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Subtle Messages, Profound Implications

Advertising, Social Engineering, & the New World Order


Most of us see hundreds each day and thousands each week. Their messages are subtle, and repeated and reinforced incessantly. They are on television, on the highways, on city buses, atop buildings, in magazines and newspapers, and even in our conversations as we repeat them to ourselves and others. They reach the very depths of our consciousness. And if allowed to enter unimpeded and unquestioned, their concepts become part of our being... They are advertisements. They offer subtle messages with profound implications.

Because we hate commercial messages, it's easy to dismiss them as unworthy of serious study. Furthermore we may underestimate the impact that ads actually have on us and our children. This...can have subtle, but far-reaching consequences. (DeMoss Jr., Robert, Learn to Discern, pg 22)

Many of us are unaware of the dangers that ads pose to our individual selves and to our society as a whole. And our ignorance is by design. Were we to realize their impact on our psyches and our souls and our interpersonal relationships, we might never look at them. But still, we watch. And worse, we regurgitate their messages to others. And still worse, we think their ideas to be our own. We think their doctrine to be truth. This is because we have been had. We have been manipulated, and continue to be so, and we still go back for more. We think we are free, but only because we have been conditioned to think so. We believe that we think freely, but the parameters have been defined by other than ourselves.

They are, generally, unaware of the extent to which they are manipulated, managed, and conditioned by media, governments, leaders, and institutions that serve the vested interests of their political-social-economic systems. (Key, Wilson Bryan, The Age of Manipulation, pg 95)
Remarkably, virtually everyone in developed countries desperately tries to believe that they are immune to indoctrination. They think they think for themselves and readily know the difference between truth and falsity, fantasy and reality, superstition and science, fact and fiction. Technologically sophisticated cultures are conditioned to accept belief systems, behaviors, and values that would have been rejected out of hand by their stone-age predecessors. Primitives would instantly sense the obvious threats to survival and adjustment, or simple nonsense, inherent in many of the treasured beliefs of modern society. (Key, Wilson Bryan, The Age of Manipulation, pg 95)
The people who watch more and know less don't necessarily know they are being politically massaged or how media manipulation has become so invisibly institutionalized. They don't know that dumbing down is not just an incidental effect of the way many media outlets operate but a reflection of conscious and calculated policies of down-market targeting. (Schechter, Danny, The More you Watch the Less you Know, pg 73)

The advertising industry, in conjunction with corporate and media conglomeration, are destroying the family, and with it, society. Their messages are contrary to the prophetic tradition. They manipulate our language and alter our precepts. They discard history in favor of a strange worship of "progress". And we have been converted. The focus, here, is only one component of the indoctrination and conversion process; advertising.

Why Advertise?:

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that every deed is judged based on intention. When intentions are known, they often reveal quite a bit. And so it is with advertising. Clearly, almost unanimously among advertisers and those who employ their skills, the intentions are to make money. Rarely (as in the case of, conveying a good or helpful message is their intent. But again, this is rare.

To have a realistic must consider two dimensions of the commercial. The first concerns money; the second, social values. (Postman, Neil How to Watch TV News, pg 115)

In the short run, the aim is to encourage the purchase of a product, the watching of a particular program, or the utilization of a service. In the case of watching a show, we are encouraged to do so, not to gain useful information or insights, but rather to be exposed to the commercials in between segments. The aim is to affect immediate or near-future behavior.

In the long run, the aim is to not only affect behaviors, but to make those behaviors into habits, and even to make beliefs and concepts into convictions. And this is where the greater danger lies. The more the consumer consumes, the more such an act becomes habit, even a way of life, a deen. And thus, the mega-corporations stand to gain more. This is social engineering, where thoughts and actions are manipulated and reinforced and ultimately become convictions and habits. Even to such a degree that people believe they have choice.

Rampant throughout our consumer-producer society is a deep denial regarding these issues. We are gravely mistaken if we think that we are not affected by commercials and advertisements. Reflecting, even for a moment, on the cost of advertising should unravel our denial. Corporations spend billions of dollars each year on research regarding advertising and on the advertising itself. Why would they do such a thing if it did not work?


