To what extent are friendships of chat right? How can the families that crack online be saved?

Details of the Question
My husband is constantly on the net and he is always adding girls to his page. When I asked him, he just says that they are all a part of an online game.
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The article given below illuminates the reality behind media,internet,celebreties,TV, and Internet Cafés.We hope you will benefit from the this article which is full of life experinces and stories. You should also pay more attention to the part called, Families that Crack. It is all about "Chatting" which is also the main point of your question.

Why do the media encourage sexuality? To what extent are friendships of chat right? How can the families that crack online be saved?

Young people are enticed into the world of celebrities

There are certain things which cannot be learned through explanation, but can be learned only by living. One cannot know without experiencing them. No matter how much you explain to your child that fire burns, s/he cannot know what fire really is without feeling the pain it causes.
Fame and money are among the things the harms of which cannot thoroughly be understood without experiencing. Especially youngsters sacrifice many of their spiritual and material values in order to attain those two goals and to be an artist. However, they are things which are visibly fine but inwardly painful.

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, explains the harms of those wishes concisely: “The harm that the passion of property and fame wreaks on human is more than the harm that two hungry wolves wreak when they attack a herd of sheep.” “One who has a valley full of gold wants another valley full of gold!” (Bukhari, Raqaiq 10)

Wise people know how to benefit from the advices of our religion and from others' experiences. Small kids and fools, on the other hand, do not believe in others' experiences until they themselves experience them.

Now I want to present to you what a famous female singer of ours has experienced and what fame and money turn humans into, in her own narration. The following interview is carried out by Kenan Erçetingöz, a tabloid writer. The singer says:

“That trouble called money does really mislead people. In other words, you spend money like mad; 55-meter yacht does not suffice, so you buy a 75-meter one. Ten servants in the house are no longer enough, so you increase the number to 20. That is being misled. You forget the hungry in the streets. You start to forget your religion. I have never eaten pork, but everybody around me ate pork and I became sick I saw it. You feel you have the money so you have the power. You forget your Creator. And one day, He blows such a slap on your face to make you gain consciousness.

Now I do not miss that luxurious life but I miss my former days. We used to live in a three-room one-hall apartment. I wish we had not had that much money. I wish there were no boats, no planes. That I cannot explain to people.

You lose your spiritual feelings. Material feelings prevail. It is not important where you are, but with whom. If you live in a tent with a person you like much, then that tent becomes like a palace for you. But if you live alone in a palace, that palace becomes like a prison for you. In other words, the more important material becomes, the haughtier you get. You start to look down on others. Indeed, that disease called money does lead people astray.”

Those are the expressions of a singer which should serve as a lesson to us. I am sure you also realized the expressions of remorse between the lines. For this reason, we advice our youngsters: “Youths, for goodness sake, take heed! Do not ever envy the flashy lives you see on TV.”

There may be left remorse, sins and pains only 

The story of the change of the famous model and actor Yasar Alptekin, which he made into a book with the name “Namazla Yeniden Doğdum (I was Resurrected with Prayer)” is also full of lessons. Here is what he says: 

It is of much interest and curiosity how models and artists live and what they do when they are famous. But afterwards?

Most often, they are forgotten in oblivion. I do not know how many people care about what life brings to forgotten models and how many people take lessons from their lives. There is one thing I know; I came to this world and am leaving it.

Sometimes, in a big crowd, everything one experiences may be the summary of what everybody else there has lived and will live because fame is not a life for one person. Fame is like the flux of the crowds in one person's body in a certain direction. Those crowds which applaud or boo are doing so in the name of everything that they have lived by themselves and that they could not while looking at you, i.e. at your fame.

In that situation, when I look at my life in retrospect, to the question that some people around me ask in a rather derisive way “Yasar Alptekin has done that much work, and become that famous; every kind of blessing from fame, money to woman and respect was offered to him. So what does he have at hand right now from them?” I give this answer wholeheartedly:

First of all, I came to this world not to possess but to witness. For me, it is important to need the least rather than to possess many things. From my former life remorse, sins and pains are left. It is the greatest bounty that my Lord blessed on me to progress on the way of guidance through the experiences I have gathered by understanding it and by repenting.

I fear that young people who read what I experienced may say: “So we, too, will live as we wish till the age of 30-40 and then will turn to guidance and be saved.” However, in that life, no one can know where they will be tomorrow.

Moreover, I abandoned such opportunities in my previous life as money, fame, women, etc., which youngsters would be interested in, when I had them. There are people at the age of 50-60 in the field of modeling and of acting which I followed formerly and they continue with the same way of life. I did not think “From now on I cannot live like that, being old. At least I should turn to guidance.” On the contrary, I am at the age of 42 and I could by all means follow the same way of life. However, the beauty of faith, prayers, and of being a servant of Allah has proven superior to all attractions of my past life.

