So instead of immersing themselves proactively in seeking Islamic knowledge through: reading more Islamic books/magazine/websites, or going to the masjids and joining the Islamic study circles, or proactively improving themselves to become a better Muslim, they choose to involve themselves in these distractions. The question then arises, what is the Islamic rulings regarding distractions?
Defining Distractions (Lahw) in Islam
Distraction is mentioned on many occasions in the Qur’an and Sunnah. It is mentioned in the context of entertainment, for example when the Prophet (Salalahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “You should (practice) (target) shooting, for it is the best of your entertainment (Lahwikum)”. In addition it was mentioned in the context of idle talk, when Allah (Subhanna Wa Ta’ala) said, “But there are, among men, those who purchase idle talk (Lahw Al-Hadith)” [Luqman : 6].
Ibn Jarîr said that it is any talk used to impede the Ayat of Allah (Subhanna Wa Ta’ala), and the obedience to His (Subhanna Wa Ta’ala) order and “To slander and mock the truth. As Ja’far As-Sâdiq (ra) had said.” [Al-Tafsîr Al-Kashif - Mughniyah]. That, which brings together the meanings of Lahw in the Qur’an, is the saying of Ash-Sha’râwi, “Al-Lahw is becoming distracted with something that is forbidden, or becoming distracted with permissible entertainment, keeping you occupied from carrying out an obligation.”
What Islam Says About Distractions (Lahw)
There are some matters of lahw, which are halal and mubah (permissible), like sports that achieve a result, such as target shooting (weapons training, hunting, paintball, etc), swimming, racing (on foot), wrestling and so on. Imam Al-Shâtibi says, “Lahw, entertainment and vacancy from any work, if it does not involve a forbidden matter, or occupy one from an obligated matter, is Mubah (permissible).” And he adds, “But he is blameworthy, and the scholars did not agree with it (like it), rather they would hate to see a man, who was not busy with either improving his livelihood or improving his Hereafter; for he had wasted a period of time which was not used to gain any good for this world, nor for the afterlife.”
So you can see that yes it is permissible to involve yourself in entertainment which is mubah (permissible), but in the views of scholars, it would a much better use of your time, if you had spent it which would benefit you in this life and also in the afterlife.
Also, even though there are lahw which are mubah (permissible), but if they lead to haram or leads to neglecting an obligation (fard), then that lahw will become haram as well. This is due to the fiqh principle of, “All that which leads to haram, is itself haram.” An example of this is when that form of lahw keeps man away from the salah (i.e. missing the salah all together) or from fasting, would be haram. Also that lahw that distracts man from the obligation of carrying the da’wa, and re-establishing the Islamic authority (Khilafah) would also be forbidden, because it distracts man from his obligations.
It is the nature of the Aqeedah of the non-Muslims that they seek the distractions in life. The belief of secularism is a belief of distractions, distracting man from achieving the goal in life, which is the pleasure of Allah (Subhanna Wa Ta’ala). Instead man is given the goal of achieving the sensual satisfaction; similar to what is found amongst the animals. So man strives hard to entertain himself and to seek his pleasure in life, not worrying about what comes after life. This Aqeedah of distractions pushes them to organise for themselves activities by fixing times, organising distractions or theatrical shows and the like. And these are of many types, such as:
Organised Sports: These events have specific times for training and specific times for the games themselves to be played, each one according to their levels and expertise. Television programmes are scheduled and radio broadcasts inform the masses about the proceedings of a sports game, until it becomes the talk of the town, city, region or even the world.
This atmosphere, surrounding sports has made it the biggest distraction for the Muslim youth, to the extent that their discussion regarding it, during and afterwards, is full of emotion, and these events have gained many fans and fanatics. These events are then played, disregarding the Hukm Shar’i (Islamic laws) regarding speech, manner of conduct while playing, and dress, furthering the spread of depravity and bad manners across the Ummah.
Dancing events: These have their groups and organisers. They also have many organised hours and massive locations in arenas, and highly decorated advertisements, performed by degraded, naked females before thousands, even millions of spectators in the arenas and across television screens all over Australia. Such dance events waste the valuable time of the Muslim youth, destroying their manners, their dignity, wasting their time and their Islamic beliefs.
Singing: In Australia, television shows such as Australian Idol is shown nation-wide. These people are idolised by the young and old alike. Children are encouraged from a young age to follow these idols, and organise bands and concerts. Indecent magazines are published discussing the “stars” and music, having its topic based upon “Love” portrays the woman and all her charms, as well as praising and paying tribute to the kings and presidents. So fornication, indecency and nudity are advertised amongst song and music lovers, and so nothing is left of the modesty of the Muslims.
The most important characteristic of organised lahw (distractions) organised distractions have a purpose and are planned, and are not spontaneous. They are made to be propagated universally and comprehensively over all aspects of life, with the aim of leading us away from Islam and loosing our Islamic identity.
Organised Lahw (Distractions) is Bad for You!
Organised distractions have affected the entire life of a Muslim. These distractions and entertainment turn the Ummah away from taking the deen as the basis of her life, in belief, worship, in her manners and actions, and in her legislation and constitution, weakening her reverence and respect for her deen, causing her to live life without a purpose and walking without a path. “This world becomes entertainment and games when there is no honourable, lasting purpose behind it, and when it is lived for what it has to offer, detached from the path Allah has set out in it…” [Sayyed Qutb].
Lets Study Islam!
The Prophet (Salalahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim"
Today unfortunately we see many Muslim youth who when it comes to their education, work or even entertainment they would gain a lot of knowledge regarding these areas, however when it comes to the Deen they have very little. Indeed the Prophet (Salalahu Alaihi Wasallam) mentioned this time.
Hazzam bin Hakîm narrated from his uncle from the Messenger of Allah (Salalahu Alaihi Wasallam) who said: “You are in a time of many jurisprudents (fuqaha), few speakers, many who give and few who ask; so action in this time is better than knowledge. There will soon come a time of few jurisprudents, many speakers, many who beg and few who give; so knowledge in this time is better than action.”
Therefore, as Muslim youths today, let us use this “free time” wisely and not waste it on things that do not benefit us in this life or in the afterlife. Let us use it to increase our knowledge of Islam, because it is an obligatory upon us all to believe in Islam definitively without a doubt and therefore this knowledge must be known to us, and also it is an individual obligation for us to know the Shariah rules related to our own lives and actions.
Abu Huraira (ra) said, The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "People are like mines of silver and gold; the more excellent of them in the days of Ignorance are the more excellent of them in Islam when they attain knowledge.” (Muslim, Mishkat).
Abu Dardâ' (ra) said, "To learn of one issue (in deen) is better for me than to pray the entire night".
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