  • Figure-ground reversals: Visual and auditory perceptions can be separated into foreground and background. The background however often goes unnoticed, hidden from the conscious mind. This is especially the case in the realms of television and the internet, where images and scenes come and go and change frequently. The unconscious mind, however, picks up the background as has been demonstrated in studies on hypnosis. What is the case for visual perceptions is also the case for sound.
  • Embedding: The insertion of words or images (often of the body) by use of shadows or shading. EKG and EEG changes were demonstrated in subjects who viewed objects with embeds in them.
  • Double Entendre: Double meaning
  • Low-intensity light & low-volume sound: Similar to embedding
  • Lighting & Background Sound: These are carefully structured to intiate a specific response such as suspense, laughter, anger, fear, etc.
  • Repetition: of jingles/songs, of product name, and of social engineering concepts such as consumption, etc.
  • Tight shots: Camera angles that provide close-up shots of a subject, focusing not on the whole, but a small part of the whole. Often used for emphasis &/or drama.
  • Metaphor: The blending of words, sounds, and images to suggest similarity between two or more otherwise different things.
  • Alliteration
  • Humor
  • Oxymoron
  • Cognitive Dissonance

    Different Corporations, Similar Goals

    As will be demonstrated below, though the corporations differ in name, and though they compete with each other in some arenas, there is a great deal of unity in their messages. They all gain from a sedentary, selfish, entertainment-obsessed, consumer-producer monoculture and thus have set out to create just that. This monoculture is being exported to all regions of the globe via television, the internet, international politics, and so-called free trade zones. Wars have a role, as well. Even a cursory examination of what happens after the US and her European allies invade a country and then withdraw, will reveal the invasion of corporations and products that that particular land had not known. In the past 30 years, we have witnessed a phenomenon never before seen in human history...wars which are fought and the loser is not taken over. Instead, the victor exerts economic influence on the loser and it is the multinational corporations who take over.

    Regardless of the corporation behind each and regardless of which land they are being broadcast in, advertisements are rarely about trivial matters, at least to us. And this is where the danger lies.

    Mouthwash commercials are not about bad breath. They are about the need for social acceptance and, frequently, about the need to be sexually attractive. Beer commercials are almost always about a man's need to share the values of a peer group. An automobile commercial is usually about the need for autonomy or social status...

    Boredom, anxiety, rejection, fear, envy, sloth - in TV commercials there are remedies for each of these, and more. The remedies are called Scope, Comet, Toyota, Bufferin, Alka-Seltzer, and Budweiser. They take the place of good works, restraint, piety, awe, humility, and transcendence. (Postman, Neil How to Watch TV News, pgs 124-125)

    Though they appear to compete for our dollars, on another level, corporations must cooperate. And this is the level of social engineering and conditioning. Through advertisements, movies, television programs, etc, corporations play on our fears, our concerns, our lusts, and our aspirations to paint a picture of "the good life", to give us "moral" instruction, and to steer our convictions. Their messages are contrary to those of the prophets (peace be upon all of them).

    Though not explicitly stated in the mission statement, the first goal of any institution is to preserve itself. And in this light, corporations are no different. In preserving oneself, one must oppose that which stands in your way. And so it is with corporations. The prophetic tradition represents a middle path, while the corporate message is one of extremes. From the corporate point of view, then, the prophetic tradition must be undermined and replaced with the religion called "progress".

    Examples of Ads with Commentary:

