A Simple Thought – Sunday, 21st November 2021

Me, myself and I

Even as I am preparing to air my simple thought this week, something tells me it is too late to preach on this matter, and I hope I am very wrong on this one. And so knowing that we ought to be indefatigable in this crusade of saving Islamic value systems, I am going to have a go at it after all.

The most fundamental rule of good communication is to listen to the other, for if one keeps talking and not waiting to listen, then this cannot be a two-way communication, it would rather be a monologue. And so, for communicators to be deemed as good, the quality of listening must be harnessed. Let us remember that listening also affords us the opportunity to learn from others, thereby contributing to our improved world view, or in general understanding of issues and events.

In the current day and age, a very important networking tool that is wondrous as it were, is also a panacea for societies as it enhances abhorrent qualities such as isolation and self obsession.

The Indian Express discussing this issue as early as December 2018, stated thus “If you are a social media addict and are guilty of constantly posting selfies, you might want to keep the obsession in check. Because according to a recent study, excessive use of social media, in particular, the posting of images and selfies, is associated with a subsequent increase in narcissism. The researchers from Swansea University and Milan University studied personality changes of 74 individuals aged 18 to 34 over a four-month period. They also assessed the participants’ usage of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, during that same period. Narcissism is a personality characteristic that can involve grandiose exhibitionism, beliefs relating to entitlement, and exploiting others. Those who used social media excessively, through visual postings, displayed an average 25% increase in such narcissistic traits over the four months of the study. This increase took many of these participants above the clinical cut-off for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, according to the measurement scale used.”

I am certain that we are either all surrounded by people who fall in this perilous category, or perhaps we are ourselves deep into the malaise. But perhaps, as Muslims we need to take note of the basic lesson, that although our professions and our businesses require some degree of self promotion in the present climate, we must never ever abandon the ground on which we stand and imagine to fly, for the arrogance and conceit that will then emanate from such a shift in behaviour will lead us into forgetting who we really are, and what is our insignificant relation with the Almighty, disqualifying us from an attempt at salvation both in this world and the hereafter.

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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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