Waving Goodbye to Disney

The Old Walt Disney Castle LogoMariam experienced a dilemma, after going through the most popular Disney videos: Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Tangled and the like. Her daughter Hannah was a die-heart fan of the Disney movies. She was soon out of her ocean of thoughts, as she caught a glimpse of Hannah, who was flying with happiness after receiving a gift from her aunt – a dress that resembled the one worn by Cinderella, her favourite Disney character.

“Happily Ever After is Only in Jannah.” This expression, which she had recently read in an Islamic book, was banging on her level of consciousness and unconsciousness unceasingly.

“What am I teaching my girl? Am I myself pushing her in the world of deception and fiction? Will it not create a rift between the real and false? Would it not create a dissonance?” A series of questions flowed into her mind adding volume to her vulnerability.

Hannah, wearing that pretty Cinderella dress, was enjoying her meal with father, and for the first time, she did not seem to gain her mother’s warm look and praise.

“Daddy, see how pretty this dress is,” she was bouncing with delight.

Am I myself pushing her in the world of deception and fiction? Will it not create a rift between the real and false?

“My girl is the prettiest girl in the world!” Danial was overwhelmed to see her. “And she is fairer than snow white. And one day her prince will come and take her away from us to her palace, where there will be dwarves to serve my girl.”

“….and I will live happily ever after with my prince,” added Hannah.

Mariam used to be part of these discussions. She was the one who would always uplift and praise her daughter, show her hopeful dreams and a bright happy future ahead with her husband-to-be. It is a fact that mothers start to reflect on their daughter’s wedding the day they are born. They hope and pray for the unsurpassed, super perfect soul mate for their daughters.

After putting her daughter to sleep, she thought of sharing her recent thoughts with Danial. She tried her level best to phrase her words in such a way that they wouldn’t sound judgemental and cynical. “Dani, don’t you think we are communicating ample details of Disney stories to Mariam and thus leading her expectations to rise to a level of unmet fulfilments about her future marriage and husband?” she asked with a concerned look.

A widespread smile touched his lips. He said, “She is just seven years old; she does not know all this. It is just a story. Come on, you cannot be serious about it.” His statement caused her jaw to drop down in shock. Regaining composure, she said: “It is a serious matter. We are instilling falsehood in her perception and pushing her into the world of deception. We are making her believe that after getting married with her prince, she will have a happy life.”

“Do you remember Hijab, who was studying psychology?” she exclaimed anxiously.

He raised his eyebrow and paused for a while, as if he was sorting out her name from his long term memory. “Oh yes! That weird lady!” he exclaimed, with an outburst of laughter. He knew it very well that Mariam is very touchy about her friends, especially that one. He just wanted to make the situation lighter. But it did not make any change.

Ignoring his prank, she continued: “The other day, she was telling me about the subliminal cues these cartoons depict. She quoted that one cartoon named Lion King which was about a lion named Simba. According to a research, the wind that caused Simba’s hair to move had a message in disguise. With naked eye one cannot see, but mind being the master piece can absorb the meaning without any deliberate effort. When the wind was seen in slow motion, the word ‘sex’ was written.” She looked so stunned and worried communicating all this.

This information caught Danial’s attention, too. “Are you sure about it?” he exclaimed.

“She said so. Allah (swt) knows best. But we cannot deny the fact that cartoon nowadays are full of filth and sexuality. Apart from the ‘happily after notion’, they are also giving some really dangerous and unacceptable messages, which are gradually seeping into our culture and becoming a part of our norms.”

“And yes, how can we ignore that birthday party incident that took place in school, where kids kissed on lips after cake cutting ceremony. According to them, they were dating, and the Disney movies end by this kissing scene. We are making it so absorbent.”

“Hmm-mm,” he sighed. Lost in his thoughts, he uttered: “The discussion has reminded me of my mother. She used to say that this world is a prison for a believer. Life in this world will be full of pain, sorrows and tests, but the later life will be eternal, loaded with happiness, ease, laughter and tranquillity. It is we, who decide, which life to be treasured. If we keep our focus here then we are at a total loss as we are sacrificing permanent peace for temporary peace. We are so involved in this world’s deception that we don’t even consider the righteousness of our thoughts and actions, of our intention and preferences.”

Mariam was at ease now. It is an immense blessing, when both partners are on the same page.

We are so involved in this world’s deception that we don’t even consider the righteousness of our thoughts and actions, of our intention and preferences.

“So what can we do now? I mean, since we have induced so much love for Disney world in Hannah’s heart – how to detox it?” she asked him.

He said: “It will be difficult, but nothing is impossible, if we really intend to do it. First of all, together we should supplicate. Repent for our mistake and beg for Allah’s (swt) aid.”

“Divert her interest to such other activities as baking, for example,” Mariam added her suggestion. “Yes, this sounds good. In addition to this, we can talk to her about Jannah, its gardens and eternal life and will try to shift her idea of happiness to it. And make her greedy to do good deeds, in order to acquire Jannah,” he added. “Most importantly, we should tell her stories about the lives of Asiya (ra) and prophet Noah (as), who, despite their piety and spirituality, ended up getting bad spouses, which became a source of pain, not pleasure. This will make her realize that marriage is not all about ‘happily ever after’; likewise, that your goodness will not guarantee you the pleasures of life in this world.”

She concluded by saying: “So true! It is our trial period. Our real home is Jannah, and its pleasure and happiness should be our sole aim. In this world, bad things can happen with good people, too. This all has brought the negligence in us towards reality.

As the clock struck two at night, they finally retired to bed, having discussed their vision and formed a firm strategy to follow with the help of Allah (swt).