  • "It's the Information Age. Hunt less. Gather more." (MSN) We have moved from hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists to industrialists to capitalists to gatherers (consumers). Gather more? For what?! We take none of it with us when we die.
  • "Use Your Head" (Hair Cuttery): Quite clearly, this ad uses double-entendre technique. What is interesting about it, is that it actually calls to quite the opposite of the original meaning of the phrase. Implied in the ads is a using your head to attract others, that is, your sexy new haircut. So, what your head looks like is more important than what you do with it, what you think, or your intellect.
  • "Lose the wallet" (credit card ad)
  • "In life, whoever has the most fun wins." (MD Lottery)
  • "Life is short, be happy" ( With very solemn music in the background, this commercial portrayed a corpse in a coffin being prepared for a viewing. The person preparing the dead body repeatedly tries to remove a smile on the dead body's face, but is unable to do so. Then it becomes known that he found a "great job" at, and of course, this must be why he is smiling. While this may seem innocent enough, what does it do to our concept of death, and life's relationship to it? This is the logical conclusion of a consumer-producer society, that life is judged based on how much you produce, how much you gather, and how much you consume.
  • "for the better part of your day" (Somnia mattresses) Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that people are asleep, and when they die they wake up. And quite in line with this concept is that sleep is such a valued thing in our culture. To such a degree that we do it to excess. The prophets (peace be upon them) and their close companions spent much of the night in worship. Even our call to prayer for fajr, or the dawn prayer, says "Prayer is better than sleep". But our culture calls us to work hard (ie. produce), play hard (ie. entertain ourselves into oblivion), and sleep long.
  • "Waste, Please" (Disney) This message is found on all of the trash cans at Disney World. While this may seem as though I am reading into things a bit much, what does all of Disney World encourage you to do anyway? Waste. Waste your money, waste your time, and waste your mind.
  • "Peace. Happiness. Self Expression." (Cingular) As if a digital phone service plan could offer the "good life". Peace and contentment cannot be found in the accumulation of goods or services, though many companies, like Cingular, would have us think so.
  • "In life, whoever has more fun wins." (MD Lottery) Summing up our purpose in life, according to the entertainment industry. Quite the opposite of what Allah has to say..."And I only created the jinn and men to worship Me."
  • "Better job. Better life." ( Let me tell a physician, I have seen a lot of people die. And noe of them, not one, said, "I wish I had a better job." None of them said, "I wish my duaghter married a doctor, or an engineer." No one said, "I wish I spent more time at work." Everyone I have seen die and had the opportunity to talk to them about life, death, and regrets, they have all only talked about two things...God and family. That's it.
  • "You're in good hands" (Allstate Insurance) This slogan sums up what the entire insurance industry has duped us into believing. That the insurance industry exists and has the power to provide us with true security. The fact is that insurance companies were not created, nor are they maintained to provide security. Their function is to make money. Neither Allstate nor any insurance company can provide true safety. This is only for Allah, the Lord of the Heavens, the Earth, and all that is between them.
  • "True" (Budweiser Beer) One of the great Muslims scholars of the past, the grandson of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with both of them) said, when asked about lewd music, "On the Day of Judgement, Allah will separate all things into that which is from Truth and that which is from Falsehood." He then rhetorically asked, "Which category do you think this lewd music will be in?" Contrary to what they claim in the ad, where do you think Allah will place Budweiser?
  • "Exceed Limits" (Focal Data & Internet Services) This, of course, was portrayed on a speed limit sign next to a winding mountain highway. Similar to Disney's call to waste, this is an ad which encourages excess. And were we to look at our culture, we would see that we exceed the limits in eating, sexual activity, in looking at people and things, in entertaining ourselves, in talking about each other, etc. And we, Americans have the arrogance to call others "extremists."
  • "Life tastes good." (Coca-Cola) "Life" becomes the focus, rather than death. Rather than our meeting with the One Who created us. And life is good, not when we obey Allah, but when we consume Coke.
  • "Eat, Drink, Watch, Play." (ESPN Zone) This ad needs no explanation. It sums up the call of the advertising and entertainment industries.
  • "A symbol of freedom." (SouthWest Airlines) Freedom becomes the ability to move freely. But what of the intellect? While Americans may be the freest people on earth in terms of the ability to travel freely, we tend to be the most supressed and opressed by way of thought. While it is true that an airplane may be a symbol of freedom, we must remember that it is only that, a symbol. True freedom cannot be found in any particular land, nor can it be purchased.
  • "You never forget your first girl." (St. Pauli Girl Beer) This ad uses double entendre in a horrific way. On one hand, you could argue that the ad is talking about your first St. Pauli girl, ie. that no one forgets the first time they try that particular beer. But this ad also alludes to premarital sex and having multiple partners. And it does so in a way that such behaviors appear normal and okay.
  • "Keep her away from your roommate." (St. Pauli Girl Beer)
  • "Marry. Divorce. Marry. Divorce. Marry. Divorce. Where do they find all of the energy?" (Balance Energy Bars) Who is this ad talking about? Characters in soap operas? "Guests" on talk shows? Actors and actresses? Or the general public? As divorce rates soar and as the functional unit of society, the family, dissolves, just what is this ad encouraging?
  • "Finally something men can commit to." (SportsNet, Comcast) Making light of the noncommittal attitudes of some of today's men, and in a way, implying it is normal.
  • "Respect yourself in the morning." (Nutri-Grain Breakfast Bars) This plays on a phrase most often reserved for the so-called "one night stand."
  • "So many women, so little time." (KADS Clothing) This magazine ad showed one man in nine different scenes with nine different women. This is dangerous on multiple levels. First, and perhaps most obvious, is that it glorifies fornication and/or adultery. Secondly, it portrays kissing and sexual activity openly, something which should be private between spouses. Thirdly, the scantily clad women affect the onlookers' image of beauty, be they male or female. And lastly, it implies to the observer that your looks are what makes you attractive, and that is sufficient.

