‘’Ansitu! Ansitu! Keep quiet. Stop...’’ One could hardly hear the voice of seven-year-old Usman as he was making an effort to call the attention of other children. He either wanted them to lessen their noise or notice Mallam Luqman coming. Anyway, it was a fruitless attempt. While some of them were heard discussing the fascinating and touching aspects of the story the Mallam narrated yester week, others were busy recounting the derivable lessons of the tale as pointed out by the Mallam. Only Fatima, Sumayyah and Umar were seen seated on a bench placed in the right corner of the Madrasah section of the Mosque. The trio was calm, engrossed in thoughts.
Somehow, they were not interested in what was going on around them. Perhaps they were thoughtfully curious about another interesting story the Mallam had for them tonight.
Mallam Luqman is a renowned pious Islamic Scholar. He is knowledgeable in many areas and subjects of Deen such as Qur’an, Hadith/Sunna, Tafsir, Fiqh, Sirah, Fatwa, etc. He is always consulted by Islamic-knowledge seekers from different places. Not only that, he is sometimes invited by members of various Muslim communities to preside over Sharia and other Islamic-Law related matters. Despite his busy schedule, he still spends a considerable amount of time with Muslim children every Friday night after Isha’i prayer. It is a story-telling session. Mallam Luqman is talented when it comes to knowledge impartation through story-telling. At times, many children prefer skipping supper to missing the session.
‘’Asalaam Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh’’ greeted the Children as Mallam Luqman stepped inside. ‘’Alaykum Salaam Waramatullahi Wabarakatuh’’ Mallam Luqman replied. Usually, he would immediately walk to his seat, get seated, face the children and begin the narration.
Tonight, as if he noticed something that displeased him, he stopped and remained standing not too far from the entrance. He opened his mouth not too wide. He wanted to utter something. He quickly changed his mind and remained silent for a while. He starred at the children. Later, he reluctantly walked to his seat. The children became apprehensive. Some had begun to think whether tonight’s edition would not hold. Finally, he had his seat. Noticeably, the children felt relieved. The relief was short-lived as Mallam Luqman would still not say anything. Again, the children’s faces began to express uneasiness and the entire atmosphere was consumed by silence.
‘’Subhanallah! Mallam will not begin…’’ said Sumayyah.
‘’We seated mixed.’’ ‘’Females should not mix with males.’’
Her observation pierced the silence. The children hurriedly formed a new sitting arrangement: all females at one side and the males at the other. Mallam Luqman smiled. His smile transmitted a wave of approval and reassurance across the children and he began:
“Not too long ago, a father returned home and handed over a new iPad to his fourteen-year-old beloved son, Abdul-Malik. He (Abdul-Malik) was so excited. He had told his father many times in the past that he needed a smartphone or an iPad. On several occasions, he would remind his father that smartphone was a good tool for knowledge acquisition in this era of the modern and digital world. Almost all his classmates and friends in the neighbourhood had either a smartphone or an iPad.
‘’Thank you, dad,’’ said Abdul-Malik gratefully, ‘’you are the best dad in the world,’’ he added.
‘’It is Allah we should thank,’’ replied his father.
‘’I have the confidence that you will judiciously use the iPad to improve your studies in Islamic education as well as western education,’’ remarked his father
‘’Insha Allah,’’ Abdul-Malik reacted, nodded confidently.
Abdul-Malik was a very good boy. He always displayed outstanding and enviable performance at Madrasah and school. He started learning how to read the Qur’an at age four. His reading of the Holy Qur’an became perfect at age five and a half. He had memorized the whole of Qur’an before he clocked nine. He spoke both Arabic and English languages fluently. He participated in numerous Qur’an Recitation Competitions and Islamic Religious Knowledge Quizzes. He won many prizes. He also received many awards for his brilliant performance.
At school, his performance was excellent too. He participated in many competitions and won prizes for his school. He had represented his school, Local Government Area and State at many Quizzes and Essay Competitions. There was no time he failed to excel. The Principal and other members of the staff loved him so much. His moral upright and decency attracted the love and respect of his neighbours. Everybody wanted to relate and associate with Abdul-Malik because he was characteristically stable, honest and friendly. He was a source of joy and hope for his parents and other members of his extended family. His parents were proud of him and they mapped out plans for him. He was going to travel to the United Kingdom to study Medicine and Surgery after completing his secondary school education.
Initially, Abdul-Malik made good use of his new iPad. With the help of the new tool, he was able to have access to many academic materials and contents that aided his study. He discovered many educative and informative websites using ‘Google’ and other websites that were programmed to accomplish such a task. Not only that, he was able to visit Islamic websites to learn new things about Islam. He watched and listened to lectures and comments of notable Islamic scholars. He downloaded Qur’an and other Islamic–related texts/audio. He read and listened to these contents regularly. This greatly enhanced his practise of Deen.
All of a sudden, his performance at school and Madrasah changed for the worst. He started coming late to school and Madrasah. Sometimes, he would not attend Madrasah at all. He now failed tests and exams because he did not study very well again. He spent more than enough time watching videos on his iPad at the expense of Solat and other important assignments. He began to disobey his parents and treated neighbours with much disrespect. His new behaviour and ways of doing things worried his parents that they became sad and sick. His mother wept a lot thinking that he had been bewitched. Abdul-Malik, who was a source of joy for his parents before, now put tears on their faces…
‘’Do you know what caused this? asked Mallam Luqman.
The children did not reply. Their faces expressed that they were sad. It seemed they felt sorry for Abdul-Malik…
“It was due to watching, reading and listening to BAD MEDIA CONTENTS’’ Mallam Luqman answered the question himself, broke the silence.
‘’BAD MEDIA CONTENTS?’’ asked the children in unison, bewildered.’’
Parents, Watch What You Watch!
Watch what you allow as we bring you a follow-up to the story…