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Tuesday, May 9, 2017
We may not be able to control the industry, but we can control ourselves
Islam has prohibited upon us all sort of hideous and shameless acts and words. Pornography is one of such shameless acts, if not on top of them. Shamelessness comes in verbal and action forms. Vulgarity is shamelessness. Rudeness is shamelessness, and so is every hideous act. But fornication (zinā) is the shamelessness that ruins all human societies in secret. And one of the things that lead to it is pornography, and the opposite is true (the two lead to each other interchangeably).
The Oxford Dictionary of English defines pornography as any “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.”
In other words, pornography is any printed or visual material that promotes the desire for unlawful sex. It also promotes rape and sexual harassment. Furthermore, pornography urges sexual violence among lawfully married couples (I’ll explain this later… hold your breath and keep reading). I claim that pornography promotes the desire for unlawful sex because, lawfully married couples –in normal circumstances, would need not any one to promote sex to them for them to make love. Take a minute and ponder upon any 3 commercial adverts you’ve seen today, be it on the TV, in YouTube, Facebook, newspaper/magazine or even on a poster in the street. It’s likely that, if not all do stimulate sexual excitement (or sexual thoughts –in a way or the other) one or two do.
In Islam, it’s fundamental that promoting sex in the public domain is prohibited, save when it’s for the good cause, for troubled married couples or for righteous educational purposes. This is because it instigates those who can’t afford marriage to commit harassment, fornication, and worst still; rape. Thus, Islam commands us stay clear from anything that could lead us to zinā (fornication/adultery). For that Allah says in Sūrah al-Isrā’ (17:32):
“Do not even approach fornication for it is an outrageous act, and an evil way.”
It’s important to indicate here, that Islam does not prohibit sex, nor does it discourage it. It rather prohibits unlawful sex, regardless, whether it happens with the agreement of the parties involved or not. Islam discourages acts and sex that promotes evil, immorality, and transgression on earth. Means that influence the decision to fall into pornography include commercial adverts (in the TV, newspapers, magazines and others), and the free and easy accessibility to the Internet.
We may not be able to control the industry, but we can control ourselves, only if we choose to be mindful of the bounds set by Allah. Despite our weakness as human beings (being brought to earth to be trialed), we’re also given some strength and power to overcome, with the leave of Allah, our desires and control ourselves. That is the will to do or not to do. To embark on something or not to. Because of this strength, the Muslim, man and woman are enjoined to cast down their gaze and seize it on the opposite gender, where applicable. Why? Because it helps to create a clean and safe environment for all; an environment that is less polluted and less inflicted with immorality, shamelessness, rape, sexual harassment and transgression. It also helps to have an environment where the dignity of the woman is preserved, and she’s dignified as a mother, a sister, a wife, or a daughter. For that, Allah says in Sūrah al-Nūr (24:30-31):
“And O Prophet, enjoin the Believing men to restrain their gaze and guard their private parts. This is a more righteous way for them: Allah has knowledge of what they do. O Prophet, enjoin the Believing women to restrain their gaze and guard their private parts.”
It’s worth emphasizing here, that pornography is not only what xxx websites in the Internet provide. As time goes, there’re many things that have normalized in secular societies, including pornography. This is because it sells and makes them lots of money. The magazines, the newspapers, the TV and the adverts therein do portray porn, especially from Islamic perspective. When they make money others are victimized. Don’t be the voluntary victim.
For instance, in the secular context, there are contents that are safe for children (under 18 years), whereby other contents are adult content. In Islam, a content that is safe should be safe for both adult and minor. An unsafe content is unsafe for all.
Think of Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood movies. Think of the Korean and Japanese dramas. Think of the shameless Egyptian (and Arab) dramas mainly broadcasted during Ramadān. By the end of each episode, the viewer’s mind is likely polluted and filled with filthy sexual thoughts. This is, if the objective of the episode is not (in the first place) to promote evil agenda, immorality and shamelessness.
The next section briefly highlights who watches pornography.
The smarter you think you are, the easily you fall prey to pornography
The desire for sexual satisfaction is as demanding as the desire for the satisfaction for food and water. For that matter, the temptation and the urge to fulfilling it is indifferent from the temptation to committing any offence in the absence of CCTVs. This is to say, it’s a natural and built-in instinct, which we are required to have control over.
