Jump to content
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!) ×
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!)
In the Name of God بسم الله


Veteran Member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Reputation Activity

  1. Like
    AnaAmmar1 reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, Evolution   
    Came across this observation on Quora:
    The whole piece is worth reading in its entirety, it's very well written. The author argues:
    My understanding of the above argument is that human biology challenges the notion of intelligent design and instead reflects the notion of 'evolution without foresight'.
    But the author ends the piece by saying that one of the reasons why human babies can have survival rates better than other species is because of their ability to scream. This allows babies to summon help.
    But surely if we consider, as I do, evolution to be Divinely inspired then although we may be born 'physically immature', the fact that we survive based because of various social and other bonds, simply testifies to the importance of the latter.
    It also provides another angle for understanding the importance of mums as delineated in the Qu'ran.
  2. Like
    AnaAmmar1 reacted to Hameedeh for a blog entry, Minimalism   
    Two years ago I became a minimalist. I'm not talking about music, sculpture or painting, but minimalism in my life. I read about creating a minimalist home, but I did not buy the book:
    So, I am thrifty and I buy very little. Whenever I am shopping and see a dozen things I want to own, I question myself. Do I have storage space for this? Is this really necessary? Will I really love it or is it just something that I never had before and always wanted to have one? Just wanting to possess something is not a good reason to buy it. Could I take a photo of it and just look at it, without spending my money? This must be a good reason to join Pinterest, to have all the things you want to look at, but never need to buy, store or move them. 
    As you have seen, my ShiaChat blog is minimalist by nature. I usually say very little, because if there is one thing that I know, it is that I recognize great writing when I see it, but I am not a good writer. I hope to become a better writer some day, and in the meantime, I invite you to my tumblr. Please, if you can, start at the last page which shows my first post (a prayer for the safety of 12th Imam AJ) and then scroll your way up, and over to previous pages in chronological order, the way my brain was working. 
    ♥ May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. ♥
  3. Like
    AnaAmmar1 reacted to Hameedeh for a blog entry, Jewishencyclopedia.com got me real Mad   
    Anger and me have a bit of a weird relationship, I get angry pretty easily/fast but for the most part I can keep it in, especially in public.  But there are so few rare times when I get so angry that cheeks burn.  One such recent occasion was because of a website known as jewishencyclopedia.com.  Now let me start off by saying I didn’t get mad when the website said Prophet Muhammad copied things from the Jews, Christians, and some pagans (well I was a little annoyed), the reason why I wasn’t angry with that was because I didn’t make sense for me to be annoyed that people from another religion don’t consider him a prophet. No, I was angry for (many) other reasons.
    Let’s start off by setting up the scene.  I should of been doing my homework, I really should of, but ya’ll can see the first word of the blog’s name and indeed I was doing that.  I was doing some research about the Arabs, usually stuff, but then I came upon Hagar’s entry in the jewishencyclopedia.  The first half of it was okay, it talked about Hagar in the Bible and the some positive things about her from the Talmud.
    Then I kept reading.
    And the second half of the article began talking about negative views/things about Hagar from the Talmud.  This was the first and most thing that made me angry. My noble friends, Hagar means a Lut (I know it’s not funny, but I still enjoy it) to me, not only is she the mother and wife of two very important prophets, she is also my many great grandmother. And sir, no one dares talks bad about my family when I’m around.  The second half of the article went on about how Ishmael (I’m writing the English version of his name, deal with it. I’m reading it as the Arab version and you probably are too.) was actually her second son because Sarai (at this time in Genesis Abraham’s and Sarah’s
    names were Abram and Sarai) caused Hagar to miscarriage by giving her the “evil eye.”
    (A quick side not, in the Genesis, Sarah is the half-sister to Abraham. I found that out when I was  talking to my Bib Lit. teacher about how one of David’s sons raped his (half) sister, and my teacher said, “Remember Genesis? It mentions how Sarah was the half-sister to Abraham. I got more to say about my Bib Lit. class, I really loved it, probably gonna have a blog about it.)
