10 Jul 2017/Abu Aaishah
What are the benefits of not watching movies – those that don’t impart any beneficial knowledge in dunya and don’t benefit our akhirah either? Read this article to find out.
#1 Pleasing Allah
Following our desires is not what Islam teaches us. In the world of entertainment (movies), men/women are selected and beautified to keep all your senses entertained nonstop for hours, at the cost of your time, money, character and most importantly, leading to earning the anger of Allah. Moreover, we remember these movies for years. Useless memories! A “haraam glimpse” can capture your mind for hours/days/months. Repeating this desensitizes our values of haya (shyness).
Allah commands us to lower our gaze 1 of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.” An Nur, 24:30], but we continuously disobey Him for hours, just to satisfy our desires while He promises better returns 2. Pleasing anyone comes with a sacrifice, and for Allah, its our desires. Fear the day when we might be overwhelmed by our sins and desires. Allah says for such people:
“And We will turn away their hearts and their eyes just as they refused to believe in it the first time. And We will leave them in their transgression, wandering blindly” (Al-‘An`ām 6:110)
#2 Escape subconscious learning
“It’s just a movie, come on! Don’t be so emotional”. You might’ve heard many such ‘take it easy’ words from your friends. Alas! They don’t realize the addiction they’re getting into. Movies sell because of extreme impulsive emotions (love, aggression, revenge, action, etc.) and we like seeing them because it’s entertaining and we learn something subconsciously.
In 1997, a research published in Aggressive Behavior Journal 3 stated that violent movie clips increases aggressive thought patterns in males and females. With regards to romantic movies, the researcher who published in the American Journal of Family Therapy 4 was concerned about the social and psychological implications on married women who were exposed more to the popular romantic media because they automatically seemed to be less satisfied with their current intimate relationships.
Another study published in the American Journal of Pediatrics 5 showed that culture, parents and friends’ behavior mattered for 12-14 years old, who were exposed to sexual content in music, movies, television and magazines. They also concluded that there is an increased risk (more than 2 times) of early sexual intercourse in white adolescents (western culture).
Learning from movies is obvious since we pay full focus (mind and heart) for hours. Our brain keeps analyzing and deducing lessons as we watch it. These lessons can meddle with our thought processes, affecting our perspective of life.1
If we read the seerah, we can find numerous instances where the Prophetdisplayed emotional intelligence and benefited from the situation. One such occasion was when he was returning from Taif with wounds and yet, declined to take revenge, hoping that the progeny of Makkans would worship Allah. Hesaw the benefit in not acting impulsively. Today, our memory full of dramatic scenes doesn’t allow us to think rationally and find a way that is beneficial and pleasing to Allah.
#3 See the real beauty
Beauty is found in two things: nature, and beings. Allah says about the beautiful earth He made for us in Surah Qaf:
” And the earth – We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind” (Qaf 50:7)
And He then mentions the benefits and who they are for, in the next verse:
” Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah ].” (Qaf 50:8)
Leaving aside the natural beauty, we seek those who artificially beautify themselves and shamelessly play with our emotions. People with thick makeups and vibrant attires make our real lives look dull. Eventually, we try imitating them in order to satisfy our new standards of ‘looking nice’, forgetting “He who imitates any people (in their actions) is considered to be one of them”. 6
An accidental gaze on a beautiful face might make you say Subhan’ Allah, but repeating it may raise our standards, making the women (mahram) around us look ugly. This also brings us to those who delay marriages because of mismatch in their elevated beauty standards. Today, knowledge is becoming common and action is scarce. Our beloved Prophet advised us: “A woman is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or for her piety. Select the pious, may you be blessed!” 7 Yet, we find people prioritizing beauty over religion because of their strong desires and what they see and imagine. Abandoning movies and TV series can really cure some societal issues, be’iznillah.
Another important aspect mostly ignored by movie viewers is finance. Movies cost millions to show rich lifestyle, and people try to have a bite of such a life once in a while, forgetting how simple the Messenger of Allah lived as a family man, a leader and a king.
#4 Productive time
Our beloved Prophet advised us to take benefit of our leisure time before we become busy. 8 The value of time is known to those who have high targets – they are always trying to make each minute count. Remember those last minutes of writing school examinations? If we find a better activity, like taking our family out to the park, socializing with those who remind us of Allah in helping us become better Muslims, listening to a series of Islamic lectures or finding short courses online to enhance your work/hobby skills instead of wasting 3-4 hours in watching a movie, we will realize what a huge time waster movies are.
#5 Rational Thinking
We all know that the common masses are brainwashed through two things: media and movies. In order to hype the ‘hero’, he must save someone (or the planet). So, somebody else has to act evil. In the 1980’s, movies had terrorists of their own race/religion, but later, they began projecting Muslims and Islam as terrorizing sources. Repeatedly watching bearded Muslims slitting throats in movies along with media hype makes people over protective, so much so that they cannot fly in a plane with a fellow Muslim. Alternatively, Muslims dislike resembling a practicing Muslim. They are measuring Allah‘s commands based on disbelievers standards; which actually belittle Islam and Muslims. Hence, today we see Allah‘s commands of talaq being judged by non-Muslim judges of democratic countries to be imposed on Muslim minority. This irrational behavior is seen in action when people repeatedly portray the Muslim community as people of mass destruction who indulge in crime and killing.
In another scenario, rational thinking is messed up by illogical scenes we observe in movies. A typical example in adolescence is the desire to fight the love triangle – inspired by a movie. Impractical imaginations in relationships mostly prop out of some clip or movie the person might have seen/heard and subconsciously remembers, which in turn affects his/her responsive decisions. One who sees realities and takes lessons can easily overpower his desires when compared to the one who lives in an imaginary world. Movies depict emotional decisions to be correct with little or no risk.
#6 A door to addiction
Hollywood movies are known to have intimate scenes; and now Bollywood, the second most revenue generating film industry, engages porn actresses in the so called family movies. The first step to porn is not a direct encounter, but agitating the desires by showing sensual glimpses of attractive men/women. The industry is rapidly downsizing the culturally accepted decency level (because nothing else stops them from showing whatever they want) and successfully condensing the average character virtue of the masses.
Result: Creation of perverts of various ferocities. The one who wants more gets more, some end up raping when they get a chance, and the rest won’t realize that their character has reached a new low. Children exposed to movies have/want boyfriends/girlfriends at a young age, driving the parents crazy. The footsteps of shaitan are never intense, and we should understand this to avoid grave mistakes.
A parenting tip: I think making kids read real life stories of the prophets, sahaba, imaams, scholars, and other inspirational figures is a better option than showing them fictitious story books which can addict them to more imaginative stories followed by animated movies, which will eventually lead to them watching real movies. I think connecting them to fiction is our first mistake.