Archive for December 20th, 2007

Television is sinful and un-Islamic, says new fatwa

20 December 2007

A radical Islamic seminary in India has issued a fatwa against Muslims watching television, calling the device “haram (sinful)”. The fatwa was issued by the Dar-ul Uloom in Deoband, near Muzaffarnagar, in response to a madarsa teacher’s plea to clarify whether watching Islamic channels and televised debates on religious issues was right.

The teacher, a resident of Saharanpur, had asked whether watching an Islamic TV channel showing a debate on religious topics was right or wrong. Dar-ul Uloom took the stand that in the due course of watching television, people inevitably browse through channels that show “immoral” and “vulgar” programmes.

“The Prophet said… you should see from whom you are taking your religious lessons,” the fatwa stated.

“Matters of religion should be learnt from authentic and pious people. Television is a tool of entertainment and enjoyment. It is most widely used for unlawful and prohibited things. If lawful matters are learnt from authentic people even then it is unlawful to listen to it through the TV, since it includes more or less haram things. And while watching religious programmes on TV a person slowly starts browsing through other programme as well,” the fatwa read.

The clerics clarified their fatwa was not binding. However, Islamic scholars slammed the interpretation.

“Is watching religious programmes, like the Haj pilgrimage, on television not acceptable, too,” one of them was quoted  by The Telegraph, Calcutta, as saying.

Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangimahli, the youngest member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and Imam of Lucknow Eidgah told Mail Today: “Jamat-e-Ulema, the highest body of the Dar-ul Uloom itself invites TV channels to cover its programmes and then its members watch it themselves. They also demand live telecast of Haj procession. Many Islamic organisations themselves deploy video camerapersons to shoot their programmes and provide to TV channels for telecast. I strongly oppose such kind of fatwas which keep your young away from information and technology.”

Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, Shia scholar and vice-president of AIMPLB said: “Such fatwas bring a bad name to the community. I would rather propagate the use of TV for good things. We come to know about entire world from TV only. How can we be aloof from our surroundings.”

If you thought Michael Jackson was mad, then…

20 December 2007

When Michael Jackson dangled his youngest baby upside down over a Berlin hotel lobby five years ago, it resulted in an international uproar, followed by the pop star’s apology. A German newspaper called the act “foolish”, a British tabloid called it “lunatic”, and yet another labelled him the “mad bad dad”.

What will the world make of this video, courtesy Eenadu Television, which shows what a wealth of stories there is in the rural countryside that our market-driven newspapers and TV stations do not tap?

Mahesh V. Shetagar reports that in village Indipatna in Karnataka’s Bijapur district, 162 were thrown off the 20-foot tall temple balcony as part of the Sadguru Shanteeshwara village fair yesterday, in a bizarre ritual that is said to usher in good health for the infants between 6 and 8 months of age.

The babies are caught in a trampoline kind of ring that relatives and other devotees hold below. Babies born after this year’s fair will qualify for the ceremony next year. The custom has apparently been followed for generations.

Madness? Ignorance? Superstition? Devil-may-care desi tradition?

A wake-up call for the media?

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