x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Spreading the message of love: sermon

The Friday sermon will focus on social duties towards both loved ones and strangers.

DUBAI // Muslims should take care to recognise their social duties towards those closest to them and to strangers, today's sermon says.

Imams will be reminding worshippers about the importance of visiting the sick, checking up on neighbours, and strengthening the social bond in general.

The Prophet Mohammed said: "A Muslim visiting his sick brother will continue to be in the harvest of paradise until he or she returns home."

The sermon goes on to highlight that in the age of modern tools such as phones and social media, there is "no excuse" for not keeping in touch and asking about the well-being of a relative or friend.

"If you are too busy or too far away to visit your loved ones, neighbours or friends, then use whatever social tools you have to make a connection," says the sermon, entitled Social Connection.

Believers had different views on social media and mobile phones, with some using it for the purposes called for by the sermon. "Social media like Facebook is great," said Fatima Mahfouz, 26, an Emirati housewife. "We can keep in touch with people who are far away, and find out about their latest news, if they got married or had a baby, with the click of a button."

Others felt that in some ways, the widespread connectivity has made it more difficult to perform social duties. "Social media has actually made people right next to you far away," said Fatima Shbeeb, a 30-year-old Emirati. "They just send messages instead of calls. Everything is electronic and digital, no feeling put into it."

If someone is sick they get a text instead of a visit, she said. "Phones and social media should be the last resort, not the first," she added.

A second, shorter sermon focuses on the danger of drugs and addiction. It reminds the faithful to help anyone who has "befallen this road of destruction".

rghazal@thenational.ae