Help your children stay safe

safe-kidsChildren are one of the lovely blessings of Allah (swt). Having children and grooming them according to Islam to become a good human is very difficult. The lap of a mother is the first institution for a child where he learns about the world, and the principles of piousness.

Protecting your child from the dark shadows of the world is highly challengeable. There are a number of people who have a sense of right and wrong; but there are also a number of people who have an unstoppable urge for this world- simply called as the devil for the society- whose sole purpose is to spread the mess.

“For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind”- provide it to your child!

Some of the things that mainly vitiate your child are:  media, bad environment, bad company, internet, and also, sensual female protagonist games. Try to keep away your children from fight-oriented movies and games because it may bring aggressiveness, frustration, obstinacy and revolt in them. Moreover, it also declines their IQ level.

Prepare and prevent, rather than repair and repent!

To protect your child, you should train in such a way that they themselves can mark between the good and bad.  Especially, this is the responsibility of a mother to teach them about the dubious people wearing the mask of innocence.

Love and trust- go together!

  • Always show that you really trust them. Try to spend proper time with your child. If they try to tell something but hesitate, then let them feel comfortable with yourself because you are the only one who is nearest to them and understands their emotions.
  • Teach your child  that no one has right to see, touch or play with your private body parts
  • They must never accept any food stuff or gift from a stranger. They must refuse their offer on the spot and leave. .
  • Sometimes, the children think that they are at fault, and their elder would punish them or beat them; they start hiding the things which leads to destruction because of the absence of guidance.

Hug you kids at home, but belt them in cars!

Don’t leave your child alone at home or anywhere with servants. If your child is an extrovert, and starts talking to anyone, then softly advise him/her not to talk to strangers.

The Media-mania

Media is one of the biggest monsters and a catastrophe for our children. No one has time to keep an eye on them. There are so many tactics using which you can save children from the destruction. For instance- set a specific time to watch the television. Discuss their views on the program which they watched; but remember, do not show them that you keep a check on them; or make them feel that you are an investigator.

Filter your conversation with your child according to his/her age and understanding. In this century, no doubt, grooming children is like a Rocket Science. Parenthood brings a huge responsibility your shoulders.

Delivering the best knowledge to your child is an on-going struggle. Global knowledge along with the knowledge of religion is what makes the child rise and shine. Islam is the best code of conduct for all.

The Ideal Home

vancouver_house_sizeWhat makes a perfect home? Must it be designed and landscaped by a renowned architect and interior decorated in line with the principles of Feng Shui? Should it be located in idyllic surroundings or must it be in an upscale suburb with easy accessibility to health and education facilities?

The man, as Ameer of the family, must provide for a suitable accommodation for his family. Physical comfort, social status and budget constraints dictate our choices, but as a Muslim, we need to consider the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah when building our home and laying the foundations of a harmonious family life and thereby a stable society. As a wise saying goes: “A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.”

Proximity to the Mosque

We tend to consider our physical and emotional well-being when locating a house, ignoring our spiritual needs. For a Muslim household, proximity to a mosque where the Imam has a sound knowledge and understanding of Islam is essential. The male members of the house must perform obligatory Salah in the mosque; this interaction with fellow Muslims of the neighbourhood leads to strengthening of the bonds of brotherhood and unity. Whatever they learn from the mosque and the Khutbah of the Imam, they are likely to convey and implement amongst their family. Living away from a mosque puts our Deen in danger of succumbing to the numerous Fitnah of this world. Likewise, given the current situation of the Muslim world, a misguided prayer leader is likely to lead astray the youth of his neighbourhood towards incorrect ideologies.

Good Neighbours

This is often difficult to judge, but it is important to choose a locality that is well organized and maintained and where the families seem educated and interact with each other. The community in which your family will mingle will greatly influence their speech, interests and manners. Neighbours can be a source of great comfort and support, especially in times of need. According to a Hadeeth of the Prophet (sa), one of the blessings (Khair) of this life is a good neighbour.

Internal Harmony

Physical comfort and beauty are never everlasting, but the effects of strong Iman on our personal relationships and ensuing good deeds can be felt across time and generations. A house can never be a home- if it is not a source of love, comfort and solace to its dwellers. As Ameer, the man must endeavour to be an exemplary husband and father. The Prophet (sa) said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)  Avoid parental confrontation in front of the children to your utmost, since it undermines the children’s self confidence; and shatters their trust in you to protect and nurture them; besides setting a bad example of argumentation and display of temper.

