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Excessive use of TV and Internet leads to Neglect of Worship

In a Friday sermon Huzoor-e-Anwar (Beloved Huzoor)(aba) recited Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Surah Fātiḥah and then recited the following verse of Sura An-Nur and explained its translation:

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَتَّبِعُوۡا خُطُوٰتِ الشَّیۡطٰنِ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّتَّبِعۡ خُطُوٰتِ الشَّیۡطٰنِ فَاِنَّہٗ یَاۡمُرُ بِالۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَ الۡمُنۡکَرِ ؕ وَ لَوۡ لَا فَضۡلُ اللّٰہِ عَلَیۡکُمۡ وَ رَحۡمَتُہٗ مَا زَکٰی مِنۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ اَحَدٍ اَبَدًا ۙ وَّ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُزَکِّیۡ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ

O ye who believe! follow not the footsteps of Satan, and whoso follows the footsteps of Satan should know that he surely enjoins immorality and manifest evil. And but for the grace of Allah and His mercy upon you, not one of you would ever be pure, but Allah purifies whom He pleases. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Holy Quran, 24:22)

Huzoor-e-Anwar(aba) then used this verse to discuss those matters that hinder a man from reaching the objective of his life (i.e. worshiping his Creator). Huzoor-e-Anwar(aba) said:

“It is important to erect defenses against Satan in our homes that not only protect us from each attack but are also able to launch a counter attack. Do not let Satan enter your life by accepting his love as [true] love. Instead, each Ahmadi should make effort to seek Allah’s protection by doing Istighfār (repentance) all the time. Allah the Exalted is the greatest defense against Satan. Thus, in this world gone astray, one should seek protection from Allah by doing Istighfār because Istighfār is the only way to come under the protection of Allah.

No human knowingly approaches evil. It is against human nature to do something that one knows will lead to harm. Allah the Exalted has clearly explained the good and the evil to a true believer. One should identify good and evil according to the teachings of Allah the Exalted and should act or abstain accordingly. Satan knows that he cannot harm a man who is in the protection and fort of Allah the Exalted. Therefore, Satan takes a man out of this protection and takes him out of the fort of Allah and makes man follow him. It is obvious that to take a man out of Allah’s protection, he tempts him with virtuous deeds. Or one can say that a believer can only be taken out of the protection of Allah by giving him the temptation of good deeds.”

Huzoor(aba) then said:

“Evils of these days include television and the Internet. You can observe this in most homes that the eldest to the youngest are not offering Fajr Salat on time as they were either watching TV or were online on the Internet until late, watching some program and, as a result, they could not wake up on time. In fact, such people do not even realize that they have to get up for Salat in the morning. Both the Internet and TV and similar useless things not only cause you to miss your Salat once or twice, but those who fall victim to this behavior get into this habit of watching programs until late at night or sitting on the Internet. Then it becomes difficult to get up for the prayer in the morning and [such people] may not even wake up [at a reasonable time]. Some people eventually fail to give any importance to Salat.

Salat is a fundamental obligation; its observance is necessary in all circumstances, even in war, difficulty and sickness. It must be offered even if a person has to offer Salat sitting, lying down, or in the case of war or travel offer it as qasr (reduced form). But it must be offered. In ordinary circumstances, men are directed to offer it in congregation and women are also directed to offer it on time. However, Satan diverts a person away from Salat for the sake of a single worldly program. Additionally, Internet is such that it continues to engage one in the various programs and applications using a phone or iPad. At first, good programs are watched on these. Its attraction is such that, at first good programs are watched, then all kinds of filthy and destructive immoral programs are watched, which destroy morality. There is restlessness in many homes because the rights of wives are not taken care of and children’s rights are not fulfilled because men are busy watching vulgar programs on TV and Internet during the night. Consequently, the children of these homes are colored in the same hue, and they watch the same. Hence, an Ahmadi house should try to stay clear of all these ills.

