Fatwa: # 13444
Category: Character & Morals
Country: South Africa
Date: 13th September 2005

Title

What are the actual affects of watchin pornographic movies & pictures

Question

What are the actual affects of watchin pornographic movies & pictures

your earlier response was very encouraging but you did not actually answer my question,I\'ve heard you can have memory lapses due to watching porn...is this true

Answer

Your question on viewing porn has been brought to my attention in the social department. Firstly though, I would like to ask you, why would anybody, especially a Muslim want to watch porn?

Brother, before I go on to discuss this matter further, let me remind you about how most of these porn pics are made. You are probably aware of it but I shall remind you. Most of the girls and women are forced to perform in these movies after being kidnapped from their homes or home countries and traded as "sex slaves" into some foreign country. There is no guarantee that anybody's daughters, sisters or wives may not fall into the hands of these evil men who kidnap these women. The women are treated in the most vile way, beaten up, tortured, starved and brutally punished if they resist. Many end up dead in gutters or alleys if they stubbornly resist against being used this way. Nobody ever knows who they are because their identities have been confiscated by their kidnappers. Let me go further. The lust that feeds individuals who watch this filth becomes insatiable and they need greater "highs", so what do they do? They turn to child porn!!

Can you imagine your child or the child of a family member being subjected to this vile treatment? (May Allah Ta'ala save us, ameen). Babies and very young girls and boys are used, to the extent that they are made to perform bestial acts with animals. Rest assured that nearly all these children die or are killed as they loose their "usability" very quickly. Every person who thinks of watching porn should examine their conscience as to what type of "industry" they are supporting. Even the kuffar have come to realize the great harm this industry is causing to society.

Do yourself a favour, for just one full day, cover your eyes and ears completely, that is, shut out all visual and auditory stimuli and consciously deprive yourself of these gifts Allah Ta'ala has given you. At the same time, go about your daily activities in this state. This deprivation will be for one day and in this world only. Thereafter try to picture, if you can, the sort of deprivation in store for one who deliberately abuses and scorns the senses which Allah Ta'ala has bestowed upon one. What I am trying to say is that the effects of viewing porn won't be just on one's memory. Zina of the ears, heart, eyes and mind (perhaps even hands and loins) occurs when one views porn. One becomes involved in the process of totally and deliberately devastating one 's contact with Allah Ta'ala and firmly establishing a bond with shaitaan. May Allah Ta'ala save us from such a catastrophe. Amen.

I have pointed out the moral and ethical issues of viewing porn to you. However, try to remember, porn does not just exist in pornographic movies, It exists in adverts, on television etc. I am including two articles which will highlight just how rife this malady is and how we as Muslims need to be very vigilant.

Defining Pornography

Reprinted from Young Muslims, ymonline.org, edited slightly by Zawaj.com for readability Have you ever notice the magazines staring at you from one side of the checkout lane of every supermarket? I have. So one day I decided to take action. I turned the first magazine in every row to its backside. Not surprisingly, when I returned the next day they were turned back. Why did I turn them over? Because they were pornographic. Why were they turned back? Because they sell.

Perhaps most Muslims think that pornography is only that uncensored filth that is accessible through XXX movies and certain Internet sites, but in fact, by Islamic standards, much of what is considered normal in advertising is actually pornographic. The purpose of flailing these seductive images is to arouse the lower desires of people and to weaken their self-restrain and taint their thoughts. It bombards the Muslim, especially the youth, with indecent and suggestively seductive images. Unfortunately, most Muslims are so oblivious of the presence and influence of these Shaytanic (Satanic) images, that they regularly view them through various types of media.

Defining 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.

How to Lower our Gaze

"If I were not a Muslim, I would have contacted AIDS!" proclaimed my friend. "The ayahs in Surah Nur about lowering our gazes doesn't affect me anymore", expressed another youth, talking about the intense temptations felt by today's youth. Difficulty in lowering the gaze by both the young and old is readily perceived on the street, weddings, parties and even in the Masjids.

What has gone wrong with our Ummah? Us Muslims, called by Allah, our Creator, as the best Ummah, Model Community, custodians of Truth and the Upholders of Morality behaving in this way? Why are we adopting the attitudes and routes of the Kuffar? How can we rectify ourselves?

What follows are a series of practical, though graphic advice which can work for us and set us free from Satan's stronghold, insha Allah.

