We live in a disturbed world. We encounter waves upon waves of darkness. One who searches for the truth will struggle to see it, except for he upon whom Allah bestows His mercy and guides to it.
There are a multitude of television channels that people are exposed to today, to the extent that the average university graduate watches six hundred (600) hours of television annually. Eighty percent (80%) of teenagers consider television as their main source of information, to say nothing of the effects of the internet. This is how great the effect of this device is on them, to the point that one of those surveyed stated that he flips between fifty two (52) television channels daily.
Add to this other means, whether, text, audio or video, that influence people's minds, and we come to realise that there is an immense negative effect.
It is a common tool that has always been used by the enemies of Islam. They do not touch upon any aspect of our religion except that they arouse misconceptions regarding it, and this represents a round in the battle between the followers of the truth and the followers of falsehood.
Man’s natural disposition is to follow Islam as Allah Says (what means): “So direct your face [i.e., self] toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the Fitrah [i.e., natural disposition] of Allah upon which He has created [all] people…” [Quran 30: 30] This is what the enemies of Islam have launched a war against, in an attempt to divert people from our religion. In a Sacred Hadeeth, the Prophet narrated that Allah Says: “I have created people upon natural disposition (Islam), but the devils then divert them from their religion and deem lawful for them what I have prohibited and command them to associate with Me that for which I have not sent down authority.”
The situation has stemmed into people being divided into two groups: those who believe and those who disbelieve. This is the wisdom of Allah, as He Says (what means): “And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ.” [Quran 11: 118] A group of people will go to Hell and a group will go to Paradise. This is based on His ultimate wisdom. Hell will be filled, as Allah Says (what means): “…And the word of your Lord is to be fulfilled that: 'I will surely fill Hell with jinn and men all together.'” [Quran 11: 119] Allah has addressed both Hell and Paradise and informed them that He will admit into each enough inhabitants to fill them.
Allah has distinguished the people of the truth from those of falsehood saying (what means): “Not equal are the blind and the seeing. Nor are the darkness and the light. Nor are the shade and the heat. And not equal are the living and the dead. Indeed, Allah causes to hear whom he wills, but you cannot make hear those in the graves. You [O Muhammad] are not but a warner.” [Quran 35: 19-23]
This propagation of misconceptions through satellite television channels, radio stations, magazines and newspapers is such a dangerous development that it could lead to mass confusion and disorder; it may thereby kill people’s hearts so that they may no longer possess the ability to distinguish the truth.
It is the will of Allah that he established proof against mankind by revealing His books and sending His messengers, the Quran being the last and final proof against His creation. Allah Says (what means): “And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command [i.e., the Quran]. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our slaves...” [Quran 26: 52]
It is the light of guidance and the rescue for those who are exposed to such misconceptions. Allah Says (what means): “Allah is the Light [i.e., the source and bestower of light and enlightenment] of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light [i.e., guidance] is like a niche within which is a lamp. The lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire…” [Quran 24: 35]
These misconceptions and falsehoods which the disbelievers propagate are described by Allah as (what means): “But the disbelievers – their deeds are like a mirage in a lowland which a thirsty one thinks is water until, when he comes to it, he finds it nothing but finds Allah before him, and He will pay him in full his due; and Allah is Swift in Account. Or [they are] like darknesses within a deep sea which is covered by waves, upon which are waves, over which are clouds – darknesses, some of them upon others. When one puts out his hand [therein], he can hardly see it. And for he for whom Allah has not granted light – for him there is no light.” [Quran 24: 39-40]
Some people are deafened to hearing the truth and blinded from seeing it, they can never be guided to it. There are, however, others for whom Allah opened their hearts and guided to the truth; these people acknowledged and accepted this and are alert to what Allah has revealed. Such people can clearly see the truth and easily recognise it, and this is the light that Allah addressed in the abovementioned (thirty-fifth) verse of chapter An-Noor.
Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim stated: “Belief is complete light, and produces light, and the abode of this light is the slave's heart and soul; disbelief is utter darkness and leads to darkness, the place of which is also in the heart and soul… When one whose heart is filled with light reads the Quran, he feels as if its meanings were written in his heart.”
