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There has been a debate going on in many societies about whether the environment, literature, media, entertainment etc. and the values portrayed or forwarded in them have any impact, especially negative, on people, especially children. It seems a bit odd at first when common sense dictates that we recognize the affect of what happens around us upon our thinking, and yes, even behavior. We could cite several incidents to illustrate this point, but we may well be taken to task by those who deny that these things do indeed negatively affect the way people think and act. They would merely claim that our examples are isolated occurrences and that scientific data is need to establish that they should be counted as some sort of sociological trend. Every group that has an agenda believes what it wants to believe no matter how it may fly in the face of rationale, truth or facts. If the facts go against them they will nonetheless deny it on general principal. We will instead now take what we hope is an effective approach by citing matters that are nearly universal among people across all cultural, racial or societal lines. Every person who has spent time with children readily sees how much a child picks up behavioral and language cues from whoever they are surrounded by most of the time. In this regard parents usually have the greatest initial impact on a person. We are also aware that reading expands the mind and that it opens up the thinking person to the realm of ideas and imagination that cannot be attained otherwise. We must all testify to the impact of writing upon mankind and how powerful ideas and concepts have been transmitted to us only through the written word. Entire social systems and religious tenets have been founded upon great manuscripts of mighty thinkers and scriptural revelations that even if initially transmitted orally, were later written down. There are probably few artists, writers or speakers who would deny their ambition of being able to influence the thinking of those who read, listen to or admire their work. No one could deny the tremendous influence of various artists upon not just others like themselves, but upon the world at large. Literary masters and oratory giants (who usually write down their speeches) influence generations of readers and other writers after them and their ideas are expanded upon, their style copied and their work is analyzed to no end in universities and schools throughout the world and even across cultures. The same is true for the makers of films and songs whose works are viewed and heard by millions upon millions. Certain films are considered as trailblazers not just in cinematic technique but in bringing to life the ideas and ideals of the authors of the original stories that were of course initially written down. Is it not also true that singers and songwriters have affected the lives of multitudes of those who love their work. Those who listen closely to the voices of their favorite singer or instruments of the musicians they love would testify that their very sound affects their mood and changes their way of looking at their lives. The lyrics of many a tune are solidly implanted in the minds if not ready upon the lips of those who find solace, comfort, energy, sensuality, inspiration and more in their words and melodies. Indeed, many songwriters are counted as the greatest of poets or even social commentators and their words are often cited by a variety of people from all walks of life to effectively illustrate a point or concept in the minds, or to make a clear impression upon the hearts of whoever they are addressing. Finally, what we learn in school has an immense impact upon us. What we absorb at an early age sometimes has a lifetime affect. Education is without doubt the medium through which we obtain much of our outlook and perspective on life in addition to what we learn in our homes. Teachers, the first of whom are usually our parents, are our guides for so many things and when we are successful or unsuccessful in our life endeavors we can often cite the influence or inspiration of a teacher. If we didn't do well in school or if we didn't even attend school, we nevertheless had teachers of some type, even if it was the street itself. This is agreed by most to be among the worst of teachers for the lessons learned there may skew one's perspective in the most negative of ways with disastrous personal and societal results. The hypocritical side of many of these very influential members of society is that, while quick to take credit for the positive consequences of their influence upon society, they are never willing to take the blame for the negative consequences of what they bring about. They will totally deny that what they have written, produced,
sung or said either caused, encouraged, or incited anyone to do anything wrong. It is as we said at the start 'Every group that has an agenda believes what it wants to believe no matter how it may fly in the face of rationale, truth or facts. If the facts go against them they will nonetheless deny it on general principal.' We have cited all of the above agreed upon truths to strengthen our point that each of these things indeed has a profound affect upon the lives of people sometimes even if they deny it or don't realize it. This brings us to the main point of this editorial that I will try to make in the form of several questions. What do you think the resulting influence upon a Muslim will be if his or her…
…basic education is not based upon Islam i.e. the Qur’aan and authentic sunnah? …all cultural influences such as music, literature, entertainment are unrelated to Islam and authentic, correct beliefs? …the historical figures who are admired and whose virtues are extolled and whose contributions in whatever fields are not Muslims? …the information and concepts that one is taught and constantly hears have nothing to do with Islam or Muslims?
Do you think that…
…such a Muslim’s values will be Islamic? …they will be attracted to their own religious heritage? …they will understand the value of Islamic morality and lifestyle? …Islam will be dear to them? …such a person will understand the basic tenets of faith in Islam and will strive to adhere to them?
Or is it more likely that…
…the culture and values that they are surrounded by will have the greatest influence upon them? …Islam will not only be of little value to them but of little interest other than what is required of them to know in school? …they will have far more affinity, love and respect for those who share a similar background and education to thier own then they will for anyting Muslim or Islamic …they may feel alienated and left out in a society that has no Islamic view or that may even view Islam as strange and outmoded? …they will suffer the same social and moral ills that are commonplace and rampant in the culture they are raised in
Do you really think that…
…Muslims in general could live surrounded by an environment of un-Islamic influences and come out unscathed? …Allah will be pleased with Muslims who willfully allow themselves or their children to be raised and nurtured in manners that are removed from Islam, its teachings, and tenets? …Allah will assist or not call to account those responsible for establishing and encouraging Muslims to prefer un-Islamic education, culture and lifestyles?
Do you believe that… …this editorial was written for you merely to read and throw away without considering the implications of the answers to these questions and that no positive action should be taken to address and remedy the problem?
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