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Pornogrpahy: Why it is Haram & How to deal with it?


Definition of Pornography?

Pornography is defined in the English language as an indecent form of art or literature. Islam also views it as indecent and terms it as faahisha in the Quran.

Allah says (what means): "Say: The things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds whether open or secret…"

Faahishah is translated as "shameful deeds" because it refers to every bad deed that is noticeably ugly to human beings. In many places in the Quran, Allah (swt) refers to zinaa, adultery and fornication as a faahishah. In another verse, Allah (swt) refers to the marrying of one's father's wife also as being a faahishah because, like adultery, anyone with a pure nature will clearly see it as hideous. Allah (swt) also calls the crime of the people of Lut (as), homosexuality, a faahishah. Likewise to view pictures of nudity, sexual suggestion, intimacy between two people, or a person of the opposite gender who is improperly covered (Islamically) is also an ugly sin to anyone who wishes to adhere to piety.


Television


One of the most pervasive tools of pornography is the television. Shows like "Dawson's Creek" and "Baywatch" have no other purpose except to display blatant degrees of nakedness and indecent scenes of intimacy. Movies also succeed in conveying lewd imagery by almost always including a love/lust story in the story line. However there are other forms of pornography on TV that are much more subtle. For example, most Muslims would not realize that the viewing of several sports events includes pornographic images. The swimsuits that are worn by both men and woman during the Olympics are iniquitously revealing. They expose the 'awrah of a woman and a man for their respective genders and the opposite gender.
The word 'awrah refers to those parts of the body which are Islamically prohibited to expose in front of another (either the opposite gender or the same gender). For example, it is a must for a woman to cover all of her body except for her face and hands in front of men who are permissible for her to marry - that is her 'awrah. Likewise the man's 'awrah is everything between his navel and knees while in front of a woman or a man. The skimpy swimsuits worn by these athletes just don't meet the Islamic dress code.

Underwear Ads


Another subtle example regards women who view advertisements that contain pictures of other women modeling bras and underwear. The 'awrah of Muslim women in front of other Muslim women doesn't allow these areas of the body to be exposed and hence it is haram for even a woman to view them.

It is also important to keep in mind that a person could be "clothed but naked" as Rasoolullah (saws) said. For example, competitors in races usually wear some sort of bodysuit that adheres very tightly to their skin and the exact shape of their body parts is apparent. This is almost equivalent to being naked, since it doesn't take much imagination to figure out what is under such type of clothing.

Lowering the Gaze


When such images become prevalent in a society, what is deemed pornographic changes drastically. The very standard of modesty, which should be a defining characteristic of Muslim dress and behavior, will become degraded. The Islamic standard must be upheld. The true believer fears Allah's judgement and knows that no act will go unaccounted for and that even his own eyes will bear witness against him on the Day of Judgement. Allah (swt) says: "Until, when they reach it (Hell-Fire) their hearing and eyes and skin will testify against them as to what they used to do." Rasoolullah (saws) warned us that there is a zinaa of the eyes just as there is a zinaa of the private parts.

The Islamic solution to living in a society where pornographic images are so visible is to lower one's gaze.

Allah (swt) says: "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well aquainted with all they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof… "

The scholars of tafseer say that this means that both men and woman are obliged to direct their sight away from that which is haram and that there is no harm in looking at that which is halal (such as viewing one's spouse while they are uncovered).

In regard to these verses Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) says: "So He (Allah) put purity after lowering of the gaze and protecting of the private parts. For this reason lowering the gaze away from the prohibited things warrants three great benefits. The first of them is the sweetness of Imaan and the pleasure that comes from it, which is more sweet and pleasing than that which he diverted his eyes away from for Allah's sake. Verily, whoever abandons a thing for Allah's sake, He (swt) compensates him with better than it…The second benefit is a light in the heart and quality of intuition… and the third benefit is the strength of the heart and steadfastness and courage. So Allah (swt) would give him, by His strength, the ability of wisdom and substantiation, and the devil would flee from him as it has been mentioned in the saying, "Whoever fears his whims, the devil would race out of his shadow."

Indeed, the opposite is also true. This is because the eyes are the most direct path to the heart. One who allows his whims to overwhelm him and indulges his eyes in the viewing of haram things has weakened his heart, corrupted his soul, and invited shaytan to control him.


Why is Pornography Haram?

“I just found out that at least one of my sons spent some time this afternoon (signed on as me) going to XXX rated (web) sites. They are 13 and 11. I am so upset, I do not know what to do. Insha Allah, it is a curiosity thing, but I am totally blown away by this.” (A mother in Sound Vision’s parenting forum)


Internet pornography is the latest media menace parents and anyone concerned about children and morality in general, must deal with. Pictures of naked women (its usually women, since most pornography caters to heterosexual men) and couples engaged in various forms of sexual intercourse, to name just a few of the contents of pornography, are not just reserved to the internet though.