    Disqualifying the Religious Order

    What corporations and the advertising industry are calling us to stands in direct opposition to the way of the prophets (peace be upon all of them). The way of consumption, speed, fulfilling our lusts, and excessive sleep are quite opposite to that which the prophets of Allah called. They called us to spirituality, worship of Allah, patience, perseverence, fasting, and awareness.

    The manner in which corporations and the advertising industry set out to dismantle the religious order is multifaceted. Their "moral" instruction and their picture of "the good life" usurp the truth in the morals preached by the prophets (peace be upon them all). Their music and sexual imagery serve as distractors. And their definitions and labels manipulate our emotions and convictions. Each bullet below examines one of the aspects of this attack on the religious order.

  • Image takes precedence over wisdom. The advertising world, arguablly, accounts for the greatest degree of socialization regarding beauty and status. In this socialization process, beauty and value are defined for us. This results in a world in which people are held in high esteem based on our image of them rather than their knowledge or wisdom.
    Straight teeth in your mouth are more important than the words that come out of it. (Television: the Drug of the Nation, a song by the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy)
  • Music. There was a time in human history when music was only to be heard at special occassions; weddings, holidays, and celebrating after battles. Nowadays, music is everywhere. It's in the car, in the elevators, in shopping malls, and in stores. It is played on commercials, in movies, and television programming. And anyone who has tried to sit alone, in silence, for any length of time, may have had the experience of one of the commercial jingles invading the silence. Studies have demonstrated that farm animals graze longer if music is playing. And similar studies conducted on shoppers found the same thing...we shop longer if music is playing. We watch longer and react with more intensity when background music is played during television shows and movies. And I would argue that we think less when music is playing. Evidence of this occurs anytime we drive for an extended period of time alone, with music playing. Do we remember the ride? Oftentimes we do not. We are distracted.
    The grandson of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with both of them), as mentioned above, was asked for a fatwa, or religious ruling, regarding provocative music. He asked the questioner, "On the Last Day, Allah will divide everything into categories of Truth and Falsehood. In which category do you think He will place it?" The questioner responded, "In the category of Falsehood." And with that, he said, "Then take a fatwa from your own heart." (a rough translation from Imam al-Muhasibi's Risala al-Mustarshideen)
  • Impatience & the search for fast solutions. Regardless of the medium, advertisements often portray products and services as though they are needed immediately, or even as though the consumer is behind the times if they did not have such and such a thing yesterday. Then the consumer is encouraged to purchase these things with money they do not even have yet, via credit. Breeding impatience in purchasing breeds impatience in other arenas. Then, the quick fix is always sought, regardless of the problem. If the problem took decades to develop, we still expect that the remedy be within a few hours or days. This is true of our marital relationships, raising our children, our personal health, our careers, everything.
    ...there are no simple or fast solutions to life's important problems; specifically, there is no chemical that can make you desirable: attractiveness must come from within. This idea, which is a commonplace in the [prophetic] tradition, is the exact opposite of what almost all commercials teach...Whatever problem you face (lack of self esteem, lack of good taste, lack of attractiveness, lack of social acceptance), it can be solved, solved fast, solved through a drug, a detergent, a machine, or a salable technique.(Postman, Neil How to Watch TV News, pgs 122-123)
  • Excess. This is the ideal to which the consumer-producer culture aspires. Excess by its very definition implies exceeding bounds, transgressing. But transgressing against what or whom? Lately, the push has been to define these bounds in terms of societal norms. But the Truth is that Allah is the One Who sets the bounds, not society. And rather than calling us to adhere to these parameters set by Allah, corporations and the advertising industry, instead, call us to adhere only to our whims, our instincts, and our passions. And success in the consumer-producer culture is based on how much you have amassed and hoarded, and how much you have above the norm and above others.

