Morocco break

Being born, raised and living in the West, a place where technology consumes most people, I often find it extremely difficult to put my phone down or log off social media. At the age of 18, I believe that technology, i.e my phone, laptop, and other devices consumes me to the extent that they stop me achieving other things in the day like focusing more on religious affairs or even worldy matters like reading an interesting novel, creative writing etc. Student life has also resulted in me being more active on social media. I hardly find time to visit old friends so I often find myself being lucky enough to be able to stay connected with them through the Internet.

The Internet is a beautiful platform which works beyond our measures, allowing us to accomplish many things, both academically and also personally. However, like I mentioned, it often becomes almost impossible to spend time doing other things when one becomes so consumed by the online world. You are annoyed by something, write a Tweet, you eat something nice, Instagram a picture, spend time with friends, upload a photo on Facebook, catch your brother dancing in his room on his ones, upload it to your Snapchat story. Don’t get me wrong, none of these things are terrible to do, especially the latter, however sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by how human beings have become so intoxicated by the online world that we’d prefer to stay connected to the Internet, watching Netflix instead of maybe taking a walk outside.

A few days ago, I caught a plane to Morocco, my country where I thought I’d take the opportunity to de-stress before exams and also spend time with my grandparents and family here. I also made the decision (which was extremely difficult no matter how insignificant it seems) to disconnect from the online world and see if I could manage a few days with limited access to the Internet. As much as I miss Tweeting or staying connected to what’s happening around the world, I feel a certain liberation in giving up the Internet for a while. It has not only given me the opportunity to take in the more important things in life like spending time with loved ones but has also limited my procrastination levels and resulted in doing things I love. Only when I didn’t have internet access, did I truly realise how consumed I was by it. Many young people find it extremely difficult to function adequately without roaming the Internet and often even when there is absolutely no reason to use it, they’d still pick up their phone, refresh their Twitter and Facebook accounts and end up watching the most random YouTube videos. I once heard my friend say how she was so bored one day, that she ended up watching YouTube clips of couple tags. As sad as this seems, being bored+ YouTube is an interesting combination. The Internet really does this to you, as hilarious as it seems, it can cause you to spend an entire day, accomplishing absolutely nothing beneficial.

One of my best friends, who avoids being consumed by the Internet always tells me that the only reason why people constantly show everyone what they’re up to through social media like Facebook, Twitter etc. is because they want to express to the world that they “exist”. A few days ago I would’ve told her to be quiet and let me be, but you know what, you’re right. Yes, she’s probably reading this post. Instead of showing everyone that we exist through constantly posting everything, we could do that but also remember to live in the moment and appreciate it.

Although the times in London and Morocco are the exact same, my grandparents refused to add an hour when it changed because “we don’t work and don’t attend school” so technically according to their household, instead of waking up at 11am, I’m only waking up at 10am, which proved convenient. Whilst here and enjoying the limited internet life, I thought I’d start reading a book called “Purification Of The Heart” which essentially identifies the diseases in the human heart, the reason why humans are prone to these diseases and most importantly how to treat them. Reading through chapters of how to defeat things so prone to the human like ostentation, blameworthy modesty, fear and envy, I realised how important it is to constantly remind ourselves of how limited our time on this earth is.

Essentially, we are put in this world to prepare for the next, to seek the pleasure of God through our deeds, actions and conduct. We are walking up a steep hill and trying to reach the absolute peak. Some of us will reach the peak and some won’t. In order to reach the peak, we must strive. Strive as in try our absolute hardest to prepare for the next world in this world. Ok. Either what I have just said has touched your heart and been felt by you spiritually and you are fathoming my words, or you are finding it rather difficult to decipher my metaphorical language. Either way, keep this in mind. Life overwhelmingly has become about the public display of affection, “showing off” our friendships, loved ones, loved things which again is something I find myself engaging in online which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, however too much of it is indeed intoxicating and gains you nothing but less time. We must strive to use our time more wisely, to spend it in Ibadah (worship of God) with loved ones, enjoying books which not only will benefit you academically( lol, who even enjoys academic books?) *shoutout to all my Law student friends who carry 10,000 paged books which will benefit you with absolutely nothing* but books that will benefit your spiritual self and “broaden your horizons”. Seriously, read, there’s a reason why God made it the first word in the Quran “iqrah”.

Our focus now should be to observe, learn, and equip ourselves with as much knowledge possible, spiritual and otherwise.

Another way to spend your time wisely is by travelling. Start locally, visit a park which you’ve never been to, travel outside your city for a day or two. Then ultimately, as you save money, invest in other places. Keep a diary, write how you feel, even taking a few minutes every other day to express your accomplishments and achievements through daily life is a good way to invest your time in. Now, as much as I really want to say exercise and hope that exercise is also embedded into your routine, I know how extremely lazy some of us are when it comes to moving around. I wanted to keep this post realistic and full of achievable goals so exercise and healthy eating will not be mentioned 🙂

Finally, I leave you with some notes I took after attending one of Mohammed Zeyara’s talks. Another guy I always go on about, only because he’s also young and has already accomplished lots, mashAllah. Another is from a conversation I had with my grandma earlier today. So please read this part, even though it’s personal for me and what I’d like to achieve in my life, however I’m sure it may benefit you too:

Note to self: Allah knows the reality of every human being. We may put on facades to impress people. Our ummah can’t afford this. It’s important to look deep inside and discover who you are. There’s a story to be told and new adventures to be explored. Travel and hike within the depths of your own soul and look within the depths of you. Remove obstacles that keep you from understanding you. Read. Use time wisely. Prepare yourself to look nice for Allah and your meeting with Him.

Conversations with grandma:

“My daughter, we came into this world, alone, naked. We leave this world, alone, naked, with absolutely nothing leaving with us but our deeds and actions”. Wise words meema.

-By Chaimaa Elazrak

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April 2015
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