Everything I have experienced till now and all the ups and downs in my life have shown me that each breath that I take in becomes invalid with the next breath. And life is like a podium. We put on and take off a garment in fashion shows and exhibit new clothes with new creations; similarly, each breath that we take is like different clothes that we wear.

I address especially my young brothers; for youngsters may envy the flashy life of art and cinema. If that life made people happy, if it satisfied people's mind, heart, spirit and feelings, I would not have left that pompous life and take refuge in a tranquil life like Yunus (a renowned Anatolian poet and sage).

Do not ever misunderstand me! 'Living Islam' does not mean leaving the world, arts, joys; it only means being selective and paying attention to suitability to our religion. Indeed, the circle of the licit is enough for our pleasure and enjoyment; no need for unlawful joys.

And I did not abandon modeling, the television and cinema completely; but I act selectively and pay attention to suitability to our religion. After all, is art not a means of explaining religion to others? If we do it properly and with sincerity, we may even earn rewards (of good deeds).”

They hide behind the expression “Freedom of the Media

Unfortunately, today, dressing indecently and losing moral sensitivity is virtually accepted as a prerequisite of modernity. People who show such reactions as “This is obscene, against morals and harmful” are blamed for being reactionary and outdated. It is one of the biggest handicaps of Turkey in fighting obscenity.

All over the world, the media is free and cannot be censored. Freedom of the media is the warranty for the media to carry out right, unbiased and reliable publication. In that sense, freedom of media is not a privilege for the media but a requisite of the freedom of “obtaining information/news”, which is a constitutional right of the public.

However, broadcasts with obscene content are not limited to the news. What relation to freedom of media may advertisements, serials, movies and many other programs have?

It does not limit the freedom of media to control broadcasts with obscene content. Freedom of media cannot be measured depending on how much obscenity they broadcast. For broadcasting can be performed without obscenity, too. Indeed, there are many newspapers, magazines, TV and radio channels which carry out publishing/broadcasting in an appropriate way for the values of the community.

The media companies should first check themselves instead of opposing to the legislation against obscenity with the pretext of “freedom of media is being jeopardized.” And they should think whether they are taking into consideration the order, culture and values of the community.

Similarly, laws grant freedom to the media, but they also state that those companies are institutions carrying out public service. The broadcasts/publications which provide public service should have the quality of providing culture and value exchange and of encouraging unity and solidarity. In this respect, publications/broadcasts with obscenity also contradict the idea of public service.

One of the Strongest Weapons of Illicit Intercourse: Internet

Technological inventions are like a sword with two sharp edges. The most striking example is the atomic bomb and nuclear energy. If not used in a beneficial way, it exterminates thousands even millions of humans and other beings. The television and the Internet should also be seen that way. If used wrongly, they will bring about many unwanted results.

Firstly, we were caught off-guard by TV, which is an important invention of technology. The background of the West was suitable for that. People were adequately used to reading and most importantly, that had become a habit. Therefore, the television did not harm the constitution of the West as much as it did our constitution. Those in the West watch TV moderately and as much as needed, and not much time is spent in vain.

As for us, on the other hand, as TV has entered our lives before we acquired the habit of reading, the already feeble habit of reading nearly came to altogether extinction. The balance was lost and our community became TV-Alcoholic. Whether they need or not, our people do not quit watching TV till they go to sleep. And it severs social relations.

The same thing is valid for the Internet, which is a wonder of technology of our time. We were caught off-guard again. However, the Internet has become an indispensable part of our lives. We need to make good use of it in every field. Today, commerce and education are not really possible without the Internet.

However, unfortunately we dived into the ocean of Internet without learning what it is, and what it is not, how to make use of it and what its benefits and harms are. Only a minority who knows how to swim can make good use of it, but the others are about to get drowned.

New Type of Addiction: Internet Cafés

In a research carried out in the University of Cumhuriyet, this bitter truth is demonstrated: According to the research called “New Type of Addiction: Internet Cafés”, it is found out that of the people who go to Internet shops, %43 chat, %26 play different computer games, %7 watch movies, and %19 browse the Net. And of those who chat, %36 chat so as to find friends, %14 so as to flirt, %34 so as to talk about ordinary topics, and %6 chat with sexual intentions.

While of those who go to Internet cafés to play games, %54,5 play games featuring violence, %22 choose to play games of intelligence. And the percentage of those who play games of sport is 19. For those who play games which feature violence, an ordinary murder is not “attractive”; games of murder by tearing into pieces and by making others suffer are opted for.

