Tuesday, 01 April 2008 13:26
In Karachi the murder and mayhem have been going on for years. "The only social activities left in the city are those related to death," wrote a Karachi newsmagazine editorial some years ago. "Funerals, burial, mourning." When you leave the home in the morning, you don't know whether you'll return safely that evening. Wherever you look, you can see fear, uncertainty, depression. Yet, among all the fearing and grieving that accompanies the tragedy, the dish antennas on the rooftops have been flourishing. In the past at times of catastrophes people would turn to Allah, would stop going to the cinema houses, and would repent from sins, even though temporarily. Today, there is an ever-increasing appetite for the television fun. On days when a strike is called to protest Indian atrocities in Kashmir, the video stores in Karachi run out of videos of Indian movies.
In Saudi Arabia, one can find the imprints of Hollywood only a few yards away from the Haram, the most sacred of all sanctuaries of Islam. Video cassettes are easily available at stores. A hotel attendant, at a walking distance from the Haram al-Sharif in Makkah can be found busy watching English movies on the television in his office. At the Jeddah airport, the Umrah pilgrims can watch a European beauty contest courtesy of an Egyptian TV channel being broadcast to the airport television sets.
Throughout the world religious, moral and social values have been drastically undermined by this great "technological gift" of the century. And entire nations seem to be helplessly "enjoying" the invasion. When people are doing nothing, they watch television. When they are doing something else, they still have television in the background- The device has contributed to the addition of a new space in the architecture of the private home: the TV lounge. It is a space where perfect strangers come to pedal nudity, immorality, and hedonism. This is the space, which increasingly controls the entire house.
WHAT CAN BE DONE
Is there anything that us mortals can do about television? The answer is yes. Things can be done at individual, as well as collective levels. At the individual level, try using the ON/OFF switch. It takes some effort and will power, but the device can be turned off. The key is to involve the entire family. Those nervous about the idea may rest assured that there is no known disease linked to lack of exposure to TV! Also those who have tried it know that it becomes easier with time. Community Organizations can help by educating the people about the perils of watching TV, countering the social pressures, and providing healthy alternatives.
The best chance of kicking the television habit comes in Ramadan every year. It is the time of year when every Muslim who has any trace of Imaan in his or her heart, is naturally inclined toward doing good and staying away from evil. And it should be like that. Did not Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam curse the Muslim who finds Ramadan but does not use it to seek forgiveness for his previous sins.? If we cannot leave sins or vain activities during Ramadan, when can we? We not only have the strongest moral and religious reasons to do so, it is also easy because the regular activities of Ramadan leave little time to be wasted in front of the television.
Muslim organizations and communities will do a great service by launching a campaign to declare Ramadan as the TV free month (as a step towards making our life a T. V. free life). Urge all the Muslims in your community to turn it off for at least one month, And who knows, after one month many may decide to stay away from it because of the personal insights they got through the experience.
Of course, if you are convinced, do not wait until Ramadan. Start today.
(Courtesy: "Balaghzine" - Karachi)
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