    And that’s not all! The article also mentions that some Talmud scholars even say that Hagar would make fun of Sarai (again at this time her name is Sarai, God changed their names after he told them Sarai was pregnant with Isaac) for being barren.  The article mentions that some Genesis and Talmud scholars believe that the reason Sarah wanted Abraham to kick out Hagar and Ishmael was because Sarah was scared Isaac wouldn’t get the full inheritance and some even mention Ishmael was sexually deviant when it came to Sarah.  (Just a reminder, the story in the Bible and the Islamic version differ, if you want some clarification just ask, I consider myself a bit of a non-expert expert when it comes to the Bible (mostly the Old Testament/Tanakh)).  Then what made my blood really boil is when I read that some scholars believe that Hagar didn’t really believe in God because she gave Ishmael an Egyptian wife. Oh and just to add a cherry on the anger, they tell the Islamic version of Ibrahim leaving Hagar and Ishmael in the desert and they get the story wrong.
    “That was pretty long,” some of you might be thinking.
    That was only the article on Hagar, which admittedly got me the most mad, but like an idea, I decided to read some other articles.  The articles about the Arabs/Ishmaelites, Prophet Muhammad, and the Jews of Arabia have many things in common that ticked me off.
    The author(s) of the articles try to distant the relationship between the Hebrews and Arabs as much as they can. They say that Arabs are actually mainly descendants of the Babylonians (I just wanna point out that in the Bible, the Babylonians were viewed negatively and were at one point the opposers of the Hebrew) and with some blood from Ishmael and Esau mixed in.  When they talk about the Jews of Arabia, they mention that these Jews weren’t as “good” (whatever the hell that means, but I think they're referring to  intelligence and spirituality in this context) as other Jews but because they were still Jewish it meant  they were superior to the surrounding Arabs.  They talk about how that Prophet Muhammad went to war with the Jews was because he wasn’t smart enough to convince him that he was a prophet because they were so much smarter than him. They fail to mention the many reasons why it was the Jewish tribes fault for those wars, such as breaking treaties, assassination plots, and making many bad decisions just to name a few.  
    Another thing they do is instead of saying Muslims, they would instead say Muhammadan.  Which is a pretty obvious (and petty) way of putting down Muslims.
    There’s a lot more they get wrong and insulting things they write, but I’m gonna wrap it up with this. In the article about Jesus (I’m gonna skip over most of it, most of it is blugh and the Christians in the comments say more than I care to talk about at this time) they say Sura 3 verse 43 is about Jesus making birds out of clay.
    Quran 3:43: O Mary, be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow [in prayer]." (Sahih International)
    I seem to notice a lack of Jesus, clay, and birds. But that could just be me.
    I went to bed not long after that, but I stayed awake for a long time because how angry I was.  I don’t have anything against Jews/Hebrews. I’m not anti-Semitic (but I am anti-Israeli/Zionist). But this site made me really mad and I’m gonna avoid it for the time being. When it comes to the Tanahk and the Talmud, these guys are pretty good about their job but when it comes to talking about other religions… Let’s just say they shouldn’t put it in their resume (I wanted to end the blog with that line or “Let’s just say they shouldn’t write home about it”. I don’t know which one to put so I’m leaving them both in.)
  4. Like
    AnaAmmar1 reacted to Miss Wonderful for a blog entry, Career Advice and Planning   
    As someone who has seen a little bit of success in the corporate world, I would like to take this opportunity to offer career advice to college-going and recent graduates of ShiaChat who are about to embark on their careers.
    01) Don't start planning and looking for a job when you have less than 2-3 months left of college. Job-hunting begins when you have about a year left to graduate. Identify companies you would like to work for; try to network with people to belong to these companies.
    02) Create a LinkedIn Profile and keep it updated. Try to connect with people in Talent Acquisition (TA) within the companies you are interested in working for.
    03) Inquire about internship opportunities within these companies even if the internships are unpaid. The experience and networking opportunities should be well worth it.
