What’s the first thing you do when you’re up? For many of us, it’s not the light coming through our windows that wakes us up but the unavoidable glare of our mobile phones. Social media is taking over our lives and as a result damaging our relationships, careers and most importantly spirituality!
Sure, you can completely detach yourself from social media but if social media has clearly become an addiction and you keep reverting back, there are other ways to gain control over the amount of content you intake. What if there was a way to bring about Barakah in your life at the very touch of your fingertips?
Well there is. Begin by seeking knowledge and use mobile apps that are beneficial. People used to travel and spend so much of their time and money to seek knowledge. In fact, the messenger of Allah pbuh in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah said: “Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim.”
In this day and age we are very fortunate to have a multitude of beneficial resources to help us earn the pleasure of Allah and gain nearness to Him SWT. Work towards making the most of this luxury and replace procrastination with a hunger to seek knowledge. Eventually, your phone will become a means of connecting you more with Allah and less with the Dunya.
Where should you begin? Take a minute to assess your favourite platforms which you cannot go a day without. This may be YouTube, Facebook or Instagram (the list is endless). Surely, if you can find 30 minutes to scroll through memes or watch tutorials, you can allocate your time to watching a lecture. There are many short and beneficial reminders on YouTube. Again, if you can sit through an episode on Netflix then you should be able to dedicate the same amount of time to Allah, if not more, for the sake of your Akhirah. Try replacing music with the Qur’an. The melody of the Qur’an is very soothing and provides contentment. We learn in the Qur’an that “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (13:28) You can also listen to the Qur’an or lectures on your commute to university or work – a great way to start you day.
It’s critical to monitor the type of posts that appear on your social networks. On YouTube, it is “suggested videos” and on Facebook or Instagram – once a video ends, the next video begins to play automatically. These platforms are designed to keep us addicted. After all, the more time you spend on their networks, the more ads are shown which means more money for them. What we watch read and listen to have a huge impact on our daily lives. Here’s an exercise, take a minute to scroll down through the list of people you are following and the channels you are subscribed to. Ask yourself, what is their message? Does it have a positive or negative influence on me? Does it bring me closer to Allah? If the answer is no- it’s time to unfollow.
The Fitna of social media is real. Nudity and music can darken the heart. Be strong enough to unfollow and cleanse yourself. Always remember that admiration can lead to unnecessary praise and cause us to believe that someone is flawless. This type of praise- in fact all praise, belongs to Allah the Most High alone. Aim to follow pages of sound knowledge and respected scholars on social media. There are plenty of pages and YouTube channels. Try to share what you’ve learnt as a form of Sadqah Jariya (continuous charity). Motivate your friends and family to join a WhatsApp group for the purpose of sharing authentic knowledge.
Sometimes, the phone may not even be in our hands but our minds are distracted by them. Distractions are all around us. Shaytan has a way of distracting us at times when we should be completely devoting our mind soul and body to the worship of Allah, for example during Salah or whilst reciting the Qur’an. When we turn on “notifications” and allow ourselves to be available to respond instantly, this can damage the quality of our attention and presence with the people around us. Begin by disabling the notifications from all of your apps, turn your phone on silent (not vibrate mode!) and put it away. It is Allah SWT who deserves our full attention and not your phone. The 15 minutes you spend in the pursuit of eternal goodness in the hereafter is far greater in importance than knowing who is texting you.
Additionally, what someone posts online may portray a way of life which is false. Everything we see on social media is filtered. Form the images to the captions; everything gives off the illusion of faultlessness. Nobody wants to share the negative aspects of their lives online. Social media has a way of creeping into both our minds and hearts making us infatuated with false reality. Research has already shown us a link between social media and depression.
Often we find ourselves comparing what we have or how we look with internet personalities. The issue of “compare and despair” steers us away from the path of gaining the pleasure of Allah SWT and leads to ungratefulness. We must then remember that our worship begins with gratitude. We say, during our daily prayers, in the opening chapter of the Qur’an: “All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds.” When we are focused on materialism or temporary happiness however, we forget all that Allah SWT has blessed us with. The formula for an increase in Barakah is in fact gratitude as Allah SWT says in the Qur’an (14:7): “And remember when your Lord proclaimed, if you are grateful, I will surely increase you in favour…” Let us learn to utilise social media to gain Barakah in our lives instead of allowing it to take away the Barakah we already have.