Jun 26, 2013

More ME Time—Less TV Time

By Hend Hegazi


With everything we have going on throughout the day—whether it is dealing with our children at home or dealing with outside work—we inevitably need some time to ourselves. Even Prophet Muhammad, sallAllahu ‘alayhiwassallam, encouraged it. He is reported to have said, “There is a right of your eyes (upon you) and a right of yourself (upon you) and a right of your family (upon you). Stand for prayer and sleep. Observe fasts and break (them)” (Sahih Muslim, no. 2594) . For many of us, the time we take for ourselves means turning on the TV, watching a movie, or checking out the latest updates on social media. But in doing so, we expose our minds, eyes, and ears to stimuli which may be detrimental to both our bodies and souls. These forms of entertainment tend to suck up lots of time, decreasing our positive productivity as well. Here are three simple ways you can decrease your TV/entertainment time.

1. Avoid Temptation. Try to spend your free time in areas of your home where there is no television or computer. Not having them directly in front of you will make finding alternatives easier. If this is not an option, try to avoid turning on the television simply to ‘see what’s on,’ or just for background noise. If you need something to be playing in the background, try turning on audio Qur’an. If there is not a specific program you want to watch, do not just surf the channels. The more you have the television on, even if you are not actively watching, the more you will be enticed to leave it on due to advertisements for seemingly interesting programs.

2. Create A Schedule. Write out your usual daily routine, starting with the time you wake up and ending with your bed time. Fill in work hours, prayer times, chores, meals, errands—leave no times vacant. Pencil in one or two of your “must-see” shows per week. For all the slots in which there are no fixed tasks for you to accomplish, fill them in with whatever hobby you enjoy. Maybe you love to draw, write, bake, scrapbook, or spend time outdoors. Maybe you have always wanted to learn tajweed, or memorize more Qur’an. Maybe you want to learn Italian, or you have been waiting for the right time to take that online course. Immersing yourself in enjoyable, productive pastimes will motivate you to continue with them, decreasing whatever time is left for TV. Soon you may find that you can even do without those “must-see” shows, and you can replace their times with your favorite activity. It does not matter what you decide on as long as you ENJOY it. If you find that it becomes a chore, then it has defeated the purpose and you will no longer have the incentive to stick with it. In that case, chose something else and update your schedule.

3. Recruit A Partner. Just because this is your time to enjoy does not mean you have to do that alone. Maybe your mom, sister, husband or son has the same interests as you. Or maybe they, too, want to cut back on their TV time. Having someone to share your free time with is a great way not only to get away from the television, but also to connect with your loved ones. In case you cannot find a partner, consider spending some of your would-be-TV-time connecting with friends and family through phone calls or house calls.

Spending time on ourselves helps rejuvenate our minds and spirits so we can persevere in the worship of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, as well as persisting with all our worldly responsibilities. So savor your time by engaging in activities you love. Eventually, you may find that you do not need the TV at all!

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below!

Sahih Muslim. Chapter: forbiddance to observe perpetual fast and excellence of observing fast on alternate days. In The Book of Fasting (hadith no. 2594).
Retrieved from http://www.sahihmuslim.com


Assalamu alaikum wrwbr,
I come from a large family. My parents made a concious choice to remove the t.v. from our home. Alhamdulillah, with the "free" time, many of the children have become huffadh and islamic scholars, working to preserve the deen.

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