The Ameer is also answerable to Allah (swt) for those placed in his care and trust. He is enjoined to spend for their Halal needs and wants. The Prophet (sa) said: “The best Dinar is the one a man spends on his dependants.”(Muslim)

The Prophet (sa) was gentle and loving not only towards his wife and children, but also towards his relatives, his in-laws and his slaves. From the Seerah of the Prophet (sa), we find countless incidents where people not only altered their behaviour and changed their habits, but also accepted Islam due to his patience, leniency and sympathy towards them. As the Ameer of the family, the man should be easily approachable; willing to listen to the daily achievements and problems of his family in a way that helps build a relationship of mutual trust and affection. He should ‘use soft words but hard arguments’ to convince and cajole his family.  Communicate and play with your family- this was what the Prophet (sa) did with his wives and children.

Spiritual Nourishment

The glittering world beckons us and leads us astray without us even realizing how far we have deviated. Take out time for your family and establish routines that build and sustain your Iman and beliefs. The most important is to develop a routine for congregational prayers even at home. Set aside one time when your entire family prays together. Children learn by example- and especially, in places like Pakistan where women rarely, if ever, pray at the mosque- it teaches the rules and etiquettes of praying in congregation. There is a  family that prays Fajr together. And then on a turn basis, each child is assigned learning and then explaining a Hadeeth. They learn a Dua each week, with the elder children helping the younger ones learn; and during holidays, they are encouraged to prepare and deliver short sermons.

The Prophet (sa) has said that the best thing a man can give his children is to teach them good manners; and one of the most enjoyable ways of doing this is by story-telling. Sharing Ahadeeth and success stories of the Prophets, his companions, and other eminent Muslim men and women will help inspire and motivate impressionable minds. Also, it will be a wonderful means of encouraging them to question, and share their own ideas and experiences. Read extensively and encourage your entire family to do so too. Remember, a book is a man’s best friend- especially if he is hemmed in by people who can act as negative influences.

Likewise, it is the Prophet’s (sa) Sunnah for women to have a weekly religious gathering at their own houses. This helps bond the community and brings the Barakah of knowledge to each house, for it is the women who play pivotal role in educating and character building of children.

Social Interaction

One of the most common problems of households is the unchecked frequency of visitors. As Ameer, you may find it difficult to achieve the fine balance between being hospitable and maintaining your family’s privacy and routine. Convince your wife to limit socialization so that her own responsibilities and pursuits are not affected. Most importantly, though, is the need to discourage non-Mehram male relatives and friends from visiting your family in your absence. Try to deal with the servicemen who come to your door yourself; and try to set appointments for maintenance or repair at a time when, either you or your grown up son, are home to interact with them yourself.

TV is The Virus

The television has become more than just an entertainment tool. It acts as a babysitter, masterchef, an opinion-maker, and tends to occupy a central position in our family rooms and bedrooms. Assert yourself as Ameer, and monitor what and how long everyone watches the television. Break your one bad habit of ‘unwinding’ in front of the idiot box. Twenty-four hour news and endless talk shows on politics, and current affairs rarely offer anything a half hour perusal of newspapers will not divulge. Encourage your family to seek entertainment through outdoor sports in the evenings if possible, and through board games. If you can’t chuck out the cable, then at least limit the screen time.

The iFad

The internet, smart phones and other handheld devices- such as the iPad and PSP are ‘terminators’ of family peace and unity.  I have often noticed at family gatherings that each individual is wrapped in his or her own ‘bubble’ of communication gadgetry. Fingers itch to keep checking that message or sharing statuses. In fact, family members living in the same house often interact via social media, instead of sharing anecdotes and exchanging news or thrashing out arguments in person. Face-to-face interaction lets us judge, and thereby, alter our communication through non-verbal signals too, and this often prevents misunderstandings. Our physical beings are a gift from Allah (swt); and the human ability to talk is one of His greatest signs. But successive generations are losing the art of conversation, and also their memory skills because of greater reliance on artificial intelligence.

