Sharp Edge of Technology

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A knife is an extremely useful tool. No home can do without one. Some knives are very much sharper and more delicate than others. They are used for much more intricate and sensitive tasks, such as slaughtering an ox. Despite a knife being such a useful item, a child is never allowed to handle it. Even adults handle a super-sharp slaughtering knife with extreme caution. Why? Simply because of the associated dangers. The more sophisticated the knife, the more dangerous it is. Yet, its benefits cannot be denied.

DESTRUCTION

Much of modern technology is similar to a knife – albeit an extremely sharp knife.  If one carelessly handles a steel knife, one could lose a limb or even one’s life. Careless use of modern technology could lead to the destruction of adab (respect) and hayaa (shame), the break-up of marriages and even loss of Imaan – Allah forbid!

 

While every sane adult handles even a moderately sharp knife with extra caution, and never allows his child to play with one, the razor-sharp knife of technology is handled with little or no caution by most people and has become a toy in the hand of almost every child. The resultant havoc is clear as daylight – for those who care to see. 

ADDICTION

Among the sharpest knives of technology in the hands of almost every person are the cellular phone and the internet. Due to these items being used without caution and due to placing them in the hands of childen, evils which seemed far-fetched even a decade or two ago have become widespread. The worst filth can be seen at the press of a button – and that button is in the hand of almost every youngster and adult. Numerous people – young and old – have sought assistance from Ulama and social workers to overcome the addiction to “chat-rooms,” “mxit” and other immoral filth available on the internet and through mobile phones. Those who access immoral sites often become addicted to viewing such material and experience an ever growing crave for worse filth, eventually leading to the destruction of this world and the Hereafter. Most youngsters who were spoken to by Ulama, teachers and social workers admit that they have been to immoral websites or on “mxit” and other chat-rooms for haraam purposes. Marriages have ended up in divorce when one of the spouses was entrapped in “mxit” and other similar chat lines. Teenage girls have eloped or secretly married strangers twice their age after a brief  liason on mxit or internet chat rooms. At times, innocent people have become the victims of suspicion and slander due to this very device. Similarly, te daggers are all out on the internet. Apart from all the immoral filth easily accessible on the net, many people fall prey to the extremely destructive anti-Islamic literature on websites. Yet, we would perhaps be much more worried or concerned if our child held a butter-knife. The razor-sharp knife of technology in our child’s hands generally evokes little or no concern.
 

It is time to stop and take notice. It is time to learn from the lesson of crying parents, heart-broken husbands/wives who have been abandoned by their spouses and youngsters who plead for help to overcome their “addiction”. Thus it is time to take steps to protect ourselves and our families from being swept away by these fitnas, Allah forbid, and from being stabbed in the back by modern technology.
 

THE INTERNET

As already discussed, the internet has many benefits. Unlike the television which will certainly involve the viewer in haraam, the internet can be used in a way which does not necessarily involve one in any violation of Deen. However, it is an extremely sharp two-edged sword. If there is no genuine need for it, it is best not to have it at all. If one does have it, it should be securely “under lock and key”. Some suggestions in this regard are:

  • Children must never be allowed on the internet except under direct parental supervision.
  • The computer should always be in an open general place – not in the privacy of anyone’s room.
  • Software which prevent the viewing of inappropriate sites should be installed. While this helps in some little way, it is hardly effective. Numerous sites which are totally haraam in Shariah will not be deemed inappropriate by the manufacturers of the software.
  • The password to use the internet should be known to the parent only.
  • The internet should only be used when searching for something, such as material for school work or other research. Do not idly surf the internet as a pastime.

THE CELL-PHONE
 
Despite its great benefits, the cellular phone is arguably the biggest fitna tool in our times. It is like the Swiss knife which has several blades and sharp instruments tucked under its casing. The difference here is that all the blades and instruments are open, ever ready to cut and maim.  Yet it has become the first choice for a gift or as reward for a good pass or merely to make the child happy. This is indeed dangerous. Some suggestions to protect ourselves and our families from this fitna are:
A child does not need a phone. A teenager does not need a phone. It may sound absurd or seem like advice that is applicable to the camel ages, not the twentieth century. Nevertheless, it is advice to save us from crying when it will be too late to cry. Ask those who have already learnt the hard way. (May Allah Ta’ala save us all. Aameen.)

On the rare occasions that a child needs to have the use of a phone for a genuine reason, a phone could be lent to him for that time only. Remember, the blades are wide open.

For those who need to have a phone, try to have a phone with the basic functions only. Unless necessary for one’s work, totally avoid any functions which enable one to go on-line to any sites. Disable such functions on one’s phone.

Do NOT circulate gossip or immoral material via SMS. Instead send an SMS to all your associates asking them not to forward to you any gossip or rude and immoral text messages.
     
Remember, most children know more than their parents about cell-phones and other technology. In fact many parents rely on their children to teach them about many features on their phones or to help them surf the internet for something necessary. Hence children often easily hide what they want and make parents believe that all is well. Therefore we cannot afford to take chances. Have we not heard that it is better to be safe than sorry?
      May Allah Ta’ala protect the Ummah from all fitnas and safeguard our Imaan, akhlaaq (good character) and hayaa. Aameen.
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