Prophet Muhammad, Sallallhu alayhi wa sallam, by way of warning and as a reminder said: "I have not left a fitnah (trial, calamity or cause for calamity) after me more than (the fitnah) with women for men" (Bukhari and Muslim). Also was related by our Prophet : "The world is sweet and verdant, and Allah having put you in it in your turn watches how you act; so fear the world and fear women, for the first trial of the Bani israel had to do with women" (Muslim)

Being optimistic, a ray of hope was also wisely provided during Prophet's Last Sermon on way to avoid the above pitfall: "If the Ummah hold on to the Quran and the Sunnah, it will not go astray". When Allah created us humans will all the desires and urges, He also revealed to us sufficient and complete guidance to contain them through proper channels. All we need to do is seek this guidance, contemplate on it and implement it. "This day I have perfected you deen for you, completed my favors upon you and chosen Islam as your deen" (5:3)

Realize the fact that the great Sahabas were humans beings too. Biologically they were no different from us, they too had desires and temptations of the human species, and yet they controlled them in the best of ways. We can too, insha Allah. To posses sensual passions is Human, to control them is Muslim.

When confronted with a luring situation, like passing by a non-mahram on the street, office, or a school, Satan is constantly tempting us to glare at her with evil thoughts. Satan is probably excitingly saying with a big smile `Yes', `Yes', `Yes', when we steer into the bait he is setting. During these situations immediately and consciously realize that when we give a second or following glances, we are obeying Satan. "O you who believe, follow not the footsteps of the devil..." (24:21). By immediately averting our gazes and disobeying Satan, we are giving him a one two punch in the face which leaves him frustrated, accursed and defeated.

Satan rebelled and was expelled by Allah, so lets all rebel against Satan and expel him from our hearts. Satan intents to fight a war against the believers, so lets gather our forces behind Quran and Sunnah and defeat him.

Remember that even if no human eye is watching us, the ever watchful Allah is constantly monitoring the innermost regions of our heart. Our eyes, limbs, tongue and private parts will all be witnesses for or against us on the Day of Judgement and not an atoms worth of our deeds will remain unexamined.

Psychologically our minds are conditioned to associate our thoughts of stealing clothes from a store to being in handcuffs and hauled into a police van. Likewise, we should condition our minds to bring the verses of Surah Nur in front of our eyes during any tempting situation and imagine that during that particular instance Allah (SWT) is speaking to us directly: "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty, that will make for greater purity for them...Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty...O you believers! Turn you all together towards Allah that you may attain success" (24:30,31). What a beautiful guidance and what a sublime reward for implementing it.

With practice, the above associations and the remembrance of Allah during tempting situations will prevent us from getting stuck by devilish arrows. Successful controlling our gazed also depends upon our avoidance of sinful situations. Al Islamic idiom (Usul Al-Fiqh) says: "Anything that leads to haraam is haaram in itself". Therefore cutting any unlawful situation in their bud is what we should strive for. Performance of a pious deed is rewarded and avoidance of a sinful deed is also rewarded, Al-Hamdulillah.

One of the biggest culprits which encourage us to disobey the ayahs in Surah Nur, are the movies. In the name of entertainment, to please our peers and children and as an excuse to do something together as a family, we astonishingly allow the development of un-Islamic scenes and dialogues in front of our eyes. Can we ever imagine (Na'udubillah) any Sahaba renting the latest hit from Blockbuster videos, or listening to music with luring lyrics at high volume?

Likewise, we watch news on TV and stare at the anchorwomen, female gymnasts, and female swimmers who are scantly dressed. Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, was once approached by a women with a proposal for marriage. He took a single glance at her and turned his face way. Jabir bin Abdullah reported: "I asked Allah's messenger about the sudden glance on the face of a non-Mahram. He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes" (Muslim). Thus we are not suppose to stare at the faces of non-Mahrams of opposite gender, be they our fellow students, elders, saleswomen or the one of TV.

Pious ladies of the Prophet's household were even ordered to do purdah in front of a Blind Sahaba. Upon the curious question as to why purdah when the blind Sahaba can't see them, Prophet wisely replies: "But you could see him" (Ahmed, Trimidhi, Abu Dawood)

Each one of us may have become culprit of not obey the ayahs in Surah Nur. It is not too late to realize these short comings and work at rectifying ourselves. Above all, we should always ask forgiveness of Allah (SWT). Indeed blessed are those Muslims who are able to check their gazes, thus conserving their precious time and energy, and working in the cause of Allah to reclaim our positions as the superpowers of the world.

Let's contemplate on the above humble advises and constantly make the following supplication: "O Allah help us in controlling our sensual desires until we get married, and after our marriage, let our desires be only towards our spouses...ameen"

Insha'allah, we Muslims will have the courage to adhere to our deen through all these vile temptations which confront us and may we remain steadfast on the STRAIGHT PATH which Allah Ta'ala has favoured for us. Ameen.

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Sister Fadila
SOCIAL DEPT.

CHECKED AND APPROVED: Mufti Ebrahim Desai

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