Hence, curtail the use of all such gadgets yourself and lead by example. Set aside time slots for internet surfing, and carefully monitor your child’s usage. Discourage the use of laptops in bedrooms, and think hard before handing over a smart phone or iPod to your child. Peer pressure does create problems, but try to develop a social circle where you socialize with like-minded families.


Finally, we need to remind ourselves that children are a trust from Allah (swt).  In the Quran we have been commanded to save ourselves and our families from Hellfire; and the best way of ensuring this is by trying to provide an ideal Muslim home.

“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” (At-Tahrim 66:6)

‘The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering-galleries, they are clearly heard at the end and by posterity.’- Jean Paul Richter

(Adapted from a Peace TV lecture by Abdul Azeez Umari Madani)

Cherish before you Lose: Health and Free Time

On_TimeHealth is wealth

Today, we would like to talk about something very important- something we take for granted; and this is why RasulAllah (sa) has warned about it as well. Many of us have good health, thank Allah (swt) for it. We should use it to achieve the pleasure of the Almighty.

  • Your eyes, you can see with. There might come a day when you cannot see. Read the proper books; read that which will be beneficial. Look at that which will help you. Don’t look at that which will make you earn the wrath of Almighty.
  • The same applies to your hands- today you can move them, so move them to achieve the pleasure of the Almighty. Tomorrow, you may not have that mobility. Today, Masha’Allah we can walk, we can read Salah; people are crying because they cannot read Salah as they reach to an age when they cannot bend their backs anymore, or they cannot do Rukuh, or they cannot do Sujud.

Why is it that we sometimes become oblivious of the gift of health? Really, the gift of health is a gift that many of us take for granted. Some people cannot eat a lot of the food stuff, so when we can eat, let’s eat in moderation. Thank Allah (swt). Say the prayer before eating and after eating as well. Let’s make sure we eat from that which is permissible and Allah (swt) will not be upset by it.

What is important that we realize that our organs inside operate automatically. They have no batteries; no human being has a remote control in his hand. It’s the control of Allah (swt). The heart pumps in a magical way. More than a hundred thousand heartbeats in no time Subhan’Allah! It is just that control of Allah (swt).

Then, look at the brain. How sophisticated it is. Look at the ears, the mouth, the lips and the tongue and its taste buds. How medicine and science is discovering new things every single day. This is all the gift of Allah (swt). We have it, but still we don’t thank Allah (swt) for it. We don’t use it in the right direction. We, as believers, know that it will come to an end. I might not be able to see with my eyes one certain day as we all have to die. I have to return to Allah (swt), Alhumdulillah. I have to return back to my Creator, Maker. So let’s use his gifts in order to please him not to displease him.

Many people are becoming conscious of it. We have the voice, let’s try and recite the Quran. Whilst we can, let us try Insha’Allah, to do the best of things.

Time is precious

Another thing we take for granted is time. We have free time. People use it to watch television and see the soaps. And, you know the soaps wash. What do they wash? Your brain! May be we can spend our time to watch beneficial programs. Or spend time at the Masjid and listen to the Duroos that the Ulema, scholars or Mashaykh give. May be we can spend time and sit in Halaqa. We can spend time rectifying and learn something from the Quran. It might not be directly related to religion. If a person has free time, and he can opt to improve his hand writing and do a course in calligraphy; do something that will benefit you somehow. You can use that talent not just to earn little bit of money, but even by the will of Allah (swt), to build your Akhirah, to build your paradise. May Allah (swt) grant that to us.

It is important for us not to waste our time because as the Prophet (sa) has said, the two gifts that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us, many people take for granted. First one is health and second one is free time.

When there is free time, use it. Do not abuse it. Subhan’Allah! People sometimes say, “Oh I have got some free time, let me go to bed. I can go and sleep.” Are you depressed? If you are may be, you might think sleeping will help you. But it won’t. To be honest with you, we all need sleep. We all need a certain amount of it. Sometimes, we need to correct ourselves. We need to develop a link with our Maker. In order to understand that we have a short space of time, to pack in it as much goodness as we can before time and our health expires.

These two things are definitely going to go because even if I die as a healthy person, I am dead. When I die, what happens? My health is irrelevant, completely irrelevant.

