Healthy Entertainment for our Youth

By Bashir Nuckchady

Daily, the youth encounters parents’ wrath when they listen to music or watch serials on Netflix, spend unlimited time in front of the screen. The question is how are they supposed to spend their leisure time in vacation if not watch television, play games or listen to music? They spend most of their maximum leisure time on Facebook, TikTok or chatting on the net, via WhatsApp and other free apps.

Most of them are aware that as a Muslim, they are not supposed to visit pub, dance and loitering in Shopping Malls. But they say where else are we supposed to spend evening with friends?

Appreciatively, many of today’s young Muslim boys and girls are conscious about their Islamic identity. They are aware of the Islamic position on the issue of music, film, television and unhealthy entertainment. But sadly because of lack of alternatives, many of them are forced to watch popular movies, serials, TikTok and listen to vulgar music.

Entertainment is a vital element in today’s world and in this multi-media age. No doubt, in the current era, both in the West and in the Muslim world, people are focused on what leisure time activities they plan to do on the weekend. Allah tells us in the Quran that we were not sent on this Earth except to worship Him. So, entertainment cannot dominate the daily life schedule. However, community cannot ask its youth to shun entertainment totally.

Just imposing restrictions and not providing them alternatives, is not going to solve one of the gravest issues facing the youth of the Muslim community. The need of the hour is to debate and provide alternative entertainment to Muslim youngsters.

It’s easy to sermonize about the deleterious impact of entertainment and that Islam discourages it if it is inappropriate and interferes with reading a book, jogging, sport activities, etc., as long as they do it to a healthy degree, then there are no restrictions. Being consumed by any activity, sometimes to the point of addiction, is what is disallowed in Islam.

Entertainment and fun activities can differ from generation to generation and culture to culture. The Companions of the Prophet (saw) did what was conducive to these circumstances; they were bound by their surroundings and natural environment.

Independent films for television is an excellent field for Muslims to explore right now. There has never been a more appropriate time for a new generation of Muslims to step to the fore with creative and engaging documentary films, alternative television programming and other alternative media.

It is a very good sign that many mosques are now opened to having their devotees participating in sports activities, namely, swimming, martial arts, archery, gym and aerobics. However, these activities should be extended to all mosques and Islamic institutions.

Alternatives healthy entertainments tips:

• Arrange community dinner or activity: Make a special effort to organize and attend events where other Muslims teens will be present and the speaker caters his/her message to the attending crowd.

• Help teens start their own youth group: Help them establish a youth group, not just to learn about Islam, but to go to the amusement park together, go to swimming, etc.

• Have meetings at members’ houses on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. Get this group involved in useful work like cleaning up litter around the Masjid, the environment or visiting senior citizens’ homes. This group must have parental supervision, although teens’ decision-making powers should not be interfered with unless really necessary.

• Establish a TV-free evening and monitor TV watching in general: Parents’ biggest competitor for their children’s attention is the TV. Monitoring what everyone watches simply means taking care to remind and help everyone avoid shows which depict sex, violence and encourage un-Islamic activities. Put up a list of acceptable and unacceptable shows on the wall beside the TV. Establishing TV-free evenings means having one evening of the week when no one, adult, teen or child is allowed to watch television. Hopefully, this is a first step towards general TV reduction in the home. This is an ideal time to have the next tip.

• Have ‘Halal Fun night’ once a month: Islamic entertainment is a much-neglected area of Muslim concern. Songs, skits, etc. are a viable tool for the transmission of healthy values. Let Muslim youngsters present their own songs to the whole family. Make one of the teens in charge of this event. Help them establish criteria of acceptable and unacceptable Halal entertainment.

Keep engaged in these healthy entertainments can only shun the youth from disruptive behaviour and channel their negative energy into something positive.