    04) Career planning does not mean looking for your next job. Career planning is planning for your last job before retirement and then working your backwards to your current position. This leads to an important exercise. You have to ask yourself - "Where do I want to be in 45 years?" (45 years if starting career around 22 and working until 67). If you don't know, then work on it -  think about it, evaluate your degree and see if it will help you, look at successful people with your degree. How far did they get in their careers?
    05) Once you've figured out where you would like to be in 45 years, work your way backwards in 5 year intervals to different positions you will need to hold in order to get to the next level. Let's take an example within IT. You are 22 and graduating today with a degree in programming and plan to retire as CIO. Career planning would go something like:
    CIO (62 - 67) IT Director (56 - 61) Senior Manager (50 - 55) Department Manager (44 - 49) Project Manager (38 - 43) Team Leader (32 - 37) Programmer Analyst (27 - 21) Programming Specialist (22 - 26) It is important to note that first position and last position should be fixed. You should be flexible about all other positions in between. When evaluating new job opportunities, the first question you should ask is whether the new position will help you get to your end goal or not. If not, look elsewhere.
    06) I mentioned 5 year intervals. If you are stuck in the same position for 5 years, then your career has become stagnant. Ideally, you should receive a promotion every 2.5 years or so. This does not necessarily mean a title change as much as increasing and/or different responsibilities.
    07) Don't change jobs too frequently (every 18 months or so). It looks bad on a resume.
    08) Don't be afraid to move laterally if it will help your end goal. Example, if you are stuck as a PM in a company and you know there is no upward mobility, then it is okay to find a PM position in another company if there is chance for growth.
    09) For the most part, your degree will only help you get your first job. After that, it's what you make of yourself.
    10) Never leave a position on bad terms. The corporate world is a lot smaller than you think.
    Most people think of the corporate ladder as a straight ladder bottom to top. A more appropriate description is that a corporate ladder is more like a Donkey Kong Maze:

    You have to navigate your way through the stumbling blocks to reach the top.
    "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" is a very common interview question. You are almost guaranteed a job if this question is asked and you tell them that you have planned your career until retirement nad explain how this position would help you get there.
    I hope this helps. Feel free to reply here with questions or PM me. But my first question back will be "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
  5. Like
    AnaAmmar1 reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, The temptation of trust   
    Trust is generally considered a good thing. One basis for building trust is when someone behaves well, fulfills the promises that they have made and demonstrates to trustees that they are people capable of being trusted. In this way trust as an asset develops when someone or an entity such as an organisation develops a track record of trustworthy behaviour.
    Such trustworthy behaviour usually requires the person or organisation not to have abused the trust that others have placed in them, most often by taking a risk too far beyond their own capabilities (the incapable tradesman) or indeed having deliberately abused trust to take advantage (the conman).
    People who we think are trustworthy are therefore the ones in whom we'd be more likely to take risks and larger risks in the future because of their behaviour in the past has developed greater and greater levels of trust.
    The trustworthy organisation or person, therefore has an asset, in business terms, that enables them to distinguish themselves from others and in a business context draw an income stream from it. Commercial examples abound of firms that have developed rock-solid reputations for reliability (for example) or for fair dealing. In Britain, for example, the clothing retailer Marks and Spencer was renowned for making clothes that lasted a long time. People bought their relatively high-priced and not very fashionable clothes because they believed that they would last a long time (the promise). Fulfillment of the promise kept them coming back.
    So far so good. Since trustworthy behaviour has a pay-off this acts as an incentive for people to behave in a manner that is positive for society. This positive aspect is important because it is our reliance on trust that bridges the information gap between what we are looking for someone to give us and the information that reassures us that they definitely will. If there was no trust, complex society would grind to a halt. Just consider the sign above the checkout till of a mom and pop store, 'In God we trust, everyone else pays cash'. If trust did not exist we would not believe any promises.
    But such actions assume that the people who have acted postively in the past will see it in their long-term interests to act in a similar way in the future. What if their time horizons for a pay off become shorter? What if the reward that they want for their reputation increases?
