Myth: It’s not that big a deal.
Surely, those who like that lewdness spreads among the believers, for them there is painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. Allah knows, and you do not know... O you who believe, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Whoever follows the footsteps of Satan, (should know that) he orders (one to commit) shameful acts and evil deeds. (24:19-21)
More often than not, you will feel like a pawn being played in a game where you do not know the rules. There can be two interpretations of the first verse. 1) People spreading immorality in the society. 2) People talking about shameless topics just so everyone gets used to it. There are shows about what kind of dress that celebrity was wearing on that award ceremony. Special news segments for your updates on who’s dating who and who just had a break-up. In fact, I get free celebrity gossip alerts on my phone from my service provider. And then you see million likes and shares on jokes that are all shades of dirty– some even have a religious context to them.
There’s a whole industry behind our daily dose of entertainment. It has entered our homes, our phones, the books we read and has messed up our heads so bad that we shrug it off saying “It’s no big deal”. And when you comment on how classics are a dying breed, you get to hear “What are you? Last century?“. Polluted literature is a major concern. There are people who might still refuse to watch shamelessness on television but they won’t be as cautious about it when they are reading it. “So long as I’m not watching it… reading is no biggie…” But the truth is– the exquisite graphic detail that goes into writing adult content is more damaging to the mind, hands down. Point being, it’s not safe anywhere. And this is where the definition of taqwa comes in- it is akin to the way you protect yourself while walking on a path that has thorns on it.
Also, when I was writing this post, I recalled all the books and movies I had recommended to friends and wondered how acceptable they were on a scale of 10. And by acceptable, I mean the prophetic standards, not the PG ratings that keep changing with time. The results weren’t gratifying. We need to be careful with what we endorse directly or indirectly, lest we become one of those who spread lewdness among the believers.
These verses address both groups of people: those who spread vulgarity (and they will meet a painful end) and those who become victims of the virus.
Notice how the status-quo changes in the last verse. Allah says “Do not follow the footsteps of Satan” which tells you that when you are in the follower stage, you have the authority and will power to not proceed with the temptation. Then He says “Whoever follows him, he (Satan) orders shameful acts.” Now that you have started following, Satan has the upper hand. This just explains our many addictions. You had the option to watch or not watch that great TV series people in your college kept talking about. You had the option to not watch that latest Hollywood hit. But now that you’ve hit Play, you’re too caught in the story-line to stop. And you will amuse yourself to death season after season exposing yourself to all kinds of awfulness. The more indecent the show, the more popular it gets. Similar is the case with a trashy novel. You won’t put it down. Or can’t.
Solution-? Your imaan shall set you free.
“Indeed prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing.” (29:45)
Need I go any further? We are in the middle of the most blessed month that’s here for us to change for the better. If you’ve been avoiding the tube in this holy month, silently congratulate yourself on surviving thus far and carry it on till the same time next month. As the saying goes, “You are to worship Allah, not Ramadan.”