04242014Headline:

Life after Obedience…Life after Facebook

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In 2006, during summer vacation in grade 11, I had just finished an online course and had 1 month left before grade 12 started. At that time someone suggested I try something called Facebook. When I looked into it, apparently it was a service that was only open to University students before but a few months ago, it was opened to High School students. I joined it and within a few months my entire high school had dived in this service. My friends and even my acquaintances were my friends on Facebook. Poke this, like that, write on this wall, comment on that picture, etc. During the next 5 years, Facebook went through many changes (sometimes on a daily basis) which didn’t affect me, nor did they concern me. I would say I only wrote on my wall once in a while, commented on someone’s status, and liked a few images here and there. My relatives also joined Facebook. I also friended a few people from my childhood. I wasn’t a heavy Facebook user by any means but did spend enough spare time on it for sure. So far, I have not even explained the title of this article so let’s dive in that.

I am part of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The community that believes that the Messiah predicted for later days by Islam and all other major religions arrived in India in 1800′s by name of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as). After his demise, a system of caliphate (Khilafat) was started in the community and currently we are on the 5th caliph (Khalifa), Mirza Masroor Ahmad (atba). Unfortunately, many fail to understand the purpose of a Khalifa. It is hard to comprehend and I by no means understand fully about Khilafat. I was taught when I was young that whatever the Khalifa says, that is what one must do since a Khalifa is divinely appointed by Allah and divinely guided in the period of their Khilafat. Many question whether this person is truly divinely appointed arise, I think asking this question is nearly equal to asking whether God exists. This isn’t the point of this article.

Now to tie what I have said so far. There was always an unofficial caution against Facebook by Ahmadiyya Muslim Community based on all the harms that come out of it but finally in January 2011, an official policy was released to allow members of the community to use Facebook cautiously. This was great because finally there was an official word on how to use Facebook and what one is allowed to do or not allowed to do (create pages on behalf of Community officials or Community itself). At this time, the community released an official Facebook page where they posted important news or videos pertaining to the community. Many people commented, liked the videos. Although, I realized that sometimes people pressed like or commented within a few seconds of a 60 minute video being posted. Either all those people had seen the videos before or they were just doing it out of love for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

In June 2011, during the annual convention in Germany the 5th Khalifa (atba) stated that “an example of shamelessness is Facebook…such things lead to shamelessness or invite towards the path of shamelessness. One is given an invitation to comment on an inappropriate picture. If this is not an example of distasteful behaviour, then what is?…On one side, we claim that we are in the community of Promised Messiah to propagate true teachings of Islam. On the other hand, we claim why are we being forced to give up our freedom by being told to stop using Facebook? These two claims can’t work simultaneously. We have to decide which of these do we have to follow. A path that takes us close to Allah or a path that leads to self-destruction. Only an Ahmadi can give a true teaching of Islam. An Ahmadi should not engage in distasteful behaviour. We did bai’at (pledge of allegiance) so we can rid the world of shamelessness but if we ourselves are engaged in this distasteful behaviour, we are essentially nullifying our bai’at”

These are pretty strong words and I personally don’t think I need to say anything anymore. Before starting to write this article, I listened to the Jalsa speech again and these words hit me even harder than before when I watched this speech on MTA live. A few days after this address, www.alislam.org (official website of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) released an official policy stating that individuals are no longer allowed to maintain accounts with a bunch of FAQ’s. The policy again emphasized that to view the official Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Facebook page, an account is not required. Within 2-3 days of the official policy being released, I deactivated my account. During those 2-3 days, I asked a few others what they are planning to do and majority came out with a straightforward no to deactivating account. My only guilt now is that I did not deactivate my account as soon as our Khalifa (atba) told us to.

During those 2-3 days where I was debating on what to do, I imagined life without Facebook. It felt really strange because I communicate with most of my relatives, my childhood and, my high school friends only through Facebook. Many tried to find loop-holes in the policy such as educational accounts are allowed or business accounts are allowed but I knew this is not what a true believer is supposed to do. I hope most realize that their closest friends are on instant messaging service and/or on twitter (which is still allowed). One can probably live without those friends, relatives who are not on instant messaging websites.

Then those words came to my mind where our Khalifa (atba) said to decide if we want to follow the path of self-destruction or the path that will please Allah? It became a no-brainer decision and it was clear that Facebook had to be deactivated. I remember it was a Friday. After completing a major course project, I deactivated my Facebook account. That sudden moment sort of hit me because I knew I am not the kind of person who will sneak back onto Facebook for a minute or two and then deactivate. Hence, this was a final bye for Facebook from my side.
The few days after Facebook, I realized I had a lot of free time. More time to spend on studying, tweeting, and most importantly remembering my God. In University, I saw people had Facebook open all the time but I had already lost interest in it within a few days. It has been nearly 2 months since I deactivated my account and honestly, I don’t miss Facebook at all which even shocks me at times considering I was on it for roughly 5 years. The purpose of this article isn’t to show that I am proud of myself for abstaining from Facebook for 2 months. I am actually grateful to Almighty Allah for giving me the opportunity to obey my beloved Khalifa (atba).

