Opinion: Using social media responsibly in modern times

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Last Updated on 2nd April 2021

Masood Ashraf, USA

Saturday, 23 March 1889 was the momentous day when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas accepted the hands of 40 faithful servants in allegiance to the 10 Conditions of Bai‘at and founded the community, which he called the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. The Promised Messiahas took this oath of allegiance at the house of a spiritual preceptor, Hazrat Sufi Ahmad Jan in the city of Ludhiana, Punjab, India. Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddinra was the first person to have the honour of taking the first bai‘at. This was a revolutionary, yet very modest, beginning to a new chapter in the history of Islam.

In his legacy to spread light and truth to the world, the Promised Messiahas used the Holy Quran to support his claims and beliefs in numerous ways. He was not only a preacher of the philosophical teachings of Islam, but was also a man of science and an advocate for scientific progression. 

The 1800s was a blossoming era for new inventions, ideas and prototypes that would astonish mankind and propel science and discovery forward. Not only was the first battery made in this era by Count Alessandro Volta, but so was the first lamp by Humphry Davy, the first stethoscope by Rene Laennec and even the first raincoat by Charles Mackintosh. 

The Promised Messiahas was a man wholly interested in these new inventions, as he was always fascinated by new trends and what the global community was interested in. In his own way, he applied verses of the Holy Quran to scientific discoveries that were made. It was his belief that Islam and science paralleled each other. There is nothing that happens on this earth that goes against the Holy Quran; from atoms to the formation of the galaxy, everything reflects the words of the Holy book.

The Promised Messiahas, being a man of reason and religion, understood the brilliance of the Holy Quran in a capacity that very few from his time could comprehend. His thoughts were so immersed in the context and meaning of each Quranic verse that it was inevitably exceptionally overwhelming at times to recognise the number of scientific miracles that were present. As a result, he ended up compiling all his notes, research, beliefs and revelations into a lengthy book series that are available for us to read. If we wish to understand more about the Holy Quran and its meaning, we should look to his various works of literature that are enriched with contextual information and insight.

In one of his poems, on hearing the first phonograph, he says:

“This voice is coming from the phonograph; Seek God from the heart; not through boasting and pomposity.”

In this couplet, he gave us great advice that there would be new inventions in support of Islam, but their rightful use was to seek God and not for vain pursuits – most importantly, “not through boasting and bragging”. For me, this advice applies to modern day social media. 

Boasting and bragging are the words that caught my attention. There is no need to elaborate how far social media has reached in modern times. Everyone in the world has information on their fingertips. However, people brag through social media, whether it is on Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other platform – sharing knowledge and keeping close contact with family and friends is something useful but that is only one part of how social media is used. Many seek to get themselves hits or get noticed through their social media posts. People will risk their lives to do something unique to get attention on social media and many people have lost their lives trying to capture that unique experience. Very few want to keep their lives private.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa gave us the proper way to use the Internet and new inventions: 

“These days, the books of the Promised Messiahas, the Holy Quran and other Islamic literature are traversing new stages of broadcast through the Internet and television. The speed of media today could not have been imagined a few decades ago. Thus, avail these opportunities given to us by Allah the Exalted, for preaching and the defense of Islam. It is a favor of Allah the Exalted that he has provided these latest inventions in this time. By making these available the work of preaching has been made easier. We should try to appropriately use these, instead of wasting time in frivolities and wrong activities. We should make use of these and if we become part of the group that is spreading the message of the Messiahas of Muhammadsa to the world, then we can be considered part of this group. We can be those people by whom Allah bore witness.”

Huzooraa further said:

“I had said the same at the MTA event that today, each worker of MTA, no matter where in the world he or she works, is working to take the message of the Promised Messiahas to the ends of the earth. God will make this happen, He revealed to the Promised Messiahas, ‘I shall carry thy message to the ends of the earth’ and for this purpose, He provided these resources to spread [His] message to the ends of the earth. God has destined it to be so, and all the inventions bear witness to it. (Hazrat Mirza Masroor AhmadaaSocial Media, p. 91) 

The Promised Messiahas left a legacy for his followers to follow. Throughout his lifetime, he strived to reflect the true and noble teachings of Islam through his actions, serving as a guiding light. And so we should make better use of social media and new inventions and strive to embody everything he devoted his life for.

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