    There comes a time when people and organisations find that 'over-exploiting' the trust that they have built up is too tempting. They take a risk too far, they become over-ambitious and they quickly destroy what has been built up over a long period of time.
    It's often possible to spot when this happens. Eager managers try and reinvent what they consider to be 'sleepy' organisations or inject entrepreneurial flair to a well-respected outfit, arrivistes who focus more on the money than the duller metrics of quality the organisation was previously focused on. Other situations include organisations making use of the goodwill (trust) that they have built up to expand into activities where their expertise will not be adequate and thus the trust that stakeholders placed in them will not be sustained. 
    Losing trust is therefore a feature of the human condition. I can think of no examples where fallible humans faced with having a deep well of trust have not sought to over exploit it and lose it as a result. 
    The temptation always proves to be too much.
  6. Like
    AnaAmmar1 reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, Mobile minorities   
    This news story caught my eye:
    Like the Jews in this story many of the people on this forum are minorities who either settled in new countries themselves or their forefathers did. Being mobile confers advantages, we often have networks of friends and relatives in other countries, which can be great for business and flows of useful economically and socially useful information.
    Mobile minorities are therefore just one group of minorities. It's possible to identify other minority groups, but I'll stick with the mobile aspect for this post. I see mobile minorities as usually being racial groups who leave their countries of origin and move elsewhere for employment or business opportunities.
    The past several decades have been great for mobile minorities. London's Heathrow Terminal Three arrivals lounge is like an Indian town when flights from the middle east, India and Pakistan come in together. But similarly, I've seen above average groups of Caucasians at the arrivals hall in Singapore when the London flight has come. European expats working in the middle east and elsewhere have done extremely well.
    Globalisation has been the underpinning factor in both the above phenomena. If you are willing to make some compromises in terms of lifestyle and culture the world has been a great place to be. As opportunities change so the mobile minorities move towards the places where the pickings are richer. And as the planet's history shows us, opportunities will always change on a geographical basis. In the 1950s the Saudis were finding it difficult to attract people to live there. Those who did move, have done very well indeed.
    Nowadays, being mobile is much easier for people from western countries and within those countries it is more likely to be the better educated who can do this. Of course, it is only minorities who can be mobile, when majorities try and do the same restrictions get applied pretty quickly.
    But the world was not always like this and there have been periods when the position of the minority was very weak indeed. It does not take much for the majorities around them to see them as carpetbaggers with little or no loyalty to wherever they happen to be, people who will take the local resources before moving on.
    They can stand out due to their above average income and wealth. The solution in the past is for that wealth to be taken away, often forcibly, despite the contributions that they may have made to local society.
  7. Like
    AnaAmmar1 reacted to Abu Hadi for a blog entry, Good Islam, Bad Islam   
    In The Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
    وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ
    إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ
    قَالُوا نَعْبُدُ أَصْنَامًا فَنَظَلُّ لَهَا عَاكِفِينَ
    قَالَ هَلْ يَسْمَعُونَكُمْ إِذْ تَدْعُونَ
    أَوْ يَنفَعُونَكُمْ أَوْ يَضُرُّونَ
    قَالُوا بَلْ وَجَدْنَا آبَاءنَا كَذَلِكَ يَفْعَلُونَ
    قَالَ أَفَرَأَيْتُم مَّا كُنتُمْ تَعْبُدُونَ
    أَنتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُمُ الْأَقْدَمُونَ
    فَإِنَّهُمْ عَدُوٌّ لِّي إِلَّا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ
    الَّذِي خَلَقَنِي فَهُوَ يَهْدِينِ
    وَالَّذِي هُوَ يُطْعِمُنِي وَيَسْقِينِ 
    وَإِذَا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ
    وَالَّذِي يُمِيتُنِي ثُمَّ يُحْيِينِ 
    وَالَّذِي أَطْمَعُ أَن يَغْفِرَ لِي خَطِيئَتِي يَوْمَ الدِّينِ
    And convey unto them the story of Abraham
    when he asked his father and his people, “What is it that you worship?” 
    They answered: We worship idols, and we remain ever devoted to them
    Said he: “Do [you really think that] they hear you when you invoke them
    or benefit you or do you harm?
