Cartoon Caution

Vol 4- Issue 2  Cartoon Caution

Over the years, whenever I‘d fallen prey to the temptation of allowing the TV to baby-sit my son, I have only regretted. You might find this absurd or even far fetched, but the following incidents are true:

It all started when I decided to accompany my very eager son to watch a myriad of cartoons on cable TV. Our first encounter was with ‘Dexter’s laboratory.’ It showed two boys flirting with one another. Gay relationships in cartoons? I thought I was imagining things. I forbade him to watch it, instantly.

Next I decided to stick to the remakes of ‘Scooby Doo’ and ‘Popeye the Sailorman,’ only to discover that they highlighted romantic liaisons to a great extent. Provocative love scenes catering to children? When did that start happening? ‘No you can’t watch that either!’ I passed my verdict.

I supposed ‘Tom and Jerry’ to be a safe bet, as my son is very gentle and according to his teachers could afford to watch some violence to make him more aggressive for self defense purposes . It wasn’t the violence that I was afraid of. Smooching and flirting was introduced to many of its remakes too. Sigh! ‘You can only watch it with me!’ I decided, wondering if that was any good at all.

Next, I had the displeasure to watch ‘Courage the cowardly dog.’ The only vocabulary that any kid could learn from this cartoon was ‘STUPID.’ I told that to my son.

‘Ed, Edd, and Eddie’ was another popular cartoon that proudly showed its characters, spitting, picking their nose, belching, drooling, punching, etc. No wonder this cartoon rocked among kids. It told them to do everything their mom ever asked them not to!

After strong denial, I finally gave in to ‘Beyblade’ and ‘Pokemon.’ So what if they showed super natural powers, cross dressers, flirts and scantly dressed girls. Isn’t that what all television channels are showing these days?

I still wickedly try to make my son forget his TV hour by offering to take him to the park, or play a game or read his favourite story books. Sometimes my plans work but sometimes my son’s memory outsmarts me. Then I tag along for his TV viewing and try to explain what is good and what isn’t, just to find out what he thinks of all the objectionable stuff only a parent can see.

Its almost tragic to see children being robbed of their innocence. I only wish it could have been some other way. I remember growing up thoroughly enjoying cartoons. My mother never had to worry about it. There was hardly any element of moral or social corruption. Kids were allowed to be kids.

Today the tables have turned. The idiot box has turned into a lewd carton of filth and evil. What is most disturbing is that it encourages children to unlearn all the morals and etiquettes that parents edify. This is probably the reason why kids enjoy its uncontrolled freedom and get addicted to their choice of cartoon.

So those mothers out there who think it is safe to hand over their kids to the cartoon network, should most definitely think twice. Hire help for your home chores and take care of your child personally. The age of innocence is long gone; cartoons are just short of infant porn!

TV and Kids: Another Look

200486818-001Saulat Pervez reconsiders the influence of TV on kids by making it a part of their growing up process

Children, who have been taught or conditioned to listen passively most of the day to the warm verbal communications coming from the TV screen and to the deep emotional appeal of the so-called TV personalities, are often unable to respond to real persons, because they arouse so much less feeling than the skilled actors. Worse, they lose the ability to learn from reality, because life experiences are more complicated than the ones they see on the screen, and there is no one coming in at the end to explain it all. This being seduced into passiveness and discouraged about facing life actively (on one’s own) is the real danger of TV, much more than the often asinine or gruesome content of the shows. (Bruno Bettelheim)

When my two older children were small, watching television was a thing unknown in our family. Instead of growing up watching Sesame Street and Tom & Jerry, they found their fun and entertainment in their blocks, train sets, dolls, cars, and above all – stories.

As they grew older and television made an appearance in their lives, it was still a small nuisance, because we didn’t have cable. So they thrived on imaginary games with each other, expressed their creativity through drawings, Play Doh, building toys and continued to find much joy and happiness in the world of books.

But in a matter of time the cable arrived and with it a plethora of viewing options. At first, my children stayed within my influence, watching the more value-centric, educational cartoons. But soon enough, largely through the exposure from more experienced cousins, they were initiated into the tempting world of multi-channeled 24-hour cartoon mania. Still more disturbing, this loss of innocence was accompanied by an obsession to watch television at any and all times of day.

