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Technology – the good , the bad and the ugly

An Islamic perspective…

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It takes just a few easy gestures and you have shared or posted something to the globe..

What you just shared or posted could be something good and productive , to someone else’s benefit in this life and the hereafter and multiplying your rewards.

or

What you shared or posted could have been something wrong, compromising yourself and others , and magnifying sin.

But..how many of us are really able to distinguish between using technology for good or bad , what is acceptable or unacceptable?

This is the what we can refer to as an ugly part of technology – the uncertain bits (bytes or megabytes).

Coming from a background of growing up without technology and having a solid foundation of madressa education has really helped put most of us in a position of understanding limits and being able to draw the line. We experienced life with and without technology, and were able to determine clearly the good from bad.

Alhamdulillah, and shukr to the previous generations for building the structures, and to the ulama for allowing us these opportunities to learn.. 

It was a time, when Google had no relevance to life – finding a meaning of a word, researching a topic or answer meant asking your Teacher, Parent, Moulana or Apa, someone qualified within their field of knowledge or opening an encyclopaedia or dictionary (younger generation might need to google what these 2 are)

Reading and writing was mostly done on paper and not swipes over a high resolution screen.

The only screen we ever knew was the shaytaan box..

Coming from this unique position, holds some sort of responsibility..We’re able to tell the difference compared to a younger generation – who are born directly into the technology age.

Life back then was… uncomplicated and simple.

We were in no rush to post, like or follow at every given moment or event. Our first mobile phone was only received after matric, and that too a black and white or blue screen, that was sms and call enabled, with some gprs (the good old days)

Tracking backward to the late 90’s  – technology and its advent was still quite manageable and computers were assisting mankind to execute tasks on a daily basis.. the equilibrium was almost perfect, man and machine were able to synch harmoniously, to mans benefit. Checks and limits were in place. The internet was a mere 56k/bit connection over a copper cable, which was barely enough to enable the download of a picture comfortably.

With the new millennium, a drastic change occurred, network bandwidths began to grow and the internet age sparked a major shift. Mobile devices became order of the day..

A turning point in our days ..as we look back now..

From here on ..the battle between good vs. bad on the information and technology ground was recognised..and a shift towards machine dependance and dominance.

The internet can be placed at the centre point of all, it can either resourceful or destructive.

For the generation that would witness this shift it brought great concerns. In specific for those working within the technology fraternity, it has and still brings greater worries…with every advance.

This, is the sense of responsibility to create an awareness of what is out there, and what our young innocent future will need to contend with.

Not to frighten the average parent reading this..but familiarise yourself with technologies like VR(Virtual Reality), AR(Augmented Reality) and AI(Artificial Intelligence). These are new growing technologies in which the youth have started loosing the fabric of reality, and will continue to have direct impact on our youth, of which they will be exposed to. Get to know what these mind boggling technologies are capable of, and how and when not to allow or limit. These such technologies give one a sense of being someone else, somewhere else. Listen to lectures on the Metaverse and these topics by Moulana Ridwaan Kajee for more insight.

Your family members most likely are already active on Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, be well aware what these platforms are all about, its privacy policies and the other subtle dangers these platforms possess. The suggested pages, friends or searches, the random friend requests and follows on Facebook/Instagram. The un-islamic live feeds on Instagram that are presented “in your face”.

Know when to draw the lines, some of these lines will be very fine lines. 

Netflix is the shaytaan box, just in 21st century form. There is much good on YouTube, but once again whether it outweighs the bad is somewhat debatable, its unrelated and relentless ads and other recommended videos that are often un-islamic content.

Similar applies to new kid on the block – TikTok, and as its name suggests, is hours of time ticking away mostly to no benefit. You might be watching an islamic video uploaded by someone, only to realise the next video that loads automatically is something more random and diverting one away towards sin and un-islamic content. 

We find ourselves in the age of so-called “Influencers” with professions such as “YouTubers” and “Gamers” very apparent. With every fresh technology emerging, check how involved are your family members with it. These are often sugar wrapped, with elements of vice and kufr lurking in the hidden corners. These hidden corners appear in games, videos, websites and within circles of social platforms.

There seems no apparent slow down or halt on the growth of technology, as it serves to benefit mankind on many levels, and the very existence of technology is but a creation of Almighty Allah and through his will and power. 

But..

Each of us have greater responsibility of how we utilise technology within the limits of Islamic teachings..for us to be a technology Shepard over our families..  

In conclusion, get connected to platforms or groups that you and our youth can engage for deeni or community benefit.. stay away from browsing around timelessly on the internet and non-islamic social platforms, the barakah in your time will return and the possibility of falling into a sin will be avoided. You don’t need to have your phone in your hand and engage in it at every given moment, maintain a balanced and moderate approach. Use it don’t abuse it.

Most importantly, be aware of the ugly side of technology, what seems good or ok at first on the outside, but is mixed with poison under thick layers of makeup.

May Allah guide and protect us all.. Aameen