Of Beyonce and Amy Winehouse, et al

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah

Well, I posted a little note on my Facebook page yesterday. I got a small but vehement response to it. I’m still trying to figure it out.

I have lots of people on my friends list. Young, not so young, mature like me. I see what they are posting, check out their profiles to make sure that a) they are women (some names are like “Free Palestine” so it’s hard to tell) and b) they are not crazy freaky insane stalker-type people who will hunt me down and kidnap me. I check out the cute pics of their kids, though this is a double standard because I don’t approve of putting pics of the kids online and would never do so myself. I read their likes and dislikes. I check out where they’re from. You know, the regular nosy Facebook stuff that everybody does.

Yesterday I noticed someone had become a fan of Amy Winehouse. Now, I don’t listen to AW or any other pop diva, but I do distinctly remember hearing about her in the news. She is a drug addict. I recall a pale woman with an upswept Bride of Frankenstein do with multiple tattoos. Nothing the Grammy Awards had not seen before. But, I also recall she wasn’t allowed to attend the Grammys because she didn’t get a visa due to drug charges against her. Or something like that.

Another contact was a fan of Beyonce. She is another singer who has permeated the popular culture so much that even a nonlistener like me has heard of her. I saw her on a Dish Network commercial. She is a beautiful woman. In the commercial, she was dancing with some men, then writhing on a pile of gold in a seductive manner. I remember her dress was very, very short and sparkly and shimmered with her every move. At one point she had a medallion with the word “upgrade” on it in her mouth.

I could go on. I check my fans. I’m a fan of Anthony Bourdain, the host of the Travel Channel food show “No Reservations”. Now, I actually did think before I added him as someone I was a fan of. He smokes, he drinks, he cusses, he makes double entendre comments. But his show is about food and food is harmless. I have seen him in Saudi Arabia, overcoming his personal discomfort to give the country a chance and to appreciate its culture. I have seen him shut himself up out of respect after witnessing the Friday Prayer in, I think Tadjikistan. I have seen him sit with the felaheen in the deserts of Egypt and enjoy a roasted beast. I always ask Allah to give him hedayah because, under his irascible exterior, I think he is a good guy. Allah knows best.

I think the other person I’m a fan of is Imaam Albaani, may Allah have mercy on him. He’s worth having on my list, for sure.

So, I made a note commenting on the fact that some sisters, Muslim sisters, women who identify themselves on their own pages as Muslims who follow the Qur’an and Sunnah, had put these people on their fan favorites list. I simply think it’s inappropriate. I don’t watch MTV and don’t allow such programming in my house. How can a person who fears Allah and the Last Day admire such people? I’ve read some of the lyrics of AW’s songs. They are harsh, realistic, depressing, certainly not without merit, but they speak of a world that Muslims are supposed to eschew. And Beyonce? Sex, sex, sex.

I was accused of judging my sisters by commenting on the fact that they had these people on their list of fan favorites. I was told that if I had an in issue with a particular sister, I should perhaps contact her privately. Should I have done that? Well, if a particular sister felt comfortable sharing with all her contacts the fact that she likes a kaafir drug addict and another admires a woman who exploits her sexuality, then I feel comfortable giving what I felt was an honest and not harsh reminder that we Muslims must be DIFFERENT. We have standards and these people are not up to the standards set by Allah and His Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

Trust me, I’m not up on some pedestal. I grew up non-Muslim and I can still recite from memory the lyrics to a million pop songs that I grew up with. I’m even familiar with some of the hottest songs today, simply because they are on every car commercial between news programs or episodes of “Mythbusters”. I’m reminding myself not to get lazy and turn the radio to the music station while I’m driving. Keep it on plain old news radio, heck, even listen to that idiot Rush Limbaugh. At least you’ll know what the enemy is spouting. I used to watch all the cop shows, Law & Order, CSI. I started weaning myself off of them because the stories became ever more sexual and twisted. Plus, I really felt I had just killed some brain cells and wasted an hour of my life that could have been better spent. It’s not easy, I know. The reason we are warned against listening to these pop stars and watching music videos is because they entrap us so easily. A beautiful voice is almost a form of magic, astaghfirullah.

I didn’t want to come off as self-righteous, but I also do not apologize for giving naseehah. I have two hundred women on my friends list. If some of them take the advice in the spirit it was given, if one young lady or mature wife and mom deletes inappropriate groups or bad fan sites from her profile, then alhamdulillah. Leave Beyonce and Fifty Cent and Amy Winehouse and all the rest to the non-Muslims. If you feel Amy Winehouse’s lyrics have merit, then ask Allah to give her hedayah, not a best-selling single. She needs your du’as a hell of a lot more than she needs more money to spend on drugs.

When someone gives you naseehah, don’t get defensive. I challenge any Muslim or non-Muslim who believes in God and believes in chastity – google “Beyonce lyrics”. Read the lyrics of two or five or ten of her songs. Do you want your little girl singing any of those songs to herself while she plays with her Barbie dolls? I doubt it. YOU, my sister in Islam, are responsible for what and whom you allow into your house. If you wouldn’t let a drug addicted pop star cross your front door’s threshhold, then don’t turn on the radio and let her in that way.

Allah is my witness, I advise myself before I advise you. I ask Allah to keep all the believers on the Sirat al Mustaqim, Ameen. I ask Allah that we all have the wisdom to take good advice, to hasten to act on it, to make taubah for our wrong actions, and to always strive to improve ourselves as Muslims and not fall back into the ways of Jahiliyyah, Ameen.

Fi Aman Allah,

Nancy Umm Abdel Hamid

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