Since our first mother and father stepped foot on earth, satan has been declared an open enemy to all mankind. This creature of vice has openly expressed his hatred for our species due to his banishment from Allah’s grace for his refusal to bow to us. Therefore, Allah’s mercy and blessings to mankind are constantly being corrupted and mutilated to further satan’s mission of misleading human beings so they may end up with the same horrific and humiliating destination as him.
Recently, I had the blessing of Allah SWT to come upon a very different yet very thought-provoking and sensible interpretation of the story of our first parents : Adam and Eve (peace be upon them).
According to the respectable scholar Ghamidi, the forbidden “fruit” that our original parents were told to refrain from, was sex. He explains that the Quran uses metaphors and symbols in order to refrain from vulgar language. His reasoning for this interpretation is that satan tempts them to “eat” of that fruit while telling them that eating this will make them immortal. Ghamidi brings our attention to the idea that human beings live forever by having children, because they pass on their genes and their family name also carries on through their offspring. Further support for this interpretation comes as the story continues and upon “eating” of the fruit, their nakedness becomes apparent to them and in their shame, our original parents start covering their private areas with the leaves of Eden. Ghamidi points to this development in the story and says that it is because the act of sexual intercourse made them aware of the sexual nature of their bodies, that they began covering their private areas, and not because of the commonly held notion that:
- they were wearing clothes and after eating the fruit their clothes disappeared from their body, or
- they initially didn’t have clothes and after eating the fruit they realized they were naked and felt compelled to cover themselves.
Ghamidi states that it is unrealistic to assume the forbidden fruit as a literal fruit, such as an apple, because the details of the story do not add up logically if one does use the literal approach. He clarifies that Adam and Eve were indeed husband and wife, and so forbidding of sexual relations between the two was simply a test by God Almighty to show how satan can mislead and confuse them into committing errors. He wraps up his interpretation by stating that the garden of Eden was meant to be transitory in nature and not a permanent abode for them. Further proof of how satan uses sexual desire to mislead people is in the following Quranic verse:
O ye Children of Adam! let not satan seduce you in the same manner as he got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the Evil ones friends (only) to those without Faith. (7:27)
Ghamidi asserts that this verse is a warning from Allah SWT, stating that satan entices human beings to commit abominable sins by living outside the confines of the moral boundaries set by God Almighty. Sexual relations are a beautiful and scared part of human life, but only within private quarters between husband and wife. Satan compels people to “remove their garments” in front of anyone and everyone in hopes of lowering our consciousness and connection to God Almighty, while at the same time breaking down blood and kinship ties.
I believe Ghamidi’s interpretation is very strong because in this time and age we can see the full effects of satan’s plans. We are living in an age when we have mass communication interconnecting the entire world through telephones, cell phones, internet, magazines, newspapers, and television. All you see on mainstream media outlets is talk of war and destruction, or you see exploitation and promotion of sex through music videos and celebrity lifestyles. Ghamidi asserts that there are two main ways satan misleads people: through sexual desire and through egotistical desires. We see these two play out all the time in our world. Wars and prolonged disputes are a result of man falling prey to his ego, and the openness and acceptance of sexually promiscuous/deviant lifestyles is the other way people have fallen prey to satan’s mind games.
Satan is single-minded and forever persistent in his effort to humiliate us in the hereafter. The way satan is able to convince us to give in to our ego or sexual desire is the same method the mainstream media executives use to convince us to accept anything, and that is: repeat, repeat, repeat. Repetition is the way to shape young minds, and change adult minds. People underestimate the power of television shows, news programs, and even commercials. These tools are used by people who are initially ordinary citizens with ideas and goals, to turn themselves into extremely powerful and manipulative individuals who become increasingly remote and inaccessible to the general public.
But their power lies in convincing huge sections of population of their idea, and so when more and more people start believing what is being constantly fed through TV shows, news programs and commercials, then come shifts in other areas such as traditions, laws and regulations, and foreign policies. All these changes are orchestrated in a tactical manner so as to induce as little resistance as possible. The public is “groomed” for the changes to come in their daily lives through the repetition of ideas in show segments which are then repeatedly broadcast on television. There is nothing inherently wrong with television programming, but instead, since almost everyone watches some sort of television through their day, whether on their computer screen or their home theatre, people in control of what goes on television have caught on pretty quickly. These people then use this public trust and attention to further their own agendas. Most of these agendas, unfortunately, are either related to promoting sexual deviance or unjust aggression against a weaker party.
Almost every television show, movie, or popular novel, depicts characters putting themselves in situations that greatly influence their primal instincts to the point that they are willing to let go of all morals for the sake of a few minutes of sexual pleasure with people they have no right to be doing such acts with. So many times it is shown to “follow your heart” even if it means to betray your marriage vows or vows of chastity while still single. Sexual experimentation is encouraged in shows depicting teens being chastised by their parents for wanting to be in a monogamous relationship, with words like “I want you to be like a normal teenager. Go out and have fun like other kids your age. Don’t settle down with just one person, or you have so much to see in the world still.” In this way, audiences are given the message that:
a) all teenagers are involved in sexual experimenting and
b) in order to be “normal,” one must experiment with sex with whomever one feels an emotional or romantic inclinations towards, or even simply to gain “experience.”
The true believer’s most powerful weapon against such a shameful lifestyle is his or her knowledge of the commandments in the Holy Quran. If you understand the dos and don’ts of life as brought to us in the Great Book, then you have your first line of defense set up. The next thing one needs to do is to surround oneself with positive and God-fearing members of our community who will serve as moral support in times of need. Most people turn to their friends and family to look for suitable life choices, and if the influential people in their lives are accepting of immoral ideas on television and sometimes even engaged in such shameful acts, that person will more readily accept wrong ideas compared to someone who has morally strong family and friends. In this way, you surround yourself with people whose positive and moral ideas will be repeated all the time, so as to help keep you on the straight path. Some people have gone a step further and joined forces with other knowledgeable and skillful Muslims and made their own television stations with twenty-four hours of Islamic and morally sound shows. The next step would be to make such stations and shows mainstream amongst Muslims instead of the usual secular stations with the majority of shows aimed at corrupting morality.
I hope that everyone can see the true intent of the mainstream shows on television. Many of us watch them thinking that we are adults and understand wrong from right, but we fail to understand that before we are adults or even Muslims, we are human beings. Being human makes us all vulnerable to the same things, and so although we may consciously reject certain ideas on television or radio, repeatedly exposing ourselves to those ideas surely effects our subconscious, and will at best soften our stance towards such ideas or at worst turn us into shameless pleasure seekers. Use your power and stop exposing yourself to immoral ideas and images whether it be through television, music, or the internet.