  • Trivial pursuits & the pursuit of trivia. Said another way, this is "wasting time". Our corporate teachers encourage us to memorize,learn, and study things which are of no value. Batting averages, field goal percentages, dresses worn to the Emmys, etc. In and of themselves, runs batted in (RBIs) and rushing yards are not evil or bad. And hobbies and interests are fine. But in our culture of excess, our time is consumed by trivia...useless information.
    Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Part of the good of one's Islam is that he leaves that which does not concern him." (from Imam An-Nawawi's Forty Ahadith)
    Our abilities to regurgitate a commercial, a song, or a movie scene are astounding. What if we spent this time with Qur'an, stories of the sahaba, or the sayings of our righteous predecessors?

  • Sexual imagery and nudity. This subject, in and of itself, can be the subject of volumes of writing. The use of sexual imagery and nudity in advertising is loaded with negative consequences and implications. Its use is growing, and more and more is being revealed. Women become objects. Modesty becomes outdated. Shyness takes on negative connotations. Our images of beauty become defined for us. Deviant sexual behaviors such as homosexuality, adultery, fornication, and group sex are encouraged. And children become exposed to these things at younger and younger ages. And worse, these things become normal to us.

    Even a superficial look at the changes in television will demonstrate the changes in our perceptions of appropriateness from one generation to the next. It used to be, twenty to thirty years ago, that a husband and a wife on television could not even sit on the same bed. Shots of their bedroom always showed two beds. Nowadays, look at the Obsession ads, Guess Jeans ads, etc. Our society's definitions of appropriate and of nudity, itself, are changing. I was amazed the first time I read that the Noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that the Day of Judgement would not come until people would walk in the marketplace with their thighs exposed. Having just accepted Islam when I first encountered this hadith, my intial impression was like, "What's wrong with that?!" To me, it was a way of life. Wearing shorts, isn't that normal?. What will be normal for our children as they grow up after being bombarded with these images?

    What once shocked our sensibilities has now become commonplace. In order to obtain the same level of thrill, we must subject our senses to something more exotic. (DeMoss Jr., Robert, Learn to Discern, pg 51)
  • Definitions & labels. Advertising and entertainment industries have a profound role in defining some of our very basic precepts, and often with negative results. What we find to be beautiful must be influenced by the images we are inundated with. Does their definition of beauty have any impact on our marital relationships? Does it play into our expectations of our spouses? Is there any connection with the media's moral laxity and our ever-increasing divorce rate?

    And what of the "good life"? Their definition of happiness, revolving around the aquisition of material things, does this have any impact on our view of religion and the purpose of life? And how about our perceptions of adultery and fornication? Do they then become okay as long as there are consenting adults involved? And what of the events leading up to adultery? Is it now okay to flirt and joke and giggle with the opposite sex at work?

    What we find to be normal and what we find to be extreme are defined for us by the advertising and entertainment industries. Their definitions become our convictions and in the process, the family is destroyed. And it is destroyed irreparably. No repair until we change our convictions.

  • The purpose of life. Unlike the call of the prophets (peace be upon them all), the call of the advertising and entertainment industries is to one of excess consumption and entertainment, even to the extent that this becomes the purpose for which we exist. The prophetic tradition and the Books of Allah quite clearly state that the purpose of our existence is to worship Allah.

  • Individualism. Another interesting phenomenon among advertising media is the call to individualism. In a sense, a worship of the self. In psychology, psychiatry, self-help, and business management literature, success is often measured by self-esteem. When, in actuality, to esteem the self is quite opposite to the call of the prophets (peace be upon them). Rather than esteeming the self, we should be humbling the self. Humbling ourselves before the One Who created us.

  • Socio-cultural rebellion. This is a concept which is probably more difficult for the youth at any one point in time to notice, but that all adults can attest to. The advertising and entertainment industries encourage socio-cultural rebellion. Hairstyles, hair colors, the manner in which clothes are worn, the clothing itself (or lack thereof), body piercing, tattoos, etc. These things are all manipulated and directed in the act of creating demand for certain products. In the process, families are distanced and estranged, while the youth think they are "expressing themselves". The ways of the older generations become outdated, unfashionable, embarassing, and backward, as does the prophetic tradition.

  • No political rebellion. Even more interesting, is that while socio-cultural rebellion is encouraged, it takes the place of political rebellion. In the act of rebelling against traditions, the "rebellious teen" actually does nothing by way of rebelling against the real problems with society. The rapper may rap about society's ailments to a nice beat, but this just purges energy that could actually do some good for society if channelled in the right direction. The real sources of society's ills actually lie with the attack on the prophetic traditions and values. The corporations and the burdens imposed upon the people through taxation and beaurocratization are the culprits. The entertainment industry's lack of restraint is another. But no rebellion against these things takes place.

