Children’s Column – Part 2

Penpal Column | October 2019
The Frolicking of a Muslim
Amatul Hakim

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy; similarly, all play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.”

In this recklessly ‘progressing’ world, we all need a break, every now and then, to overcome the stress from the monotonic routine of life. Willy-nilly, the kind of entertainment and its favourability for a Muslim, have to be kept in mind.

Most often teenagers enjoy spending their free time either hanging around with friends, or listening to music, or reading a romantic or adventurous novel, or watching television, and – if it’s not any one of these –then playing games on their electronic gadgets.

The formative years of adolescence have a significant impact in shaping the personality of an individual: it sets the tone for the rest of one’s life, and, hence, what we choose to indulge in – so as to find relaxation in it – defines the person we like to carve out from our own selves. In simple words, our interests and modes of enjoyments cannot be randomly picked, it has to be deliberately and carefully chosen and thoughtfully carried forward.

Furthermore, many of us fail to understand the fine line between things that interest us and those which we fancy, as a whim, which fades away with time. Interest is something with which we identify our personal well-being; it is a source of motivation which drives us to do what we want to do when we are free to choose, which, in turn, gives us satisfaction. In contrast, a whim is an activity that may bring us pleasure for that moment, but not the real satisfaction, and hence may eventually wane out.

Therefore, to invest our time and energy into something which doesn’t benefit us, in the long run, is foolishness.

Interestingly, psychologists have concluded that it is more in pubescent than in any other years, that humans indulge in their whims. This is because as we reach puberty our outdoor playtime reduces drastically, we enjoy solitude, and daydreaming becomes the favorite pastime.

Elaborating on this further, psychological study has proved that, daydreaming is an activity which is engaged in, for the pleasure it provides; it is a mental play, which is called fantasy. It is an escape route from the unsatisfying reality; it may provide imaginary satisfaction of wishes, but to believe that it will come true, is a mistake, because when unable to match the imaginary accomplishments with the real-world life, a sense of failure creeps in, which, in turn, leads to other psychological problems.

The stimuli for the day-dreamers come from sources like movies, music, books based on romantic fiction, television, videogames or any such sources, which completely besiege our senses, making us heedless towards our responsibilities.

Further evaluation by psychologists explains that excessive indulgence in these sources could lead to poor personal and social adjustment, poor concentration and mind-wandering habits. Material relating to immodesty, violence, anti-social behavior will encourage vulgarity and aggressiveness in young minds. Habitual love stories of the movies, portray the wrong message to the youngsters and provoke them to have faulty relations with the opposite gender. The current trend of playing war-games on phones and play-station will desensitize the mind to violence, and one may begin to accept such violence to be a normal pattern of life.

Islam conforms to the above scientific research. In the Qur’an (Surah Luqman, verse 6), Allah (swt) strongly warns against those amusements that do not benefit, either the religious aspect of life or the worldly. Islamic scholars further explain these amusements to be those things that make us heedless from the real-life: they bring no benefit, but rather, serve as pastime or entertainment. Some of these amusements are songs with music, immodest poetry, romantic and provocative novels, games like chess, backgammon, etc., all of which will keep the player preoccupied for a long time, and makes him heedless towards his other responsibilities. The prohibition of these games has been proved from the Ahadith.

Based on the above evaluation, it is suggested that one replace the above-mentioned stimuli with activities like reading books which impart genuine knowledge based on one’s personal interest.

Music and songs may be replaced with good poetry and Islamic songs. Any physical activity like swimming, horse riding, bicycling, playing any ball games, etc., should be a part of every teenager’s daily routine. These activities provide a good platform for socializing, one gets to evaluate himself, or herself, and his/ her respective ability.

Playing team games makes one tolerant and co-operative with others, and leading a team may further enhance leadership qualities.