffering goes on. Iraq: the killings have escalated.
In the US, a 12-year old boy was covicted of murder when he killed a six-year old girl after copying a move he saw on a World Wrestling Federation (WWF) show.Teenagers who watch TV wrestling are more likely to be violent and anti-social, according to a new study.
Two teenage students from the Hadlow Agricultral College in Kent , obsessed with horror videos and worshipping the devil, meticulously plotted the death of their best friend, stabbing him twenty times, burning his body with barbecue lightener and mutilated it before returning to bury it in a shallow grave. They even ignored his cries for mercy.
Horror videos which included the titles ‘Children of the Corn’, ‘The Evil Dead’, including the hollywood film, ‘Scream’ as well as the British thriller, ‘Shallow Grave’ were found in the boys’ rooms. ‘Scream’ featured a group of friends on holiday who were attacked by a knife-wielding murderer. ‘The Evil Dead’ showed a zombie coming to life and attacking youths with an axe and carried it a sheet before burying it in woods.
In July 1999 two teenage boys repeatedly stabbed their friend (all three boys lived in Harrogate, Yorkshire) and left him for dead at the bottom of a 30ft cliff after watching a video of a horror film, Scream- in which college students are brutally stabbed.
We have been commanded by Allah to save ourselves and our families from the fire of Hell. The Prophet peace be upon him is reported to have said that you should command your children to perform salaah when they reach the age of seven and beat them (enforce them) to perform prayers at the age of 10 years. How are we going to achieve this when a recent study conducted by scientists found that for every hour of television watched daily, toddlers faced a 10 per cent increased risk of having attention problems by the age of seven. The scientists suggest toddlers suffer brain damage from watching even small amounts..
On 16 March 2004 the Times published an article entitled Ban TV for children under 2. Research suggests that parents who put young children in front of the television are leaving them prone to concentration problems, impulsiveness and restlessness by school age,. Recent studies have revealed a worrying prominence of television in young children’s lives, alongside a boom in pre-school programmes such as Fimbles, Tweenies and Teletubbies. The latter is thought to have almost a billion viewers around the world.
According to research from the Broadcating Standards Council, children who have access to digital or satellite watch 35 minutes more on average than those with terrestrial channels alone. Watching Scooby Doo on a loop is just one of the privileges that children of a previous generation never enjoyed. More disturbing were the chilling scenes in the BBC’s Child of Our Time, in which toddlers could be seen enacting a hammer attack against a doll which they had just viewed being beaten on television.
It has long been known that television watching slows brain activity.Within 30 seconds of watching, the brain waves change from being predominantly beta waves- the alert, conscious, attentive state- to being mostly the slower alpha waves associated with an unfocussed, receptive state.
If this is the case then how are we going to achieve to inculcate in our children the quaility of a believer, those that perform there salaah in humilty and abstain from futile activities.Remember that everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for those who are under his care.
Hamish McRae further states that TV also makes people less happy with what they have, for they see a world that exaggerates wealth.Apparently women feel less happy about their own bodies after looking at pictures of model, while men feel less good about their wives.So the more beautiful people you see on the box or in the glossy mags, the more miserable you are likely to feel about yourself and your partner. Oh dear.
Thawbaan (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said: “The people will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their dish. Someone asked: Will that be because of our small numbers at that time? He replied: No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will scum and rubbish like that carried down by a torrent, and Allah will take fear of you from the hearts of your enemy and cast ‘wahn’ into your hearts. Someone asked: What is wahn. The Messenger of Allah: He replied: Love of the world and dislike of death. ” (Related by Imam Ahmad with strong chains of reporters and Abu Dawud).
So people are made to desire the wealth and riches portrayed on the TV. The more a person has the more he craves to increase in his possession. He will never remain satisfied.I wonder at that person who believes in Paradise and the eternal life of the Hereafter should hanker after this world.
In the Daily Express, 28th July 2004, a leading doctor has blamed TV shows as Big Brother for the shocking rise in sexual diseases. Their real concern is to tackle the spread of infection whereas Allah says; “ O you who believe, Do not go near to zina.” Do not indulge in any activity that will case you to commit adultery or fornication
The Archbishop of Cantebury, Rowan Williams, is probably right when he says that the greed, superficiality, treachery and adultery depicted in ITV’s Footballers’ Wives is a depressingly accurate parable of modern Britain.