    They exclaimed: But we found our fore­fathers doing the same!
    Said [Abraham]: “Have you, then, ever con­sidered what it is that you have been worshipping
    you and your forefathers ?
    Now [as for me, I know that,] verily, these [false deities] are my enemies,
    [and that none is my helper] save the Sustainer of all the worlds
    who has created me and is the One who guides me
    and is the One who gives me to eat and to drink
    and when I fall ill, is the One who restores me to health
    and who will cause me to die and then will bring me back to life
    and who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on Judgment Day! 
    Holy Quran:   Chapter 26:70-82
    The story of Abraham(peace be upon him) is a story about turning away from false gods and turning to the One True God, Allah(s.w.a). Many people believe, falsely, that the idols that are condemned and turned away from are only those objects made of wood and stone that used to be worshiped in the past. In fact, and idol is anything that is worshiped besides God. In Islam, the word for worship is derived from the word abd' عبد , which literally means being in the state of submission to someone or something. This is a voluntary state, where someone is always obedient to that thing, person, or being and is always looking to it in order to meet their needs. 
    In the modern world, worshipping idols made of stone and wood has fallen out of fashion in most places in  the world. Instead, the idols of modern times are the powerful entities such as nation states, their leaders and elites, and large financial conglomerates which cooperate together and espouse ideologies which forward their worldly interests.For the purposes of this article, we will refer to this conglomerate of entities as 'the elite'.  These ideologies are not based in truth, but are simply mechanisms set up by them in order to strengthen and expand their own power. They do not seek to create their own religions, but seek to take the existing religions and change them and subvert them in order to serve their own interests.
    They have managed to do this with two of the worlds major religions, already. From Judaism, in it's original form and religion based on the teaching of Prophet Moses(peace be upon him), to Zionism, a political philosophy that serves the interests of these elites. From the Christianity of Prophet Jesus(peace be upon him), a religion that challenged the elites and the establishment (throwing out the money changers in the temple) and sought Justice for the poor and downtrodden, to a Christianity that is subservient to the political elites and establishment and changes itself not according to the teachings of Jesus(p.b.u.h) but according to the shifting goals of these elite. 
    These same groups are attempting to do the same thing with Islam. The goal has always been to split muslims into as many groups and sects as possible and to pit these groups against each other. It should be noted at this point, that the entire blame for this is not on the elite groups, because many millions of muslims have fully cooperated with them in this, voluntarily, so a good deal of the blame is on those muslims. While we have seen this process going on for a long time in places like Pakistan, India, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Nigeria, etc, we muslims who live in Western Countries have been somewhat immune from this. When I say, somewhat, I mean that there has been no active attempts to make the muslims fight each other with weapons and kill each other. Not that I am aware of. 
    The reason for that is that most muslims in the West enjoy security in that they are not afraid for their lives on a daily basis(most are not, anyway). They are not afraid that their house and property will be seized from them for no apparent reason. They are not afraid that they will be exiled and economically boycotted and thus unable to make a living and support their families. While all these conditions are a reality for millions of muslims living in the above named countries, the situation here is different. Because of this situation, the elites know that there is not sufficient cause and will for them to risk their lives to take up arms on a large scale. So, in recent times, there has been another tactic which all my brothers and sisters should be aware of. I will call it Good Muslim / Bad Muslim. 
    The Good Muslims, in the view of the elite, are the people who were born into muslim families and will change their religion according to to views and goals set forth by this elite group. For example, when the elite group supports the invasion of a country, these groups will rise up and give justifications for this invasion and they will use some religious 'talk' in order to justify it. When the elite support certain trends in society, such as 'gay rights', this group will rise up and give more religious 'talk' in order to support this cause. If they don't explicitly support it, at least they will be silent on the matter and not openly condemn or contradict anything that is inline with the goals of the elite. When the elite decide that a country should be shunned and boycotted, these groups come out and shout loudly about how evil this country is and how they abuse human rights, etc.