For decades, ‘porn’ in various forms has been found in magazines, films, and more recently during a lot of prime time television.

The Internet is just the latest tool pornographers have found to spread their “art,” which poses a number of problems.

The pervasiveness of pornography on the Internet means Muslims need to consider once again the Islamic perspective on this issue while they use this new medium.

The Islamic Perspective:


“There is no room for anyone to say pornography is not Haram. It’s ab solutely Haram,” notes Shaykh Muhammad Nur Abdullah. He is the Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis in Missouri.


“If someone is looking at someone committing Zina (sex outside of marriage) whether it is movies or pictures or the actual thing, it is all Haram,” he adds. Some of the proofs he gives for the prohibition of pornography in Islam include verses 30 and 31 of chapter 24 (Noor) of the Qur’an, as well as Ahadith that say what leads to Haram is Haram and that Zina is committed by the eye and the hand, even before a sexual encounter takes place.


He has openly discussed the problem of the Internet, pornography and Muslim youth in his Khutbahs. On a day to day level, he says he gets at least two cases daily of young Muslims, boys and girls, who come to the mosque and speak to him personally about this problem.

Dremali says the teenagers feel guilty, but they cannot stop looking at this material. They need a cure, they have become addicted.

“The person who looks at these things will always have Shaytan in his mind because he wants to commit these [actions],” he says. “Shaytan never takes the person immediately to commit adultery (he does it in steps).”

Dremali also gives a clear example of the role the Internet plays in being one of the steps leading to sex outside of marriage.

“The hand commits adultery by touching Haram and the person using the keyboard and using the mouse to look at these pictures, he or she is committing adultery,” he warns

“Unfortunately there are a lot of Muslim youth who are using pornography on the [Internet], and they basically use the Internet only for that purpose,” notes Taha Ghayyur, 19, who is National Coordinator of Young Muslims Canada.

Too often, though, parents are willing to bury their heads in the sand when the issue of pornography and their children comes up. “How do you know your kids don’t know about it?” asks Dremali.

The easy access to pornography on television (no longer reserved to just the very late night hours), on the magazine stands and the Internet makes it almost impossible to avoid, even if one’s intentions are clear.

In the case of the Internet, sometimes accompanying links or windows to pornographic websites or WebPages will suddenly open up, against the wishes of the surfer.

This however, does not mean parents should automatically assume the worst about their children.

Shaykh Nur Abdullah stresses the importance of openly talking to children about the problem, especially if they have been caught looking at such material. If parents don’t do this “then we are turning our face away from the problem,” he says.

“[the] Internet is good and bad,” says Dremali. “Allah gave us the brains to think where is the good way and where is the bad way. According to your choice Allah will judge you.

Some Statistics and Facts on Pornography:


Over 30% of sites on the World Wide Web are pornographic” (USA Today).

Looking for one thing, finding another:
“Our Internet search engine reports reveal a disturbing reality. In over 99% of the hits directed to our site, the person performing the search was looking for pornography, many looking for child pornography. To think, 99% used pornography search words inspired our project, Internet Intervention. Internet Intervention is a network of computers, hosting hundreds of websites, which direct the keyword searcher of child pornography to an Intervention Help Site. The very people that need it the most see our message of help. Click here to see a help website that you could have been directed to if you use child pornography search words on your search engine request.” (From the website of the Tonya Flynt Foundation, an anti-pornography website. Tony Flynt is the daughter of notorious American pornographer Larry Flynt)

A MULTI BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY:


Pornography is a $12-$13 billion- a-year industry - more than the combined annual revenues of the Coca-Cola and McDonnell Douglas corporations. (From an Affair of the Mind by Laurie Hall)

Pornographic entertainment on the Internet constituted the third largest sector of sales in cyberspace, with estimated annual revenues of $100 million. Such marketing success has fueled an increase in the size of the pornography industry -- $10 billion annually, according to conservative estimates. (Anthony Flint, Skin Trade Spreading Across U.S., Boston Sunday Globe)

HITS ON A PORN SITE:
Playboy’s headquarters received 4.7 million hits (electronic visits) in a recent seven day period. (Promise Keepers website)

PORN VIDEO RENTALS:
Porn video rentals soared to 665 million in 1996, accounting for 13.3% of video rentals in America. Profits of sales and rentals of porn videos was $4.2 billion in 1996. (USA Today, & UPI News)

ADDICTION TO PORNOGRAPHY:
Pornography consumption can be as “mood altering” and as addictive as narcotics. (A study by Richard Drake, assistant professor at Brigham Young University College of Nursing).