Even time will definitely come to an end.

May the Almighty bless us all, and may He make us use our time whilst we have it in the best possible way. Ameen.

A transcription of a talk by Mufti Ismail Menk by Mariam Saeed.

No Time to Waste

Photo credit: *USB* / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: *USB* / Foter / CC BY-SA

The Prophet (sa) said: “Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become preoccupied, and your life, before your death.” This Hadeeth teaches us the importance of time and its right use. Every day is a precious gift to us by Allah (swt) and we should make the best use of it- remembering the ultimate goal of pleasing Allah (swt) and not letting a minute to be wasted. This is not to say that we should constantly work and pray, because Islam teaches us to find the right balance and we have the right to rest. Rather, wastefulness is giving time to things and activities that take us further from Allah (swt) and lower our Iman. And some of the most common time thieves nowadays are- watching TV and listening to popular music.

TV – the vital or the virus?

One might ask, “What is wrong with the TV? Why to vilify it, when it’s so common it has practically become part of our lives?” The TV box may be on constantly, and we would hardly give it any thought – just letting it become the not-so-silent background to our day-to-day activities. Yet, if we have young children at home, we should certainly give it more than a fleeting thought, as TV has a profound effect on shaping the mind and it is rarely a positive effect. Even though there are some worthy channels with some content of benefit; the TV in general is full of violence, inappropriate images of genders and gender relations, foul language and un-Islamic ideology.

Also, the TV is addictive, especially for small children who may throw tantrums the moment someone changes their favourite cartoon channel; its content is beyond our control and by watching TV we simply become passive consumers of the broadcast. Getting used to this passive reception also leads to laziness and makes the traditional ways of acquiring knowledge such as reading, seem tiresome and difficult.

Some people may think that if they give up on TV, they would miss out on latest news, newest dramas, everything people might be talking about. But the truth is just the opposite for we miss out on real life, meaningful activities and authentic human interaction, because we spent too much time watching the telly. And same goes for children. Yes, they might learn their phonics and counting quicker from the TV cartoons, but they will miss out on learning good habits and socialising with other family members and guests. Considering all these arguments, I decided that my family would be better off without the TV, but how to make the switch off painless for children (and everybody else)?

Watching TV easily becomes an addiction and breaking off the habit may be more difficult than just turning off the set. It might be a little easier for the grown-ups, once they realize that spending time in front of TV or listening to useless songs really diverts our mind from worthy activities and thoughts and lowers our productivity.

It’s never too late to change

When trying to make a change, it’s always a good idea to replace a bad habit with a good one. For example- if we are used to watching the TV in the afternoon to relax and rest, we might instead reach out for a book or go for a walk. If we get into the habit of listening to music while doing kitchen work or any other household chore, we could instead turn on the CD with the Quran recitation or get busy with Dhikr. Just keeping in mind, why we want to make a change should be enough to keep us motivated through the difficult early stages.

Yet, the children may not be so easily persuaded. It might be much harder for them to understand why watching cartoon is bad and in the first stages they might express lots of negative feelings or even throw tantrums about not being allowed to turn on the TV. It is our role as parents to make the transition easier for them, while at the same time remaining firm about our goals. And this might be actually the hardest part for us as parents, because children occupied with watching TV shows makes the parenting job easier; giving mums a break from watching over kids when they are very busy.

Be there for your child

Yet, we should remind ourselves that the easiest option is not always the best; and bringing up children as good Muslims is our most important job and we should primarily focus our efforts and time on the right education. Once we switch off the TV, the children will turn to us to find them something to do and keep them busy. Expecting this, we should try to find for them activities that would be not only more meaningful, but also more fun for the kids. It would be perfect if we could manage to occupy our children’s time in a way that would be more attractive to them than watching TV. And if we put a little effort, they might not even demand for cartoons at all, preferring instead to spend time playing and learning with their parents and other family members.

Children who spend lots of time watching TV often have no contact with books and see reading as a boring activity. But, we should try to instil the love of reading in our kids from the early age; and that’s why, it is a good idea to build a family library and share stories together every day. Little children love listening to the stories told by their parents and looking at the colourful illustrations in children’s books. Little elder children are often interested in activity books and stories about other children. There is a lot of choice of good literature for children at all ages, and it doesn’t have to be very expensive to build the right collection for them with so many shops with good quality second-hand books available.