  • Focus on the future rather than learning from the past. While this may seem subtle, it actually has a huge impact in that it alters the worldview of nearly the entire populus. With an intense admiration for, and even worship of, technology and the future, what is lost is our ability to look at the past for models. We lose the abilities to look at the past for our previous failures and to learn from those. Instead, the outlook becomes one that "newer is better". Obviously, when it comes to fashions and music, this is to the advantage of the corporations. But what about its impact on religion and family? In Islam, we try to aspire to be like those of the first generations, who lived, struggled, ate, slept, and died along side of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him). They were the best example of a community of humble, just, generous, and pious people the earth has known. But in these Last Days, humility, shyness, generosity, piety, and fairness are no longer valued. They, like fashions, have become outdated and backwards.

  • Zina in its various forms. In Islam, when a certain thing is forbidden, so too is that which leads to that thing. Such is the case with zina, or illegal sexual relations, which includes both fornication and adultery. The advertising and entertainment industries encourage zina on multiple levels. As mentioned earlier, advertisements and television programming affect our image of beauty. In so doing, and while doing so, they encourage zina of the eyes. We are encouraged to look at the opposite sex as objects and sexual play things. The trend is toward revealing more and more. Again, quite the opposite of the way of the prophets (peace be upon them).

  • The consumer is consumed. Ultimately, the consumer becomes the consumed. Their way of life becomes a way of consumption and the transient fulfillment of desires. The consumer becomes consumed by their worldview, their image of beauty, the ideal of the good life, and ultimately, their projected purpose of life itself.

    Conclusions-What Can We Do?:

    So what are we to do about all of this? We do not have a say in the running of the big media corporations. What could we, the little people, possibly do to change things? Some of us are concerned with where our next meal will come from, or how we are going to get out of debt, or how to save our children from the wrong crowd, or to pay for college, etc. Where's the time? Where's the energy? And where are the resources to change things?

    One day we will stand alone before Allah, and we will be asked about what we did. We will not be asked about what others did. We are responsible for what we look at, what we listen to, and where we walk to. And when we come to understand the dangers in advertisements, we must act. We are not only commanded to do what is right. We are also commanded to forbid what is wrong and evil; first for ourselves, then for our families, and then for society at large.

    So we need to ask ourselves, before Allah asks us on the Last Day. What are my eyes seeing? What is my tongue saying? What kind of things am I thinking about? Where are my feet taking me? What work have I done with my hands? What did my ears hear? If we ask these of ourselves, then we can begin to address our shortcomings in such a manner that is pleasing to Allah. We need to be people of dhikr, or remembrance, not people of forgetfulness.

    Some people find it best to take account of their thoughts, actions, and words with each wudu. As each part of the body is washed, they imagine that they are washing away the sins with each body part being washed. Rinsing the mouth, for example, they remember that they said something that they shouldn't have. Washing the face, they remember that they made a face at someone, when a someone else walked by. Others find it useful to take account of their actions by using the phrase Bismillah as a prerequisite. In other words, before doing something, they reflect on it and ask themselves, "Is this something I could say 'Bismillah' before doing, without feeling uneasy or hypocritical?"

    Given the above information and insight regarding advertisements and television in general, what would we say if we took account of ourselves? Will we start to lower our gaze when we see a shampoo commercial? Will we begin to find sitcoms not so funny? And, will we ultimately turn the TV off altogether?

    So my recommendations are as follows:

