Jun 27, 2012

A Thought Provoking Moment: Reading is a Dying Culture

Reading is a dying culture.

Everyone has heard the news mantra, "if it bleeds, it leads." Is this the guiding principle that you want controlling the information you receive about what is happening around you?

The revenue of TV, radio and even YouTube is based solely on holding your attention. The things that most capture human attention are confrontational, shocking, dangerous, tragic and terrifying. Just think about the last mass email about the board of directors of your local masjid.

Try choosing a written format to get your news, information, and even entertainment. You can pick either paper or electronic, just make sure its written and not audio nor video.

You see, reading requires more concentration, which yields better retention and sharpens the ability to weigh the evidence and sift fact from fiction. It will give you greater control, provide better depth, and better represent the real issues that affect us.

The result is a more emotionally and intellectually mature understanding of the material you are reading. So choose a newspaper, a journal, a website, or perhaps even a book and read when you would ordinarily watch or listen to a media player.

Your views on this topic? Please post them below!


I love reading. So much better than tv however my husband has told me many times that a woman reading anything other than the Qu'ran or Hadith or perhaps a biography of a prophet is haram and she has no business reading anything if it isn't beneficial to her Islamically. I do read Qu'ran and articles about Islam but sometimes I would like to read just for pleasure. How is it any different than watching tv? At least I am not exposing myself to nudity that is on every show nowadays. Now I feel very guilty that I have to hide and read a page at a time of a book when I can. Can anyone give me guidance on the issue of reading for leisure?

As salaamu alaykum Kareema,

I love reading too, and I always feel so happy when I hear that people, especially Muslims, love to read. The author has spoken the truth: Reading is a dying culture. But it is dying more and more in the Muslim community. We are failing to implement this healthy habit by ignoring the footsteps of our pious predecessors. This is what I am seeing first hand. It's like you have to force some people to read just a simple one-page article to make them aware of what is going on the world. 

That said, your husband is correct and the same rule applies to men as well and not just to wives, mothers, or women in general. Be it a Muslim man or woman, if you are reading something that brings no benefit to you especially Islamic benefits, then it is advisable to stay away so that we do not get addicted to it. But bear in mind that it is permissible to read mainstream publications that bring benefit to one's dunyah and akheerah such as reading on health issues, safety, community service, etc. As a Muslim, you can gain hasaanaat in two ways by: 1. Reading. 2. Read something beneficial which ultimately pleases your heart and pleases our Lord.
Alhamdulilaah, we have so many Muslim female authors. For example, Linda Widad Delgado, Na'ima B. Robert, Julie S. Mair, Umm Zakiyyah, Umm Juwayriyah, Randa Abdel-Fattah, Leila Aboulela, Shelina Zahra Janmahomed, Mariam Akabor, Rukhsana Khan, Janette Isahah Grant, Sufiya Ahmed, Suma Din, and a host
of many other published Muslim female and male authors. 

So, read on, my dear sister. Keep your brain active and healthy through doses of healthy beneficial reading.

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