Utilize Free Time - Part 1
- :Al-Balagh Foundation
Leisure is defined by those concerned as free time and in which one is not connected by the necessity of achieving a specified goal. It is the time in which man frees himself from any commitments and necessities of life, and spends it in any way he wishes. Regarding students and youth, it includes the period of their summer and winter holidays, week ends, time and permission out of their working hours, in addition to free time secured by the era of modern technology.
The following are some suggestions which include some means of utilizing free time, and we hope that our young men and women will find in them an assistance to their empty hours:
It has been said that the importance of books has deteriorated during the past two decades competition with other media such as: Radio, TV, newspapers, computer, and the net work of information, but books still keep their value because of the following reasons:
1. All other competitions depend on them, and the most successful programs and investigational articles take their knowledge from books them-selves.
2. The ability of controlling the book, such as: Selecting it, or borrowing and copying it. It is up to the reader's taste, his desire and needs to control the kind of requested book in any time and any place.
3. Using a book as a source for writing, and as long as there are researches and studies, sources and references will not someday be null and void. Even, we observe that various CD's disks, in reality, are archived books.
As long as a book has all these values and its importance has decreased among students and youth to the extent that they turn away from it, it was still the right of a poet to say:
"I am the one who exchanged books with friends, but, I found no friend but books."
And we should not forget that the profit we gain from the pleasure of reading and its advantage cannot be truly appreciated except by those readers who are fond of books and have established, them, a long companionship. If we miss this, it is because of being overwhelmed by thesis and competitions, which we have mentioned before. Among the best ways to fill leisure time is by diverse and useful reading. In addition, there are some observations which help in deepening the understanding of the usefulness of reading.
1- To read what fulfills our ideological, spiritual and psychological needs. We should not force ourselves on to be against reading like a man who forces himself away from food and we should not desert books on the plea that we lack the dedication to reading, because once separation occurs, it is difficult to unite it again.
2- Always keep your pen with you while reading in order to take some notes on some concepts or opinions which may help you later. You can, also, underline some important concepts or mark them with a phosphorous pen so that you can review them easily without the need to read the whole book.
3- Reading may open for you, unexpected ideas in a book, so, do not miss them and write them down immediately, because they may benefit you one day in your ideological, cultural, and literary projects in the future.
4- It is better to depend on cards of research in writing down your information including the name of the source from which you cited it, the author's name, the date of its edition and the number of the page.
Nevertheless, reading does not only to apply books, but also, includes newspapers, magazines and journals and what is daily offered by newsstands. They present news and information items about the different affairs and the fields of life of which no young man or woman who wants to live fully their age can avoid. In this regard, a Prophetic hadith says: "The one who is well acquainted with the affairs of his time, is secure against afflictions, conspiracies, and confusions."
One of the fruits of reading is that of writing. During leisure time, young men and women can practice their hobbies, such as writing, be it an article or story, or poetry and so on, and present them to people of experience. By this way, they can improve their writing ability.
2- Attending Lectures and Seminars
One of the useful ways to fill our free time is to become acquainted with cultural and scientific weekly programs and literary gatherings. What is presented of lectures and seminars can help us enrich our knowledge and develop our ability in dialogue, criticism and diverse opinions.
And, if we participate in putting forward a question to a lecturer or the participants in a seminar, surely we will make use of it and benefit others as well. In this respect, a hadith says: "Three are rewarded: The questioner, the questioned and the listener of them," and thus, our social and cultural personality develops and thrives.
Our observation of the way of asking a question, the way of dialogue, interposing and directing a question, teach us the manner of dialogue and how to pay attention to points which stir further discussions of subjects or problems. It is better to take our diary with us to write down the most prominent opinions introduced in a lecture or a seminar so that we may keep it as a cultural subject which may benefit us one day in time of need.
In these meetings and sessions, we may, also, become acquainted with a great number of educated people, writers, authors, and personalities who participate in such cultural, ideological and literary activities.
3- Listening and Watching
The four mass media (radio, T.V., cinema and theater) are not only means of play and amusement, but also, they are instruments of education. An education through them may be performed intentionally or unintentionally, i.e., it comes directly or indirectly which obligates us to distinguish and diagnose it from audible and visible items.
What is shown and broadcasted through these media, such as, local subjects and other imported programs, are not all useful for listening and watching; some are useful and some are harmful; while yet others are poisonous.
Before these double edged weapons, we should have a strong and intelligent sense in order to separate the correct from wrong, and the well from the unwell, otherwise, we will be victims of such informational schemes which are directed by specialized authorities, biased and purposeful agencies and net works.
And do not be surprised if we know that there are educational, informational and social scientists, and psychologists who present, for us, their audible and visible goods covered by beautiful papers, but, in reality, they are harmful in Muslim markets. They often aim at invading our houses because the barriers - by the development of these means and their advancement - are indeed dissolved and cause the information media to enter every house without asking permission.
These equipments, developed very quickly and greatly in the form of astronautics, video tapes, cassettes, and disks which are cheap and simply transported, but they are heavy in presentation and burdens, and cannot be dominated by remote control. But, we, as Muslims, must control them with our desires, education, cultural, social and religious backgrounds which do not permit the watching of dissolute, profligate and trite films because they do not address anything except sexual and material desires and, sometimes, they intentionally aim at corrupting morals, distorting concepts, and turning values upside down.
And because these equipments are double-edged weapons i.e. they carry both evil and good inside their propagations, it is necessary to use their good things and avoid their evils. An example of the process of filling temporary leisure time would like the process of filling up intestinal emptiness; is it wise to enter everything into our stomach for allaying our hunger even if it is dirty, poisonous, dangerous and threatens our health, and safety?!
As a result of this, it is incumbent on us - onlookers and listeners - to safeguard, as much as possible, our characteristics, identity and our cultural and religious obligations. Therefore, we should judge and evaluate what we hear and what we see according to our ideology, culture, education and experience, otherwise, we will be turned into prisoners of these media which will lead us to dangerous crossroads.
Submissive sitting, for long hours before a T.V. motivates numbness and wasting of time and which causes disorder in the routine of other daily programs and perhaps causes ideological paralysis. Thus, it is recommended for each of us to distribute the hours of his/her watching in a purposed and selective manner.
The psychologists confirm that television - in itself- does not create the problems of aggression and deviation, but, it is created by miseducation by one's own family, relatives and friends. So, aggressive children and youth choose aggressive programs to support their former directions and television becomes a supporter towards deviation, and violence.
And though these media have numerous advantages which mostly meet each other, some researchers have studied both advantages and disadvantages of television. The following are some disadvantages that they diagnosed:
1.Killing time, wasting age, and engaging both individuals and a nation (ummah) against performing their significant responsibilities.
2.Transfering irregular and deviated environments to our society, and imposing evil and degraded moral patterns on people.
3. Building a corrupted culture in the minds of the youth and showing the dissolute at the forefront of a society as if it is the norm.
4. Misrepresenting the contemporary affairs of the Muslims and demolishing of the obstacles that exist between us (Muslims) and the enemies of our ummah, represented by the Jewish Zionists.
But, still, we do not deprive ourselves of useful radio and T.V. programs which include scientific, cultural, political, literary, social, economical and health programs, particularly those programs which present the problems and afflictions from which our society suffers and which are discussed by experts, specialists, and professionals.
Adapted from: "How to Utilize Our Free Time?" by: "Al-Balagh Foundation"
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