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Articles


Some Flaws of Religious Discourse in Mass Media

Author : Dr. Hassan Abu_Arqoub

Date Added : 11-10-2022


Some Flaws of Religious Discourse in Mass Media

 

Religious discourse is one of the most widespread discourses in mass media and aims to acquaint believers and others with the teachings of Islam to be a methodology for the believers and an invitation for the non-believers.

The follower of religious discourse hardly fails to notice a number of flaws that limit its actual success. This I say because this discourse may have succeeded in the sense that it has spread widely, but it lacks the true fruits desired from it. Some key flaws are:

First: Takfir and Tafsiq

The proponents of this discourse consider themselves on the truth and whoever disagrees with them is an evil sinner who had gone astray. The amazing thing, here, is that they apply this to their fellow Muslims and about controversial issues. For example, tagging the Muslim who visited the grave of a saint as an apostate who went astray and abandoned the sound doctrine. Rather, whoever doesn`t consider such person an apostate is an apostate himself. This is extremely exclusive since it isn`t correct to judge someone`s belief in such a haphazard manner. First, we have to make sure that their belief is valid through dialogue. If they have done something wrong, we should teach them how to right that wrong. If they haven`t, then we may not agree with their view or not favor it. However, it is wrong to accuse them with innovation, deviating from the right path since this leads to introducing this exclusive culture in society, causes division, and afterwards yields terrorism, and extremism since, from their perspective, people are considered either apostates or misguided innovators.

Second: Fanaticism.

It is normal to have Madhabs (Schools of Islamic thought) along with the foundation of the religion. As for fanaticism, it is denounced in every time and place since it causes one to deviate from justice and equity, becomes magnanimous with his Madhab to the extent of recognizing no other, and thus impairs his mind and thought leading to freezing his reasoning and rejecting the other. Instead of using his time studying and seeking knowledge, a bigot engages in tracking the lapses of others and refuting their views. This is an endless cycle that increases enmity and hatred on steady basis, so the victims of fanatic discourse remain in the same cycle spreading the culture of hatred and rejection of the other throughout society yielding extremism and terrorism. Historically speaking, bigots have been practicing this for so long.

Third: Failure to distinguish between divine text and human Ijtihad (Independent reasoning), which is a serious drawback. This is because the divine text has its sanctity and respect and it isn`t permissible for the religious person to disagree with or ignore it for doing so renders his/her religiosity meaningless. As for Ijtihad in understanding a text, it remains a human effort that doesn`t enjoy the same sanctity although it is respected and appreciated. This human effort is amenable to give and take and disagreement since people perform acts of worship based on the injunctions of their Lord not fellow humans. Here, the problem lies in elevating the status of Ijtihad to the sanctity of the divine text, which bans minds from coming near or examining human Ijtihad although some may have better Ijtihad. 

Fourth: Being out of touch with reality.

This is noticed in some topics presented through the media. While most people are having hard times trying to survive, some presenters dwell on issues like the ruling on shaving beard or the obligation of having a Sutrah (An object used by a person performing Salah as a barrier between himself and one passing in front of him). These are examples of controversial issues for which one episode or book will not contribute to the renaissance of the Muslim nation. Rather, there is room for disagreement since they aren`t doctrinal issues testing someone`s faith.

Fifth: Employing myths and stories.

The divine religion is founded on divine text and it has to be delivered to the people. However, it can`t be conveyed through stories, myths and lies although these are sweet on the ear, numb the mind, and incite tears. Some advocates tell stories that have no origin nor chain of narrators and spread them amongst the people as divine text. They, for instance, would say that girl was paralyzed because she disobeyed her mother; that person got mad because he disobeyed his father; that person became poor because he didn`t make a donation to a certain party; that woman caught cancer because she didn`t wear Hijab, in addition to many other examples. The problem, here, is that these reinforce only the idea that Allah is there to punish His slaves, He isn`t merciful and doesn`t forgive sins and slips.

The above stated is the tip of the iceberg, but I wanted to quickly go over them as a reminder for my brothers and myself to avoid them as much as possible.

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