Rafed English

Utilize Free Time - Part 2

4- The Computer and Information Network


When computers came into existence, they not only filled up the free time of the youth, but also, occupied their time completely to the extent that they have no associate nor rival. Indeed, they exceeded all the means of entertainment and play before it. A computer, in this respect, is like other media. It can be used for the benefit of people or can be changed into a tool of corruption and destruction.

It is unjust for this active and brilliant invention, which has numerous capabilities, to be used only as a tool of entertainment and play. In it, there are programs prepared for teaching accounting, business administration, and the principles of driving a car, or learning grammar of a certain language. In addition to this, there are various other services which are too numerous to mention them, like the fields of typing, handwriting, designing, layout, drawing, painting and others. And the programs on the internet are wider in their content regarding science, information, politics, and culture, as well as, in different fields of life.

From the blue screen of the computer man become educated by its high degree of flexibility, speed of processing data and the capability of diverse coverage: Geographical, theological, social, development of positive thinking, deepening of the concept of participation, non-acceptance of intuitions (self-evident truth), negative convincing and not surrendering to simplicity, all are blessings but at the same time foster indignation.

It is upon us to make use of such blessings in the best way, otherwise, we will be afflicted with its indignation, particularly regarding the imported games which bear, in their undisclosed contents information and morals which differ from our Islamic morals and customs.

Therefore, it is obligatory for us to have spontaneous and supervisory over setting certain conditions which should be observed in such games. Among them are: They should bear human characteristics and have scientific value. They should be diversified and not be only for entertainment. They should not create enmity among the players, nor contradict the instructions of our religion, morals and customs.

However, setting long hours in front of this equipment, which has severe temptation exceeds television in its open and extended hours of sitting and which has made some countries, like Sweden, to specify the age of permission for using such games. They become concerned with the necessity of not introducing the young to the temptations of these games for fear of their education and the specified time in which they are allowed to use the computer for the sake of entertainment.

Indeed, the harm of being addicted to the computer as a tool of entertainment is not less than wasting time watching a well-known game of football or being engaged in watching videos and television. Among the dangers of this invention, which has become a member of our family, is the decreasing of our circle of friends or social relations. The youth think that this invention has already achieved their wish and they are in no need of friends, but, this becomes far from the reality of a society and people. Even the dialogue sites of the network of the Internet cannot achieve the same advantages and medical benefits which we gain from direct friendly meetings in face to face visits.

We should, also, know that even those feelings, and emotions and excitements which we get through the computer screen cannot be a complete substitute for direct meetings which contain warm feelings and continuity, activity and close acquaintance with others. Magnetized disks - with the exception of their importance - will not replace books which are considered our companion in everywhere; at home, in school, in the car, in the airplane, on a ship, etc. The same thing concerning personal exchanges on the network sites will not be a perfect substitute for direct friendly visits whatever the attractive service or qualifications they add to it by its producers and propagandists.

5- Learning Skills


Among the affairs which become available and within the reach of most young men and women are instructional, technical and handicraft institutions which offer practical lessons in different skills, such as: Driving, programming, trade, smithery, electricity, and handicrafts such as: Tailoring, domestic works, first aid, learning foreign languages and others. These skills enable the youth to have a better life and form a safe employment at their free time, particularly during summer holidays.

Learning one or more of these skills, not only fills one's time, but also, pours its practical advantage on the personality of young men or women who will obtain fundamental knowledge in professions or handicrafts which concern them at the present and in the future. These skills are regarded among the distinctions and bases of superiority and are for the benefit of the one who requests a work or a certain professions specially when there is a competition. In this respect, a Prophetic saying (hadith) says: "Every man's worth is in his attainments (what he does proficiently)"

And having experience in these fields benefits a young man or woman even outside the area of specialization. For example, learning a foreign language is useful in having dialogue with foreigners, reading books written in that language or having correspondence in it, and, also, reading intern reports of drugs or doctor's prescriptions or brochures which are used to learn how to run equipments.