Studies have shown that, both male and female are tempted to pornography. But males are the biggest fans of it. According to the Covenant Eye, “men are more than 543% more likely to look at porn than women.” Also, “68% of young adult men and 18% of women use porn at least once every week.” There’s no wonder then that 1 in 5 mobile searches are for pornography.
Also, all age ranges do watch pornography. But “teens up to early 40s are the biggest viewers of pornography.” Statistics from the Covenant Eye shows that “9 out of 10 boys are exposed to pornography before the age of 18, while 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18.” Furthermore, the average American child is first exposed to pornography (porn as defined in the circular context) at the age of 12.
There’re many factors that trigger the urge for pornography, including home culture (upbringing), social exposure, peer pressure, easy access to the Internet and boredom. With these factors in place, the victim finds himself enough excuse and conviction, with which he normalizes pornography for himself.
Those who watch porn also include Muslims (unfortunately) and non-Muslims. Being a practicing Muslim who prays five times a day may not be enough a factor, to stop one from falling to pornography. But being determined to control one’s desires while observing Allah-consciousness is certainly helpful in preventing oneself from falling to pornography.
If you do watch porn, below is a list of 10 reasons you should quit by the leave of Allah. One may need some time (gradual process) to quit, but there must be readiness and willingness that he wants to quit and to reclaim his self. If you don’t watch pornography, but happen to know someone who does, you ought to help him and free him fro this affliction, due to the following 10 reasons.
It’s very easy to get addicted to pornography. If you don’t, please don’t try. This, because it’s easier than you can ever guess. The easier it is to get hooked to it, the more difficult it is, on the other hand, to give up on it. The experienced have confirmed that it’s more addictive than the addiction of cocaine, heroine and other drugs.
This confirms that, desirable things can enslave its doers easily. And once man is enslaved to his desires, he gets trapped in it and he may have to struggle a ‘big deal’ before he can free himself, by the leave of Allah. The more educated he thinks he is, the more excuses he creates to justify for himself, just to remain enslaved to it. Pornography is just one of such.
This is to say; the one who gets addicted to pornography finds no happiness without doing (watching) it. Nothing interests him. Nothing attracts him. Nothing excites him. Only porn excites him. When nothing excites you but pornography, that means even ṣalāh and dhikr (remembrance of Allah) do not excite you, and hence, they don’t bring you comfort. In this case, something is seriously wrong, and it must be fixed immediately.
The scary part, according to addicts, is that, the more of it you see, the more of it you want. And anytime you see more, you expect something weirder (“hotter”) in the next time. This means, the more of it you see, the more unsatisfied you become. And watching pornography is nothing but to stimuli you for masturbation.
#2: Pornography Automatically Leads You to Masturbation
Pornography leads you to masturbation
Masturbation is an instant relief from the need for sexual intercourse. This happens when the doer plays with his private parts and arouses his sexual desire until he ejaculates. Masturbation puts you to moodiness, anxiety and physical weakness. Masturbation dehydrates you, and that weakens you further. Why is it so?
It’s because, sex in a lawful marriage attains you intimacy, love, happiness and excitement although dehydration happens. It also bonds you with your lawful spouse, for intimacy takes place with the presence of a spouse, not an object, image or imagination. Masturbation isn’t able to grant you love and intimacy due to the absence of a spouse in the process.
Generally, whoever tells you that masturbation is harmless is not telling you the truth. You may not know how harmful masturbation is if you’ve never done it. If this is true, then be thankful to Allah, and don’t ever try it. If you’re already addicted to it, then you know, for sure, the inner crisis and the psychological damage masturbation causes its addicts. To quit, I invite you to reading my article, How to Quit the Secret Habit. Once pornography has successfully led one to masturbation, that’s when he loses his focus for anything other than masturbation and pornography.
When addicted to porn, you lose focus in whatever you do
Pornography (and masturbation) is addictive that, once you are hooked to it, it controls your thoughts, which in return will control your maturity, growth and productivity. This is as a result of its addiction. The addict would always want more of it, and thus he would always think about it. The sad part is, his mind tells him that, that’s only where he’ll get satisfaction. Even if we assume that it can really give you satisfaction, the truth is, you can’t be doing it 24/7. And since your urge for it has overfed to addiction, your mind becomes always connected to it. As much as you want to see it, you want to think about it. Thus, whatever you do, you will be seen (as you yourself will feel) either daydreaming or unproductive. You’ll be seen with no focus or interest in whatever you do.