Symbolism in the Mass Media

Apr 11 - Mass Media

By Hooruneen Sheikh and Binte Aqueel

The first ten verses of Surah Al-Muminoon outline the defining characteristics of a true believer, who will make it to Jannah. Of these, one of the important characteristics is that “they stay away from Al-Laghw” – all those things, which waste time and give no benefit.

We have been cautioned against this weapon of Shaitan at another place in the Quran, where Allah (swt) tells him:

“‘And befool them gradually, those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e., songs, music, and any other call for Allah’s disobedience), make assaults on them with your cavalry and your infantry, mutually share with them wealth and children (by tempting them to earn money by illegal ways, usury, etc., or by committing illegal sexual intercourse, etc.), and make promises to them.’ But Shaitan promises them nothing but deceit.” (Al-Isra 17:64)

It is interesting to note that we do not directly hear Shaitan’s ‘voice’ or see attacks from his ‘cavalry and infantry’. Indeed, he employs more subtle ways to misguide humankind and fulfill his promise to Allah (swt). He does to through the mass media and popular culture.

Much has been written and discussed about the satanic messages and symbols in the mass media. A surge of articles, reports, documentaries and videos seeking to expose the satanic roots of the entertainment and media industry have taken the cyber world by storm. While one may not agree with all the theories purported by these documentaries and reports or the fact that it is part of a greater plan to implement a pre-Dajjal system before his actual appearance, some revelations of imagery used in popular culture, however, do give one the creeps.

To have a clearer understanding of this symbolism in the mass media, let us take a look at some examples of imagery in popular songs, movies and cartoons.

Pervasive, Overt and Subtle Sexual Imagery

The way the media seems to be evolving today, the presence of sexual imagery in its overt form is no longer surprising. It has become the norm. However, when such imagery is slipped into cartoons, movies and songs in a more covert manner, especially in places where one least expects them, there is a reason for alarm. Here are a few examples:

–          The word ‘sex’ appears to be written in the shape of the clouds in the popular cartoon “The Lion King”.

–          Another cartoon shows a portrait of a naked woman in the background of a regular scene.

–          One of Disney’s most praised pieces of work, “Fantasia”, shows a nude woman openly displaying her bosoms during one of the songs in the cartoon. In another scene, during the same song, flames shape-shift into naked dancing women. The imagery is vivid, yet it is so fleeting that one barely notices it, but it has its effect on the child’s mind.

Use of Occult and Masonic Symbols

Such images as the one-eyed Masonic symbol and the symbol of the checkered floor,, which is of pagan and Masonic origin, can be found in popular songs, movies and cartoons. Logos of products and media companies also carry similar symbols.

–          One advertisement of Nickelodeon carried a clear image of one eye.

–          In the popular children’s cartoon “Dumbo”, the elephant carried the one-eye symbol in one of its songs. The current popular cartoon “Ben 10” shows a character which transforms himself into a one-eyed creature.

–          Disney’s famed production “Fantasia” has one of its most popular characters adorned with the horns of Satan.

–          In the popular movie “Matrix”, the lead character Neo can only leave this world and visit Morpheus by walking on the checkered floor. Only then do ‘the doors’ open. They are the mode of transportation. The checkered pattern represents the merging of both worlds – of the Jinns and humans. All Masonic rituals have to take place on the checkered floor. Note that Cartoon Network’s emblem shows a checkered floor in the background.

  • The popular children’s cartoon “Aladdin” uses the concept of a blue genie, which grants all of Aladdin’s wishes. Among the gifts this ‘Jinn’ presents to Aladdin are the ‘ladies in red’, which represent the devilish allure of the world. (Notice how most of the female models of today wear red on the “red” carpet and in commercials). Then, the genie presents Aladdin with ‘the contract’ and lures him through worldly pleasure, implying that his worldly wishes can come true through such practice.
  • Popular singer Madonna’s song “Frozen” shows Madonna shape-shifting like Jinns into black crows.
  • Popular singer Britney Spears performs her song “I am a Slave for You” with a snake wrapped around her.

These are just some of the examples of imagery used in the mass media. The examples are endless, but what it all comes down to in the end is: how do we keep ourselves, our children and families safe from such explicit and implicit imagery in the popular media?

“No TV” Policy

There is no option better than eliminating TV from your family life. The void can be filled with interactive family sessions such as playing games, doing projects, visiting places, socializing with relatives, etc. This definitely entails more sacrifice and investment of time on the part of the parents as it will be difficult to separate kids from TV, especially if they are already addicted to it. However, once achieved, this feat will improve the quality of your family life immensely.

Exercise control

If the above doesn’t work, make it clear to yourself, your family and your kids that it is not okay to watch all sorts of media content. There should be a conscious control over what is being watched. While there are objectionable forms of content, there is other media content that can be enriching and educational, while being entertaining at the same time. We must learn where to draw the line.

Chaperoned Viewing

Most moms prefer using the television as a baby-sitter to get some relief, while their children get lost in the magical world of the idiot box. It is imperative to understand that handing over your kids to the TV is not safe. While you would never leave your kids alone on the street, leaving them alone with a media that is filled with imagery and concepts that pose a threat to their values and religion should not be an option either.

Sit down with your kids as they watch their favourite cartoons, control what these favourite cartoons are, discuss what aspects of the show they just watched are acceptable and what was wrong, how some parts conform to or go against their religious beliefs, etc. Eventually, you will realize that pure entertainment sessions become more educational for your child and the awareness they build will go a long way in keeping them wary of what influences they do or do not accept from the media in the future.