On the other hand, among the best and the noblest skills to be learned by a Muslim young man and woman is reading the Holy Qur'an, its recitation and memorizing a part or parts of it or the whole Holy Qur'an if possible. And if there is no a special course for learning and memorizing the Qur'an, it is better to use cassettes or laser disks which enable one to learn the initial principles of reading the Holy Qur'an and its recitation. Indeed, there are eminent reciters of the Qur'an among the Muslim generations who depend on this way of memorizing it perfectly.

Finally, it is better to know that any obtained skill needs practice and continuity in order to be developed and perfected. In this regard, a proverb says: "Practice leads towards perfection."

6- The Means of Relaxations and Enter-tainment

Since a long time ago, Imam Ali (a.s.) said: "The hearts get disgusted as bodies get disgusted; so look for beautiful, wise sayings for them." 'Tarif' in Arabic means 'newly acquired' because every new thing has its special pleasure, flavor and is a motive for the continuity of an action with great activity, unlike a tedious manner which brings for man tiredness, weariness and alienation.

Have not you tried that personally? When you change the direction in which you walk every day towards your institution or your work center or when you change the decoration of your room in which you live, even through simple technical touches like changing the position of some furniture, or when you change your clothes though they are cheap, do not you feel psychologically different for it. Simplicity in itself may be an art which is taste.

Imam Ali (a.s.) is, also, quoted to have said: "Hearts are imbued with passion and the power of advancing and retreating.

Therefore, approach them for action at a time when they are passionate and when they are in a mood for advancing, because if hearts are forced (to do a thing) they will be blinded." In this presentation, he (a.s.) offers us a new way of amusement which began to be depended on not only in schools and institutions, but also, in factories, industries and offices. Experiments proved that a worker who amuses himself during work in one way or another will surely attend to his work with an open and high spirit (mentally; psychologically; spiritually) and as a result, it will be reflected, not only on the quantity and quality of his production, but also, on his relationship with his colleagues in his work environment.

Islam equalizes between man's needs and does not eliminate this human need. So, it is better to give a part of our time to amusement whose procedures become diverse and numerous. The following are some of them:

a- Sports Amusement: Its branches and colors are various and continuously increasing. The most famous one is football which is useful to health; psychologically, socially and bodily, and swimming and other kinds of amusement. b- Artistic Amusement: Like practicing the hobbies of painting, drawing, handwriting, sculpture, punching, and handicrafts, such as: Sewing, embroidery, making flowers, decorating houses, and the collecting of stamps.

c- Social Amusement: This includes exchanging visits which is among its well-known procedures and of which Islam greatly encourages, correspondence, calling each other by telephone, celebrating beautiful occasions, participating in cooperative activities for the purpose of strengthening bounds of relationship among the faithful, in addition to taking long and short trips which remove most of the states of bodily, psychological and intellectual tiredness, and exhaustion.

d- Tourist Amusement: This includes paying visits to sacred places, and beautiful archeological, historical and tourist areas which give both psychological and cultural advantages.

It is worthy of our observation that amusement - in all its forms - does not mean to escape from the pressures of life, as some may think, but, it is a readiness and preparedness to face it once more and not as described by others as the discharging of additional energy which has no aim, rather, it is a useful and safe investment of those powers at both levels; individuals and groups.

The following are some conditions of amusement encouraged by Islam:

1. It should be free from any corruption, harm, falsehood, wrong and forbiddance.

2. It should be free from any extravagance and pre-occupation which may waste time, all of it. It is recommended that out of any amusement and investment of free time should arise a particular or general advantage, because it is dislikable for a young man or woman to be empty and unoccupied in either the action of this world or the action of the next world.

On a very hot summer day and in the city of Madinah, one of those who used to plot against Islam and its leaders wanted to degrade Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.), the grandson of Imam Hussein bin Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.), whom he saw working on his farm at the height of midday and said: 'You are an old man from the elders of the tribe of Quraish and at this hour and under such circumstances, you are seeking worldly gains. What if death comes upon you while you are in this condition?" The Imam (a.s.) answered him:

"O Allah! Should death come to me in this state, it will come to me while I am doing something pleasing to Allah, to spare myself begging from you and other people. I would only fear death if it came to me while I was sinning against Allah?"!! Indeed, the Imam's answer is a precious lesson which has to be taken into consideration by the Muslim youth.

Adapted from: "How to Utilize Our Free Time?" by: "Al-Balagh Foundation"

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