Fatwa: # 45417
Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings...
Country:
Date: 5th September 2020

Title

Reading Fiction and watching cartoons for leisure - Is this permissible?

Question

Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakathu. 

Alhamdulillah, I have been trying my best to do what our Deen wants us to do but I have lately been having many temptations to read and watch what I abandoned. I want to read the story books that I have, such as Harry Potter, and there are other books that have pictures in them. My head has been hurting from the stress of trying to figure out what to do and I have been further confused about how I can teach my future children because in schools, cartoons are used in textbooks and even in educational videos but all of this is haram. 

I have been thinking how I was young and used to read story books with pictures and many had moral guidelines even if they were written by Non-Muslims and I miss reading them. I have been getting waswasas about abandoning my religion because my subconscious has been told by my close ones that if I restrict myself too much, then I will eventually abandon everything.

Hence, my confusion is about three main things:

1. Would it be haram to watch digital cartoons for purposes of education and also leisure? If yes, what would be a good, pleasurable alternative?

2. Harry Potter is both a series that entices me and offends me. It propagates feminism and wrong morals, it also has a corrupt newspaper under the name "The Daily Prophet" but it connects me with my childhood and I yearn to enjoy the adventure in the books. As Harry Potter's magic is fake and as I know what is good and bad character, can I read these books for the sake of leisure and also inspiration for my own writing?

3. Children learn through cartoons. I have noticed that I enjoy observing animals but when I was young, I used to watch comedic cartoons, like Tom and Jerry, and that this fostered my creativity and applied it to real life. As children go towards cartoons and can insist on watching them because of how attractive they are and as it will boost their creativity, how can we give them the correct upbringing?

JazakAllahu Khairan for your help.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

We are pleased to hear of your commitment to stick to what the Shari’ah permits. Remember, shaytaan is our enemy and he has a sole objective. To tempt us away from the obedience of Almighty Allah and entrap us into the pit of sin.

The fact that you experience temptations to go back to what you had abandoned is a sign that shaytaan is trying to beguile you. You gave up these acts and must now firmly resolve to never go back to them. You will receive immense reward for your determination.

As for your queries,

1.     The permissibility of digital photography and videos is a highly contested issue amongst contemporary Ulama. Whilst many Ulama permit this, many others consider it to be the same as typical photography, hence deeming it impermissible. Hence, the path of Taqwa would be to abstain.

Furthermore, this difference of opinion is with regards to cartoons which are free from music etc. Rarely are cartoons free from such vices. Nevertheless, there are some Islamic cartoons which are free from such vices.

2.     In principle, it is permissible to read novels and other literature provided the contents are in conformity with the Shari’ah and Islamic etiquettes.  Literature which contains vulgarity, promotes immorality, or glorifies that which Almighty Allah has forbidden should not be read.  For example, some famous current day novels glorify magic and sorcery to children, while others promote promiscuity and adultery amongst adults.  Such novels are detrimental to ones Imaan and are not permissible to read.

Alternatively, there are many fictional works which do not contain messages contrary to Islamic ethics. One may resort to such material. Islamic literature, especially works on Islamic history, are extremely well written and can be an enjoyable read. Encouraging one’s children to begin reading the Seerah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as well as stories of the Sahabah and previous Ambiyaa is an easy method to inculcate Islamic ethics within a child.

3.     Cartoons have been researched to be quite detrimental to children. There are pros and cons to it, but the cons outweigh the pros. For more on this subject, you may refer to the following link.

http://askimam.org/public/question_detail/28715

Alternatively, there are some Islamic cartoons that are free from all Haram elements. You may also consider documentaries (free from music etc.) regarding nature and the animal kingdom. Making ones children avid readers is also an efficient method of boosting creativity.

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Bilal Yusuf Pandor

Student Darul Iftaa

Lusaka, Zambia

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai

 

 

 

 

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