Will It Ever Stop?


It has to stop. At this very moment, as I take my next breath, another woman, man, and/or child is being violated in the worst of ways. Beaten, raped, and humiliated. It's not nice to hear about these ugly things that plague our world, but they're happening. Sometimes it's right under our noses.

Unfortunately, I recently watched some television shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, and Law and Order. Most of the criminal cases in these shows refer to some crude and violent action used to kill a person. Worse still, these programs, though filled with the drama of Hollywood, actually showed the individuals being tortured and killed. I hate it. I hate it. I couldn't help but wonder if it is shows such as these that we can thank for the phenomenally high rates of rape and violence against women. I wonder, is it reality that provides the scripts for these shows or are the shows providing scripts for sick minds that are looking for sadistically creative ways to hurt others. I think it's a combination of both.

I'm not sure what's worse, the fact that people watch this and eventually become desensitized to such horrendous injustices or that people (because there are people who are responsible for this) actually act these things out, tape it, and then put it on national TV. Honestly, I think it's one disgusting cycle, and I question how it ever came to exist.

It goes without saying that some people in the world are walking around with stones in place of what was once a pure and innocent heart. There are vicious cycles of violence occurring. Often, crimes committed in adulthood are attributed to problematic childhoods. Why do people have bad childhoods? Often because their parents don't do their jobs and often even harm their children in horrible, horrible, horrible ways.

How do we change this? In one lecture, Shaykh Anwar Al Alwaki (may God preserve him and give him tawfeeq, ameen) talked about how at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), his companions would follow the laws revealed in the Quran immediately upon the revelation of the verses. He sited the incident when alcohol was declared forbidden through revelation. Those who heard the revelation from the lips of our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) took the news to the rest of the city. At the time, one of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) [whose name I cannot recall] was pouring alcohol for others. Upon hearing the revelation, he immediately threw the alcohol away. Those who had alcohol in their cups, immediately threw that away. Those who had alcohol in their mouths, immediately spat it out, and some who had just ingested alcohol even went to the length of inducing vomit. Glory be to God!

Shaykh Anwar Al Awlaki also reminds us about how the US attempted to ban alcohol but failed because people became involved in bootlegging and found other illegal ways to produce and consume alcohol which eventually led to bad health conditions for the people.

The effort to ban alcohol in the US was an expensive venture that was sadly unsuccessful. So why were the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) able to respond so diligently and wholeheartedly to the prohibition of alcohol? Maybe because they had a blessed Prophet (peace be upon him) living among them? Hmm.. perhaps. But had the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told them the same in Makkah as soon as they became Muslims, it wouldn't have worked so well. Why? Because while in Makkah, the new Muslims were still learning the meaning of faith (or imaan).

What does faith mean today? What does it mean to have a closeness to our Creator? What does it mean to submit to our Creator? The companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him and may God's mercy be upon all of the Prophet's companions) submitted to the Oneness of God in the truest way possible. I pray for this submission and long to keep the company of those who have it. We need it.

This world needs a return to truth. This world needs a return to justice. This world needs a return to peace.

Shaykh Anwar Al Awlaki continued his lecture by sharing the key to becoming a successful thief namely that one should aim to take that which is light in weight yet great in value. The same key can be used by those of us struggling to open the door to imaan. One of the lightest yet highly valuable ways to achieve our goal is to continuously remind ourselves about our purpose in life and to remember our Lord (engage in dhikr) in all that we do.

For the love of God, we need to change things. It's not okay to entertain ourselves with programs that depict violence of others. It's a serious matter. Injustices must not be taken lightly.

We can't keep hitting the snooze button. It is way past time to wake up. Let's wake up!

O Lord, help us all, ameen!


iMuslim said...

Assalamu 'alaykum my dear sister,

You are speaking of a subject dear to my own heart - television!

For me, TV was the third parent growing up. I used to be such a telly addict. That was until Ramadaan 2005 when i decided enough was enough! I was tired of being dictated to by fictional characters. I managed to cut TV out of my life for quite a while - it was so hard though. One of the hardest things was trying to fill in the time i now had spare! Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki helped me out in that dept. I've listened to his CDs many times over now!

The problem is that i have recently been slipping back into old habits. I am watching TV, but restrict myself to news and factual programs (Nat. Geo, Discovery, History channel etc) - but even here one can note the pushing of certain agendas and ideologies. I wonder how "free" the free media really is?


Farzeen said...

Wa 'alaykum assalaam wa rahmatu Allah wa barakaatu :)

Ahlan wa sahlan dear sister! I'd offer you some tea and biscuits, but I'm afraid the tea may get cold before you get it. Insha'Allah one day :).

Thanks for your comment. Well, TV in itself isn't bad... sort of like the Internet. It just depends on how we use it. We're humans, we sometimes need time to unwind and we enjoy new stimuli that gets the brain cells working in different ways. In fact, I think there is probably some benefit in watching some of the factual programs that you mentioned... but of course, in moderation.

As you alluded to, whatever the media says has to be taken with a grain of salt..but generally, we can learn so much about the world around us through some of the programs.

I find that when we try to grow spiritually, we have to really take the time to asses what's going on inside our hearts and minds and aim for that which puts both the heart and mind in balance and harmony with each other, insha'Allah. If you feel that watching news/factual programs actually weakens you in your deen, then it would probably be best to stay away again, but if it doesn't hinder your level of imaan and if you are benefitting from it.. say bismiAllah, keep your intention good, and insha'Allah it'll count towards your good deeds. :) -Wa Allahu'alim.

There is a scholar in the US who came to teach a couple of classes here once. His name is Sidi Omar Mahmoud, and he is yet another gem for our ummah (may Allah preserve him and give him tawfeeq, ameen). Anyway, during one class he described a show that he watched on TV about penguins..hmm..or was it about seals...something like that anyway. He described the animals' behaviour with such fascination and zeal...reminding us that learning about the world around us is also a means to get closer to the One who created it all, insha'Allah. I'm not sure what made me smile more... what he was saying or how he was saying it :).

iMuslim said...

Salaams again sis,

"In fact, I think there is probably some benefit in watching some of the factual programs that you mentioned... but of course, in moderation."

I remember watching a nature program once, and it featured some wild boars roaming around in the forest. They showed the boars digging into the growth with their noses, looking for truffles and other goodies to eat. The commentator noted that this instinctive action actually helped the forest fauna, as it overturned the leaf litter and helped in the natural recycling process. I was so amazed at the revelation, because i've kinda always wondered why Allah created the pig (and its cousin the boar) when they are meant to be such foul creatures! Subhanallah, it felt great that Allah allowed me to have a sneaky peek into His Master Plan; truly He is the all-Knowing, Most Wise.


Farzeen said...

Wa 'alaykum assalaam

Thanks for sharing that sis..now I, too, know a bit more about the pig. :)

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]