    The Bad Muslims  are individuals and groups which actually do things which are against Islam, such as ISIS, and these things are also against the stated goals of the elite, and also groups and individuals who do not do things against Islam, but do things which contradict and go against the views and goals of the elite group. And there is a constant effort by the elite group to join or conflagrate the actions of the first group of bad muslims with the second group of 'bad' muslims and make them into one group so that they are viewed in the same light by the general population. A recent example of this is the slander campaign against Sheik Hamza Sodogar regarding his comments on homosexuals. More information on this can be found here. 
    Brothers and sisters should realize that there are no Good Muslim or Bad Muslims as the elite have constructed it such. There is one Islam, not many Islams. To make it simple, the formula is (as stated by Rasoulallah(p.b.u.h) in both Sunni and Shia sources)
    Quran + Ahl Al Bayt(a.s) = Islam
    The basis of Quran and Ahl Al Bayt(a.s), the root the nourishes both these sources in the religion of Abraham, as the Quran states many times. The religion of Abraham (milat Ibrahim), in it's most basic form, is turning away and disavowing all the idols, i.e. all those things that attempt to compete with Allah(s.w.a) for worship. All those things which turn your attention and praise away from Allah(s.w.a) and toward this lower world and it's adornments, which are destined to perish, and also the striving, even in difficult circumstances, to obey Allah(s.w.a). This is the basis of the True Religion, since the time of Prophet Adam(peace be upon him) up until today. It hasn't changed and never will change. 
    It says in the Quran, anyone who wishes to turn away from this (milat Ibrahim) is a fool, because they are not affecting God but are acting against their own interests. Brothers and Sisters should know that anyone who asks you to act against your religion is not your friend, your supporter or your ally. And brothers and sisters should know this, and keep it in their mind from a young age. And with the help of Allah(s.w.a) we will all stay on the Strait Path, Sirat Al Mustakeem, and die on the religion of Abraham, the Monotheist. 
  8. Like
    AnaAmmar1 reacted to baradar_jackson for a blog entry, John Oliver is the past tense of tweet   
    Salaam aleikum
    I first became acquainted with the program "Last Week Tonight" when a Shiachat member posted a clip from the show talking about Erdogan and his corruption.
    Of course I knew the name John Oliver from the Daily Show. I knew he was a liberal and that. But nonetheless, I continued to watch some more of his clips (except for ones that I knew would make my blood boil from start to finish, i.e. the gay and/or abortion ones). I considered him to be entertaining and I liked that he brought to light certain news stories which were relatively obscure, at least for national television.
    I always knew what he was, but I was just enjoying the ride I suppose.
    Lately, however, he has gone full retard.
    It is becoming increasingly obvious that this dude is a one hundred percent Clinton shill, as much as he tries to hide it under the garb of objectivity.
    I am sure a lot of y'all watch his show, I just want to warn you: take everything he says with a grain of salt. He's one of those types that mixes truth with falsehood.
    The way he ridicules 9/11 truthers as just a bunch of paranoid conspiracy nuts proves he's an establishment shill.
    Be smart everyone
  9. Like
    AnaAmmar1 reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, Unlimited pleasure   
    There are arguments given by atheists challenging religious beliefs, and resulting practices that science does not support and which atheists argue should be abandoned by believers.
    In this essay, I want to look at one example, where I think science is catching up with religion.
    The industrial farming of sugar by Europeans in the West Indies, starting from the eighteenth century, is a good example of improving the supply of something that was supposed to vastly improve the pleasure of significant numbers of people at little cost. Almost suddenly the population of Europe discovered how to sweeten their diet. It took many many decades to realise that, of course, there were health costs and the realisation that industrial production on this scale and such limited cost required unacceptable human sacrifices as well.
    The story for tobacco is a similar one.
    Relatively more recently we've cracked the problem of industrially producing foods that were hitherto a luxury, such as chicken. But at least in this instance, the knowledge that the welfare costs borne by the chicken are unacceptable has come much more quickly than was the case for the slaves producing sugar and tobacco. In the case of the chicken attempts to improve the situation have happened more quickly as well.
