Smartphones in Tarawih Increase Our Anxiety When Our Anxiety is Supposed to be Healed with Prayers

Smartphones in Tarawih - GSalam.Net

Alhamdulillah… All perfect thanks and praises are due to the Almighty Allah. I send perfect peace and blessings upon the most honest and honourable man, Sayyindinā Muhammad, his household, his companions and all those who follow his guided path till end of time.

Smartphones have evolved to be an essential part of our daily lives Before the emergence of smartphones, one couldn’t’ go out without his wallet. Today, many people don’t care if they take along their wallet or not. However, people feel almost lost if they leave their smartphone at home.

In addition to the numerous social media activities, such as Facebook and Twitter, that smartphones engage users in, these smartphones also serve as mobile wallets that store electronic passes as well as bank cards and credit cards information.

Thousands of Qur’an apps are available in the various app stores. This has certainly made accessing the Qur’an very easy and more flexible. Therefore, it is easier to use the Qur’an in our smartphones during tarāwīḥ.

In How to Make Utmost Use of Our Tarawih, we discussed the permissibility of holding the Qur’an to lead or follow in prayers, be it in an obligatory or supererogatory prayer. Since smartphones can do almost everything today, they can be used as Qur’an as well. Therefore, we use them to lead or follow the Imām in prayers.

The concern some have regarding this is not about using the smartphone when reading Quran during tarāwīḥ prayers, but about our attitude toward the device when we use it during the prayer. Conditions for holding a Qur’an in prayers are that you should be able to treat the Qur’an with respect, minimize your movement during the prayer and remain mentally focused  (kushū‘). See How to Focus and Attain Khushu’ in Solat.

Therefore, it is advisable that if we want to follow the Imām, that printed copies of the Qur’an be used. Doing so has less distractions. If one, however, thinks they must use their smartphones as Qur’an, they should observe the following:

  1. One must use the smartphone only as Qur’an during the prayer. To do so, they must set the phone to airplane mode, so that no calls or messages and other notifications come in during the prayers.
  2. One should also set their phone in to silent mode so that no sounds will play during the prayer. Sounds may play, even when the phone is turned to airplane mode–some applications that don’t require the Internet may still send you notifications.
  3. Know that you are only allowed to do some specific readings (of the Qur’an) and supplications in your prayer. This means, reading WhatsApp and Facebook messages during the prayer nullifies your prayer.

Why Do You Need to Hold the Qur’an?

To learn? To follow and stay focused with the Imām? For other reasons?

We have several excuses behind us holding the Qur’an during prayers. The only legitimate excuse that allows us to hold the Qur’an during prayers are probably two:

  1. The Imām needs to read from pages he can’t recall by heart. (See this article.)
  2. You, the Ma’mūm, want to follow the Imām in order focus on what is being recited, and not feel sleepy or be in a state of mental distraction.

Wanting to learn the Qur’an is not a valid reason for holding the Qur’an during prayers. We learn the Qur’an by sitting with our Qur’an teachers, reading to them and allowing them to correct our mistakes accordingly. We don’t learn the Qur’an by standing behind the Imām and following his recitation. Furthermore, tarāwīḥ, likewise any ṣalāh, is for praying, not learning.

Other reasons for holding the Qur’an behind the Imām are more than likely suitable to be addressed outside ṣalāh.

Prayer Times Should Be for Healing from Addiction

The use of smartphones can be addicting. It falls under the umbrella of technology addiction. Psychology Today states that studies have shown that “41 percent of Britons feel anxious and not in control when detached from their smartphone or tablet.” Meanwhile, “51 percent admitted to suffering from extreme tech anxiety at one time or another.” It goes on to add, that a poll by SecureEnvy published that “70 percent of women have phone separation anxiety, as opposed to 61 percent of men.”

The Psychology Today‘s article was published in 2013. By now, these figures must have increased significantly.  If these statistics are to be generalized, it means that more than 50 percent of mosque-goers suffer from some degrees of depression resulted from the technology separation anxiety. (The other obvious sources of depression which Muslims are suffering from are not discussed here.)

The good news is reading or listing to the Qur’an as well as praying are among the most effective means for stress relief. It is therefore wise to leave your smartphones in your car, if not at home when we come to the mosque for tarāwīḥ, as well as for any prayers. Hopefully, by the time we return to our beloved toys–our smartphones–our anxiety will be healed by the power of the Qur’an, inshā Allah.

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Allah knows best.
Allahu Hafiz 🙂