Sometimes, we do have a lot of work and we cannot give children our full attention, but there are lots of activities to keep them busy and entertained other than watching TV. Doing crafts, painting and colouring are some of the things all the kids love. Otherwise, we might try to engage the elder children in our own activities, teaching them to help in the kitchen or with any other household work.

I believe that with Allah’s (swt) help, the right intention and a bit of determination, we can give up the unproductive activities and make better use of every minute of our time. Insha’Allah.

Life Without The Idiot Box

idiot box

By Naureen Aqueel – Freelance writer

Most parents are prudent when it comes to their children’s safety and upbringing. They go out of the way to ensure their well-being; they carefully select their school, and they teach them not to talk to strangers and to be careful about who they befriend. Yet, inside their homes, they often leave them at the mercy of a complete stranger – the television.

From serving the role of a babysitter to just being the ‘background noise’, while chores are completed around the house, the television today is like an additional family member. According to a study in the USA, an individual watches television for, on average, 1,680 minutes per week. That is equal to two months of nonstop television viewing per year.

It is heartening to see that some families are standing up today and refusing to let their homes be occupied by the TV. While some are limiting the amount of television viewing or moderating children’s viewing habits, others have taken the bolder step of throwing the television out of the house altogether. Life is possible without the idiot box, they say — and here is how:

“I read, blog, talk to friends and family on the phone, and read and play games with the children (to spend my free time),” says Umm Abdullah, a homeschooling mom of eight kids. “The children play games, (computer time on weekends) and they create their own play themes; they also go out on their bikes and play outdoors. There’s a lot to do to have fun; we can’t seem to find the time to do it all.”

Umm Musa’s family has not had television for the past few years, ever since they started gaining knowledge about Islam and observed that “almost all television programmes either contained immorality or stupidity and that apart from the content, television as a medium per se, was addictive and highly passive”.

Asked how she spends her free time, Umm Musa replies: “I believe that time/life has to be spent in attaining the purpose of our life. While doing that, one does have moments of tiredness and a natural need for recuperation. (Non-Muslims have a very different concept of recreation and entertainment, which we have widely imported.) The following helps me recuperate, as well as support my life-purpose: reading good literature, meeting nice sisters, and going to the park.”

The choice not to have a television at home was more coincidental for Mona Siddiqui and her husband, now parents of two children. “My husband and I were setting up our own place then, and we thought we’d buy everything else before we got a television. We were both working at the time, so it just got put off until we realized that we actually liked not having a television. And that’s it – we decided to just never get one.”

Mona feels not having a television allowed her and her husband more time to connect as newly-weds. “We spent our time more productively: cooking together, reading together and so on. Once we had kids, it was pretty much the same – more family time.”

Umm Musa says not having the television in the house has “helped preserve our Haya and Islamic values and has helped the children become creative and capable of entertaining themselves.”

As more and more families begin to realize the perils of having a television in the home, many are stepping up to limit, if not completely remove, its presence from their lives. Families like the ones above prove that life without the television is indeed possible.

Role of the Media

By Huma Imam


What is the first thing Allah (swt) created? Pen. (Abu Dawood)

What did Allah (swt) say to the pen? Write. (The decree of creation)

What is the first word revealed in the Quran? Read (i.e. Iqra, Al-Alaq 96:1)

Congratulations! We should be proud to be a civilization of the pen. Pen, to this day, remains a potent instrument of communication, giving life to today’s influential modern media, i.e., TV, the Internet, and the print media.

How significant and effective are these mediums of communication? Phenomenal! People like you and I have the power, by Allah’s (swt) Will, to bring about great changes. The motivation to bring about changes is fueled by awareness. This is where the might of the news media plays a vital part. History has witnessed well-informed ordinary people, with the indispensable support of their media, managing to pressurize their leaders into ending futile wars. The initial coverage of the Vietnam War supported the US involvement, but following the Tet offensive, it changed its frame. The bold and uncensored TV coverage helped to turn the public opinion against the war. The ensuing anti-war movements were also given wide media support and eventually led to success.