    We could list similar examples wherever man has acquired the technical knowledge that the hitherto expensive and difficult to manufacture could be made more cheaply in many instances this has come with a high cost to the human workers and animals involved in the production process.
    But what is also noteworthy is that in many instances there has also been an unacceptable cost to the consumers who had originally assumed that a source of cheap pleasure had been discovered. A high sugar diet kills, low tobacco consumption kills and meat produced with little regard for animal welfare is not healthy either.
    What are the implications for today? Just as improvements in shipping, various agricultural practices and refining processes allowed us to produce sugar, so various technical advances have allowed us to produce far higher and better 'quality' levels of entertainment for far lower cost than was previously ever the case. In a matter of 50 year years, television has gone from something that could only realistically be watched for a few hours a day to something that can deliver a variety of entertainment 24 hours a day, seven days a week for entire years. And we now realise the health costs of a sedentary lifestyle.
    But television also provides a good example of another risk that we are facing. The passive consumption of such entertainment nevertheless requires on the part of those being entertained some variety and on the part of those providing the entertainment there are advantages to reducing costs.
    Adding to this toxic mix is the realisation that although the original goals for entertainment may have been lofty, without a strict ethical and moral framework imposing restrictions the result is all too easily entertainment that appeals to the lowest common denominator and that is sex and we have the 21st century equivalent of sugar, which is pornography.
    There is a growing, but still limited, understanding of the effect of the consumption of porn, and in the case of children the science is still in its infancy. Also, the longer-term effects on entire societies are not well understood, because the experiments necessary to understand the impact are still being done, in real-time on actual societies.
    We are the guinea pigs because even people who do not consciously watch pornography are affected by people who do. The producer who makes a 'racy' drama for mass family audiences, could likely have had their ideas on what is acceptable shaped by their consumption of pornography. Gender relations, how men interact with women are all influenced by the communications to which they are exposed. The impact can therefore be in terms of how ubiquitous (pervasive) the impact is and also how insidious. Without stretching the point, the parallel with sugar is again interesting. Sugar consumption has become pervasive, we consume it even when we do not think we are, it is present in all manner of unlikely foods. Because, once marketers recognised our preference - including it in a wide range of offerings (in order to be customer focused) was the normal reaction of the market place.
    Like sugar, pornography held the promise of unlimited pleasure, at very low cost.
    Religious and moral objectors have appeared to have little science to back their reservations. If you combine the morality of the market with the assumption that anything adults (in this case the actors who perform) do out of their free will, for a fair wage, is acceptable, then there appear to be no restrictions at all as to what is done. Porn becomes a guilt-free pleasure.
    Initially, with what vestige of moral scruples remained, there were restrictions on supply and limitations on what children could watch. But in the case of children the advance of technology has meant that those restrictions have become difficult to enforce and regarding moral limits these have become more lax, as each passing generation has become more liberal in its tolerance of what is acceptable, having been conditioned by what they were exposed to.
    But just as our experience with sugar and tobacco and other products has shown us over the past few centuries, our being able to deliver pleasure at an industrial scale for low cost for the 'benefit' of large sections of society never ends well.
    At least with these offerings, the long-term costs paid by consumers were purely physical, with more recent products subject to industrialisation the costs are more likely to be psychological.
    An Islamic society that adheres to its principles would likely not have affected the growth trajectories of sugar and tobacco, other than perhaps slow down their initial establishment.
    The fair treatment of slaves would have imposed higher costs. However, in the case of pornography restrictions on what people are allowed to see of others should provide clear limits as to what can and cannot be consumed. Bear in mind that Islam does not have some vague restrictions on what people can and cannot see, the restrictions are explicit and formalised.
    This approach has a clear advantage when it comes to something like porn, whose non-religious definition has clearly changed over the years. What is now healthy family viewing was porn for previous generations. This is a product whose very consumption affects how we define it. Yet the Islamic injunction is very clear and is intended to hold for all time.
    This is a clear case of where science catches up with orthodox, traditional religious morality.
  • Create New...