Dear friends, do you wake up with the zeal to achieve? Does a new day come as a promise for a fresh start to gear up your ambitious plans?
Do you have a list of things you wish to accomplish in a day? I’m sure you do.
Do you always stick to your plan? By the end of the day, are you happy with what you’ve achieved? I’m sure I am not alone in admitting that oftentimes, by the end of the day, I sadly admit to having failed in achieving my goals.
Well, our days start with Fajr salah (morning prayers) followed by the usual routine of sending children to school, household chores and so on. In between, we get precious free time to pursue things which add a spark to life. These moments are valuable. That’s when I generally plan to do things I most love.
I would love to write about what had been occupying my thoughts. Or, I try to listen to a lecture or explore about something which would interest me or my family. Most of the activities I wish to do involve my faithful laptop – a slave who obeys my command and takes me to sites with a press of a button key.
And then there is something else which interests me too. Before you start thinking of something awful, let me make it clear, I am speaking about numerical puzzles. Yes, complicated numerical puzzles, which would result in wonderful loops and patterns once they are solved.
As soon as I switch on the laptop, I feel the familiar urge to check the list of free Japanese puzzles. I spot an expert level puzzle and tell myself, “I could do it.” It almost smiles back as though challenging me! I have to solve it. I try it out.
After several minutes/hours of failed attempts, I succeed. Shouldn’t I be pleased that I won? Nah! I try to solve it faster! These puzzles might be improving my mathematical/logical skills. So, where am I using them? Can’t think of anything; is such knowledge necessary?
Working on a Smartphone should be a better option. Alas, I have loaded several socializing apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram on it; I just can’t keep away from them. I decide to stay alone for a while. Then, I hear a familiar ring. I have to attend to it. It could be an important message (from a princess in distress!); I pick it up and plunge again into the world of internet. I see what are others concerned with. I wonder, “Why am I doing this?” Yet, I am there scrolling through the pages. To escape this, I jump back to my laptop and face the old temptation. This cycle is akin to a whirlpool sucking productive hours of my life.
Dear reader, how long can you stay away from gadgets? Do you see your Smartphone as an extension of yourself? Like me are you tempted to hold and fiddle with it? Is your hobby browsing? Do you too start somewhere and end in some other world of the internet? What kind of knowledge are we acquiring from countless hours of mindless browsing? Likewise, is there any benefit in merely hearing two different opinions on the same news subject, over-and-over again?
And I pause to wonder how people can spend hours every day watching their favorite soap operas. Even if one watches a single episode, weeks later the plot can be guessed. These things which seem basically harmless, are robbing moments from our lives. Have you, too, willingly befriended such a thief?
There are better days when I dedicate myself completely to work; until I am interrupted by the familiar cry of my child demanding attention. To complete my task, the child should be distracted. Guess what I do? I hand him…my laptop, which is, of course, stocked with age appropriate videos. A few minutes later, I notice he is watching something not permitted. What should I do? Ah! I tell myself; educational interactive games, that should keep him absorbed.
My job is done. But now the little one prefers the laptop over me! I patiently wait for him to finish his game and when I ask for the laptop, he refuses. He wants to play more! Shouldn’t the next day be better? No, he demands the laptop. On refusing, my sweet child throws a tantrum. Does this happen in every home? Are our children’s holidays spent on play station? Are we able to restrict their screen time? With such astounding games, will the children pay attention to books? Will they find pleasure from a normal stroll? Are we in a way turning our children into game addicts? How do you think will such a child spend his/her free time in the future? Are we training them to have a purposeful life?
Dear readers, what is the ultimate purpose of life? Why have we been created?
The world has always played a role from deluding us from our real purpose. The current era has a lot in store to keep us distracted. Now, we are literally wasting our life on games and entertainment.
I am not against technology, but shouldn’t we be against technology enslaving us? Do we stick to our schedule and use technology strictly out of necessity? Or are we spending too many nights past bedtime entertaining ourselves? Do we end up waking up halfhearted to offer Fajr salah? Do we rush our prayers without concentration so that we can go back to gaming? Aren’t we intoxicated by games? Just like an addict, we can’t recollect what we uttered insha’Allah. Auzbillah. Will such a prayer be accepted? What will happen to us in the hereafter?
It’s time to acknowledge our weakness and stop letting it control our lives. We need to stop technology from stealing our time. We can do so much more when we better manage our time. How can we begin?
Recognize Your Weakness
What kind of games/programs are you interested in? Why do you like it? I love puzzles. They give me a sense of achievement.
Put your trust in Allah. Request sincerely that Allah helps you overcome the insatiable addiction toward technology.
Aside from computers and TV programs, what else interests you? If you love news, read it from a newspaper. I love working on something challenging like intricate crafts. Have a long lost hobby? Consider picking it back up again or pick a new one.
Learn Something New
As humans, we are born with an appetite to explore and learn. We feel more fulfilled in learning new things. What about a new language or craft. I decided to learn how to crochet.
Maybe we were tempted back into browsing/gaming. Still, weren’t we able to keep ourselves away for a considerable amount of time? We can try again. Make a stronger resolution.
Involve your family and friends. Ask them to participate with you in this techno cleansing program.
What do you plan to do between your salah (prayers); stick to it.
Do something rewarding. I told my children, that I would crochet a jumper for them. Every time I was on my laptop, they would ask me to continue with their sweater! Seeing them wear what I made is rewarding.
You may also add a punishment. Well, if you go back to gaming, once the charge runs out, don’t recharge the gadgets for next 10-hours!
Hold Yourself Accountable
There will always be more attractive games to play and websites to visit. The era we live in has been ordained by Allah, but we cannot afford to blame our circumstances and lead a heedless life.
Insha’Allah, in becoming more self-aware of how we are spending our time, we can prevent our gadgets from stealing it.
Originally published at Muslimah Bloggers and republished at AboutIslam with the author’s permission.