Another reason for the media’s significance in our lives is its power on influencing social ideals and values, thereby shaping individuals and societies. Today, in the name of globalization, Muslims are threatened by cultural and intellectual invasion through media. As intangible and harmless as it sounds, in the long run, this war and enforcement of ideas is far more deadly than any war in the battlefield. Such invasion leads to the enslavement of a free mind, rendering it aimless, robbing it of its identity, and instilling inferiority complexes. The desperation Pakistani public exhibited at the ban on Indian entertainment channels is a sad but stark example of our society’s enslavement and defeat through media’s control.

Does this mean that we, as Muslims, should shun the media? No.

“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Maruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.” (Al-Imran 3:104)

Since the modern media has a far reaching power and a great potential to influence, so why not use them to enjoin Al-Maruf and forbid Al-Munkar? Why not use it to put the correct Islam on the forefront? Why not use it for the wellbeing of Muslims? Why not use it to spread the word of Allah (swt)? Why not use it to wage intellectual Jihad?

“So obey not the disbelievers, but strive against them (by preaching) with the utmost endeavour with it (the Quran).” (Al-Furqan 25:52)

This verse orders us to wage Jihad by proclaiming the truth. We can use media to do just that, i.e., proclaim the truth, defend Islam and Muslims from criticisms and insults of the disbelievers. If Islam and Muslims are attacked physically, then we should also respond through physical might in the battlefields. But if we are attacked on an intellectual level, then it is wise to retaliate with mighty but similarly intellectual defense.

A book, blasphemous to Islam, was recently published. As a result, people went out on the streets protesting with swords in their hands. Did they accomplish anything? The swords were useless there. The attack was with the pen, thus, the defense should also have been with a pen – pen of Muslim intellectuals that would have rebutted their baseless writings.

Thanks to the media, we daily witness the atrocities committed against our brothers and sisters in Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Darfur, Chechnya, etc. By default, we become participants of this violence, as we simply cannot take the position of oblivious viewers.

“The believers, men and women, are Auliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another.” (At-Taubah 9:71)

The least we can do for them is voice our condemnation and repulsion through our media. It is better to protest than to accept injustice.

Pen is mightier than the sword

This saying holds true, if the user fulfills the following conditions: good and sincere intention; correct knowledge; training and proper organization on a community level. Alhumdullilah, TV channels, the Internet and the print media are all open to our comments and feedback. Whenever we come across an evil action within these mediums or in society in general, we are duty bound to denounce it. This can be done by contacting the newspaper/channel or writing directly to the author of the offending article/program.

This direct technique becomes most effective, if a number of people take a collective stand. An example of this was BBC’s sacking of a former MP and a popular talk show host Robert Kilroy Silk, who was guilty of racist and Islamophobic comments. His censure was a direct result of active protests and condemnations by Muslims.

Newspapers and magazines

Did you know that after the front page headlines, the ‘Letter to Editor’ column is the most widely read section in a newspaper? You don’t need to be a journalist to write to them. This is a forum that we should read and write to regularly. Why? To show that Muslims have a voice. We need to be heard rather than just be talked about. To be effective and successful in writing to papers you need to:

  • be informed Muslims;
  • hold opinions based on correct knowledge;
  • keep abreast with current affairs and changing political scenarios.
  • This way, you will be able to:
  • bring the Islamic perspective on current affairs to the forefront;
  • persistently challenge the stereotypes of Islam;
  • show that there is a clear difference between Islamic culture and cultural Islam;
  • point out any wrong or injustice you see or experience in your society.
  • When penning your opinions, it is important to stay calm and polite, no matter how provoked, but communicate your feelings firmly.


TV elicits two extreme views from most Muslims. It is either a total and outright rejection by some, terming it as Haram or an unreserved acceptance by others, in the name of freedom of expression. However, the correct perspective is to be aware of TV’s pros and cons and make use of this avenue.

Some scholar has said:

“Every means that helps to achieve the goals of Dawah may be used, so long as it is not Haram.”

Prophet (sa) used to visit the market places of Kaafirs for this purpose. Just because TV has been used for a lot of vice, the knowledgeable people should not shy away from it. The scope of benefit any Dawah school or program offers is limited to the few, who are able to go out and attend it. But if such programs are telecasted, they will reach a million homes. Presented in attractive and modern formats, TV Dawah has an extensive potential to influence a diverse audience.