Some argue that they are using Facebook to spread message of the True Islam, Ahmadiyyat. I was once on it and I know eventually majority of academic discussions on Ahmadiyyat turn into a barrage of verbal abuse but hey, don’t take my word for it. The official Facebook policy covers this topic and explicitly states “high potential for misuse or abuse even in personal or tabligh use”, and hence the prohibition also applies to people who are trying to spread the message Islam Ahmadiyyat.

Just a few final remarks, earlier I mentioned that some people are ‘liking’ or commenting on official Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Facebook page without actually seeing the content. To substantiate my claim, when the Community posted the official Facebook policy in July, I recall someone commenting that we should use Facebook keeping these policies in mind. That was pretty clear that person had not even bothered clicking on the policy. Also, instead of number of people liking the official page going down because people are deactivating, the number has increased almost a 1000 more users. Personally, since I don’t have Facebook, I don’t know how many people have deactivated but the noise that comes from the outside world indicates that slim to none have deactivated which is quite disappointing especially when I recall our beloved Khalifa (atba)’s speech pertaining to Facebook.

To those who think Facebook is a necessity, I know enough non-Ahmadi’s who may have a Facebook account but do not touch it for months because they find it unappealing. At the same time, I know some non-Ahmadi’s who are planning to close their social network accounts because they are fed up of and are starting to realize these websites have lost all meaning.

I believe taking the initial step is probably the hardest and fully committing your heart that you will leave this path of destruction forever is hard but once you take a dive, it feels great. It feels like your bai’at has a meaning. In the bai’at, there is a line that you will always abide by any “Mahroof” (good) decision. I did not find any harm in this decision and within 2 months, I only see that our beloved Khalifa (atba) was absolutely correct in telling us to stop using Facebook. I will end by a quote of my beloved Khalifa (atba), “Accepting everything said by the Khalifa is real obedience rather than seeking clarification. Indeed, if needed, things can be dealt with at a later stage but the essence is in prompt obedience.”

26 Responses to "Life after Obedience…Life after Facebook"

  1. Marcello says:

    I am not Ahmadi, but I have been learning much about the community through my Ahmadi friends on Facebook. Needless to say, this educational process has stopped. Since there are no Ahmadi in my town, social media sites like Facebook were one of the only means available to have conversations with Ahmadiyya. If any are reading this, I wish the best for all of you.

  2. Saira Ahmed says:

    Thanks for ur wishes Marcello, you can follow us on twitter or visit our websites :)

    Well written Luqman, deactivating the account is as easy as 123, have had my non-ahmadi friends close it even, as the website has become boring and a problem of privacy.. ppl need 2 realize actual interaction is only with those in ur email list.

  3. Ali says:

    @Marcello you can find us on Twitter. Peace

  4. Marcello says:

    Unfortunately, Twitter is limited to 140 characters per message. That’s barely a sentence. It’s not a good place to have a conversation.

  5. salaam says:

    AA brother, wonderful post. I completely agree. I deleted my account and have felt so good. The amount of free time is incredible! I do miss knowing what my friends were up to, but the easy fix is simply calling them up or texting them.

  6. 'Abd Allah says:

    hey Marcello if you talk to us on twitter we can still have some nice conversations about theological aspects. And there’s always self-research: http://www.alislam.org

    And I’m pretty sure if you do some digging you should be able to find some Ahmadis where you live.

  7. Bushra Mehmood Wains says:

    A highly needed article, I must say! Great effort! Khilafat is that blessing for we Ahmadis from Allah with which Non-Ahamdis are deprived of. We should be compliant towards every single word that comes from His Holiness. There shouldn’t be any disparity between our words and the actions. And that’s the very thing which distinguishes an Ahamdi in a worldly crowd. Only in the obedience of Khilafat lies our salvage.

    Khilafat ki muhabbat mein dilon ko youn fana rakhna
    Koi maslak agar rakhna tou tasleem-o-raza rakhna
    Sam’ina ata’ana mein chupi rooh-e-Khilafat hy
    Yeh nukta bhool matt jana isse dil mein basa rakhna

  8. Sabahat says:

    Extremely well written and i think i think this should be forwarded to those who are still confused about what will happen if they deactivate the account.
    Honestly speaking, deactivating Facebook has more pros than cons. Esp. the spare time we have and no distraction.
    Indeed, the Caliph knows what is best for us. Wake up Ahmadi people what is wrong?! May Allh enable all of us to abide by our beloved Huzoor and fulfill all his wishes and orders. AMEEN

  9. Fawad says:

    Mash’Allah, very good article. My experience while de-activating facebook was very similar.

