Personal Narratives

The iPod Complex

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I walk into the Masjid and meet two youth (only a year or two younger than me). While waiting for our class to begin, I take out my iPod Touch to read some Qur’an.

However, one of the two kids eagerly asks if he could see it, pretty please.

I allow him. He, along with most of the other youth, finds it weird that my iPod doesn’t have a pass code on it. I don’t feel my iPod contents needs to be hidden. I try to live my life correctly and justify my actions (I know they can’t be hidden from Allah, so what do I care what anyone, but Him, thinks of me?)

So, he gets over that and continues browsing my app(lication)s. Then, he comes to Music. The other of the two youth quickly quips “He doesn’t have music.” Apparently, as an older, somewhat role model type, they have this idealist image of me.

The kid clicks on the app, and finds over 500 songs. Pure amazement. What even hits him harder is when he looks through the list; strangely, he doesn’t know a single piece of audio on my iPod. Granted, he disregards about 114 “songs” beginning with “Al-” that were Qur’anic surahs (and a large set more were a couple lectures’ series). But, I do have nasheeds and songs from Islamic artists on there.

The kid searches through and through, remarking to me, “You have absolutely no songs on here at all.”

I correct him – “No mainstream, non-Muslim, or unIslamic songs.”

The point is that the Muslim youth need to see that being “religious” (like I guess they percieve me, as I strive to be) does not entail one alienating themselves from all affairs of this world (ex, creative arts, sports, or any other worldly outlet). And if you’re not this image of being “religious”, then you just keep a Muslim name and engage completely into listening to (nonbeneficial or excessive) music, dating and other societal norms. The true moderate Muslim always lies somewhere in the middle.

The iPod is a complex that I feel represents an individual.

  • If an iPod touch is jail-broken (hacked to add custom features and gain free applications that otherwise would cost money), I think that individual felt restricted or trapped and needed to break free.
  • An iPod with a pass code belongs to someone with something to hide. Beware of this as a sin “is that which wavers in your soul and which you dislike people finding out about.” (An-Nawawi 40 Hadith, #26) (Muslim)
  • An iPod filled with Qur’an and lectures may represent a student of knowledge while an iPod with the latest releases from (insert artist name here) may not be so much into Islamic knowledge.
  • An iPod with dozens of useless games could speak of a person’s maturity while another’s featuring ebooks and notes show for a studious person.

I feel I’ve found a balance that I hope to keep improving on.

Now, as this is a blog primarily for the youth, I know that most of the readers have iPods or mp3 players. Comment with your thoughts on this iPod Complex theory and if it holds true (or untrue) for you.

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Born and raised in sunny South Florida, Jawaad grew up in an environment of creative expression. Having performed spoken word poetry, written short stories and essays, and created a variety of videos, he joined Muslim Youth Musings as a means of experimenting with his expression, but also to facilitate his fellow young Muslims to express themselves as well. After graduating with a film degree from the University of Miami, he went on to study Islam and the Arabic language at various institutes, and currently, he works to develop creative projects in the field of religious education.