by Mohamedarif Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
Life of Amusement:
p until recently, the title I have chosen could simply have made sense about the forward motion of time. Today, however, it means a little more than that.
The world’s insane pursuit of rendering the human population impotent in social terms is advancing towards a crescendo. At a recent event, a former Tanzanian President expressed his dismay over how youths spent more time on instant chatting than with books. The result, he rightly felt, was a lack of depth in knowledge, as more and more secondary sources, pre-interpreted and prejudiced material became the foundation of all knowledge.
It would appear, once more that the creators of technology, having harnessed the pinnacle of knowledge, purposely or for the sake of their own amusement, chose to innovate in those areas that feed the basic instincts of our species. Whereas social media should have been the engine of our collective growth and a tool for our intelligent forays, while unifying us in our value systems, it has done the exact opposite. Today, we use state-of-the-art audio and video technology to produce incredibly low-quality social messages that in fact reinforce our unrefined and appalling rudimentary traits.
With Facebook, we became scandalous and scathing in character assassination as well as upholding immoral and shame-worthy stances in the name of free speech and civil honesty. Quite the contrary, declaring one’s sexual orientation, calling out others, and using aggressive language, is neither Islamic nor progressive.
When parents send their children to schools and universities, they expect the child to build a superior intellectual and classy persona. On its part, the learning institution must purport to escalate growth and not regression. If the school, rather than inducting a learner to intelligence starts reinforcing base animal ways, then have we not switched roles between teacher and student? Advancement should be forward moving, like time, and not recycled versions of a bygone savage era.
Instagram gave the world a chance to show off, each resembling a celebrity, reinforcing the self over others, while Twitter is an official commute for those who disregard others, placing their own thoughts over those of others.
Then there is tick-tock – exactly the thought that first came to your mind when you read the title. Look at how it is turning normal human beings into ridiculous mimics, absurdly low-caliber zoo-resembling amusement creatures. Of course, if the benchmark is 2022, then these acts are a remarkable show of talent and a brilliant platform for equal opportunity but by other standards, not quite so. Pitiful that for one to be an influencer today, you have got to go rogue, acting out in undignified ways that resemble insanity as well as profanity.
On one hand, we call ourselves Muslims, and on the other remain in complete disregard for the dictates of the Holy Qur’an, a book we claim to revere in depth and upon whose blasphemy, we are ready to pick up arms and indulge in a life of amusement. After all the Qur’an speaks abundantly about vanity and vain acts. and how such vanity leads to pride, self-conceit, and arrogance. Here is to all young Muslim influencers, if you are doing what is right in the eyes of your creator, then you are in effect providing community service. But your comical, abhorrent acts are in truth contravening your prophesied faith and the names that have been given to you by birth. In Al-Qur’an 6:32, Allah (SWT) states: And the worldly life is not but amusement and diversion, but the home of the Hereafter is best for those who fear Allah, so will you not reason?