As for the third activity in Internet cafés, in browsing the Internet the most outstanding sites are the sites with obscenity. Of those who browse the Net, %24 visit sites of games, %23 culture & arts, %20 sites with obscenity, while the percentage of those who enter sites of education is 4.

The Internet, which has opened new perspectives in sharing and communicating knowledge, turns into a dangerous weapon if not used properly, and for some, the Internet, which becomes an obsession, has the effect of drug addiction.

As a certain standard could not be achieved in Internet cafés, which have proliferated in recent years, because of lack of legislation and control, they are places where extremely unhealthy conditions reign, rather than places of modern facilities.

The Outcry of a Mother

We cannot speak ill of or overlook that blessing of technology just because we do not have a culture of Internet or knowledge about it. We should learn its benefits and harms and turn it into good. Today we are in the era of computer; as we cannot do without it, we are bound to take the necessary precautions.

Not only we, but also the pedagogues in the developed West are worried about the addiction to the computer and the Internet. In Europe, public organizations are organizing campaigns against the obsession of computer, which has virtually spellbound youngsters. The slogan in the campaign carried out in Germany named “I do not have a computer, but a lot of friends!” is notable.

The youngsters who have PCs at home and who spend all their days in front of the screen cannot easily make friends. In time, they turn into antisocial and problematic individuals. Computer games and browsing the Net detach children and youngsters from society more and more. As we are not familiar with the culture of computer and Internet, it causes many economic and social troubles. Those troubles are also reflected on newspapers.

By analyzing those troubles, instead of abolishing the computer, we should remove the troubles; and to that end, we should educate our young people. Otherwise, we will have to bear the consequences. Here is an incidence which is caused by an unwary user:

A Poor Mother cries out:

“When our son told us about the benefits of the Internet, it all sounded good, until he became its captive. Our landline was cut off because of high bills and because of debts which we could not possibly pay with our revenues.

In the meantime, the computer broke down. We were firstly very happy as we thought that if we did not get it repaired, our son would recover from that addiction, but we were happy in vain. Internet cafés were open till late hours. The first day he went there, he came home at two o'clock at night. When he sits in front of the Internet, he forgets the notion of time, and money runs out.

A year passed like that. We did not insist, just warned him from time to time, but our son was like drunk; he would not be affected. In the end, we went bankrupt. When he could not find money, he started taking money from his father's colleagues without us knowing. We put all our belongings up for sale so as to pay our debts. The harms it did to us far exceeded its benefits.

The ages of 22-23 are the most productive years in human life. After what happened, school was over for my son. He did not work, either. The youth pass their most beautiful time in front of that device. How can that facility be turned into a beneficial device, and what can organizations and institutions do for that? The authorities need to find a solution to that.”

When the measure is lost, the Internet may have other side effects, too. Let us summarize those with the words of the celebrity writer Aykut Işıklar:

“The Internet is good, of course, but it is necessary not to exaggerate. Indeed, addiction to it has many harms. Firstly, it may cause you to be cross with your spouse. Recently, many women complain that their husbands care about the Internet more than they care about them. They complain about being neglected. There are even those who feel like their husbands' mistress.

Some of my friends say: “We no longer have Saturdays or Sundays. I could hardly see his face before, now I do not see him at all.” It is indeed a social problem to be thought about. I wonder if our sociologists carry out a serious research about the Internet and family life. I will suffice to relate what I have heard. It is certain that there are men who spare less time with their wives because of the Internet.” (Mehmet Oruç, Huzurun Kaynağı Aile, p. 54)

To what extent is the friendship of chat right?

Humanity is experiencing a new phase of development with the computer and the Internet, which have rapidly proliferated in a short time today, and which have found place in all fields of life from shopping and commerce to the organization of institutions and companies, from propaganda, advertisements, and serious studies to recreation, and most importantly to families.

Our religion is not against the innovations and inventions of the humanity, to the service of whom it granted all blessings of the world. For Allah Almighty, as the Knower of all knowledge and all the unknown which man does not penetrate but which does exist notwithstanding, teaches the knowledge that He ordains and which He wills humans to know through observations and experiments, to His slave (man) whenever He wills.

In other words, man attains a piece of knowledge through working/studying and through Allah's bestowal as a result of his/her endeavors. As that is the case, why should religion oppose to science, technique, innovations and inventions

However, our religion is against not using innovations for the benefit of humanity, against harming people through them, and against violating the commands and prohibitions set by Allah. Through today's innovation, the Internet, people reach information easily and reliably. They exchange knowledge. Information is thus conveyed to people who need it in a short time and with ease and in an environment of well-intentioned seriousness.