Every time the television was switched off after much cajoling, nagging, or downright threats, it was me against them. You can imagine my horror, as I watched my creative, enthusiastic and resourceful children slip into zombie-like, lethargic and uninterested beings, whose true pleasure now came in simply sitting back and getting entertained without making any effort. No longer were they interested in their toys or their games; suddenly, “I hate homework” comments started sprouting, and shoddy work was no big deal, as long as they were done with their work quickly and could run to the television set. Even reading could not bring them the thrill it once did. Every and any free time they had was spent on watching TV. Temper tantrums would be thrown and whining bouts heard, if they were prevented from doing so.

As a result, they became short-tempered and displayed very little patience, when it came to other activities, such as interaction with each other and those around them. Their cleverness also increased manifold: no matter how much I explained to them that if they watched TV, when they weren’t allowed to, it was tantamount to cheating, as soon as I turned by back, they would find a way to watch it. I naturally felt frustrated, outraged and at times helpless. It was as if all my years of effort in getting them started on a constructive, thoughtful and meaningful journey of life was simply falling apart right in front of my eyes.

My first instinct was to fight back. I would get irritated every time I’d find them in front of the black box. I would throw temper tantrums of my own. But over time, I have come to realize that my approach must be more sensible. No matter how angry I feel or how depressed I get about the situation, the television is here to stay. As the main protagonist in the movie “Quiz Show” put it:, “I thought I was going to get TV, but TV is going to get us.”

After reading “Teaching Children to Think” by Robert Fisher, I am convinced even more that the solution to this problem can be achieved with an out-of-the-box strategy. Throwing away the set or getting rid of cable would be easier, but in life those choices prove more complex.

Fisher advises parents to plan with their children ahead of time, what they wish to watch, and encourage them to think through, why they are interested in that particular program. He says that children take a lot of information from TV but it comes in ‘discrete forms’ with many concepts and important ideas missing. “For the child to benefit from TV,” Fisher states, “it is up to others to help (him/her) make connections, create networks of ideas, and to see significance.”

According to him, television should be a starting point for the building of a child’s curiosity and interest. We can turn TV-viewing into a positive experience if “thinking is switched on, when the set is switched off.” In this way, we can turn our children into thoughtful, sensitive and critical viewers.

This means that we as parents and caregivers must make it a point to spend time with our children, as they watch television, and to talk about their programs with them. It may not always be easy, but if we put in the requisite efforts in the beginning, our children will learn to make those connections and ask the right questions on their own pretty soon. The initial guidance, however, is imperative.

Incidentally, to lure our children away from the television, we will have to do the same: put in time with them. We must supply them with plenty of other options, such as puzzles and board games, and in many cases they will want our participation.

As Fisher recommended, we must teach our children to question and challenge what they watch – and that includes ads. If we manage to make them think as they watch, we have successfully gotten them started on a journey which will, Insha’Allah, eventually lead them to independent perceiving of the difference between right and wrong, the entertaining and the intellectual, the superficial and the insightful. May Allah (swt) help us in this and all our endeavors toward guiding the Amanah He has blessed us with. Ameen.

Umm Salamah (rta)

By Uzma Jawed

An exemplary and prominent figure, who has been conspicuous in our rich Islamic history, is one of the Ummahat Al-Mumineen, the ‘Mothers of the Faithful.’ Her name was Umm Salamah (rta). A detailed biographical sketch by Dr. Qadri mentioned that her real name was Hind. She was first married to her cousin Abdullah Bin Abdul Asad Makhzumi, who was better known as Abu Salamah (rta). They were among the first ones to embrace Islam.

They were also among those, who migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), where they had their first son Salamah (rta). After returning to Makkah, they migrated to Madinah. She was the first Muslim woman to do so. After reaching Madinah, Umm Salamah (rta) had another son and two daughters. In 4 A.H., Abu Salamah (rta) was seriously wounded in the battle of Uhud, and she became a widow while pregnant with her second daughter.

