Written by: Sumayyah Aisha Ghazi | Grade: XI Usman Public School
We, Pakistanis have always had the penchant for copying the West… their dresses, their culture, their attitudes and their relationships. Here, I won’t include their language as all languages are made by Allah and we don’t have any right to disdain a language be it Arabic, English, French or whatever. Moreover, learning the language of the non-Muslims no matter it is of the East, the West, the North or the South has always been very useful in spreading the message of Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم and Allah’s commands to all the world.
Back to the topic, as soon as spring comes blooming and the summer unveils itself our women also get unveiled. Obscene advertisements are seen all over the city, especially on lawn/fabric billboards. Vulgarity and indecency is taken as dignity and nobility. On every billboard and on every advertisement through electronic media or paper, women are used to attract people towards the products of companies. Dressed in the most indecent way I’ve ever seen, women feel proud of exposing themselves, they don’t think that how cheap they are valuing themselves that every stranger… from a sweeper on the road to an engineer in the office, every shopkeeper and every hawker on the street can take a look at their faces and body. The word ‘Aurah’ in Arabic (woman) means ‘hidden’. When do we hide a thing? When we have a risk that it might get stolen or when it’s so valuable that it has to be hidden. We hide a pearl because it is extremely expensive and not every other person ought to have a look at it. Evil glances are cast on these women on every billboard. Nearly on every billboard, women are posing in the smuttiest manner, not even covered properly.
We are Muslims, Pakistanis. We have our own identity, our own ethics, our own beliefs, our integrity and our values. But despite all this, we have become mental slaves of the West. Can’t a company advertise its product without a woman? Is it crucial to use a woman as an attraction? Nothing else can be used to draw people towards their product? Women are not just seen on fabric billboards, they are used to draw attention to every single thing. Can’t men be used in ads if it is that necessary for a person to advertise, if words and scenes are not enough? The commercial may be of any fabric, apartment, sweets, restaurant, and furniture or even of motorbikes; women are standing or lying in the ads, waving at every streetwalker! They don’t know their value… they are degrading themselves… instead of securing themselves in shells, like pearls are protected in shells where they can be safe and sound, they invite others to obscenity.
These women have chosen their body as a way of income by offering a free delight to the people around. These women will also be answerable for the sin done by other men who gaze at them, their bodies. This nudity and vulgarity is extremely casual to them and this is leading to the destruction of our culture. The first step to correction is when you realize that you’re doing wrong, but they think they are right in revealing themselves in front of the whole public.
Living in a so-called Muslim state, our culture should be according to the teachings of Islam. But is it really going according to it? Is our culture sticking to the principles laid down by the foundation of Islam? Is it obeying our civilization, is it abiding by our customs and traditions? No! Sadly we all will have to accept this bitter truth. Obscenity and nudity is being promoted through TV shows, dramas, filthy literature and above all, through advertisement and billboards that can be seen all over the country. Our kids get to see everything that needs to be hidden. No matter where the children are, either they are in a shop buying sweets or in the car on the way to their school; obscene billboards draw their attention and give rise to the curiosity developing in their little minds. These minds were sent clean on the earth and this was the test, the examination that whether we could keep these minds clean and pure or not. Can we?
Teens get inspired by these women on the billboards and despite the efforts of their parents they think they can find dignity in copying those cheap women. What does this lead to? A new generation gets prepared to follow these women and carry their direct or indirect mission to modify our culture according to the West. Imagine our country being called a Muslim state but on entering it there is no sign of it being an Islamic one anywhere. This time is foreseen by us and may come true in our next generation if we do not bother to take action against it.
Just a few days earlier I saw two British women on our street, dressed according to their culture, wearing shorts, a little T-shirt that was hardly covering their waist. What do we think about this? Fine, we are not asking them to follow our traditions while they are in our country neither they will when the country itself isn’t asking them to. But hey, have you ever thought that when they aren’t dressing according to our culture then why do our girls and boys dress like them and feel as if they are the most honorable people on earth? What is this? This is mental slavery! This is accepting them as our leaders! This is making them our ideals! This is nothing more than being fool monkeys who don’t think before copying, they just have to copy. They don’t have minds to think but do we not have minds either? Do we not have our any intelligence? Don’t you think that this slavery is being reflected on our fabric billboards? And you know what? Sometimes it’s quite confusing whether the company is selling their product or those women hanging on the boards. Half of their bodies are naked and just some rags are covering their bodies… isn’t that resembling the Age of Ignorance?
No driver sitting on the driving seat can ignore the dazzling shots on the boards in front of his eyes. He can’t do anything, he is forced to look at them. Isn’t this quite unfair?
What is the solution to this, that we stop going out, stop studying, stop going to work? No! Not at all! This is not the solution to this problem cause if we take this as a solution so we will become the people who do not have identities who do not belong to any faction, who are totally illeterate. You may think that we should avoid looking at these by lowering our gazes. But why do we not stop this filthy stuff? Why can we not? We have the right to do that. This is our country, an independent one that was achieved on the basis of Islam. We see the media promoting such awful stuff but we keep silent and prefer lowering our own gazes and realizing it as wrong by our hearts. (Remember, this is the least form of faith).
Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said,
"When people see a wrong-doer and do nothing to stop him, they may well be visited by Allah with a punishment."
Bear in mind that if we remain silent today, they will return with bolder and more vulgar advertisements next year. Silence always amounts to consent. Write to them and inform them that you are boycotting their products and encouraging others to do so, unless they remove all obscene billboards and revise their marketing campaigns.
Allah again reminds us:
"Let there among you be a group that summon to all that is beneficial commands what is proper and forbids what is improper; they are the ones who will prosper." (3:104)
This verse makes it a collective and individual responsibility to command the proper and forbid the improper. This does not only include the religious authorities or government officials and imams of the mosques, every believer must do this work according to his or her capacity.
Commanding what is right and forbidding what is wrong provides a mechanism whereby the Muslim Ummah can fight off various social, moral and spiritual ills and maintain a healthy and dynamic life. For an individual, too, the practice of this principle provides both a source and an indication of spiritual and moral health. If we ignore this principle and when confronted by wrong we do not react in any way, then this means that in a spiritual and moral sense we are dead. `Abdullah ibn Mas'ud رضی اللہ عنہ was once asked, "Who are the living dead?" and he replied,
"Those who never command something good and never forbid something bad."
None of us would ever want to be called the ‘living dead’ on the Day of Judgment. Imagine how we would feel when we’ll get to know that we’re excluded from the fold of Islam. If we spot some light on our society we’ll get to know that our current society and culture bears resemblance to the people before the advent of Islam and now we are the ones who are responsible to bring a revolution, a change, both individually and collectively. There’s no doubt that this revolution has no comparison with the one the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم had to bring in the time of Jahiliyyah. It is far easier to bring about this change in our country, we still have time before it’s too late and we realize that we have done too little.