  • Turn off the TV. Not only will this free up time to do other things like working or spending time with the family or reading Qur'an, but it will also dramatically decrease the amount of advertisements and other garbage for you to look at.
  • Understand their intentions. All businesses exist to make money. This holds true for insurance companies, hospitals, television stations, etc. The news exists, not to give us information, but to provide a program that we will watch in order to sell the space in between segments to advertisers. Understanding their intentions is key to any analysis of their messages.
  • Educate our children. This means interaction, spending time, engaging in education. Education and schooling are different. Educate them to think critically, not simply to go along with everyone else (like a school of fish). Thinking critically will only lead to their protection and will only lead to the conclusion that Islam is the Truth.
  • Take account of yourself and your family. Take a personal account of what your eyes see, what your ears hear, where your feet take you, what your money buys, and what your tongue says. Do all of this before Allah Subhannahu Wa Ta'aala takes you to account.
    "The producer consumer process...only becomes an attractive proposition when Allah and the Last Day and the Fire and the Garden are firmly forgotten." (Thompson, Ahmad, Dajjal, pg 18)
  • Use Qur'an as Furqaan (a criterion between right & wrong).
  • We should lower our gaze. This requires that we study what the scholars and the early generations had to say about lowering the gaze.
  • Leave Off that Which Does Not Concern You
  • Perform dhikr regularly.
  • Encourage the good and forbid the wrong.
  • Buy generic.
  • Avoid answering consumer surveys.
  • Rearrange your living room. Move the furniture into positions which take the television out of the central position.
  • Make it a family policy to have no televisions in the bedrooms.
  • Write letters and encourage your children to do the same. Material on television, in magazines, at sporting events, etc. Anywhere you find objectionable material, generate a letter expressing your views. Letters may be appropriate to send to school boards, advertising agencies, or the companies themselves.
  • Read media critique written by journalists and independent filmmakers. They know the system and the people that operate within that system best.
  • Build awareness. Articles such as these only serve as criticism. We need to build awareness, which is deeper and farther reaching. Awareness is a step beyond criticism. In particular, we need to build awareness of the media power, irresponsibility, and the media's impact on our basic precepts and values.
  • Avoid excessive blame of third parties and external forces. While we must recognize the problems presented by the advertising and entertainment industries, we should really blame ourselves for their effects on our children and ourselves. Blame serves no purpose if it is not constructive. Focus on solutions, not problems.
  • Join the campaign against Channel One, the television station (fully equipped with advertisements) being broadcast straight into the classrooms.
  • Implement these things at their appropriate pace.
  • Learn and teach the du'aat for the marketplace.
  • Study, practice, and teach critical thinking.
  • Pray.
  • Suggest things for me to add to this list.

    Allah knows best.

    Related Links:

  • Skipping Commercials is Stealing??!!
  • The Utility of Islamic Imagery in the West: An American Case Study by J. A. Progler
  • The Dajjalic Priesthood: How Psychiatry & Self-help are Helping to Institute the New World Order
  • In Search of a Cerebral Paradise: Materialist Science, Antidepressants, and the Dajjal System
  • The Fall of the Family: by Abdal Hakim Murad
  • TV & Sexual Content in Light of Islaamic Morals: by Yahya Abdur-Rahman (S. Smith)
  • Football and the New World Order
  • TV News: Manipulating Public Opinion in the Dajjal System
  • Satanic Reverses: As Things Become their Opposites
  • Facts & Figures about our TV Habit
  • Bikini vs. Burka: The Debauchery of American Womanhood

    Advertising Research & Instruction Sites: See what their researchers are saying to fellow advertisers

  • Advertising Research Abstracts
  • How to Control the Mind of Your Prospects -- And Influence Them to Buy What You're Selling

    And when the wizards came,
    Moses said to them: Cast your cast.

    And when they cast, Moses said:
    That which you have brought is magic.
    Surely Allah will make it vain.
    Surely Allah does not uphold
    the work of mischief makers.

    And Allah will vindicate the Truth
    by His words, however much the guilty
    are averse (Holy Qur'an 10:80-82)

    Recommended Readings & Sources:

  • The Noble Qur'an
  • Imam An-Nawawi, Forty Ahadith.
  • DeMoss Jr., Robert, Learn to Discern, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1992.
  • Gourley, Catherine, Media Wizards: a behind-the-scenes look at media manipulations, Twenty-first Century Books, Brookfield, CT, 1999.
  • Key, Wilson Bryan, The Age of Manipulation, Madison Books, Lanham MD, 1989.
  • Larson, Erik, The Naked Consumer: How Our Private Lives Become Public Commodities, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1992.
  • Postman, Neil and Powers, Steve, How to Watch TV News, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1992.
  • Schechter, Danny, The More You Watch, the Less You Know, Seven Stories Press, New York, NY, 1997.
  • Stephens, Mitchel, The Rise of the Image, the Fall of the Word, Oxford University Press, New York, NY 1998.
  • Thompson, Ahmad, Dajjal, Ta-Ha Publishers, Ltd, London, UK, 1995.

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