A stranger

Rand Diab

“A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Yusuf, five years my senior, was my example. Samya, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play ‘big brother’ and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors– Mom taught me to love Allah, and Dad taught me to how to obey Him. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening. If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it.

He knew about the past and seemed to understand the present. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I would often laugh or cry as I watched. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Yusuf and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several famous people.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’t seem to mind-but sometimes Mom would quietly get up– while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places– go to her room, read the Qur’an.

I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house– not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm.. To my knowledge, the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in his home – not even for cooking.

But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.

He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (probably too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.

As I look back, I believe it was Allah’s Mercy that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents’ den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name you ask?

We called him TV.

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10 Responses to “A stranger”

  1. assalaamu’alaikum.

    a nice entry. maybe I can use some of it to publish another entry for dakwah too..

  2. Jet Pinoy Gooner Says:

    Assalamallaikum,

    3 years ago I totally ditched my TV. It has nothing for me. When I need to watch an Arsenal game I go to somewhere to watch it. I have the same feeling as the story above. It corrupts slowly and without notice. I prefer reading books and one day I got hold of a Qu’ran. Met muslim co workers and only to find out on the 23rd of November I did my Shahadda.
    It was the best day of my adult life. Allah is great and has guided me. From ditching my TV to the Qu’ran and now this Blog. Alhumdullilah.

    Never stop posting about our religion, never stop talking about Allah because evil does not take a rest day. May Allah reward you and your deeds!

    • Salam alykom Jet Pinoy Gooner,

      I’m really happy to read your comment and it had put a smile on my face. Thanx to Allah that you found the true path and that you found it before death. This life is a test for mankind; tv, media, songs, etc is all a test for our faith to strive and gain paradise in the hereafter enshallah.

      Dont let this life make you forget who created you and why we are here. Have patience, a good heart, nice manners and pray to Allah and do what he ordered us to do, as he gave us alot alhamdulah and we should thank him.

      Islam will always be the religion of love and peace.
      May Allah grant you jannah and erase all your past sins Ameen.

      (Just one question , where do you come from ? )

  3. mashallah šŸ™‚

    may Allah grant you jannah Ameen

  4. asadullah Says:

    mashallah. may Allah guide more people to the right path, towards SIRAAT UL MUSTAKEEM. ameen.
    my home currently doesnt have a tv, but it is just an accident! the cable operator used to charge Rs. 200 per month for providing the service of about 80 to 100 channels on it, which indluded about 20-25 indian, 20 western(english), few cable-operator-run channels for latest, predominantly indian, movies and others including local pakistani channels here in hyderabad, pakistan. they immediately increased the fees to rs. 350 , or later by mutual ‘aggreement’ b/w them and households, they agreed upon rs. 300. my father , moved by the prise increase, decided that internet connection of rs.400/month was more than enough for the purpose of tv and others, so now the idiot box is lying idle as a show piece.
    but the dissapointing fact is that my family, and me too, still watch live tv online and follow popular indian films regularly. i now am inclined more towards islam and watch the religious channel PEACE TV online, but how can i change the “addiction”(it truly is) of my family members, me, and other relatives as ppl watch this evil object in all conditions, alone as well as gatherings. may Allah guide muslims to the straight path and keep us in peace, and bless us and protect us from all evil. ameen

  5. MashaAllah thank you sis! I love it.. i am happy that I never bought the cable to allow my kids to watch the nonsense on T.V. I felt the dish change was a blessing for our family. Jazak Allahu khairan, take care.

  6. Salam alaikum,

    may I publish that on my blog? Of course with link to your website!

    Salam alaikum

    Nuha

  7. umm rahel Says:

    Salam,

    I am glad found this blog! my husband and i trying hard for not watching TV, i am so fed up because they tell scary things and i don’t want my children get influenced from it.
    anyway nice article, really enjoy read it

    may Allah protect us all

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