With lack of focus, you become physically weak. How is that possible? See the next section.
When addicted to pornography, you lose your physical energy
If you’re addicted to pornography, there’s a high possibility that you have difficulty in sleeping during nighttime. This frustrates and exhausts you, besides your focus being snatched away from you. Already, nothing interests you but pornography, here comes another test that you have to experience –sleeplessness. A bad or disrupted sleep affects your productivity during the daytime, regardless of what you do.
With loss of focus, lack of sleep, which has led to physical weakness, one becomes temperamental. Since nothing interests you, nothing will please you. Since nothing pleases you, everything will anger you. This physical weakness is followed by psychological weakness. How? The next section answers that.
When addicted to porn, you lose your worth, psychologically
If you talk to pornography addicts, you understand that they have constant guilty consciousness. This leads some of them, if not all, to develop low self-esteem. With low self-esteem, and lack of confidence, even the strongest could turn to be the weakest. He’s not able to impress himself of its abilities and potentials, how could he impress others?
With this guilty-consciousness, low self-esteem and lack of confidence, pornography addicts starts to dissociate from the society they live in.
When you’re trapped in the cage of pornography, you only find your ‘happiness’ by watching it. This happiness is by all means fake and delusion. And since you can’t watch it in public, at least not in the presence of people who you know they dislike it, or in front of people you respect (or are afraid of), you have to isolate yourself, so to entertain that false excitement (lust).
The sense of guilty-consciousness and low self-esteem further isolates the victim of pornography from the society, as he no longer finds it to be his comfort zone. His comfort zone becomes only where his computer, mobile phone, tablet or magazines are. His comfort zone is isolation.
Unless you are doing something productive, and unless you’re devoteously invoking Allah in your privacy, pornography (if that is what isolates you) will never set you free, as Iblīs wants to see you stay. And with that, you’re in an unending delusion. In addition to that unending delusion, with the effect of pornography on you, you age faster.
With both physical and psychological weakness, with loss of focus, and constant thoughts about images that are unrealistic and damaging at the same time, one is overwhelmed with anxiety and fear, both of which can age him faster.
Again, I said you would age faster. I didn’t say you’d gain maturity. One’s age does not increase nor decrease, but he’s will be weak and age at young age. Ageing at young age doesn’t mean maturity. For maturity dictates upon one to abstain from hideouts, especially when Islam has emphasized in condemning it and its likes. Maturity requires focus, determination and effective participation in the society to learn and experiment. When you age faster, you look older but immature and childish.
The other effect of pornography addiction that comes with ageing faster is living an unending delusion.
The delusion of addiction to pornography is that, your mind tells you that you can surely find happiness and excitement by just doing the wrong thing –pornography.
The married person will want to attain the perceived excitement with his spouse. Inability to attain that is what leads to sexual violence in the wedlock. The party who is hooked to pornography may perceive (wrongly) that with aggression, he could attain higher level of excitement, not knowing that those he’s been watching in pornography have been under high influence of drugs.
The non-married addict continues to search for that happiness by watching more and more. He may also think he will get that happiness if he does it in real. Thus, he’ll consider getting married. The thing is, it’s certainly good for the single to get married, so to protect his modesty from fitnah and get him close to Allah. But until you quit watching pornography, you’re not ready for a successful marriage.
#9: Until You Quit Pornography, You Aren’t Ready for a Successful Marriage
To have a successful marriage, you must decide to quit watching pornography
Unfortunately, some porn addicts may think marriage could save them from this fitnah. But the opposite is true. One of the main factors that motivate both man and woman to commit to marriage contract is the sexual satisfaction factor. You won’t go for a marriage if you know, for sure, that you aren’t going to enjoy sexual satisfaction in that marriage. Would you? This is although sex takes minor percentage in marriage life. For instance, according to Women’s Day, the average person ‘makes love’ 103 times in a year. That is 28.2% of the year. If we assume that this is applicable to married couples, and we therefore generalize it on a marriage life, it’s only 28.2 % of the marriage life that is for ‘making love.’ Nevertheless, it’s very crucial as it determines the survival of marriage.
Thus, a marriage in which the couple involved is not enjoying a good sex life and for that matter are not satisfied is doomed for failure.
