Pornography: 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 Ta’ala says (what means): “Say: The things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds whether open or secret…”(Qur’an 7:33)

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 (Subhaanahu WaTa’ala) refers to zinaa, adultery and fornication as a faahishah. In another verse, Allah (Subhaanahu WaTa’ala) 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 (Subhaanahu WaTa’ala) also calls the crime of the people of Lut (Alaihis Salaam), 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 (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Salaam) 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 (Subhaanahu WaTa’ala) says: “And you have not been hiding against yourselves, lest your ears, and your eyes, and your skins testify against you, but you thought that Allâh knew not much of what you were doing.” (41:22) Rasoolullah (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Salaam) 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 (Subhaanahu WaTa’ala) 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… “(Qur’an 24:30-31)

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 (Subhaanahu WaTa’ala) 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 (Subhaanahu WaTa’ala) 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 a 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 absolutely 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 , 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 {nternet]} 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.

“ 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 instruction 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)

http://www.islaaminfo.co.za

WE seek protection from Allah (subhana wa taa3la) and may Allah (subhana wa taa3la) guide us to the right path (amin)

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About theCall

“Invite to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious..”
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6 Responses to Pornography: Why it is Haram & How to deal with it?

  1. bilal abdallah says:

    This is an article that is very true, and as an ex-person from the dunya and christian, I know exactly what truth their is to this mind opening article. Alhamduillah he has saved me from destruction and thru the Qur’an and the prophetic message from his holy prophet muhammad (saaws) their is relief. We must open our mouth’s to the truth and make the truth known to all who choose to hear it and those who are in doubt. even the non-believers want the truth at times, we must be vigilant, just like how the kufr are vigilant about destroying Islam and Muslim’s from the inside.The young men and the women of Islam want the truth it’s just that we (parents) mother’s, fathers, people in authority have become ashamed of our religion and satisfied in living like everyone else (enjoymnet of the dunya)and not according to Iman and obeying Allah subhanna wa ta’ala. Pornography is a important tool in the destruction of not just muslim’s but society as a whole, the question is ” are we true believers or are we disbeliever’s.
    Every muslim man woman and child has an obligation to Allah to be upright human beings
    We don’t have to be perfect, but we should strive for perfection..

    Like

  2. theCall says:

    Jazakallah akh Bilal for your comment and reminding us all that fighting pornography is an obligation of all mankind irrespective of religion, gender and age.

    Lets all fear Allah (subhana wa taala) and Lower our gaze (from looking at forbidden things such as pictures, movies etc.), as this will help suppress the desire before it leads one to commit the haraam (forbidden).

    Allah (subhana wa taala) orders men and women to lower their gaze as shown in the following two verses and in the Prophet’s hadeeth (interpretations of the meanings):
    “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… “ 24.30-31

    Allaah’s messenger said: “Do not follow a casual (unintentional) look (at forbidden things) with another look.” Al-Tirmidhi 2777.

    This is a general instruction by the Prophet to abstain from all that may sexually excite a person because it might lead him/her to commit the haraam (forbidden).

    and Allah knows the best.

    Like

  3. theCall says:

    Why Islam forbids Pornography

    Like

  4. theCall says:

    Productive Muslim – Watching pornography

    Like

  5. theCall says:

    Purify your Gaze Campaign

    Like

  6. theCall says:

    The quickest way to destroy your spiritual heart is through watching pornography
    – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

    Like

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