Religion does not prohibit such exchanges of information between people and such respectable and serious relations that take place between them with clear aims. However, not all relations in the Internet comply with those criteria. There are some relations which are based on only curiosity, excitement, adventure, interest and satisfaction and on sexuality.

Such friendships of Internet, which are tried to be made innocent with such names as “virtual friendship-imaginary friendship”, are not religiously permitted, in view of its aims and content (the topics talked about), of privacy and isolation (being together in an isolated place) and most importantly, in view of its harms to families. There is no pure intention and clarity to acquire knowledge here. On the contrary, there is a relation in which the sexual drive aims at the satisfaction of desires through moving humans away from rules.

The moral character of the individual is harmed to a great degree by that futile and irresponsible relation. That relation captures children, youngsters and spouses who have families, like an illness. It separates them from the family and vicinity they have, and casts them into vanity with run-down psychology and morals.

It opens up the door to degeneration

It is no longer possible to explain away the friendships in the Internet by saying “It should not be mistaken for real as it takes place in artificial environment.” For if the dimensions, developments and consequences of the events are carefully observed in all aspects, it will be established that there is a great danger of sexual degeneration which threatens the group of people between the ages of 14 and 34 in the society.

The religion of Islam, which takes the protection of chastity and integrity as basis in sexual ethics, commands men and women to protect their chastity and integrity (The Qur'an, An-Nur, 24:32-33), while it does not overlook the satisfaction of sexual needs and desires, which are necessitated by human's creation; on the contrary, it views that as absolutely natural and points out marriage as the permitted way to satisfy their needs.

The 21st verse of Chapter Ar-Rum in the Qur'an sheds light clearly on that topic. The believers who protect their chastity, are content with the permitted sexual relation in marriage, and who thus succeed in being happy, are also highly praised. (The Qur'an, Al-Mu’minun, 23:5-6)

Besides, it is seen appropriate for possible spouses who make marriage initiatives, to see each other in the presence of their relatives (without khalwat : being together alone), to look at each other (even if there is lust involved), to get to know each other, to talk to each other and to express their mutual conditions.

Now it would be appropriate to dwell on the subject called “khalwat” in Islamic Law. According to the Islamic Law, it is “khalwatfor a man and a woman between whom there is no permanent obstruction against marrying, to be together alone in a place.

In hadiths, it is forbidden for the man and the woman who are not married and who do not have any permanent prohibition to marry each other, to be together in a closed place. In a hadith, the Prophet said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment, let him not be alone with a woman other than his mahram (According to Islamic Law, a person so closely related by blood that marriage with him/her is forbidden); for otherwise the third one of them is the devil.” (Muslim, Haj, 74)

Such a situation is tempting for the other sex. It may lead to fornication or rumor and to damage to their chastity. Therefore, that point should especially be paid attention to.

To sum up, no matter at what age is, every adolescent/adult Muslim should always bear in mind that it is his/her duty of servitude to Allah to protect himself/herself from behaviors and relations which would lead to violating Allah's commands and prohibitions, and which herald mistakes.

I am married, but I chat online!”

Now I want to mention an email. The writer of the email says:

“In my workplace, my friends told me insistently that chatting was fun and I should certainly try it. I am a person who is affected a lot by people and so I tried it. In the meantime, I met a person in the Internet. Firstly, it was harmless; it was like a therapy for each of us. It was relieving both for me and for him to find solutions to his certain problems. And my partner would tell me that he was pretty affected by my words and he attracted me by writing fine words every day.

Now we are only writing to each other, that is all; but I do not want my family to get harmed by that. He insistently wants to meet me. Have I committed a sin by having such a relation with the person whom I only write to? If we meet -actually I do not want to-, will it be forbidden (haram)? Why do I continue such a situation? Is it because of the things I experienced in the past? What should I do to get saved from that situation?”

It is certainly not right for somebody to have such harmful relations with a person of the opposite sex even if through the Internet. Let us say that first.

One of the reasons for somebody to continue that situation may be the negative experiences s/he had about his/her spouse in the past. Feelings of revenge hidden in the subconscious may lead the person to do that. Other than that, it may be something which started with curiosity but in time turned into a habit. Whatever the reason is, that situation, which pleases feelings but troubles the reason, will leave the spirit in dilemma and lead to certain psychological troubles.

First of all, to get saved from that trouble, one should develop empathy. Afterwards, the greatest step to take is to be determined and to end that situation by making the other party feel that determination. Of course, what the person experiences with his/her spouse at the time may prevent ending that situation. Therefore, one should increase what one shares with the spouse and should spend more time with him/her as partner.

