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When TV Becomes a Possessing Evil!

Questioner

S (18-female-UK)

Reply Date

May 20, 2017

Question

Salam. Al-hamdu lillah, we are a practicing Muslim family. I am the second oldest daughter (my oldest sister is married and lives in her own house so I am the oldest in the household). I have been praying for ages for Allah (SWT) to help us get rid of the evil tool of Shaytan that was in our home (the TV). Al-hamdu lillah, during Ramadan we managed to do this and we haven’t brought it back since (may Allah [SWT] keep it this way). My question is this: I have two younger brothers who are 10 and 13 who get bored easily. Since they used to spend hours and hours in front of that box, they find they now have loads of spare time. I, in a humble effort for them (and myself) to learn more about the deen, have set up an “Islamic club” (as I never had my parents teaching me a lot about Islam when I was younger and I thought this would be fun for them). But how else can I engage their minds towards the beauty of deen? Jazak Allah, may Allah reward you. Wa salam.

Counselor

Answer


As-salamu `Alaikum,

I find it admirable that at your young age, you are actively involved in trying to learn more about Islam and trying to introduce Islam into your home. What I am concerned about is that you do not talk about your parents at all and seem to be a holder of a lot of responsibility in your home. While responsibility is valued in our Islamic culture, I would strongly encourage you not to act as a parent for your younger brothers.

I find it admirable that at your young age, you are actively involved in trying to learn more about Islam and trying to introduce Islam into your home. What I am concerned about is that you do not talk about your parents at all and seem to be a holder of a lot of responsibility in your home. While responsibility is valued in our Islamic culture, I would strongly encourage you not to act as a parent for your younger brothers.

You are still young and are in need of your parents’ involvement in your life, and they need to be the ones to make decisions for their home.

Your reference to the television is a very bitter one, as you refer to it as a shaytan and as possessing evil. I think that the TV is only as evil as what it might broadcast. Furthermore, it can be used positively through beneficial programs, which do exist.

You talk about wanting to allow your brothers to realize the beauty of Islam and talk about the Islam club that you have created. My recommendation to you is to realize Islam’s appreciation for balance in life. Muslims are not expected to spend 24 hours a day in worship and study of Islam.

Be moderate in your expectations of yourself and your brothers. Arts and crafts as well as sports are excellent activities to be involved in that do not directly include Islamic content, and that is okay! I have learned that often teaching and learning Islam is not about reading books or listening to scholars, but it is instead through being involved in a Muslim community and having pious Muslim friends.

Be very careful that you do not cause an aversion to Islam because your actions may appear smothering and harassing to your brothers. You may benefit from listening to them and differentiating between your desires and theirs. Utilize your parents’ wisdom and find time to follow and not only lead.

May Allah guide you and reward you for your efforts.

And here is further contribution from our Parenting Team:

Thank you, sister, for your question and your concern about your young brothers.

Actually, both TV and Internet are becoming a style of life and they are a big window to further the activities that many children and teenagers get involved in. TV, for instance, lessens the interest of a child to read or play sports or gather with the family. Many children have a problem with concentration because of what they watch in movies and cartoons for long times.

The best thing to distance your brothers from the TV is to let them engage more and more in their daily life. But you cannot make them interested in doing anything unless they feel the value of what is to be done away of the TV.

Partially, you can use rational dialogue with them for that purpose, but what is more important in communication is to make them like and respect you and take you as a model.

  • Try to learn how to engage in active listening, which is intentionally focusing on whom you are listening to, such as your brothers. This does not mean you agree with what they say, but rather understand what they are saying, feeling, hoping, and so on. They will appreciate your listening.
  • Its very important to provide your brothers with fun and play.
  • Be your brothers’ friend so they may became close to you, but don’t press them to accept your friendship and don’t be over friendly.
  • Play games with them and try to search for home activities to share with your brothers.

Implementing the previous tips, the two boys can be ready to accept guidance or advice from the one they trust and who entertains them.

  • Think about what they enjoy. Then try asking people how to get your brothers involved in those activities. You can ask your sisters, other relatives, friends, and even neighbors who have children their age—even non-Muslims—because the issue at hand is a very general one (available youth activities within the community). Check with the Islamic center what activities they have, and discuss with your brothers which kinds they would like to get involved in. Or, if the Islamic center is not the most comfortable place for them, look for places where they prefer to go. It may be a sport center, club, or whatever.

The longer they are actively engaged in outdoor activity, the less worried you’ll feel about their TV attachment.

  • Also don’t forget to make use of summer vacation to get them involved in as many useful and entertaining activities as possible. Let them participate in recreational activities and familiarize them with volunteer opportunities within your community.
  • One of the most important things you must do is to try to guide and advise your brothers to choose good friends and to avoid bad ones because teenagers are always influenced by peers around them. Any bad behavior can be easily transmitted through friends. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) warned us by saying, “Man is inclined to get influenced by his friend’s manners, so one must be careful in choosing friends” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi).
  • You can put them in an Islamic environment so they can make new Muslim friends. What about taking part in the celebrations and festivals with Muslims, and sharing picnics and creating ties with Muslim boys of the same age? This also will encourage your brothers’ sense of belonging to the Muslim Ummah and make them proud to be Muslims, by teaching them the concept of brotherhood between Muslims, teaching them to care for Muslims anywhere around the globe, to feel joy when Muslims are joyous, to feel sad for Muslims’ sadness, and to do their best to achieve the Muslim Ummah’s goals.
  • Let your brothers attend interesting courses to learn about all aspects of Islam. Also habituate your brothers to reciting the Qur’an.
  • Enjoy the time with your brothers in reflecting on Allah’s creation and the magnificent environment. This reflection will help all of you to increase your faith and strengthen your relation with Allah.

We hope you are successful in acting as a safety belt for your brothers in this life and the Hereafter.

 




About Layla A. Asamarai

Layla A. Asamarai is an Iraqi American Muslim residing in the United States. She obtained her MA degree in clinical psychology and is currently perusing her PhD in clinical psychology. She is very interested in the psychological dilemmas that Muslim youth in America are faced with.

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