In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

MEDIA, MUSLIM AND MESSAGE

Lecture of Dr. Luqman Abdur Raheem at the Annual Lecture of MSSN Ife Central Branch, Ile-Ife, Osun State on Sunday May 1, 2016 at Enuwa Central Mosque Ife

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إن الحمد لله نحمده ونستعينه ونستغفره ونؤمن به ونتوكل عليه، ونعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهده الله فلا مضل له، ومن يضلل فلا هادي له، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله

 Alif-Lam-Ra. (This is) a Book which We have revealed unto you in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness into light by their Lord’s leave to the path of the Almighty, the Praised.Q4:1

 

Introduction

The world of Islam today is passing through a critical period in its history. We as Muslims are confronted with many problems and we find ourselves at a crossroad, between aspirations and desperation forced on us by the adversaries of Islam through the media. Specifically, the BBC, VOA, CNN, SKY NEWSand other western media organisations have designed effective methods forCRIMINALISING, DEMONIZINGAND STERIOTYPINGIslam and Muslim, a phenomenon called by scholars Islamophobia. We, therefore, need to understand that Media war is a war of religious supremacy; war between light and darkness; and a war between truth and falsehood. The battle is historical and endemic! We as Muslims can only manage it to our advantage, if we are serious and organised, but we cannot remove it completely. Allah counsels:

وَلَن تَرْضَى عَنكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلاَ النَّصَـرَى حَتَّى تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَى وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَآءَهُم بَعْدَ الَّذِي جَآءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلاَ نَصِيرٍ

Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion. Say: Verily, the guidance of Allah, that is the only guidance. And if you were to follow their desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur’an), then you would have against Allah neither any protector nor any helper. Q2:120.

 

Ibn Kathir quoted Ibn Jarir as saying that the meaning of“Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion”means ‘The Jews and the Christians will never be happy with you! Therefore, do not seek what pleases or appeases them, but stick to what pleases Allah by calling them to the truth that Allah sent you with.

 Conceptual definitions

Muslims: Muslims are people who submit willingly to the desires of Allah. They conduct their lives in line with the laws of Allah.  Muslims

 Allah says:

وَمَن يَرْغَبُ عَن مِّلَّةِ إِبْرَهِيمَ إِلاَّ مَن سَفِهَ نَفْسَهُ وَلَقَدِ اصْطَفَيْنَـهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَإِنَّهُ فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ لَمِنَ الصَّـلِحِينَ – إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ أَسْلِمْ قَالَ أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ

And who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) except him who fools himself Truly, We chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, “Submit (i.e. be a Muslim)!” He said, “I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the ‘Alamin. Q2:130-131

 Message:A message is communication containing vital information, news items, pieces of advice, formal requests,or the like, sent through channels such as physical person, animals, telephone, email, or other means. Our message is clear to make Man subservient to Allah; to bring man out of darkness into light. Q14:1

﴿الر كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَـهُ إِلَيْكَ لِتُخْرِجَ النَّاسَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَـتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ إِلَى صِرَاطِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ – اللَّهِ الَّذِى لَهُ مَا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَوَيْلٌ لِّلْكَـفِرِينَ مِنْ عَذَابٍ شَدِيدٍ

Alif-Lam-Ra. (This is) a Book which We have revealed unto you in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness into light by their Lord’s leave to the path of the Almighty, the Praised. Allah to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth! And woe unto the disbelievers from a severe torment.

Media: Media according to the Business Dictionary (2016) is defined as the mass communication channel through which news, entertainment, educationdata, or promotional messages are disseminated to the people. Media includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting medium such as newspapersmagazines, TV, radio, billboardsdirect mailtelephone, fax, and internet. Media is the plural of medium and can take a plural or singular verb, depending on the sense intended. Media perform three roles in the society:Information, Education&Entertainment.

In Nigeria, media organisations are majorly owned by non-Muslims and workers there are majorly non-Muslims. It is therefore used to the disadvantage of the Muslims because of OUR OWN FAULTS. The Media organisations irresponsibly use its instrumentality to stylishly breed Islamophobia, leading to unwarranted hatred, resentments and attacks on Muslims, their belief, properties and even lives. Shaytan and his agents love media because media appeal to the Heart, Eyes and Ears – Three Hell-fire Prone Senses.

