09-11-2006, 11:00 PM
HARMS & BENEFITS OF THE INTERNET
by Aslam Patel
Undoubtedly, the internet (or just the ‘net’ as it is known) is a Bounty of Allah ta‘aalaa, which has dramatically changed our ability to communicate with each other. Although developed initially as a link between the military, the ‘Net’ now has millions of computer users all over the world. We are now witnessing such a communication revolution, whereby different strands of technology are starting to converge, and soon television, telephones, videos and computers will merge to become one technology.
Like all bounties, Islaam specifies limits and encourages a degree of moderation:
‘These are the limits specified by Allah, and whosoever transgresses these limits harms his own soul.’
(Glorious Qur’aan 65:1)
And (the Servants of Allah) are those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes).
(Glorious Qur’aan 25:67)
Correct usage, will bring, inshaa’allah, both worldly and Deeni benefits. Misuse will bring within its wake various types of harms and disasters both in this world and the Hereafter.
Our ‘ulamaa have long outlined the harms and total prohibition of TV, lewdness, music, violence, obscenity and pornographic filth. These have all been categorized as evil products. Even social experts from amongst the non-Muslims now attribute these vices to the amoral and promiscuous ills within modern society.
Although the ‘Net’ is a recent development with many benefits, feedback to its blind and unsupervised usage amongst western Muslim youth, both at home and their places of study, suggests the need to offer some guidelines to Muslim parents and teachers:
1. As the Internet and computer are linked, so is the naive notion that everything displayed within is educational and tools for learning. Reality is much different. It is also one big advertising hoard. There have been cases of children ordering ‘goodies’ (without parental knowledge) and faking payments by tapping in false credit card details!
2. The Sharee‘ah has specified rules or limits of communication between genders. Just as it is haraam for non-mahram men and women to view, speak or write to each other without a valid Shar‘ee cause, similar is the ruling on communicating on the Internet.
3. ‘Dating’ is a curse freely practised upon the ‘Net’ and by e-mail. Remember that communicating with a non-mahram before nikaah is haraam: notwithstanding the foolish excuse presented by some Muslim youth of discussing with and propagating Islaam to non-mahram women!
4. Material of haraam pornographic nature on the ‘Net,’ on CD’s, floppies, etc., is freely available and youth are accessing such evil filth. Parents should strictly censor what their juniors view.
5. It is haraam to view movies, cartoons, news, sporting events, etc. on the Net just as it is on TV.
6. Viewing and playing animated games. This is so epidemic that probably no computer is considered complete without its array of games software. Muslim students at school and even Madrasah discuss and exchange such animated games to the detriment of both Deeni education and secular studies. There are also serious health problems associated with over-indulgence in computer games; a fact conveniently under-mentioned by computer and games software manufacturers.
The above advices are not an attempt to undermine the worth and achievements made possible by the Internet. It is merely a humble attempt to draw attention to some of the harms and encourage Muslims to make use of such medium in a truly constructive and educational manner. All around us, developments are taking place that are dramatically affecting our lives. Unless we become aware and realise the harms and effects of the evils around us, (which we subconsciously absorb day and night) and rectify ourselves now, it will become extremely difficult, rather impossible, in future, to extricate ourselves from the clutches of Shaytaan. Remember! Allah ta‘aalaa has created technology to serve the human beings who have been termed as the Ashraful Makhlooqaat (the best of all creations) who in turn are required to serve their Creator during their temporary stay in this world. May Allah ta‘aalaa grant all of us the tawfeeq to follow His Deen in its entirety.
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