Why Should I Attend at an Islamic Center when I can just Watch YouTube lectures?

So these days a lot of our youth who do not come to religious institutions or programs they tell you if I want the Islamic knowledge Allah has given me YouTube, all I need to do is sleep on my couch. I do not even need a laptop, just turn on my smartphone and get the lecture that that I want. So why should I go to the Masjid? Why should I go to the Husayniyyah when I can get it through YouTube? It is the age of YouTube and YouTubers, right? How many thousands of YouTubers do we have these days? They are making money just by sitting in front of the camera and saying something to people.

So the question is, does YouTube or the Internet replace participation in a religious organization? Whether it is a mosque, Husayniyyah or community center or not? I will share with you my perspective. Yes, Al-hamduli-Llah in this age it is really fascinating that knowledge is so easily accessible. Back then, my dear brothers and sisters, you had to travel sometimes days and weeks to get one source of knowledge especially for the followers of Ahl ul-Bayt because there was so much persecution. Today everything is accessible for you today, there is no book that is censored, you can read anything.

For over a thousand years our books were censored. Yes, even our normal hadiths [narrations] were censored in a lot of societies. There was a lot of persecution. Al-hamduli-Llah today knowledge is accessible any topic you want you can look it up and see an experienced speaker who is talking about it. But does that replace my participation in a religious organization? I will tell you my response- it does not. Why? I will share with you two reasons.

Number one, my dear brothers and sisters. We human beings, we need face to face human interaction. Today, one of the negative consequences of technology, is that we are doing most of our transactions, interactions with these devices. This is making our new generation lonelier and more prone to depression. You need face to face interaction. We are human social beings and it is unhealthy for you to replace that with devices.

So many studies have been made today on people who struggle with loneliness and depression, because they spend too much time on these devices. Sometimes some people, when you look at their network of friends on Facebook, they have 2000 friends. Okay, that is nice. But ask them how many of those friends are real friends? Friends who you can really count on, friends whom you can really trust, friends who you can really benefit from they will be there for your life. You will find not many, just a few, if there is any of them. See, technology cannot replace real human interaction my dear brothers and sisters.

Now we have to always make sure that in our regular schedule once a week, once a month, sometimes a few times a week you are actually meeting other brothers and sisters in society. That is not something you can get from YouTube. Yes, YouTube gives you the lecture, the knowledge. But what about the experience?

The experience of coming, meeting other people? You know how healthy that is for your mental health, for your psychological health, to meet others in society, to see them. It makes you feel good. If you are down, you are depressed, you are struggling and you come here and you meet someone else, you say Salaam, you talk about something that helps you with your depression.

And remember, there are always people who have experience, people who come to these centers. You can learn from their experience, you can seek advice from them. If you are struggling with your academics at school, at work, it is an area where others who have more experience than you, they can share their valuable experience. That is not something you can get from YouTube, my dear brothers and sisters.

So remember the first point, technology cannot replace actual human interaction. You need that in your life, that is number one.

Number two, sometimes, my dear brothers and sisters, the Majlis has the presence of Ahl ul-Bayt in it. I have a lot of stories here to share, but you have heard about many of these stories. When a Majlis is dedicated for Abi 'Abdillah al-Husayn, the blessings of the soul of Aba 'Abdillah is present in that Majlis. When you go there, you get a different experience than just sitting behind the screen. That is not something you can get on to on YouTube, my dear brothers and sisters. Keep that in mind.

Yes, there are some people, they do not have a masjid near them, next to them, of course, this is their way of seeking knowledge. Perfect. But if in your community, in your city there is a community center, there are spiritual and social benefits you cannot get from YouTube. So I always encourage my youth, our beloved youth, to do come, to participate. There are advantages to actual participation than YouTube.

Another advantage is that you get to ask questions, right? Often times, if you have a question on your mind, YouTube is not going to answer your question, is it? But when you come, there is someone who knows more than you, whether it is a community member, an elder, an educated youth, a scholar, and you have questions you can ask. That is an opportunity YouTube cannot give you.

Therefore, do not ever think that YouTube or social media or technology can replace actual human interaction, that must be a regular part of your life. Yes, YouTube is a supplement. Sometimes you do not have enough time to attend every program you go to YouTube. That is healthy, that is good, but do not eliminate the actual human interaction!