Allah reveals and warns:

وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الْجِنِّ وَالإِنْسِ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لاَّ يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لاَّ يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ ءَاذَانٌ لاَّ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَآ أُوْلَـئِكَ كَالأَنْعَـمِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ أُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْغَـفِلُونَ

And surely, We have created many of the Jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, and they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones. Q7:179

Media Instruments for Islamophobia

  1. Stereotyping: This is an instrumentality of framing that allows Muslims to be ‘framed up’ and decorated in a garb that does not belong to them. Examples Bearded Muslims are Maitasene. Al-Majiri phenomenon; Beggars on the street of Lagos are Mallams/Mala. In the movie industry, negative stereotype abounds.
  1. Profiling: This is a media instrumentality of data collection on Muslims and interpretation of Muslims’ actions in a way that makes the general public interpret, perceive and respond their feelings, calls, rights, agitation or aspirations in a negative way.Examples – Hijabites carry bomb; Qurán is an evil book because of profiles of wars and fighting mentioned in the book. 
  1. Propaganda:Thisis a form of biased communication, aimed at promoting negative views, perceptions or agendas about Islam and Muslims. Propaganda is a psychological instrument used for influencing and altering the attitude of a population toward having bad impressions about Islam. Example: Muhammad’s sword and Qurán propagation policy. Take Qurán and live, and reject it and die by sword. 
  1. Identity Theft: This is the instrumentality of assuming false Islamic personality to carry out criminal activities to demonise Islam and Muslims. Media aid this agenda because it serves their cause. Identity thieveslike Boko Haram, ISIL, Al-Qaeda etcdress like us, speak our language, quote our Qurán and pretend to be fighting our cause, whereas they stand for other diabolical ideologies far from Islam. The head of ISIL said: In the name of God the Great we shall kill, slaughter and drain the blood of every single unbeliever, every apostate and every traitor that supports them until we establish our new world Caliphate. We will wash our hands with the blood of the infidels”- Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of The Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant (ISIL). 
  1. Double Standards: The is the policy which allows two people, groups to be treated very differently from each other in a way that is unfair to one of them.

The following are six instances where double standards are used against Muslims causing Muslims to endure physical and mental hardships.

  1. No one abuses a Jewish man for growing a beardbased on religious beliefs. But, a Muslim is labelleda terrorist, extremist or fundamentalist for having beard!
  2. When a Christian Nun covers her bodyfrom head to toe it is an act of devotion to God. But if a Muslim woman wears hijab she is ridiculed and discriminated!
  3. When a western woman stays at homefull-time to look after her children, she is respected for being devoted to her family. But if a Muslim woman stays at home for the same reason she is considered as a prisoner a woman without freedom/rights!
  4. A young woman can wear any dress she prefersand enter any higher educational institute. But if a young Muslim woman wearing a hijab into higher educational institutes she is ridiculed and nicknamed!
  5. When a Christian, Jew or anyone else commit murders their religion will not prop up. But if a Muslim did the same, it will be blamed on Islam!
  6. When someone fights and sacrifices his lifefor his country, he is venerated as a hero. But if a Muslim fights and sacrifices his life for his country he is labelled a terrorist.
  7. When facing a problem any solution will be accepted and considered novel if found useful. But if the solution is in Islam it will be rejected! This is what Sayyid Qutub called Hideous Schizophrenia

CHALLENGES FACING MUSLIMS DEALING WITH MEDIA

  1. An Identity Crisis:Stereotyping, Inferiority Complex and Islamophobia
  2. Lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem about oneself as a Muslim
  3. A sense of hopelessness: Unemployment, poverty and depravation?
  4. Confusion and ambiguity concerning moral issues
  5. Low Spirit of Competitiveness
  6. Poverty and Destitution
  7. Low level of intellectualism for engagement

OUR ROLES IN TACKLING MEDIA ATTACKS

Without doubt, Muslims have been able to use the social media effectively to tell their stories and counter stereotypes about Islam and Muslims in Nigeria judging by the activities of MURIC, TMC, MSSN, MPAC, NSCIA, MUSWEN and several other organisations but there are still more rooms for improvements. We need people like Sayyid Qutb who displayed high level of intellectually.

Muslim organisations in particular, must employ media experts and professional public relations to manage their affairs with the public. Media visibility must be increased in order to tell the world the real peace and ideals that Islam stands for. In doing this it, they must be prepared to pay the price.

The scholars have the gargantuan responsibility of modulating strange and extreme ideologies of few militants who are denigrating the image of Muslims and eroding the unique features Islam with their militancy.

Our collective roles as Muslims to counter media attacks are summarised as 4Ps – Profess true Islam; Practice true Islam; Propagate true Islam and Protect true Islamic values.

Profess True Islam

Practice True Islam

Propagate True Islam

Protect True Islam

Allah says:

﴿وَلْتَكُن مِّنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ – وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاخْتَلَفُواْ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَآءَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَـتُ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidden Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.” Q3 v104.

 

Thanks for inviting me

As-Salam Alaykum

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