Million Dollar Advice

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Losing a parent is a fate we all have to meet. Death is a reality which we all will face; sooner or later. At a time when one loses a dear one, ones’ emotions are uncontrollable. Understandable! Something similar happened on the 12th of June, 2014 this year. I lost my mom in Karachi, Pakistan and sitting here in Mississauga, Canada; I had no way to reach out to her. I was filled with sadness and overpowered with such emotions that cannot be explained in words. Obviously, I needed an outlet! I wrote a poem full of dua’s for her and posted on my Facebook page, along with my mother’s recent picture. While most people appreciated the expression and said aameen to all the dua’s, a comment from one of my uncles, shook me from within. He requested me to delete my mother’s photo because she had passed away and had made “pardah” from the world!

How true was that? I hadn’t thought of it like that. When my mother was gone from this world, who was I to display her beauty and elegance to the world? Taking this million dollar advice, I quickly deleted her picture from my social page.

 It wasn’t long ago, that a mother was shot dead, in a posh locality of Karachi, Pakistan, when she was looted by robbers. And guess what told me this sad news? A “Whatsapp” post in a group, where the pictures of that mom with her family were posted, one after another. Very sadly, in a Facebook group, that lady’s friend appealed to everyone not to float her pictures, as it was painful for the family. It was especially painful to explain to her young children what had happened and the family was in a very bad state.

A week later a boy and a girl of two different high schools, were found dead after they met with an accident. This news also reached me through the same whats app group. Lots of pictures of these kids were posted to inform everyone, along with a du’a for their forgiveness.

Not long after, a post caught my eyes, whereby the death of a loved one was announced on the Facebook page as a status update. This badly shook me! It kept me thinking; having a status update as such, in a traumatizing time, to ask people for du’as appear correct; however, to expect that every single known person, be it a friend or relative would be able to see the Facebook post for the “Janaza (funeral) prayer” details, is harebrained! What if there is a close relative who doesn’t have a Facebook account, or is not computer savvy or is not connected to the internet at such a time? Will such crucial news then reach that person after the “Janaza” has been prayed?

All these incidents, happening one after another, got my mind thinking. The images of different media started revolving in front of my eyes. Some of them so graphic, that one feels rage, horror, disgust, embarrassment, sympathy and pity for those murdered, killed or blasted.

You talk about television, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other social media, all are filled with images of people displaying the beauty or in Arabic “awrah” of the females, the manliness of the males, the emotional blackmailing done by showing us images of innocent children being killed or showing off their riches and blessings by posting pictures; displaying their wealth through pictures and updates of their houses, children, cars, clothes, bags, shoes etc.

For many reasons these photographs; be it of males, females or objects are very humiliating and demeaning for a lot of people. Let me explain. In today’s day and age when people have been diminished to mere objects, modelling “what’s on” as opposed to “who it’s on,” the less privileged who cannot afford these luxuries, cannot help but find themselves stuck in the rat race of Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors or other brand which are bigger names. Children take peer pressure, and parents spend thousands or may be more dollars on providing the best gadgets, high-end clothing, branded shoes and watches and still cannot satiate the wants of kids.

People tend to put silly updates which sound so boastful, or sometimes even childish. Some examples include an update of where one is eating, where a person has checked in or which country is the next vacation destination! What are we trying to display or who are we trying to let down? Just as whether a glass is half full or empty, or advantages of using internet vis-a-vis disadvantages; social media also has both good and bad uses.

Look at the “Selfie Mania” destroying our youth and Ummah, and opening doors for greater “fitnah” (trials) for us. Rather than posting pictures of happy families, or males and females pouting and posing for gaining attention on social media through “likes” and “shares,” where males as well as females display their beauty and wealth; to please their inner selves, giving up their moral values and making fun of the “hijab,” which they know doesn’t demand anything but humility, modesty and strict privacy in Islam, and bring their happy homes and achievements in the eyes of their less privileged friends and distant relatives on Facebook; most of who would only be envious of their blessings, there is a more positive use of this medium.

I guess enough had been said about what NOT to do on social media and how it can cause invasion of privacy, and sinning issues such as chatting with strangers, falling trap to flirtatious talks, displaying “awrah” and much more. I would rather share some of the very simple “halal” ways in which social media; and in particular Facebook has changed my life, and brought me closer to my deen (religion), all praise is to Allah .

Religious Information

All praise is to Allah , in today’s day and age there is no dearth of good scholars and potential teachers of the deen. Social media has made access to global du’aat not only possible, easy and quick; but has automatically helped in raising awareness and interest in Islam. I have learnt a lot from these preachers of Islam, and in the least they have given me the motivation to learn my deen in the proper way. Not to mention the numerous dua’s that my heart gives to them and in fact many of us; for doing such a selfless job.

