The world is connected in ways that we could never have imagined before. 15-20 years ago, we did not carry phones with us and now we cannot even conceive of a world without smart phones and social networking. Social media is helping shape the world’s events and culture. From the Arab Spring to the global Occupy movement, individuals and groups are more engaged and empowered than ever before. From students to journalists, from Prime Minister to salesperson, social media is used for both work and pleasure. Social media has become an integral part of our lives.
We can use social media to tremendously benefit from it and convey the positive and beautiful message of Islam. For instance, we can now learn about our faith and the language of the Quran as well as its recitation within the comfort of our homes. We can also potentially share Islamic messages with billions of people around the globe through the use of social media platform and electronic devices. In terms of Dawah, a five minute video on the activities of a mosque, featuring a friendly-faced scholar giving a virtual tour of the place could work wonders. It is a relatively inexpensive way to give people who would not normally have the courage to ask questions about Islam or to see the inside of a mosque, the opportunity to look inside.
With all the advantages of social media, it is taking up a lot of our time and affecting other aspects of our lives. On average, we can may be spending 2-3 hours a day on social media, without realising how much time we are spending on our phones, ipads, and computer screens. We don’t even think about the websites we visit, we are programmed to do it. We take our phones and spend time on text, Facebook, Twitter, email, Tumblr, Instagram, WhapsApp and so on. A lot of us go through the same social media routines constantly.
Social networking has become a kind of addition; even after a long day’s of work when we are mentally exhausted, we still “make” time to go on social networking sites. Sometimes, we would spend time on social networking at the expense of losing some sleep or some other very important task that needs to done. Family time has becomes everyone sitting together in the living room, each on their own device. Dinners with friends are now dinners with friends and their phones. It is fashionable to have the phone out all the time and constantly be peeping at it. It has practically become a fad or bragging point to show how busy we are all the time or how many friends we have..
As Ramadan is a time of self-discipline and self-assessment, it is a great opportunity to reflect on our social media consumption and usage and our behaviour on social media. We need to see if any changes in our usage and consumption of social media networks is required.
We can turn our social interaction on social media into an act of worship if we do it correctly. We can also grow in our spirituality and have more peace of mind if we manage our usage and consumption of social media appropriately.
The Prophet advised us “There are two blessings which many people waste: health and free time. [Bukhari].
Let’s be one of those who take this advice from the best of Mankind (peace be upon him) seriously and improve our inner and outer peace.
Dr Qari Muhammad Asim MBE
(Senior Editor ImamsOnline)
Note: The views expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect that of ImamsOnline.