“Oh! You’re no longer on Facebook?” This is a regular question that I am faced with whenever conversations about if I have seen or heard this or that on Facebook arise. I cannot say I have absolutely no clue what social media is, but I can say for certain I have absolutely no idea what goes on there, no clue what the latest viral video is or what the latest fashion trends are. My time used to be occupied with the social media life, the latest ‘news, views and interviews’, and spending my free time simply scrolling through my news feed to see what the answers were to the famous “What’s on your mind?” questions. Of course, I had all my friends and acquaintances on my friend’s list and I found many interesting pages that caught my attention day in and day out. My free time became about scrolling the news feeds, and then scrolling some more, and then some more. Monotony began to creep in; for how long will my fingers just slide up and down the screen allowing more and more Facebook stories to reveal themselves?
I began to question myself one day, “What was I doing with my life?” My children were both off to school and I had taken up reading as an extra hobby, yet in between the pages of the many novels that I read, my mind would become drawn away to check the latest updates, in case I missed something important. Is this what my life had become? I knew deep down inside I wanted more in life, I yearned to do more, to be more, to give more, but something was holding me back, something had hold over me that kept me from achieving what I needed to become better. I reflected, I questioned, I took a long hard look about what truly mattered and I decided one day, just out of nowhere like a stranger in the night, to call it quits! Just like that! Cold turkey. I hit the deactivate button and removed the Facebook app off my phone to remove that temptation staring at me in the face every time I turn on my phone.
Now, it wasn’t that I had little to no friends on Facebook or that my posts and pictures didn’t get the likes and the comments, because they did. It wasn’t that I didn’t have much to say or share, because I did, but it was something so much more. It went a much greater distance than simply needing a break. I wanted to be ME. I wanted to be the person I needed to be, to feel that sense of achievement in life, that sense of contentment and Peace that we all search for, and most importantly, to work as hard as I could before my time on this earth expires and I leave without fulfilling my purpose in life. I wanted more.
I am certain many of us feel this way, we feel like we should be doing more in life, like we need to be doing something that will give us more meaning and fulfilment and bring us closer to Allah – yet something is holding us back. That hold, may not necessarily be social media, but it may be a variety of other factors that sometimes we may just need to shake, in order to become a better version of the person we are now. My reasons for leaving the social media platform were many, of which I am sure many of you will agree, however, my aim is not to weigh the ills of social media against the positives, because we have heard about these time and time again. Rather, I will instead give you reasons why life away from social media can be just as or even more fulfilling than the happiness you feel from seeing all your friends like and share your status updates.
1. Value your Privacy – In a world where it seems that the only way a person can feel validated, feel accepted and ‘be somebody’ is by opening the doors to the most private aspects of their life, the need to value the sanctity of the home and the family once again is of utmost importance. As Muslims, and as humans in general, the need to have something that is just our own without having to show it to the world is as important today as it has ever been. The world around us has become so open and loud that the need to put it all out there can sometimes affect us in ways we never even imagined.
2. Reconnect with the Qur’an – Alhamdulillah, while social media has its negative side, there is also the positive side of it. However, having that connection with the Quran and experiencing the joys and peace by picking up the Quran every day, cannot be replaced by social media. Gaining some extra time being off social media can be well spent in reading the Book of Allah, and earning vast amounts of reward. Allah says,
“[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” [Surah Sad: 29]
3. Learn Something New – For the many Muslims, having knowledge of the basics in Islam is essential, but often-times, going beyond that isn’t deemed necessary. Changing that mind-set about the Deen of Islam can vastly change our lives and making the time to do so, is the first step after making a firm resolve to do so. If you cannot read Arabic properly, start from scratch – and there is no shame in learning from the beginning, no matter your age. Find classes to attend at your local masjid or even online, that can increase you and help you to become a better Muslim and better person overall, InshaAllah.
“Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge” [Surah Fatir: 28]
Mu`awiyah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah said, “When Allah wishes good for someone, He bestows upon him the understanding of Deen.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
4. Start a Soup Kitchen/Do Volunteer work – We all know the command from Allah to feed the poor and take care of the orphan and Alhamdulillah many of us try our best to give charity when we can, however, taking a bigger step and putting things in place to regularly feed the poor, while encouraging others to do so will amass rewards that we cannot begin to count, by Allah’s Mercy. Spending your time involved in any volunteer project will bring a greater satisfaction than we could ever possibly imagine.
“Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense? For that is the one who drives away the orphan, And does not encourage the feeding of the poor.” [Surah Al-Mā`ūn:1-3]
These are just a few ideas that, as Muslims, we can implement in our lives to help us in trying to curb the “Social Media” frenzy sweeping the world by storm right now. However, always remember that no matter what you are doing in trying to becoming a better individual, don’t give in to the urge to “take a picture and post it up”.
“Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then do not follow up what they have spent with reminders [of it] or [other] injury will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” [Surah Al-Baqarah:26]
We need to realise that social media is designed to market us and market to us what we desire and want in life, causing us to sometimes lose ourselves in the process. It is important to sit back, relax, disconnect, close your eyes and really, truly reflect on your life and who you are. Reflect and remember the person you were, imagine the person you want to be and work on becoming the person you are meant to be – a person who is a Muslim first, benefitting society, this religion and most importantly yourself.
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