Friday, June 22, 2007

Pop goes the Muslim.

I'm waiting for Isha to happen, then Mr Outlines and I are going to watch The Prestige.
Otowi says it's really good so....

This brings me neatly to something that weighs on my mind somewhat: Pop Culture. Or rather, the Muslim and Pop culture.

I am torn. I know that the greatest thing is to have Remembrance of Allah swt and too much immersion in frivolity isn't good for achieving this.

There is a difference in opinion about the permissibility
of music in Islam. I follow the opinion that it is allowed, but I know
that a lot of music that I like probably doesn't fall into that
category.

Amongst western Muslims, these things seem to be a much bigger deal. People will talk about television watching like it's the worst sin ever...... when I'm sure there are far worse things.

Meanwhile,
those in Muslim countries wonder what all the fuss is about. Mr
Outlines comes from a very pious family (Mother-in-law Outlines stopped
to pray in the middle of having her hair done - Masha Allah), but they
have atv and they don't just watch Iqra. They are also big fans of Fayrouz, but then I think it that may be a legal requirement there. So Mr Outlines really wonders why I ponder so much about this.

I
think what makes me feel guilty, is that I'm not spending enough time
on the truly worthwhile things to justify spending more time on not
massively important things.

It's hard. When I come home from
work, I want to stick my brain in a cupboard. Listening to music can
seem far more relaxing then reading a book that makes me feel even
more, what a bad Muslim I am.

Another thing. Pop culture is a
shared culture. Opting out makes me feel like I have one less thing in
common with my family and those around me. Some may like to live in a
bubble of the similarly pious. I can see the benefits, but for me
that's not an option.

As I have mentioned his family, I showed Mr Outlines the post.

There followed a big discussion on why this was important, honesty amongst Muslims and the feelings of the heart.

"Ask yourself why you feel guilty about these things".

I think I already know the answer, but what's the solution?

9 comments:

otowi said...

Did you like the movie?

I can relate to your post very well. As a teacher, knowing pop culture is almost part of the job description so I can relate to my students and relate what I teach to them in terms they can understand and have interest in.

I do watch TV, but what I watch is way different than what most kids watch, it seems. I have officially nerdy tastes for TV.

As for music, every ruling I ever read of scholars I follow seem to say that music of the type that is suitable for haram gatherings is haram - or something like that - and I always found it a bit hard to figure out exactly what that meant when it came to any particular music. I mean, 200 or 300 years ago the waltz was positively risque but now that music would not possibly be construed in the same way. I can't say I never listen to music, although I go for long periods without listening. And when I do listen, I mainly listen to film music like the soundtrack of LOTR. But once in a great while I do listen to something like classic rock on the radio while driving and feeling guilty for it at the same time not really understanding if what I listen to is really wrong or not.

About TV, many people take the philosophy it is not about what you watch rather as how much of it - TV shouldn't control your life and become a god, same with music. And then the whole lowering the gaze thing, and avoiding vain talk/ idle pursuits, etc. - I know recreation has a place in Islam, but where all this fits in it without getting into wrong that seems innocent is hard to figure out.

Nancy said...

Hi, I just came by via Manal and have to say I like your observation that pop culture is a shared culture. Maybe that's the whole point of it. Good luck resolving that conflict. :-)

whisper said...

Islam is rich enough to provide guidelines in all spheres of human life. Entertaintment is also a part of human life and naturally Islam has its own ways to entertain the human mind. “DHIKR ” , the remembrance of Allah is one great way of entertaintment. For further information, please check the following link.

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http://www.jerrahi.org/writings_english/ondhikr.htm

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However, to learn that art of “dhikr” you should contact a real Sufi master. But you should be careful of charlatans or fake Sufis.For further information, please check the following link

###############
http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/sufism.htm
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LouLou said...

I try to scrupulously avoid preaching because I don't see myself as an authority in religion. But given my upbringing, I find it hard to understand somebody feeling guilty about listening to music.

I mean, my grandfather knew the Quran by heart. And he loved music. He played several instruments. He said that the music he listened to made him appreciate his family, his homeland, his senses, love, Nature etc...And to appreciate Creation is to appreciate the Creator. How can one feel guilty about that?

How can listening to music at home or in your car be a sin?

Safiya said...

Otowi - Yes I liked the film, a lot, very clever and I really had to think about the ending.

When I wrote this post, I was worried people would misunderstand what I was trying to say but you understood totally, thanks!

Nancy - Hi, thank you for visiting and for your wishes.

Whisper _ Salaam, thank you for visiting. Increased dhikr is something I'm working towards. Alhadulilah, I have access to wonderful teachers for this.

Loulou - Salaam, Nice to see you.

With music, i think it's the type of music. I'm pretty sure your Gandfather didn't listen to RnB.
If I only listened to nasheeds or even classical music, I don't think I'd be feeling guilty about it.

Mainly though, I feel guilty because I don't spend enough time on things that will bring me closer to Allah swt, but insha Allah, I'm making steps to change this.

Manal said...

Good post outlines and I truly understand where you are coming from when it comes to music, tv, entertainment etc. and their boundaries in Islam.

Yet, I must admit, I do listen to music, I do watch tv, and I find many ways of entertainment and I do believe that I am NOT doing anything wrong unless I am going overboard and of course getting farther away from God.

I have often talked about this in my blog in previous posts regarding keeping one's life balanced, specifically in finding the middle ground in Islam.

I think it is what one CHOOSES to listen to, what to watch on tv, and the types of entertainment involved that makes the difference.

I am not going to go into too much and maybe if you do not mind, I might use this very topic on your post to further write a post about it in my blog. Is this okay with you?:)

The point is, let's take music for instance. I actually seldom listen but that is not because I agree that it is haraam and I am decreasing or what have you. I actually do not believe it is haraam (not permitted) in Islam. It's only because I am busy with the little guys......LOL!!

Anyway, I do listen to lots of soundtracks, music of the heart, lots of Mozart, Beethoven,Grieg and the likes in classics. I completely do not listen to rap, heavy metal and the likes of such. Not to degrade anyone who does either. But that is my choosing and this is my opinion only. I do feel that such music is NOT healthy for you in terms of the violence involved, the immoral actions stated and just plain disgust. And I do feel that music certainly CAN affect you!

To me, it is simply common sense. Music that is decent should NOT keep you away from remembrance of God. Music that is despicable and I consider almost "Satanistic", obviously will keep you from remembering God.

In a matter of fact, in life, we should not solely worry about music, tv, or the types of entertainment only and how they play a part in Islam or how it can effect our remembrance of God.

I feel that anything and everything can affect a person's life. And what ever it is that keeps one away from remembering God, one should eliminate in their life. I am sorry because sometimes when I listen to a beautiful piece of music while sitting on the deck and sipping my cup of coffee and staring into the beautiful blue sky, I do nothing but remember God and become completely immersed by HIS presence everywhere.

Some may not agree with what I have said and that is ok. Like I said, this is my opinion and only God will judge me on the last day! I am sharing how I feel about the entire issue, that is all..........

Sorry for writing such a loooong comment!:)

Safiya said...

Manal - Don't apologise for writing a long comment. I really appreciate your viewpoint and thank you for sharing it.

أبو سنان said...

I am a HUGE fan of Fayrouz.

Safiya said...

Abu Sinan - I can't quite get into her myself. However, your point about her being considerably classier then the current Arab pop sensations is spot on.