This is because the scenes of pornography contain more delusion than reality; as a result of the overdosed drugs the porn ‘artists’ take for the purpose. Unfortunately, the one who sees a couple performing it in a certain way may think he, too, can perform it in a similar way, and attain the perceived false excitement, which he was made to visualize.
One of the things that affect the quality of sex life in marriage is the inability to fulfill certain perceptions about sex in marriage. And this happens, when one is trapped in pornography (movies and magazines). This is to say most dramas and movies are not porn (in the secular context), but they play the same role to some extent. And by right, they are Islamically inappropriate.
Since watching pornography creates unrealistic reality in the mind of its victim, he assumes sex in marriage life to be exactly as he watches it (in the pornography) or better. Not knowing that movies, novels, and for that matter pornography are planned, rehearsed, acted and shot to create unrealistic imagination in the real life. And when the victim determines to live up to just that in real life, he finds himself hit by failure in the relevant endeavour.
So, if you are planning to have a successful marriage life (with sex that comes with it), prepare to quit watching pornography from today, and eradicate all those scenes from your memory. How long it will take you to eradicate those scenes from your memory depends on how long you’ve been trapped in it. It also depends on how ready and how serious you are about quitting. To achieve that, one may need to seek professional help from a specialist.
If you’re married, hooked with pornography, and yet searching for success in your marriage, it’s time for you to make a choice. Either your marriage or your pornography. Please choose your marriage. I beg you for Allah’s sake! Do you know why you shouldn’t choose porn over your marriage? Because pornography is undoubtedly sinful.
In the introduction of this article, I indicated that, it’s fundamental that the production of pornography is a big no.. no.. in Islam. Even if all you do in the crew is to handle the security of the studio where the pornography has been shot.
Now, it’s time to indicate that watching pornography is sinful in many ways. You watch the ‘aurah (private parts) of people you’re not allowed to by religion and morality. You are doing masturbation, which weakens you further and masturbation is not allowed. Also, you also cause harm to yourself, and Islam disallows us doing anything that brings harm to us and to others. Furthermore, the parties involved in porn are committing fornication. A Muslim wouldn’t want to watch a lawfully married couple making love, why then would he voluntarily watch unlawful couples committing fornication?!
The Qur’an has prohibited us from going close to immorality and shamelessness, whether it’s in public or in private, whether it’s known or unknown. And fornication is the top of immorality and shamelessness, as far as social cleanliness are concerned.
The implication of obsession with sin, be it minor or major, is that, it takes away the blessings, which Allah has bestowed upon the servant. The scariest of all is that, although Allah may continue to bestow His bounty upon the sinner despite being indulged with sin, he’s made to forget Allah. When one forgets Allah, he is made to forget himself too. He forgets that Allah is All-Forgiving, and hence sinks in whatever evil that he’s trapped in. He forgets that Allah accepts repentance and hence he chooses to please Iblīs. He forgets his mission and objectives in this life. And the end starts from there.
Watching porn, even for one time is sinful in Islam. That’s spiritual. Continuing with it has health and psychological implications, which it may take one a long time to recover from. Deciding to live with it invites Allah’s wrath upon one, and takes away His blessing upon him.
Human beings are not perfect, and for that, we are expected to fall to our weaknesses from time to time. When we’ve committed a sin, we need to repent sincerely, but making taubah (repentance) from doing it doesn’t necessarily cure the problem one might have accumulated from watching pornography. The only way he has to take in order to get rid of problems resulted from watching pornography is to quit and seek psychological help from the specialists. Now, he can top all that with an honest and sincere du‘ā, that Allah may forgive him and cure him from this sickness and purify his heart from evil desires.
If you’re not yet married, do not delude yourself by saying, “Watching it teaches me how… for when I get married.” This is not true. Watching sexual scenes doesn’t teach, but rather afflicts you. Please take heed.
This is what the one who is obsessed with pornography should know, in order for him to decide to quit. If you’re not obsessed with it (that is you do not watch it), then, there’s no reason for you to think of trying it. If you’re convinced based on what you’ve just read that the Muslim should quit watching pornography, you may wondering about how to quit. Check out my 10 Ways for the Muslim to Quit Pornography for Good.
The 10 reasons highlighted in this article are those I could think of, based on emails I received and conversations I had with troubled Muslim brethren. What are some of the reasons (for which) you think the Muslim should quit watching pornography. Please share with us your thoughts in the comments area.
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Until our next article, I leave you in Allah’s protection.