What Is Socializing Anyway?

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The idea of ‘socializing’ as a recreation, rather than a positive use of time, should be worrying to all seekers of a better connection with God, the All-Seeing.

Put simply, being with other people you don’t know well can be a psychologically and spiritually risky business.

At the ripe old age of 46, I don’t go out these days unless it’s for work or the school run – if I can help it. Seriously, I am far happier at home than out and about. Never in my earlier life (i.e. three years ago) would I have imagined that (before retirement age) I would find so much fulfillment within my own home environment.

Pondering on My Old Ways

I have been reminded of my former addiction to ‘socializing’ by the political party conference season. On every British news channel, faces I have seen and ‘partied’ with, have appeared in the past two weeks on screen. Either gloating about the downfall of one or other colleague or seeking to ‘big up’ whoever they are promoting this year.

Very little political work (of any good) gets done at party conferences, in case you were wondering. Just a lot of drinking to excess, moaning and bitching. Careers and reputations are as I write, being slyly built up and thoughtlessly smashed down, over vats of cheap wine or chintzy glasses of expensive champagne.

How I used to love those events. I remember the nervous joy of getting ready, of gearing up the ego for its own little drama of triumph or disaster. Feeling as if the future of the universe would rely on whether I hissed the wittiest sound bite into the most influential ear, at the precise moment between intoxication and outright drunkenness.

Oh! And I obsessed about the length of my skirt and whether it would match my handbag, too.

A Message to Sisters

As Muslim women, we are directed in the Quran and Hadith to value our time at home, more greatly than any other time. To take care of how we look and behave in public.

{And abide quietly in your homes, and do not flaunt your charms as they used to flaunt them in the old days of pagan ignorance; and be constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues, and pay heed unto Allah and His Messenger: for Allah only wants to remove from you all that might be loathsome, O you members of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you to utmost purity.}(Al-Ahzab 33:33)

This verse was addressed directly to the women of the Prophet’s household. It has been explained by scholars of Islam not to be taken to mean women should be kept inside all the time. This verse is a directive, warning us against running around seeking excitement and entertainment for reasons (and in ways) that might damage ourselves, our family and above all our faith.

Subhan Allah, how well does God know His creation! I am sorry to say this but sisters we have a problem with our mouths that men simply do not have. You won’t hear a group of Muslim men at a football match muttering murderously: “I heard his wife was looking at his best friend in you know – That way!”

And what about Friday prayers in the Masjid? I have often wondered as I have sat miserably unable to hear the khutbah above the elderly and the young alike gossiping on either side, what would happen if brothers were so unable to contain their tongues during the Friday sermon. I guess they don’t because one of them would just stand up and bash the person speaking over the imam.

What is especially toxic can be the urge to impress that comes with certain ‘social’ gatherings. The need to dazzle somehow, to show off, to be different, to stand out in this age where ‘celebrity gossip’ poses as news… Suddenly, a toxic cocktail of thenafs and Hello Magazine culture can make even a pleasant Islamic event into a feeding frenzy or gossip and judgment.

Showing off…

Competing…

Not in good deeds, but in beads and bangles, shoes and accessories.

As the Christians say “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

Much has been written about the isolation that reverts to Islam can suffer as we jump from the ‘norm’ we see around us, to a new way of life. What is less often mentioned is that the months, even years, of social isolation that may occur after taking the testimony of faith, are usually the time when the new Muslim absorbs, pursues, and attains the greatest amount of knowledge about this beautiful faith.

What a great exchange of time!

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

Sisters: Benefit of Your Time

Sisters, socialization that is not for a positive cause, is of no benefit whatsoever, in this world or the hereafter.

When I came to Islam, I was stunned by the amount of time to do good women seemed to have in a single day. Sisters I know in Malaysia bring up children, run large homes, manage charitable foundations and engage in serious Islamic study courses with ‘spare’ time.

At first I put this down to the lack of alcohol in the lives of Muslims. If you are not out partying and recovering from hangovers, then of course you have more time.

But I have been sober for three years now and am still amazed by many sisters dynamic achievements, compared to my own poor time management.

Take the sister I know well in Gaza. She has six children, she runs deeds for her mother in-law every day as well as doing good deeds for her neighbors in need. She even finds time to put make up for her husband’s return from work every day. How?

It is the blessing of time. Given to those who study more, pray more, have the best intentions and serve God before all things, a spiritual gift, made physical.

For the rest of us, just look at our wasted time! Facebook and Twitter the endless jokey jibes, urgent petitions to sign and forward, our nafs urging us to be ‘funny’ in order to impress people we will never even meet in person.

Sisters reading QuranThe Quran is calling. Knowledge is a boundless pleasure that cleanses our hearts and raises our faith. So let’s seize the day sisters. Take that Tajweed class, dust off our ‘How to Learn Arabic’ handbook. Use our free time wisely before we are too busy.

In the meantime for all you social butterflies out there, I couldn’t resist sharing these definitions for you to ponder.

Socialite: ‘A socialite is someone who participates in social activities and spends a significant amount of time entertaining and being entertained at fashionable events.’

Or, ‘A person who is rich and unemployed. Must be in active contact with the media and other rich and unemployed people.’ (Urban Dictionary)