The Avoidable Void
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I stared into space, tired of aimlessly leafing through a book, which was no longer interesting enough to hold my attention.
What to do? I wondered.
There was plenty all right. There was some homework, but I just didn’t want to go near my books right now. There was some
typing my mother had asked me to do, but the computer was occupied and anyway I wasn’t in the mood for that as well. I know,
suddenly a brainwave struck. There is still something called television. Soon I was sitting in front of the
TV and watching “The Music Hour.”
For many of you, the above scenario should look familiar. It happens quite frequently that all of a sudden,
even with many things to do, life suddenly seems to have this big void which nothing seems to fill.
There just seems to loom something in the air, beyond boredom of course, which is full of nothingness and emptiness. Time in these hours seems to pass by painstakingly slowly.
To pass this annoyingly slow moving time, you tend to do anything which seems the most interesting without thinking twice. Some of these “anythings” include: -
- Reading a book especially a novel right from the beginning. The novel may be Stephen King or even Judith McNaught but who cares?
- Calling up a friend to catch on the latest gossip
- Opening the computer and starting to chat with anyone (preferably on mIRC [an Internet Relay Chat program]).
- Sitting back on the chair and gazing out of the window, daydreaming.
- Flipping through TV channels and watching any movie or music program or a play which can hold your attention.
Yes, time does pass more quickly when you indulge in such activities. But just think of all the time you have wasted in reading that Stephen King or watching the new music video by Destiny’s Child (uncensored) or discussing who was wearing what at the party last week.
Couldn’t this time had been more effectively utilized using the same means and the same devices? No doubt it would have been. So the next time you have these lapses of boredom, follow the guidelines given below. They will ensure that your precious time is spent in the way that will, God willing, earn you numerous rewards.
FIRST: At all times, remember that you will be held accountable for every second spent in this world. It may be all too well to yield into the temptation to indulge in gossip or read a trashy romantic novel. But think of what will be the answer to give to Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgement as to why this time in the prime of youth was wasted?
If you emboss this fact on your mind that every second is to be accounted for, it is very likely that you will be able to control the urge to waste even a second of that time in any unproductive work.
SECOND: Get organized. An idle mind becomes the devil’s factory, its center of
At all times, keep a list of things to do. With schools reopening after vacations, you can easily allot the time you have in the evenings between studies and things you would like to do in the time which is left.
Regarding the latter, make sure you have a long enough list, so if you are not in the mood to do one, you can easily do one of the others.
FINALLY: Now comes the big question: How to organize that free time to ensure it is
not spent in any unproductive work which is analogous to wasting time. At the same time, how to avoid the unavoidable void as well? Here are a few suggestions: -
- If you are a bookworm, get hold of some nice Islamic books to add to your library. With the advent of the internet and worldwide access to large databases, there are many websites which offer a free download of books.
- Fancy yourself a writer? If you love writing, then you can have a very long list of things to do based on your passion:
- Write a review of your favorite Islamic website for any local internet newspaper/magazine such as SoundVision.
- Read newspapers daily. If there are any articles which seem to suggest measures contrary to the Islamic teachings, pick up your pen and write a reply to it. Numerous times we have seen articles bashing Islamic rulings as well. Write a counter to that as well. Or if you see an opinion which is in accordance with the code of life we call Islam then write something to strengthen the person’s argument.
- Write for Islamic websites. You have SoundVision’s own teenage page where you can write good Islamic articles. There are numerous other websites which would welcome similar articles. The research, which you may undertake while writing for some websites, will definitely go a long way in furthering your own knowledge about your religion. And think about it: the article you write and which gets published is widely accessible to a diverse audience.
- Join a website as a reviewer and link editor. You can help increase the volume of Islamic websites in that search engine.
- Join a local website and share thoughts and opinions on current affairs.
- Keep some time daily for reading the Holy Quran. You will definitely pick up innumerable blessings.
Try reading at least a page everyday. Set one time for this, so you can make it your routine.
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) is reported to have said:
“(The) heart also gets rusted as iron becomes rusted by water.” When asked, “What is that which removes the
rusting of hearts?” The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) replied, “Rusting of heart is removed by constantly remembering
death and reciting the Quran.”
Also, read the translation and Tafsir of the section you read as well, since it will help you understand the Quran better.
- Call up your friends, but refrain from gossip. Remember, small minds discuss people.
And you can talk about so many other things: a book you’ve read, a program you’ve watched or a website visited. You can even share the knowledge which you have gained from reading those books or Tafsir.
- Watch TV by all means. But watch informative stuff. No, I don’t mean that you should watch nothing but news. But there are thought-provoking programs which come at all times, ranging from discussions on current affairs to plays based on classical novels which make for an interesting watch.
- Invocation: which is a lot better than aimless daydreaming. To remember Allah all you need to do is just recite the invocations you know.
- There are always classes or Halaqas in which people learn Quranic Arabic or Tajweed (proper pronunciation of the Quran). Find out about them and try attending if they are in your vicinity. This is something extra you can do while you continue with your studies.
- Volunteer for some organization like any hospital or educational institute. Many of these are understaffed and you will go a long way in gaining valuable work experience.
So there you have it, a whole range of stuff to do. Of course all of it does not mean that you sit back and wonder why Islam is such a difficult religion to follow and how you cannot do anything. Of course you can do a whole lot of things, but the important thing to remember is: do what makes the best use of your time. This is the key to avoiding the void in life.
The beauty of one’s faith is shunning away from all non-productive work.