Families that Crack

Today, unfortunately, chatting has become a kind of artificial partnership. A man sits in front of the computer for hours and browses in another realm neglecting his wife and children. He makes friends with the computer rather than caring for his wife and become her life-partner. When it is asked “Is what you do appropriate?” he answers “I do it to be benevolent.”

First of all, our biggest mistake is to start being benevolent with others, rather than with those at our home. It appeals to our souls to first care about strangers, instead of those at home. One should be benevolent firstly to oneself and to one's family, then to one's close vicinity, and then to one's further vicinity. Now, we should ask those with the illness of chatting the following questions:

Now be careful to be just and confess, are you busy more with your spouse and children or with your computer? Some males with the illness of chat may say: “My wife does not care about me, and therefore I resort to chatting.” Do be honest; did you really care about your wife and she did not care about you? That is no acceptable excuse.

Whether male or female, people need care and love. If you give, you take; care and love are mutual. TV and computer kill such values of us as friendship and sharing love; beautiful families virtually turn into a fridge. There are many women who do not see their husbands because of chat and who thus have psychological problems.

As for singles, if we leave those with bad intentions aside, and if we handle the issue optimistically, they chat in general with the dream of marrying. When they make progress and meet each other, they become disappointed. For neither party really behaves honestly while chatting. It is as if chat is built upon lies. Men pretend to be women and women pretend to be men. Many more lies; everything in fake perfection...

It is not possible to make a real marriage with the person one gets to know through chatting. Unfortunately, the world has become cruel and the feeling of trust is lost. Do not tell me that there are people who knew each other through chat and who then formed a happy family; that would only be a gamble. That is only one out of a thousand. Do you expect the 'one out of a thousand' to find you? After the couples who marry by knowing each other through Internet understand that they are people from different worlds later on, there remains remorse only. The poison of the honey starts to cause great sufferings and in the end, a bitter result is added to the experience chart.

That is not everything about chat; it is almost nothing other than killing time. And it is not only time that it kills; it kills one's care about and love for one's family, relatives and friends. Whatever deed it is, if the harm in doing it is more than its benefit, it is the requisite of reason not to do it. So, all those who chat, please think with your conscience; Are there more pros or more cons? Will you stop or keep doing it? You decide accordingly.

Artificial Partnerships threaten the family

As is pointed out above, today, artificial partnerships are on the increase. Actually, it is something composed solely of fantasies, unrelated to the reality, void, misleading, and a rather ugly situation which makes oneself and the other person an object to satisfy.

Even such excuses may be made to justify it, as shyness, distress, problems with the spouse, not knowing what one does because of not finding the real happiness one has looked for.

These reasons may also be added; wanting to find the answer to the questions one is curious about but cannot ask others thinking that it will not be appropriate; starting it out of curiosity but then continuing it because of the inability to resist; not being happy about one's own appearance and thus experiencing an inferiority complex; assuming that one will feel better if one experiences partnership online.

Artificial partnerships are preferred in the first place because they satisfy the person emotionally and because no harm is done to each other (!). Women and men, without knowing each other firstly, get to know each other online randomly and after some talk, they embark on it. There is no difference between the educated and the uneducated; married, single; old, young. Many assume a different identity and disguise their real identity; that is why they experience everything easily in front of the screen.

That situation, which they like a lot in the beginning, leads to psychological problems in time. As the partnership which they continue does not have a systematic and stable form in itself, in time, it leads to at least feelings of guilt. Why feeling of guilt?

It is because, however artificial it may be, everybody knows very well that what they do is a forbidden relation. It may be called a kind of fornication. Those people who behave like “integrity incarnate” at other times, are very well aware that they use expressions in the artificial realm which they do not dare verbalize. Therefore, subconsciously, conscience interferes and asks: “Are you aware of what you are doing?” Even without knowing who his/her partner is.

Actually, it is a psychological disorder. Such people need to receive treatment as soon as possible. It indicates the existence of a psychological problem to live “as if” by severing the bonds with the real and trying to exist in the artificial. And it also indicates the values that have been lost.

One should protect oneself from one's curiosities which will lead one to perpetrating the forbidden. One should take pains not to be one of the oppressors who oppress their own selves, should try to determine one's limits, should avoid actions which would violate one's limits or which would lead one to the feelings of guilt. For once man gets the habit, it becomes hard to free himself of it. You should endeavor not to go astray in the first place. Instead of just blaming yourself, all you should do is to row against your impulses. (Mehtap Kayaoğlu)

(See Gençliğin Cinsellik İmtihanı, M. Ali Seyhan, NESİL YAYINLARI)

M. Ali Seyhan

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