“More addictive than alcohol and cigarettes!” This is the conclusion of a study conducted in Germany with regard to the effects of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and other such platforms. Describing this addiction, The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications (vol. 2, no. 1) states: “This generation has made social media their top priority and continues to need more usage in order to feel satisfied.”

The internet and social media outlets have ‘reprogrammed’ the way millions of people think and how they conduct themselves. This is, as some researchers describe it, due to “this interactive world’s power to alter the tangible world.” Indeed, it has ‘altered’ many things. According to another study, “some behaviour consequences of the new digital brain is hyperactivity, inattention, depression and multitasking mania.” The study further states: “All this access and vast selection is causing some entertainment seekers brain to develop the constant need for instant gratification with a loss of patience.”

Companies are also taking note of the negative impact on productivity as a result of people constantly fiddling with their phones during work time. As one director put it: “We’re clearly seeing what psychologists call ‘online compulsive disorder’ spill over from our personal lives to the work environment.”

While the abovementioned aspects are serious, comparatively speaking they are a ‘very small’ problem. The really catastrophic consequences are on one’s Deen as well as on family life. The engrossment in social media has led many people to abandon salaah, has involved them in zina and many other vices and has made numerous marriages either dysfunctional or broken it altogether.

Social media is acclaimed for its ability to “connect people without any boundaries.” Most people using social media have dozens — perhaps hundreds — of ‘contacts’ and are often ‘connected’ to numerous people whom they have never met. The husband and/or the wife are ‘connected’ – each one with his or her ‘own contacts.’ They are only not connected to each other. While each one is closely connected to their social contacts in far flung places, the two people in the same room are worlds apart!!!

A similar situation occurs in many homes between parents and children. This pathetic state of affairs is the ‘blessing’ of social media.

Many will argue that Facebook and its sister outlets are merely tools and it is up to the user to use it or abuse it. While this is true, social media platforms have developed an ‘atmosphere’ of their own. According to many who used and abused these platforms and have now repented, the ‘atmosphere’ is similar to being in a ‘disco or rave club’ where one is strongly drawn towards sin. Promiscuity is the norm on these sites. It is estimated that approximately more than 90% of those who use Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, etc., have scores of non-mahram male/female ‘friends’ on their contact lists. It is rare that one logs onto Facebook and the like, and one’s Deen and imaan is not negatively affected at all.

Thus to venture into such an environment is to expose oneself to serious dangers. Save your imaan. Save your marriage. Save your family. Log off all social media now, forever. Delete all social media applications and thereby apply for a place among those who sincerely turn to Allah Ta‘ala and earn His blessing and pleasure.

May Allah Ta‘ala enable us to turn to Him and completely turn away from everything that leads us away from Him, aameen.