Getting Personal

I not watch tee vee today

I’m wary of imposing my own standards on others. Just because I choose a certain path for myself, I’ve learned not to expect likewise from all and sundry. It’s a lesson we can glean from the life of Prophet Muhammed (saw) – My brother, a first year student at the local Jaamiat al Uloom al Islamiya, University of Islamic Studies, a burgeoning institution housed within the premises of the Council of Muslim Theoligans that seeks to break the mould from traditional methods and curriculum at our local Dar al Ulooms by constantly adapting to the needs of the society its graduates will serve. So my brother, mash’Allah 3leihi, is something of a mine of information of late and he and I have taken to lingering yet longer at the dinner table engrossed in deep discussion and debate. I don’t recall how the topic came up but recently he cautioned me to be mindful of the difference in lifestyle RasulAllah (saw) chose for himself and what is expected from the Ummah. An example, RasulAllah (saw) slept on the floor, yet to his daughter Fatima (ra), he gifted a bed. Clearly, he did not impose his standards on the rest of us.

Not much of a movie buff, I am a tee vee junkee– I think it’s a sustained knee-jerk reaction to my mum banning TV on school days when I was a kid. In her defence, I did display an unusual deference for KTV, blocking out the sound of her voice as soon as the KTV theme song filled my ears- Earlier this week, I realised that even though I hadn’t watched any TV since the dawn of the month, I haven’t missed it at all. That realisation was liberating. Sub7anallah, the wonders of Ramadan! So when I called a relative a couple of nights ago, my little heart was tugged to something akin to bereavement when I heard the television blaring in the background and one of the kids shouting, ‘This is the best song ever!’ I sense I ought to issue a caveat here, yes, there are many social ills plaguing Muslims and a spot of telly may seem rather insignificant in the broader scheme of things. Yet, it is as George Bernard Shaw intoned, ‘Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.’ Also by no means am I intimating that anybody is any less of a Muslim for having watched television in Ramadan, Allah knows our true conditions.

My mind occupied thus, curiosity was stirred by a link on Global Citizen’s blog, ‘No more TV in Ramadan for me, what about you?’ Now Ramadan TV in the Middle East and particularly Saudia is something else. Out of Ramadan too, TV has this unique ability to unite so that when people are not watching a particular show, they are uniformly trying to imitate its characters. It is quite a spectacle in itself. Where else in the world are the streets literally emptied when a particular favourite is on air? Over there, networks choose Ramadan to bring out new seasons of old favourites and air new shows. Something of an advertising revenue bumper crop. A few years back, while in Saudia, I myself was hooked on the street emptier du jour, I don’t recall the name of the show, but it was about a man with four wives, one dies or something… my memory of it is sketchy… and he gets ready to marry another… What was it called? Can anybody help me here?

And Tash Ma Tash, enough said. The networks frustratingly play reruns all year only to oblige its adoring public with new episodes in Ramadan.

There’s something inherently wrong with that timing. Ramadan, a month of restraint, of sacrifice, of spiritual rejuvenation ought to be treated with more reverence. Another caveat, I’m not at all echoing the Saudi cleric who last night said the owners of television networks broadcasting “depravation and debauchery” may be killed. I’m distancing myself from that extremism. I’m just saying let’s all rekindle the spirit of Ramadan away from the TV, not just in Saudia, here too. That’s why I’m supporting the ad campaign.

My beloved Liverpool are playing Man Yoo in a bit and insha Allah I’m going to try to keep up the TV fast. But still, it’s only my choice.


10 replies on “I not watch tee vee today”

>Hi Khadeejah, i must say everytime I visit your blog, I become so engrossed with what I read! And love the changing template!

I’ve been brought up in what one would consider a ‘conservative’ household. My father never encouraged watching television and about nine years ago we did away with the television all together.
And that was all very good and I had more time to do important things instead of wasting my time infront of the telly.

But. And the but here is big. As of late I’ve come to the realising (I dont want to see realisation as this is still a work in progress) that it’s really intentions and meaning behidn everyhting you do. Well now I have the internet and I while my Ramadaan timw awayhere doing nonsensical things mostly, as much as I would have done wasting my time away in front od the television. And, I have a point here but I’m still trying to find it. My point here is is it’s oen thinsg to say, I’ve stopped watchign television (which is really great) but it’s kindof pointless if you’ve substituted it with something else (like, say for instance the lots of Internet surfing, or computer games, like me)that is equally pointless and time consuming.

