It is close to midnight. Ninety seconds, to be precise. That is the thing about the modern world, every minute, every second is palpable. Almost a month into the new year and life seems to be devoid of purposeful connections, still.
For the past couple of years, life has been gripped by gloomy ambiguities compounded by crippling uncertainties. Though it has been, and continues to be, widely reported that life on Earth is gradually being pieced back together of whatever remaining shreds and sense of normalcy, everyone has been affected. That is the painful reality check. In many supreme ways, life demands a period of healing.
Naurah keeps on scrolling. Such thoughts keep swirling in her mind, eating into her sleep. Earlier, in the afternoon heat while commuting to work, her friend shared a link to an article – 10 Must-Have Apps for Every Muslim 2023. Intrigued, she decided to download the Muslim Pro app, in the very next minute. She has been devouring its Muslim lifestyle content, specifically, the articles.
At times, she has been experiencing faith fatigue. The ersatz digital landscape crowded by an array of social media platforms has paved the path to a proliferation of online content competing for attention and eyeballs. Mostly, chasing profits at the expense of people and planet.
For the past several months, Naurah has been drowning in an endless array of notifications and redundant content that mostly veered towards prescriptive preaching of religious content. What that experience has taught her is there are many individuals, organisations and companies that seek to inject their opinions and influence the quotidian lives of millions of Muslims sans any understanding of the many faces, degrees of faith and future of Islam and its adherents.
However, this article of Muslim Pro app is different. In fact, this is the twentieth article from the app that is also available on its lifestyle blog that Naurah is reading, since this afternoon. On the Connect website, Naurah stumbles upon this article – Am I Muslim Enough? Without realising, she catches herself smiling. Her reflection on her phone mirrors her inner thoughts. A couple of ideas profoundly resonate with her:
‘Ironically, there are people who seem to have reached a level of delicate control in leading a balanced life. As a first step, it is expressed in outward fashion, tangible forms of piety through clothing, such as the hijab, or having installed a prayer app in their phones. Look around. These are people you might very well know.‘
Naurah chuckles to herself. “I could definitely name a few, now,” she mumbles absent-mindedly.
‘An admirable act, indeed. However, it bears remembering and repeating that a life of righteousness is partly informed by genuine connections that are not reflected by outward tangible portrayal of spiritual piety alone.‘
What is our religious worth, if we think about it at all, in addition to our paper-thin spiritual piety at the moment?
Again, she nods her head in agreement. Helmy, the writer, has managed to articulate her own thoughts buried deep inside her soul for so long. Her religious worth is not measured by people. It is between her and Allah. What is more important, instead of pondering and worrying over the judgment and expectations of others is to avoid an ‘engagement in hypocritical religious piety.’
Naurah glaces at the time. It is past midnight. Still, it is not too late. It is never late to choose to do the right thing. After tossing her phone onto her bed, she reaches for her yellow notepad on the table and grabbed a blue pen from her bag on the floor next to her.
She jots down the following:
The ABCs Of A Global Muslim
A – Always actively choose kindness. For myself and others.
B – Build daily connections – with myself, those around me and spiritually.
C – Create opportunities and space to unplug from the online world by being present in the moment.
The basic fundamentals of being a Muslim remain intact. What she intends to do more of is to be truly conscious of her choices at every step and opt for positivity and happiness. Yes, there is no such thing as a Hallmark-Card happiness wrapped up in a bubble of perfection. And, in moving forward, it is not about subscribing to the sinning now, repent later mentality either, which is akin to the buy now, pay later phenomenon. A mounting spiritual debt is best avoided before it is too late. InshaAllah.
At the bottom of the page, she scribbles the words ‘careers@Bitsmedia‘. Something for her to browse during her commute to work later. A career switch in technology that bridges faith seems worthy of exploration. And, she believes she has a voice and point of view to be shared with the global Muslim communities.
Naurah puts aside her notepad and pen. She also makes a mental note to check out Qalbox, the recent addition of the streaming space that aims to complement one’s spiritual journey. Having the option to enjoy a wide range of content that is not just limited to entertainment, but inclusive of faith-based content is an attractive proposition to her.
As Naurah switches off her phone and stares at her bedroom ceiling, she is reminded of the following sentiment from the article she finishes reading just moments ago:
‘We begin with Bismillah in everything we do and hopefully, remember to utter Alhamdullilah for both the blessings and challenges that develop our maturity to become better beings, not only to those around us and our Creator, but also ourselves.‘
Disclaimer: This is a work of flash fiction. Any names or characters, places, events or incidents are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.