The Prophet  said, “The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari) 

Without taking any names, I salute these great names, teachers, preachers and scholars of deen who consider themselves as humble students of Islam and set forth examples of true glory in front of us.

Da’wah Opportunity

Not long after I started using Facebook/Twitter and Instagram actively, I realized that it is in fact a very effective tool of Da’wah for the sake of Allah . By “liking” pages that you want your newsfeed to show and sharing those updates which create religious, social and moral awareness, you are actually doing a favour to yourself than anyone else. You have all the control over your Facebook activities these days, hence one only need to control the twin enemies residing within: “Shaitaan” (Devil) and the “Nafs” (lowly self prone to mistakes). Truly speaking, today one’s thoughts and actions are judged by their Facebook updates and Twitter tweets more than anything else. No matter how inappropriate this sounds, this is what it is!

I read this hadith:

‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr  narrated that the Prophet  said, “Convey from me, even if it is one verse,” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

and thought myself to be lucky enough to have used social media for this purpose. All praise is to Allah . No doubt, Allah  had found me lost and guided me! So I started sharing all the good things that I started learning myself; be it a hadith, a verse, a scholarly quote or a video by a preacher of Islam,that could create awareness. And who gave me this idea? A lot of my more practising friends, who by the grace and will of Allah  were already engaged in the work of da’wah. May Allah  bless all my friends and family members engaged in da’wah, grace them immensely and their families, and keep our intentions of spreading the deen pure, and make us a source of spreading that which pleases Him . Aameen!

Charity Drives

We very well know that Islam stresses that charity increases one’s sustenance.

Allah  says in the Holy Qur’an:

Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over? And it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to Him you will be returned.(Qur’an 2:245)

Moreover, there are multiple places in the Qur’an when Allah  instructs us to help the poor, needy and orphans. Lots of validated ahadith also reinforce this point. Along with Facebook came the multiple opportunities of helping people around the globe, all praise is to Allah . May Allah  accept and translate all our wealth spent in His path into good deeds and give us enormous rewards. Aameen!

Social media has not only created awareness and brought the world in front of us, but has also opened avenues for us to spend our “Zakaah” and “Sadaqaat” (non zakah charity) in the best way possible. A lot of people are posting updates of the causes that they are requesting charity for.  Setting up a charity page is now as easy as a left click. A lot of people are looking for credible places to send their charities to. All of this has been made possible through today’s social media.

Joining Informative and Religious Groups

Another great advantage that I found I was able to derive out of the limited time that I tend to spend on Facebook is that I have joined forums and groups which spread religious knowledge with references, and some of which bring Muslim writers and poets together. All praise is to Allah ,  it enabled me to write for different forums and hunt voluntary writers for the forums I work for, by the grace of Allah . It is unbelievable, how I have made some of the most sincere, best friends and found sisters in Islam, whom I love for the sake of Allah , and who reciprocate the feelings with mutual love and respect, even though we have never met. What keeps us bonded? Of course, the One and Only – love of Allah  and His deen.

The Prophet  said: “Knowledge from which no benefit is derived is like a treasure out of which nothing is spent in the cause of God.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

Advertising and Marketing Daawah Ventures

All praise is to Allah , I have been able to spread “khair” (good) through marketing various da’wah platforms, which are all aimed towards one cause and have the unified mission of spreading our deen, far and wide. A lot of my Facebook friends inspire me to continue with this mission.

The Prophet  said: “Acquire knowledge and impart it to the people.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

Rather than wasting my energy and valuable time in meaningless talks and shows, I choose to promote the websites, scholars, magazines and forums that are all working towards the spreading of deen, by the will of Allah . And guess what has given this awareness to me? All praise is to Allah , social media itself!

A status update caught my attention a few days back. I didn’t dare to share it then, but I would like to reference it here. It was about the state in which one dies. It was about watching a movie or listening to music and getting killed the next moment, or doing something positive for deen, spreading “khair” or knowledge or gaining it or helping people acquire it and dying the next moment. This update gave me shivers down my spine. I recalled the hadith quoted by Tirmdhi:

The Prophet Muhammad  said: “A servant of God will remain standing on the Day of Judgement until he is questioned about his (time on earth) and how he used it; about his knowledge and how he utilized it; about his wealth and from where he acquired it and in what (activities) he spent it; and about his body and how he used it.”  (Al-Tirmidhi)

May the Day of Judgement become a means of solace and joy for us and may we be guided to the straight path. May we be able to answer our Lord about our time, wealth and blessings, in a way that pleases Him. May our progeny be a means of sadaqa e jaariyah (ongoing charity) for us, and the coolness of our eyes, and we of our parents. Aameen!

This article was originally published at Moments of Perfect Clarity.

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