slip-sliding away…..

Your turn

Posted by Yacoob on October 31, 2006

“Every vessel, every container, will only pour out what is contained in it, and that’s very obvious. And so, your tongue is your ability to express what lies in your spirit: television, the movies, the friends you hang out with, the music you listen to. Everything around you is environmental forces that shape how your being is and how your heart is. And when you open your mouth to speak it’s like your heart is a sponge that absorbs all of this material from around you. Essentially what you’re doing is squeezing what is in you and what comes out is going to be what has been compiled in your mind and in your memory. Obviously you can only express in your heart what has been placed in it. And so in order for the outcome and the output from the tongue to be positive, the input in that needs to be positive: in spirit, in silence, in talking.. And throughout our lives.”

Now that Ramadaan has passed, I’ve reminded myself of the need to have positives in the ‘entertainment’ that I take in; and this is where I’d like to ask you – the readers of this blog – for some recommendations.

During Ramadaan, I was pleased to have had a big break from the “routine of entertainment” – you know, the forms of entertainment that become habitual, rather than necessary; and they don’t necessarily contribute anything good to your day to day life. You just watch/listen/take it in to pass the time; and because its what you always do.

But in Ramadaan, I did a lot more reading and – aside from some sport – watched very little TV. (Other than the Ramadaan shows we had on…but I recorded those and watched later, since I couldn’t stay to watch them at 4 a.m.) .

Anyway, I’ve got just 2 more episodes left to watch, and some reading material too. But, I see the danger ahead – once I’m done with those. Its so easy to fall into old habits, unproductive pursuits which you left for Ramadaan – but can be tempted towards again after Ramadaan; whether by actual temptation, or just plain boredom.

So, this post is about finding better forms of ‘entertainment’ and pastime: things that I’d like to make permanent and consistent, so that – in the words of the quote – the “input” is positive.

We sometimes under-estimate the effect that entertainment has on us, and for me, this period right now – right after Ramadaan – is an ideal time to evaluate what comes into us, what we absorb; and if we’re not truly happy with it, then change it.

That said, I’d like your recommendations on forms of entertainment, etc, that you would consider positive, or productive. It could be:

  • radio shows;
  • magazines;
  • newspapers;
  • websites;
  • tv shows;
  • basically, anything that fits the mould of positivity and/or productivity.

The only criteria is that its got to be aired/published regularly – and of course, the “positive/productive” theme as well. It doesn’t have to be Islamic-related either. Even documentaries about nature, for example, would do.

There’s a lot out there; and I’m sure we all have our favourites. So, rather than searching far and wide, I’d like this post to be a collection from all of you – a collection of your recommendations in this regard.

Obviously, many of us live in different places, so some recommendations may not be accessible to everyone. But instead of restricting this request to only things I could access here (Cape Town, South Africa), I want this topic to be open; so that wherever you are, and whatever it is you recommend, you can tell others about it. There may be other readers who are from your city/country, and it would be useful for them.

So, thank you in advance; and I hope this becomes a very useful resource for us all.

Y

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7 Responses to “Your turn”

  1. I totally know what you mean… Right after Ramadaan, get back to work and I find a copy of FHM and GQ lying on my desk.. waiting to be opened.

    I so don’t want to fall into old habits, but I fel I’ve already fallen and am drowning and it’s really hurting me to see what I’ve become outside of Ramadaan.

    I really do feel Shaytaan’s Influence.

    Insha-Allah we can all overcome. Effort and Duaa :) Powerful Mix.

    Wasalaam.
    M.

    P.S. on the history of marketing… I’m sure there was some sort of rivalry and competition back then to warrant it, but I don’t think it would’ve been on our scale or with our viciousness. Our modern context has forced marketers to really jump out the box let alone think out the box in terms of not only to get people to buy their products over their competitors but to get consumers to buy “more” I seriously don’t think that aspect was there before.

    Like Carl Lash said in 1978 …”Advertising serves not so much to advertise products as to promote consumption as a way of life.”

    Word. Oh and I’m linking you :) I like your thoughts.

    Peace,
    M.