The Internet

According to Internet World Stats, there are approximately 1,094 million Internet users worldwide. Like TV, its potential for good and bad is unparalleled; however, unlike TV, this medium enjoys the benefit of instantaneous and two-way communication for all. The following are some of the ways that you can enjoin good and forbid evil on the Internet:


  • Report offending sites to your Internet service provider, asking them to block or censor them.
  • Do not forward chain letters that promise you some worldly benefit or miracles.
  • Never forward Islamic info emails without reference sources. Verify the authenticity of information.
  • Reply to chain letters and senders of wrong information asking for evidence or enlightening them about the dangers of spreading hype or legends that aim to take advantage of people’s gullibility.
  • Prepare and send short mails to acquaintances reminding them of Allah’s (swt) commands and timely good deeds.
  • Read and write letters and opinion pieces to local and international media.
  • Do not waste time and energy on debating on forums, which slyly aim to provoke Muslims in the guise of discussing religion and politics.
  • Set up and manage websites for social and religious benefit.


Primary Means of Communication

The spoken word or language is the most primitive form of communication. Contrary to the popular perception of the primary means of communication being only gestures and body movements, the first human beings Adam (as) and Hawwa (as) were taught language by Allah (swt) – they were taught the words of repentance and were given guidance from Allah (swt) to follow. As the human race grew, more languages evolved and Allah’s (swt) guidance continued to the different nations and tribes in their respective languages.

(Contributed by Naureen Aqueel)

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.

From the Pen of a Woman on the Other Side

closeup of fountain ink pen over white pages spiral notebookSome of you may be surprised by the kind of comments you get to hear, when people find out you’ve worked for television.

I’ve been working for television for about ten years. My first programme was when I was in class six, in which I recited a group of riddles in a children’s programme that aired on Pakistan Television. Back then it meant something to me, my friends and every child viewer. Maybe it was because there was no Nickelodeon, nor was there the overwhelming number of TV channels bamboozling the poor child. Or simply because watching TV was as much of a novelty then, as the latest version of play station is today.

I worked with Geo, ARY and FM 100 at a time, when debates about television being the greatest tool of Satan surfaced. Wars erupted among family, friends and teachers regarding the pros and cons. Those ‘pro-television’ thought nothing wrong with it whatsoever and saw it as a new feat of technology. People couldn’t travel on camels in today’s world now, could they? The ones against it argued from the stand point that pictures were prohibited in Islam, and that the West was using television as a medium to brainwash Muslims against the true and honest principles of Islam.

It was too much to bear at eighteen, when I was suffering from acute identity crises, worrying about what headgear would do to my permanent image and about brainwashing debates based on classical Aristotelian logic. But I did as much as I could. I turned down offers for music videos, dramas and soaps. I refused to let male make-up artists apply makeup before I went on-air. I refused to work with people, who did not have purely academic or knowledgeable programmes. Perhaps that is why I have somewhat stereotyped myself as a woman, who covers her head, and can only appear on Independence Day or Ramadan programmes, even though I have done a series on psychology (in which I am a post graduate student).

After watching constructive efforts of many authentic Islamic scholars, especially such as Dr. Zakir Naik, I have become confident. I have resolved the debate of right or wrong by coming to terms with a plain and simple logic of keeping it simple. Nudity, obscenity, profanity and useless programmes were out. Shows that spread awareness, appreciate

Islam and its wisdom, celebrate peace and good will, promote good and forbid all that is evil in the eyes of Islam, propagate a message that needs to spread faster in the world today than any other time, are agreed upon.

I have been stereotyped negatively so many times, in spite of the headgear and my strict policy on no-commercialism and no-pop-culture. It often makes me wonder, why we still have not resolved this issue, even though we all welcomed the famous singer, who gave up his pop career to recite Hamds and Duroods and appeared for Dawah on television channels.

Somehow I still find Pakistani society trapped in the question of what is good and what is bad. Once we grow out of this harassingly old dispute, may be we can move on to what is important and needed. It is not compromise; we cannot call science or media evil. It is what is inside that makes us Muslims.

So what do you think?

Is media good or bad?

The question is wrong altogether. Rather, we should say: “Media. What’s good in it? What’s not?”