But that said, I would urge most people just to simply not keep a television at home. I have the Internet for news and the occasional DVD, but it stops that temptation to just switch on a continous stream of (mainly) usless information. But then again, it’s all just an individual choice that must have the right intentions behind it. And Allah knows best.

I hope I’ve tried to express a little of some of the thoughts in my mind.

Lovely post as always.

>I aint gonna lie.. I did watch the LFC game this past Saturday.. Now what do i do in the instance of game reviews.. They require a TV or does gaming not count..

However TV is banned in my house for the duration of ramadaan and has been so since i can remember.. Keep up the ban trend and spread the word..

(p.s the AFRICA pics will be up tomoro GTA IV permitting)

>gauri, it really is tradgic timing that needs to be readdressed dont ya think? 13 imaginary friends- I’m jealous! hehe

global, I agree, the point of the month seems to have been lost. πŸ™‚ Allah khallik yakhti!

zubair, respect! I suppose it’s as it is with all technolgy, two sides to its implementation. I’m hoping that by the end of the month insha Allah I can miss a show or the pvr can be bunngled without any jarring sense of loss…

OH, Good on ya mate! May the rest of the month bring you as much enjoyment!

bibiaisha, That’s exactly what I’m saying- a true fast would bring absolution from the trappings of the world. Ditto with the Ramadan TV ban growing up, it’s good training. πŸ™‚ great comment!

>I went to an egyptian friend's house for Iftaar, and was shocked to find everybody glued to the screen. My flatmates & I used to watch tv in egypt-Islamic programmes & live taraweeh.

Earlier this year I bought a tv for my room to keep up to date with news. But I found myself mindlessly watching tv whereas before i'd read or do something else.
Likewise, I haven't missed the tv at all. It's not about the medium being wrong, but rather us fasting from our worldly whims.
As kids it was completely taboo to have the tv on in Ramadhan. I feel it's important to impart this to kids. When they grow up they'll make their own decisons regardless, but at least parents have taught them the reason behind the decision.

It's also an early lesson in life that we can't have everything we want, and helps us master want vs need. And we learn that sometimes to deprive ourselves of material or physical pleasures leads to a greater pleasure of the soul.

>imitating the prophet, pbuh, is admirable, but i find, and this my opinion only, that some of the imitation is too literal, without any real understanding. muslims are not parrots. as for tv, i’m an addict. i’ll admit. but as long as you’re able to disengage when required. ok not a really good defence. but i did quit smoking and i dont miss that.
what is interesting is how some people fast. off course i dont know everything. but i follow a simple rule. if i’m doubtful i dont do.
but this has been such an incredible fast for me. i’m enjoying it. you learn so much from so many people.

>I haven't watched TV since April,although surfing the net has now become my new distraction…Theres a lot supporting the no-TV movement. Perhaps most damaging is the distorted reality it portrays, then theres the time commitment, the opportunity costs…But man, nothing beats TV to shut the mind off after a day out.& ive seen peoples kids in front of the box, what a superb baby-sitter. That said, i'm going to try not to fall off the no-tv wagon.

>It is sad how the sanctity of the Ramadan spirit has been contaminated by these TV shows. A Muslim is now distracted from the true essence of Ramadan by the huge number of TV shows and soap operas that seem to flood and compete during this holy month.

Khadija, thank you for spreading the word. πŸ™‚

>My dad is a tad bit religious. Not an extremist, mind you. But the only time he actually watches anything besides the news is in Ramadan. They suck you in. The commercials start 2 months prior! They would rather consume our time with ridiculous dramas than more urgent matters. I try to stay away from it. It’s not very hard, since I never was a TV person, always engrossed in my own imagination, with my 13 imaginary friends. We sure can show you drama πŸ˜›

>ahem, look whos having a template identity crisis now!!
anyhow, this is a very pertinent post, mashallah, such an important point u raise about the Prophet (PBUH) not imposing his living standards on others…I wish people would recall this more often before designating others to hell for not growing a beard etc…

I am so identifying with your middle east tv expose…
Its crazy, its a tradition to sit infront of the tv after iftar and watch melodramatic soap operas! One series actually got pulled off the air for insulting some tribe..


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