Let us see what is happening, one evening, in the living room of one of the typical modern Muslim homes a middle-aged man is following Google news on his computer.
His wife is engrossed in watching the recipe of making a Honey-Kissed Smoothie Bowl on YouTube.
His son is watching the video of a lecture delivered by an Islamic scholar on YouTube. He is a very big fan of this popular lecturer.
His daughter-in-law is busy updating her profile picture. She is a member of many WhattsApp groups and is fond of changing her profile picture every now and then.
His grand-daughter, who is about 14, is on Facebook on her iPad.
His grandson, who is around eight, is sitting in a corner, away from everyone’s eye, watching some adult stuff on YouTube on his smartphone, in stark disobedience to his parents’ stern warnings.
And the youngest member of the family, his three-year old grandson, is absorbed in playing Minecraft, a very popular video game, on his tablet.
All these seven members of one family are busy with these activities using various “smart” devices.
Each one is immersed in his/her own world, least bothered about what the others are doing.
In short, seven virtual worlds co-exist in that single living room, at that particular moment.
Now let us go back to the pre-screen era, before the various smart devices had fully invaded our lives and visit, one evening, in the living room of a family similar to the one portrayed above.
The middle aged man is talking about his past life and how Deen came into his life and most of his family members are intently listening to him. He does not miss the opportunity to talk about the greatness of Allah, the Mubarak Seerah (blessed biography) of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace ) and to add in a few hadith here and there.
Suddenly his daughter-in-law brings in freshly fried samosas from the kitchen and the family gets busy eating them.
At that moment his son says, “I forgot something in my car.” He goes out and returns after a few moments with a large cake he had bought from a bakery while returning from work.
The moods of the two young boys get elated on seeing the cake. They have just returned from outside after playing some outdoor games with their neighbouring friends.
The teenage girl asks her grandmother, “Today in our Madressah our Ustadha has asked us learn about the Faraidh and the Sunnah of making ghusl, so Grandma, will you please help me?”
Her grandmother hugs and kisses her and says, “Why not, my darling?”
The eight year old boy stands up and says to his mother, “Mom, our teacher has asked to write a composition on the topic: ‘Respecting your parents’, will you please help me, Mom?” The mother says, “Of course I will help you and inshaAllah you will get top marks because you really do respect your parents.”
The entire family is in a very lively mood and their unity is evident in their concern for each other. There is mutuality and intimacy present there.
In short, one real world exists in that living room at that particular moment.
If you closely analyze both the situations you will come to the conclusion that the ‘seven virtual worlds’ scenario cannot come close to ‘one real world’ scenario in superiority! And that is when times and moods are good much less when they are not!
Unfortunately, in too many of our homes today, the former scenario is alarmingly being consumed by the latter. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way – “…And cooperate with one another in virtuous conduct and conscience, and do not cooperate with one another in sin and hostility.…” (Surah al-Ma'idah verse 2).