Studies show pornography is progressive and addictive for many. It often leads to the user acting out his fantasy often on children. (Victor Cline, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Pornography Effects: Empirical and Clinical Evidence, pg. 24)

PORNOGRAPHY AND SEX ADDICTION:
The average age of first time contact of pornography among sex addicts is 11. (American Family Association Outreach)

PORNOGRAPHY’S EFFECTS ON FATHERS:
More sophisticated analysis reveals that men who had “purchased pornographic materials in the past year” had significantly lower marital, fathering and family-life satisfaction when compared to those who had not purchased pornographic materials in the past year. (National Center for Fathering)

PORNOGRAPHY AND SEXUAL ASSAULT:
Research gathered over the past few decades demonstrates that pornography contributes to sexual assault, including rape and the molestation of children. (Pornography Victims Compensation Act of 1992, U.S. Senate Comm. on the Judiciary)

Child molesters often use pornography to seduce their prey, to lower the inhibitions of the victim, and to serve as an instrnction manual. ( W.L. Marshall, Ph.D., Pornography and Sexual Offenders, in Pornography: Research Advances and Policy)

WHO CONSUMES PORNOGRAPHY:
A primary pornography consumer group is boys between ages 12 - 17.9 (Attorney General’s Final Report on Pornography)

PORNOGRAPHY’S EFFECT ON SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS:
Pornography distorts the natural development of personality. If the early stimulus is pornographic photographs, the adolescent can be conditioned to become aroused through photographs. Once this pairing is rewarded a number of times, it is likely to become permanent. The result to the individual is that it becomes difficult for the person to seek out relations with appropriate persons. (Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., The Influence of Pornography on Sexual Development: Three Case Histories, IX Family Therapy)


By Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Q) I have a pornography problem. I am 16 years old and when I am finished pleasing myself I often feel guilty and disgusted by myself and what I become at times for those couple of minutes. And now I have noticed that I am viewing gay porn instead. I know everything that I am doing is wrong and completely forbidden. I have started to stop myself but it is hard. I mean I don't want to continue this habit of masturbating and watching porn, or even the factor of me being gay to come into play. I have been going to the mosque regularly and I have tried to increase my iman. I feel when I enter the mosque that I am secured and away from all things bad.

In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful
Assalamu alaikum,

I pray this message reaches you in good health and spirits.

My teachers caution against looking at images, even those which may be permissible, simply because of the effect they can have on one's heart, and the way they can be a door to the unlawful. It's amazing (and sad) how seemingly innocent web surfing can deteriorate into time wasting, which, in turn can degenerate into the haram.

Here are some tips, which may or may not be helpful. Ultimately, Allah Most High is the only one who can assist you in subduing the lower self, which calls you to these sinful things. So please seek Allah's guidance. Implore Him to give you an exit from these unlawful habits.

1. Once the door of pornography is opened, it is very hard to close. You will have to be firm with yourself, even unyielding, if you want to put an end to this habit. Shut the door to temptation by getting rid of your computer. This may sound drastic, but it is helpful to put this instrument out of your life, until such time you can use it for the good of your soul. If you can't get rid of it, at the very least change out your hard drive and memory.

2. Look at how and when you use your computer and drastically change these habits. If you get online in private, then, from now on, only use the computer when others are around. If you look at these things at night, then refrain from turning the computer on altogether during these hours.

3. By looking at porn, you are willingly putting yourself in a situation in which you will consistently feel temporary, yet completely false, gratification. The problem with this type of "instant" gratification is that it leaves you empty, broken, guilty, and self-loathing. Why put yourself through this? True gratification only comes when you enjoy sexual activity through lawful means, that is, with a spouse. Anything else simply harms your heart and soul.

Finally, and most importantly, you must take steps toward sincere repentance. Sincere repentance consists of :
1. Turning away from the sin
2. Feeling remorse
3. Resolving to never go back
4. Changing one's environment so that the temptation is removed

Please avail yourself of the beautiful literature on repentance. There are many Qur'anic verses and Prophetic traditions on repentance. Allah Most High, says, "Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah. for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.Turn ye to our Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (Will), before the Penalty comes on you: after that ye shall not be helped" (Az-Zumar, 39:53-54).
And the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, "Allah the Mighty and Majestic accepts the repentance of His servant as long as long as his death-rattle has not begun" [At-Tirmidhi, Riyad al-Salihin]
Cultivate good habits, and Allah willing, these will replace the bad ones. Establish a connection with the Book of Allah by reading it and reflecting on it daily. Contemplate the noble example of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and the biographies of his companions, Allah be pleased with them, to see how you can implement these life lessons.
And, find good Muslim friends. This is of huge importance in fortifying yourself against temptation.

May Allah Ta'ala make things easy for you.


 

Article taken (with Thanks) from Askmimam.org & Sunnipath.com

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