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Pornography: Why it is Haram & How to deal with it? (Part 2 of 2)

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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 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 ,” 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)

 


 

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.

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