April 27, 2001

Tips for Teens on How to Handle Pornography

It?s hard, especially when you?re a teenager and bombarded with images of
sexuality: that hot-looking scantily clad guy or gal in the magazine, grinning
at you and luring you; or the persistent emphasis on sex in the movies (even Toy
Story!); or the pervasive links to pornography and ad banners that pop up while
you may simply be checking your e-mail or researching something for school. How
does a young Muslim protect him or herself from all of this?

Below are some tips that can help:

Tip 1 – Know what is Halal and what?s not

We may think only hard core pornography is Islamically unacceptable. This is
not true. Improperly dressed men and women, sexual situations, foreplay,
kissing, touching, dirty jokes: none of these are Islamically acceptable. Talk
to a trusted Muslim friend, family member of the same gender or an Imam about
this. Bring it up and ask them to give you the Islamic perspective.

Tip 2 – Remember your accountability to Allah

In America and some other countries, you?re fully responsible for your
actions when you turn 18. In Islam, you?re fully accountable as soon as you
understand these things. So that means that from that point onwards, you cannot
assume looking at this stuff is no big deal. Your eyes will testify about what
you looked at on the Day of Judgment. Remember that Allah is always watching. He
is Most Just and Merciful, and He rewards us for the good and punishes us for
the bad we do.

Tip 3 – Become conscious of the Haram

Too often, it?s easy to dismiss that billboard with the
spandex-and-bikini-top-clad blonde girl advertising gum, or the guy in tight
leather pants and no shirt advertising perfume. When you see it, remember the
Islamic perspective, your accountability to Allah, and lower your gaze. Do the
same for television and the internet. If you keep doing this, insha-Allah,
it?ll become a habit, and eventually an automatic reaction.

Tip 4 – If feeling overwhelmed, remember Allah

In situations where you feel overwhelmed and can?t get yourself to switch
the channel, close the browser window or turn your eyes away from the billboard,
ask Allah?s help. You don?t necessarily need any heavy duty, long Du’as.
La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah” (there is no power or
ability except with Allah) is short, simple, and reminds you who is really in
control and can help you out of this.

Tip 5 – Seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan

Shaytan lured you into this mess. Seeking refuge in Allah (saying awthu
billahi minash Shaytan ir rajeem
), will help you resist him and his
whisperings to continue looking at the material.

Tip 6 – Get up and leave

If you feel unable to control looking at the screen or the magazine, leave
the situation. Get out of the living room, your bedroom where the internet is,
or where you?ve been reading the magazine. Take a walk. Just do something to
physically get out of the situation.

Tip 7 – Avoid those involved in pornography

If one of your friends is into pornographic magazines, websites, dirty jokes
etc. either help him or her change through gentle and sincere advice, or
abandon frequent contact with them. Their compulsion will affect you, so it?s
best to stay as far away as possible, by remembering the danger to yourself,
your Deen, and your relationship with Allah.

Tip 8 – Stay away from places where it?s found

Sometimes it?s on a billboard on a highway and you can?t miss it. But
often times, you?ll notice certain parts of your city (the seedier ones) tend
to be filled with this kind of material (where there are usually strip joints,
for example). Avoid these places as much as you can. If it?s on your way to
school, try to change your route. Also, in summer, stay away from the beach.

Tip 9 – Surf or watch TV when others are around

The temptation to sneak a look at dirty pictures or that bikini-clad babe is
heightened when you?re alone in your room watching television or surfing the
internet. Try to avoid late night TV and internet surfing. Instead, watch or
surf when others are around so you can resist the urge to sneak a peek, thinking
no one?s watching (and remember Allah is always watching). It is a good
idea not to have TV or computer in the bedroom anyway. Living room or study room
are better place for this stuff.

Tip 10 – Remember your example

If you have younger brothers and sisters, think of the bad example you?re
setting for them. What message will they get if they barge into your room and
catch you watching Baywatch or flipping through Playboy.

Tip 11 – For brothers, remember your mom and sister

Disgusting right? Exactly. No one in his right mind would look at his mom or
sister the way many of us look at the Baywatch babes or the girls on the
internet or in magazines. Remember mom and your sister, and that should sicken
you enough to stop, insha-Allah.

Tip 12 – Have someone watch over you

If you really feel you?re becoming addicted to this kind of material, try
to watch TV, surf the internet with someone else. You don?t have to tell them
why you?re doing this, but this method can perhaps keep you in check and help
you avoid looking at pornography or other similar material. After all, Shaytan
tempts us most easily when we?re alone. Sitting in the company of a family
member or good Muslim friend will insha-Allah, help.

Tip 13 – Fast

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) advised us to fast to cool
passions. This should be a method we use to handle the desire aroused by
pornography and similar material.

Tip 14 – Do Tawba and return to Allah

If you do end up watching the bad stuff, repent to Allah. Seek His
forgiveness, reaffirm your faith in Him, and do good deed to compensate for that
sin. He is All-Forgiven as long as you are sincere.

Tip 15 – Repent again and fine yourself

If you lapse, do tawba again. Allah is All-Forgiving as long as we
mean it. But then you need to discipline yourself by promising to yourself that
if I did it again, I will pay this much in charity or fast for a day.

The message is that don?t give up on yourself. Keep trying. Struggle is
life. Shaytan could be creative. And with the help of Allah, you will be
the winner insha-Allah.

(courtesy of http://www.soundvision.com)

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