The Holy Prophet (sallaho alaihe wassalam – May peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was so concerned about saving the believers from the attacks of Satan that he(sa) taught his companions prayers to save them from Satan, and he taught them comprehensive prayers. A companion has narrated that he(sa) taught us this prayer:

‘O Allah create love in our hearts, reform us, and make us tread upon the paths of security, and take us to light saving us from darkness, and save us from overt and covert indecencies, and place blessings for us in our ears, in our eyes, in our hearts, in our wives and in our children, and turn to us with mercy. You are the acceptor of repentance and the one who forgives time and again. Make us the ones who are grateful for your favors and appreciate them and accept them. And, O Allah, perfect Your favors on us.’ (Sunnan Abu Daud Kitabus Salat. Bab Al-Tashahud Hadith 969)

Thus, this is the prayer to restrain from wrong worldly entertainment”

(Friday Sermon delivered 20 May 2016 at Gottenberg Mosque, Sweden. Published AlFazl International 10 June 2016)

In addition to the Friday sermons, on many occasions Huzoor(aba) has explained that excessive use of technology is a hindrance to worship. In a Waqf-e-nau class, he(aba) explained:

“If you have fear of Allah the Exalted, then you will have love for Him, as well. Allah the Exalted says that if you take one step towards me, I will take two steps [towards you] and if one comes to me walking, I will go to him running”

Huzoor-e-Anwar(aba) then said:

“If the worldly desire increases so that one is engrossed in TV dramas and the Internet and is late in offering Salat, then love for Allah cannot develop. Gaining this love requires sacrifice of desires.”

(Waqfe Nau Class 08 October 2011 at Masjid Baitur Rasheed Germany. Published AlFazl International 06 January 2012.)

In a Friday sermon, Huzoor(aba) drew attention of the Ahmadis towards increasing their overt morals and fulfilling the rights of Allah. He said:

“After coming to the Western countries and under the influence of the worldly society, some people have become too involved in worldliness. Though they verbally claim to give precedence to faith over all worldly things, however, in reality their practice is contrary to it. The Ahmadis here are very good at integrating with the local population and showing good morals to those outside [our community] but their standards of worship and fulfilling the rights of Allah the Almighty are not what is expected from an Ahmadi…”

Referencing the sayings of the Promised Messiah (alaihe salam [as] May peace be on him), Huzoor(aba) highlighted some moral weakness that should be removed. He also advised against inappropriate use of the latest inventions of modern times, avoiding gatherings where there is shirk (associating partners with Allah) and giving precedence to faith over worldly matters. Huzoor(aba) said:

“Promised Messiah(as) repeatedly reminded his community about how they should transform and what the condition of their faith should be. In this context, I want to present an excerpt so that each one of us becomes the one fulfilling the demands of the Bai’at (pledge of allegiance). Giving his community an important instruction, he(as) said:

‘Corruption is growing in this age and every kind of idolatry, innovation and evil is spreading. When at the time of Bai’at, you pledge to give preference to the faith over the world, it is a pledge you make before God.’ Think about it as if the pledge was made in front of God. ‘You must remain steadfast upon it till your death. Otherwise, you have not pledged Bai’at. But if you do remain steadfast, then God will bless you both in the faith and in the world.’

He(as) says, ‘In keeping with God’s will, you should adopt Taqwa to the fullest extent. The time is perilous and the signs of Divine wrath are becoming manifest. Whoever changes himself, according to the Will of God, will do an act of mercy for his own self, his family and his children.’ The current situation in the world is constantly deteriorating. In view of the state of the world, everyone should turn towards God. He(as) says: “There are two kinds of evil. One is to associate partners with God and to not recognize His Greatness and be lazy in His worship and obedience. The second is not showing benevolence to His people and not fulfilling their rights. It should be that neither of these transgressions are committed. Be obedient to God. Stay steadfast on the pledge of allegiance that you have taken. Do not cause pain to God’s people. Read the Holy Quran attentively. Act on it. Avoid all kinds of raucous and vulgar talk and polytheistic gatherings. Establish five daily prayers. Hence, you should not ignore any of the commandments of Allah. Keep your body clean and keep your heart clean of any excessive meanness, malice and jealousy. These are the things that Allah wants from you.” {Malfoozat volume 5 page 75 to 76 Edition 1985 published in England}

After reading this saying of Promised Messiah(as), Huzoor-e-Anwar(aba) said:

“Now all of us need to analyze ourselves as to what extent we have safeguarded ourselves from vulgar and polytheistic gatherings. There are many who would say that they believe in one God and do not sit in polytheistic gatherings. However, remember that any activity such as Internet or TV or any act or gathering that makes you neglect your prayers and worship is an polytheistic gathering.”