The f-word is now ubiquitous in so much British Television Drama and comedy (even the c-word is creeping in) to an extent unimaginable a few years ago. Channel 4’s No Angels is a prime example. So don’t be shocked when your child embarasses you with an f-word. After all he is an innocent child with an impressionable mind. Sarah Nathan, a deputy TV editor writes that in a new episode of US comedy show The Simpsons, he gets a criminal record for cheating Springfield residents out of wedding presents. So don’t be surprised if your child becomes a criminal.
The Messenger of Allah is reported to have said: “The world is glamorous and green and Allah has sent you as His vicegerents in it and is looking as to how you are behaving. Beware of the temptations of the world and beware of the mischief of women. The first fitnah that caused the destruction of the Bani Israel was because of women”.The Prophet is reported to have said: “Whoever guarantees for me what is between his jawbones and what is between his legs (that is, whoever can guarantee that his tongue and private parts will not be involved in forbidden acts), I guarantee for him Paradise.” (Recorded by al-Bukhari.)
Also take heed of the following verse of the Holy Qur’an: “O mankind! Verily, the promise of Allah is true. So let not this present life deceive you and let not the chief deceiver deceive you about Allah. Surely Shaytaan is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his followers that they may be from the dwellers of the blazing fire. " (Surah Fatir 35:5-6)
Allah says in the Qur’an, quoting a prayer of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him), “And disgrace me not on the day (when all creatures) will be resurrected. That Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who comes to Allah with a sound heart.” (al-Shuaraa 87-89). How can the heart be sound when the eye is committing zina by remaining glued to the TV? The eye is the window to the heart. The heart is never empty. Either we fill it with the love of Allah and the Prophet or the love of the dunya and desires.
How can the desires be controlled and surpressed if hours of precious time is squandered in front of the TV? It seems as if the TV has become the family’s nanny or childminder. But even worse, it has turned into a draconian matron demanding everyone’s constant attention. With children of all ages the TV is switched on almost constantly in order to accommodate their varying tastes. From Cbeebies , to Neighbours, The Simpsons or Friends and finally the evening round of soaps and lifestyle programmes.So serious is this malady of wasting time that even madressa and school homework is incomplete and for many adults and teenagers, the dust that have accumulated on the covers of the glorious Quran during the eleven months of the year will be wiped just before Holy month of Ramadaan.
So how can a person attain salvation when his Imaan is weak because the key to our salvation is Imaan and Istiqaamah as understood from the following hadith on the authority of Abu Amr- and it is also said Abu Amrah-Sufyaan ibn Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me a statement about Islam such that I will not have to be firm and steadfast to that.” (Recorded by Muslim) The key to Istiqaamah is the soundness of the heart and controlling of our tongue.
Our Imaan can only increase by loving Allah in emulating the life of the Messenger peace be upon him. How can we be true and just in our claim of love for Rasulullah (saw) if we are immitating the lifestyles of the rock stars, pop stars, shock stars and football stars- the likes of David Beckam. A married man with two children but having affairs. Is this your role model? How can we be illuminating our hearts with imaan when we take our Deen as an amusement and a sport by following the Olympics games in Athens. Says Allah: “There was for you in the messenger of Allah an excellent example whoever desires Allah and the Last Day."
The result and reward of steadfastness is found in the Qur’an. “Verily, those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah (alone),’ and stand firm and steadfast, on them will descend angels at the time of their death, saying), ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised. We have been your friends and protectors in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that you ask. A hospitable gift from (Allah), the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'” (Fussilat 30-32).
The proper istiqaamah will only come about when Imaan is firmly rooted in the heart. If the heart is sound the rest of the body will be sound but if the heart is diseased and corrupted the rest of the body will be diseased and corrupted. Penny Hancock is a mother of three TV-mad children. This is what shes got to say after she enforced a total two-week ban: “Now that it was gone our lives seemed imbued with a tranquillity we had rarely experienced.” Experience it for yourselves. Believe you me its worth the try. So make a start and give it a ban for two weeks before the month of Ramadaan sets in or it may be too late. “The soul does not know what is going to transpire the next day. The soul does not know on what part of the land it is going to die.” Until the root of the problem is not treated, there can be little hope of purging our communities of the plague of social maladies that are increasing day by day.
An intelligent person is the one who knows that he is going to die and makes immediate preparations for the life of eternal bliss and everlasting happiness by. May Allah illuminate our hearts with Imaan. May Allah give us the tawfeeq to increase in His remembrance. May Almighty give us the willpower to eradicate the evil and disaster from our homes.
Shaykh Sulayman Gani is Imam at the Tooting Islamic Centre in London