Breach of data and questions on technology’s advancement
Last week can be called the ‘week of revelation’ for Muslims worldwide. A week of tension and breach of trust also. After the investigation revealed that U.S special operations command has been purchasing data harvested from a popular Muslim prayer and Quran app, the Muslim ummah experienced a blow on their belief. Now a lot of criticism of technology and the internet has surfaced on this breach of data . Let’s analyze the matter logically.
Islamic view on data breach
Islam gives a lot of importance to the basic human right to privacy. Our Prophet has even instructed that one should not enter even his own house surreptitiously. Some verses of the Holy Quran give enough pieces of evidence,
‘Do not spy on one another’ [49:12]
This has been clarified by Almighty Allah in Surah An-Nur, verse 27:
“O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants. That is best for you; perhaps you will be reminded” [24: 27].
Therefore, a breach of data is more than a violation of privacy. It can be considered as relentless psychological and social violence that Muslims face every day! It is evidence of Islamophobia in various parts of the world, especially in the US. We are peaceful people, we believe in our Allah and his teachings. This kind of incident is nothing but a great insult to our existence.
Moreover, this can be a reminder of Capitalism’s ability to commodify everything! Even a pious duaa making can be easily profited by some big shot companies. Nothing is private and personal now. This breach of data shows thoughts, emotions, beliefs even our sacred relationships are now displayed in digital media which is owned by profit-mongers!
But do we really think the technology is unsafe given there is breach of data?
Amina is a forgetful young woman, but her android phone notification reminds her of fasting times depending on the location.
Rahim travels a lot. Every time he gets ready for Namaz, an app on his smartphone shows him the right direction to start his prayers.
These are all possible because the internet and technology are now at our fingertips. Muslims have embraced technology like the rest of the world. With full faith, they have supported the advancement of it, trusted it, and started to depend on it. Hence the data breaching incident is very much unfortunate and unwelcoming.
However, the internet and technology has some positive sides:
Technology is a tool, it is not thoughtful or intelligent like a human being. It is actually a combination of programming languages written by several software people. Therefore, it is important to focus on the usage of technology. A technology that is beneficial to humankind can turn into a war-machine if the reaches the wrong hand. Remember, the defaulter is not the technology itself, but the human mind controlling and using it. Let us focus on some positive sides of the internet and technology-
1. Strengthening of faith:
The Internet has connected the worldwide Muslims in a deeply religious and social bond. You can easily discuss Quran with a fellow Muslim living almost 1000 miles away. You can easily find the direction of Qibla and nearby mosques. One can connect to like-minded people, share a part of life with them. Technology has helped Muslim women to become economically independent. Now they can work from home using a laptop, smartphone, some software, and a strong internet connection without worrying about their purdahs. Hence, technology has helped Islam to be modern maintaining its own usuls and regulations.
2. Preventing violence:
We all argue that unsupervised use of the internet amongst kids in unhealthy. It can cause a lot of harm, be it psychological or sexual. This is a true statement. At the same time, the internet sometimes really helps to prevent violence! Be it in your own home or in your country. Internet is a medium where you can actually ask for help. At the same time, you can build your own security system.
For example, a Syrian man built a system called Aymta. This was meant to alert residents of a particular area when a missile was being hurled in their direction so as to give them enough time to flee. Aymta saved and is saving a lot of lives.
A quick bite for thought, from where do you came to know about the US-data breach news? The Internet came in handy, right?
3. Helping fellow Muslims:
Trust me, the internet can be a wonderful place to help you fellow Muslim brother. For example, a pious Muslim has started a business. You came across his advertisement on the internet and you decided to help. This way, little bits of help gathered to make his business sustainable enough.
This brings us to the conclusion that the advancement of technology can be tweaked as a boon for Islam. You don’t give in or become the slave of it. Instead, you control it on your own accord. We should start paying attention to this more as this is the way to build more sustainable technology.