(Friday Sermon delivered 21 April 2017 at Frankfurt, Germany. Published AlFazl International 12 May 2017.)

Inappropriate use of Social Media affects the standard of worship and acceptance of prayers, in a Friday sermon Huzoor-e-Anwar(aba) explained this by citing a saying of the Promised Messiah(as). Huzoor-e-Anwar said:

“At one place, the Promised Messiah(as) said: ‘When prayers are made with complete devotion to God, they bring about extraordinary effect. It should be remembered that acceptance of prayers is by God alone and there is an appointed time for prayers. Just as morning is a special time and the distinction of morning is not shared by any other hour. Similarly, there are certain times which generate acceptance and effect in prayer.” {Malfoozat Volume 4. page 309 Edition: 2003 Published in Rabwah}

For any work, best results are achieved when work is done in a fresh state in the morning. This is not the case with people these days who stay up late or stay up all night either on the Internet or in front of TV or stay busy in other worldly affairs. They do not get enough sleep at night. They are still half asleep when they wake up in the morning. What kind of Salat can they offer? And what blessing will they get in other affairs? Everyone, including worldly individuals, makes effort to start fresh, to do their best work with full attention, so that the best results are achieved. Hence, the Promised Messiah(as) said that you should try to seek the best time for your prayers and when can you achieve the state that leads to acceptance of prayers”.

(Friday Sermon delivered 15 March 2013 at Baitul Futuh Mosque, London. Published AlFazl International 05 April 2013.)

In a Friday sermon, Huzoor-e-Anwar explained the importance of Fajr prayer and some hinderances in offering Fajr on time, and advised creating balance between worship and worldly affairs, as below:

“If parents wake up children for Fajr, they will learn the importance of Salat and they will be saved from frivolous activities. Those who are in the habit of staying up late to watch TV or browse the Internet, at least on the weekends when they have to wake up for Fajr, they will be forced to adopt the habit of going to bed early, and they will not waste their time. Especially those children, who are approaching adulthood, will develop a moderate approach to worldly activities. There are occasions when the use of such devices is needed, there are good things to view as well as information to be gained, I do not stop such use but I promote moderation. It is extremely foolish to acquire these things at the risk of not offering Salat.”

After this, Huzoor-e-Anwar(aba) urged those living in western countries to offer prayers on time and to listen to the words of the Khalifa of the time and to act on them. He said:

“Again, I say that we need to analyze ourselves. People living in these countries do not pay attention to Salat due to worldly affairs. People living in urban areas of third world countries are also in a similar state. Nevertheless, there are some who still go to mosques. Just as the Khulafa before me, I have repeatedly drawn attention to this important Islamic obligation. In this age, Allah has granted MTA to us. Prior to this, the voice of Khalifa of the time could not reach every corner of the world instantaneously. Now his voice and the message of Allah and His Prophet(sa) reach every corner immediately. Those among us who do not listen to sermons or speeches or those that listen to them halfheartedly and do not pay attention to them are not fulfilling the pledge of initiation that ‘I will give precedence to my faith over all worldly objects. I will completely obey you [Khalifatul Masih] in everything good that you may require of me.’ Listening and ignoring [what the Khalifa says] leads to disobedience. These are actions that will take you away from obedience.”

(Friday Sermon delivered 22 Jun 2012 at Baitur Rehman, Silver Spring, MD, USA. Published AlFazl International 13 July 2012)

Addressing the Khuddam at the Annual Ijtema in UK, Huzoor-e-Anwar especially instructed the young Ahmadi men to make Salat their primary objective. He said:

“Members of Khuddamul-Ahmadiyya are at an age and period in their lives where they have the most physical strength and also the greatest potential to progress and advance in all spheres of their lives. It should not be difficult for them to fulfill the obligations of the worship of Allah. And so all Khuddam and Atfal should be regular in their prayers and should offer them in congregation as much as possible. Every one of you should consider this to be a principle of paramount importance because it is through sincere worship that the gates to heaven are unlocked”

(Address at the Annual Ijtema Khuddam ul Ahmadiyya UK 26 September 2016, Kingsley, Surrey. Published Weekly Badr Qadian 07 Sep 2017)