One of the ways of Allah is His decree that conflict would always exist between the followers of the truth and those of falsehood, as He Says (what means): “…And if it were not for Allah checking [some] people by means of others, the earth would have been corrupted…” [Quran 2: 251] This is something that is continuous, but the final victory and good end will be in favour of the believers, as Allah Says (what means): “Allah has written [i.e., decreed]: 'I will surely overcome, I and My messengers' …” [Quran 58: 21]
Allah willing, nobody can mislead with a misconception one whose heart is pure and upon the sound nature on which he was created. When a misconception presents itself to a believer whose heart is filled with light that he derives from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger such a believer will strike truth upon the falsehood and it destroys it, causing it to vanish.
True happiness and guidance lies in following the way of the Messenger and real misery is the fruit of differing from his way. Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah said: “The message (of Muhammad ) is light and life for the universe, and is the way to its reformation. If life and light are missing, life becomes dark and cursed, except for the parts of it on which the message was revealed. Likewise is the case for the slave: unless the light of the message has risen in his heart and has affected him, he will live in darkness until death.”
The door of misconception was closed during the time of the Prophet and during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, but it was burst open by the assassination of ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him. It was then that religious innovations began to appear, and the companions of the Messenger who had remained resisted them resiliently. Things have continued to deteriorate from that time until misconceptions have prevailed.
Allah with His comprehensive Knowledge knew that such misconceptions would appear, which is why He has instilled refutations for them in the Quran. For example, a man once approached one of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with him, holding a bone of a dead person and then crushed it in front of him, asking: “Can your Lord revive this after what I have just done to it?” Allah then revealed the following verses (which mean): “Does man not consider that We created him from a [mere] sperm-drop – then at once he is a clear adversary. And he presents for Us an example and forgets his [own] creation. He says: 'Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?' Say: 'He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing.'” [Quran 36: 77-79]
Also, the disbelievers claimed that the Prophet was receiving and relating the Quran from a non-Arab carpenter in Makkah, so Allah revealed the following verse (which means): “And We certainly know that they say: 'It is only a human being who teaches him [i.e., the Prophet ].' The tongue of the one they refer to is foreign, and this [recitation, i.e., Quran] is in a clear Arabic language.” [Quran 16: 103]
The enemies of Islam have not left a single field except that they have aroused misconceptions regarding it, even when it comes to Allah, an example of which is the claim of the Christians that Allah is one of three (i.e., the concept of trinity).
An important contemporary example of mass misconception is globalisation, and this is something that we must all combat. Under the pretext of this, everything is allowed, including television channels that propagate Christianity and attack Islam, the Quran and the Messenger and some of these attacks are claimed, deceitfully of course, to be based on authentic prophetic narrations from Al-Bukhari. People therefore watch this and complain of thereby becoming confused.
It is important, therefore, that a Muslim distances himself from misconceptions and refuses to expose himself to them; he must leave the matter of refuting misconceptions and debating with those who propagate them to the scholars. How can a Muslim who believes in Allah and the Last Day attend gatherings or locations in which misconceptions are discussed and expose his eyes to the prohibited matters that occur in them and then complain of being confused? When one watches any of the multitudes of satellite television channels that propagate misconception, he is committing a prohibition, because Allah Says (what means): “And when you see those who engage in [offensive] discourse concerning Our verses, then turn away from them until they enter into another conversation. And if Satan should cause you to forget, then do not remain after the reminder with the wrongdoing people.” [Quran 6: 68]
Imaam Ash-Shawkaani said: “This verse includes a stern reminder to those who undermine sitting with innovators who play with the words found in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah and who distort the correct usage of words. The very least that one is required to do regarding such people is to abandon sitting with them, which is an effortless action.”
We have seen some of these cursed gatherings, refuted falsehood and supported the truth on many occasions to the best of our ability, but even those who are well founded upon knowledge have problems when they sit with the people who propagate such filth. Therefore, if a common man allows such people to talk and sits and listens to them, he will certainly become confused.