    May Allah bless us all to be the first ones saying ‘labaik’ to any and every ‘mahroof’ decision by Hazur.

  10. Jawad says:

    Well Written, I have left it and the best outcome of it is that I have learnt several things during the time i uszed to waste on FB. I Listne to Jamati videos, MTA programmes, and more to that new technologies related to my profession during that time. I can categorically say that following Khalifa is nothing but the right direction of life.

  11. Ataul Quddous Ahmed says:

    Peace be to you all

    I am an Ahmadi Muslim and I use Facebook as a platform to spread the true teachings of Islam Ahmadiyyat. I believe Huzur was talking about the general Facebook user as I am sure that I do not use Facebook as Huzur described people using it I am still on it. Please feel free to add me and converse!

    Wassalaam

    SufiSage

  12. Imran says:

    Please don’t misinterpret the guidance by Huzoor, who has clearly said few weeks ago that he never banned it. If someone wants to leave please leave, but don’t say that it’s because of ahuzoors instructions. Huzoor cautioned female member to be extra careful about it .

  13. Hassan Ahmad says:

    I stopped using it immediately when Huzoor in his khutba said we should stop,, but then im back when i heard Huzoor say that its not banned but rather should be used cautiously and i do use it cautiously . im not addicted to it .. please is there a contradiction??

  14. Zara says:

    I ended up deactivating my account after reading this article. If only I’d done it sooner!

  15. Tahir says:

    Dear
    AOA

    We are lucky to be born in the era of Promised Massiah AS and Khalifa tul Massieh AS.
    They are here to guide us to stay away from the evils originating in this era. To be among those who were companions of Prophet PBUH, we have to obey Promised Massiah and Khalifatul Massieh as companions obeyed Prophet PBUH.
    The instruction about Facebook are written on Alislam which are very clear so we have to follow it to fulfill our ba’ait. Please go through this link
    http://www.alislam.org/egazette/faq/facebook-policy/

  16. Rahmat Ali says:

    “CONCERNED about Facebook is interesting from time to time. Perhaps, when drawn to the root of the problem is more fundamental, Our Beloved Huzoor underlined the privacy settings of Facebook who have not been understand by Facebook users among the ‘plain and ordinary’ Ahmadi.

    “Facebook or any worldly goods in our lives, as the laws of nature (sunnatu’l-Laah!), like a double-edged sword. Facebook is like a Pandora’s box. Facebook is like a cosmology ‘forbidden tree’ to Adam and his descendants.

    “And, what’s interesting is, compliance is really painful. Because, that such obedience is contrary to our ego (nafs ammarah) that still have a Facebook. There is Nafs Lawwamah inside. Can we go beyond it? May God protect us; and, put us as the spirit of peace and tranquility, full of love and blessing. آمـــــين ثمّ آمـــين …!”

  17. Mr OuiJa says:

    Salam Brother,

    sorry I dont agree with you, after reading your blog, it´s sounds like facebook is evil and twitter is holy?
    As you have twitter account with 38194 entries. That means you spend a lot of time in twitter too, doesn´t matter for which reason.
    I use facebook for 6 years now, I met many old friends, school mate. I follow many sports news/videos, poetry, jokes etc.
    You see it´s only about “intention” like the Hadith(You deeds depends on your intentions).

    I remember when my elders said, there was a time, when Radio, TV, Theater was labelled as Shaitani(evil) and now everyone use this.

    If facebook shall be “banned” then Twitter is next step, because there is hardly a difference
    between them(from technical point of view).
    Btw I am Ahmadi Muslim :-)
    sorry for my poor english skills.

  18. Mughal45 says:

    Assalamo alaikum,

    I am a university student and I was in a way forced to make a facebook account because people from my course ( which only consists of about 33 students) made a page for it on facebook where they discuss assignment or any work related stuff which is so helpful, and it gets updated constantly so in a way you can say I’m addicted because I have to keep going online to check. I did deactivate Facebook to give it a go and I just felt so lost or behind in my work whereas everyone was being helped on Facebook so I couldn’t last more than 4 days. Would you say having Facebook is acceptable in this instance or not, keeping in mind I want to be or try to be completely obiedient towards Huzoor. And any better alternatives. I honestly truly hate Facebook myself and yes like it was said in the article you find so much free time and that was probably the best thing about deactivating it and I miss it.

    • Mr OuiJa says:

      @Mughal45
      “I honestly truly hate Facebook myself and yes like it was said in the article you find so
      much free time and that was probably the best thing about deactivating it and I miss it.”
      Who said you shall waste your time with facebook, make it an educational portal and you will learn many new things :).
      Just watch what Hazoor(atba) said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAri8SC-YBQ

      • Mughal45 says:

        ah jazakallah for the video !! Really helped with my decision whether its acceptable to keep it. But Not sure whether I still want to keep it though because its sooo distracting even if it’s an educational portal I end up browsing around so much…