After the Iddat, Abu Bakr (rta) proposed to her, but she declined. After that, the Prophet (sa), who was well aware of Umm Salamah’s (rta) sense of honour and self-respect, proposed to her. According to “Great Women in Islam” by Mahmood Ghadanfar, Umm Salamah (rta) did not decline the offer but replied with reservations. She told him that she was very sensitive, of old age and had several children. The Prophet (sa) answered that they would pray to Allah (swt) to relieve her from this extreme sensitivity. As far as age was concerned, he told her that he was an elderly man himself. Moreover, regarding the children, he wished to be their guardian. Therefore, Umm Salamah (rta) accepted the proposal and was wedded to Prophet Muhammad (sa).

A Muslim woman can succeed the most, if she follows the best women in the best generation, which were nurtured in the best house – that of the Prophet (sa). So let us learn from Umm Salamah (rta), who was known for her patience, perseverance, valor, generosity, wisdom, and intelligence.

Patience & Perseverance

When Umm Salamah (rta) was about to migrate from Makkah to Madinah with Abu Salamah (rta) and their son, her family intercepted them, refusing to let their daughter accompany him. The members of her husband’s clan said to Umm Salamah’s (rta) family that if that were the case, then their son Salamah would remain with his father. Thus, all three of them underwent the pain of living separately. Yet, in the face of such harassment, Umm Salamah (rta) persevered and kept to the right path she had chosen.


Upon the separation from her husband and son, Umm Salamah (rta) would every day go on a hillock longing and praying for them. Eventually, her prayers were answered and a kindhearted man from her clan interceded on her behalf and helped reunite her with them with her family’s permission. She traveled to Madinah alone, as nobody from her family was willing to accompany her. Usman Ibn Talhah saw her traveling alone with a baby and decided to help her reach her destination safely. Her complete faith and trust in Allah (swt) did not deter her from the long and hazardous journey. And because of her courage and absolute trust in Allah (swt) she was able to overcome all odds and complete the journey.


Umm Salamah (rta) was well known for her generosity. She never sent a beggar or needy person empty-handed. There was an incident, when a few destitutes came and begged persistently for alms. Umm Hasan, who was with Umm Salamah (rta) at that time, reprimanded them. Umm Salamah (rta) stopped her saying: “We were not ordered to do that. Do not let them go empty-handed. Even if there is nothing, give them at least a date.”


Umm Salamah (rta) was very astute and had a unique understanding of human psychology. After the truce of Hudaybiyah, the Prophet (sa) ordered his Companions to sacrifice their animals and shave their heads. But they all seemed reluctant to obey the command of the Prophet (sa), as the terms of the treaty did not favour Muslims, and this angered the Prophet (sa). When Umm Salamah (rta) heard of this, she suggested to the Prophet (sa) to offer the rituals himself first, and then the others would follow. She proved to be right.


In ‘Biography of the Women Companions of the Holy Prophet (sa),’ Maulana Nadvi says: “Regarding intellectual qualities and scholarship, no one excelled Umm Salamah (rta) and Aisha (rta). Both the great ladies were a store house of the traditions of the Holy Prophet (sa) as vouchsafed by Mahmud son of Labeed in Tabeqat Ibn-Sa’ad.”

Umm Salamah (rta) preserved many prophetic traditions. She enhanced her knowledge by thoroughly inquiring about every facet of religion and then spreading that knowledge. Abu Hurairah (rta) and Abdullah Ibn Abbbas (rta), despite their great knowledge of Islam, would consult with Umm Salamah (rta) in many finer points of the Shariah. In the science of Hadeeth, she narrated approximately 378 traditions of the Prophet (sa).

Moreover, she was well versed in jurisprudence. The great scholar Allam Ibn Qayyim says that from her rulings on various issues, one whole book of jurisprudence can be compiled. In addition, Umm Salamah (rta) topped the list of the Companions, whose judgments on points of law were regarded as valid.

Umm Salamah (rta) was an outstanding Muslim woman. Her exemplary lifestyle is something each one of us can learn from. If we try to emulate her in every aspect of our lives starting from matters of religion and submission to Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) to our innate self (including our conduct and character), we could truly be on the way to success in this world as well as the Hereafter.