  2. al said

    its amazing how we all think alike. not the whole world of course but sets of groups of people with similar interests have exactly the same thoughts…it just makes plain the oneness of mankind. and makes me think that if we all had the same goal:serving God, we’d all be exactly the same and sooo at ease and peace.
    anyway sorry for getting sidetracked.
    well, what i started doing to get outta the habit of wasting tym was listening to MP3 lectures. it really helped i mean i don’t watch t.v at all anymore. and this coming from a girl who would drool on the couch watching all three Lord Of the rings back-to-back!!
    my favourites are moulana khatani, Sheikh Awlaki and a coupla others i cant quite remember ryt now.also some of Dr.Quicks tapes and lecs are really entertaining. then there’s classes.i started reading a lot of books at one stage but i found myself falling back into the trap of laziness and fatigue, so i drag myself to classes at nyt, even if its talks i already heard, just to do something worthwhile and to be reminded. and mixing with like minded ppl, albeit the silence, gives one a sense of belonging and takes away some of the loneliness that drives one to the t.v.
    but if this doesnt interest u then why not start something along the lines of taliem? i mean i decided after exams to call up a few buddies, even tho they think im crazzily overboard with Islam and boring not to mention, and force them to listen to my MP3’s,in exchange for pizza and choc cake afterward!! in that way u get to spend tym with ur buds learning about Allah and talking crap in-between! lol,hey we gotta be innovative sumtym!!
    but if all else fails u culd climb up table mountain with a good book some good food and enjoy the good scenery..but thats too much effort i suppose.
    alternatively…get married and have kids,u’ll neva be bored or searching for entertainment trust me!! ok dont i wouldnt kno!!
    also fasting mon and thurs helps to keep a ramadaan-like mind and spirit. it really helps me to float back down to reality and think abt what needs to be done…also thinking about death helps,but thats just morbid and i suppose im going off a tangent here if i think it constitutes entertainment!!!
    ok lemme be off before u get scared
    hope i helped but re-reading this i think not!
    peace,al

  3. zee said

    i agree whole heartedly. we all take on a different form during ramadan and after, we seem to take on a whole new life. those resolutions that we made during ramadan are quickly forgotten as we get back into our old habits.

    we have to change certain aspects of life now…else we’ll be making those same resolutions the following ramadan.

  4. Dreamlife said

    Muhammad – I read ur post about the burger (Steers, was it?)…and I know how you feel. The thing is that whether its food, or something else we know would potentially be harmful (because its not always easy to see the harm until much later) – its a fight; and in Ramadaan we were fasting and it was easier to resist.

    Now, when we don’t *formally* have those restrictions – comes the real test, because we have to resist those things while we know we are ALLOWED to have them.

    But like I always say, small and consistent changes work. Rather than overwhelm yourself with too much, take 1 or 2 things that you know you can achieve, and try to do them consistently. I’ve heard that it takes 3 to 4 weeks for something to become a habit; so if we can find something good that we want to keep as a good habit – then all we need is 3 to 4 weeks of repeating it (though not monotonously, of course), and hopefully we’ll see the effects without having to think about it.

    Another point about this is that when you take something bad away – for example dropping a bad habit or action; you leave a void. Now, if you don’t fill that void with something – something good, hopefully – you risk reverting back to your old habit. So thats why this post was very important for me to write; because entertainment is something ingrained in our generation, and we need to wake up to the underlying messages and themes that are conveyed in them. Of course, we shouldn’t be paranoid – but the point is that what we take in does seep into our consciousness and subconsciousness, and it has an effect.

    So, the better the input, the better the effects on us.

    Zee – I wanna try to join you on the 11PM rule. I’ve been feeling the effects of lack of sleep in the last few weeks, and I know that by just changing 1 habit – that of giving in to stuff I know I can beat – I can get more sleep…and I love my sleep :)

    Al – nope, u didn’t scare me at all; and thank you for your great contribution. I admire your dedication; and recognise the point you’re at (at least I think I do). And with regard to TV, a few years ago, I also pretty much abandoned TV completely in Ramadaan. Afterwards, there was a *lot* less that I watched, and I think now, 2 years later, I’m benefitting from that – because my approach is to look for something I *want to* watch – rather than see what’s on and if I like anything. In this way, I’ve ended up with very, very few shows I watch nowadays – and thats a wonderful thing because the time can be spent doing other things; and of course, its a good ‘habit’ / approach to have at this age – because its so much easier to take that into your marriage and even more importantly, if you’ve got good TV habits now, you’re going to hopefully pass on that good influence to your children. So they won’t grow up in a household where the TV is always on, and TV acts as a substitute for so many other things that could be done, if we only made the effort to try.

    Let me know where you get your MP3 lectures from please. It’ll be quicker than me trying to sift through websites looking.

    Anyone else have contributions to make to the original topic?

  5. bb_aisha said

    islamonline.net is a gr8 site
    muslimglobe.com & maniacmuslim.com to connect with others thru forums

    its 12pm..woke up to answer phn & im sick-so add & u get an amnesiac bb. kno so many but just cant think of any at the moment. will post again

  6. Samira said

    I love that quotation. I’ve heard it before, but in a song, do you know where it comes from? Is it really from the song of outlandish.
    yeah, I didn’t do my best during ramadan, I wish I could though, but my blood pressure gets low and I can’t do anything but to sleep, so I’d miss all my exams and so on. I’m proud of people who gets through it though!

  7. Dreamlife said

    Its an interlude in between songs on their album. Can’t find much info on it anymore, but i think its from a talk by Sh. Abdullah Adhami.

    That must be hard, having the blood pressure problem. have you asked a doctor about alternatives to sleeping? like, a different diet or something?

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