Internet for Muslims: is it a foe or a friend?
The Internet is certainly a wonderful friend if you build a healthy relationship with it.
There is a multitude of benefits to gain from using the internet in the right way and right place.
I would be amazed if there is anyone who doesn’t use the Internet in their everyday life. Think about it. You wake up in the morning. As you prepare for work or the school run, you listen to the online radio on your phone which connects to the speakers via Bluetooth. You may even be surprised to learn that your satellite TV works through an Internet connection rather than an aerial these days.
Today our life is closely interwoven with the Internet. It is vital for us to understand this and retain control of our dependency on it rather than allowing it to control us.
The Internet is a man-made cyber world. This cyber world effectively serves as another living space for some people. In one way or another they create a life in that world. This may sound like an exaggeration but it is indeed the case.
While it is true that harmful screen time consumes the lives of many, we must not forget that many professionals or freelancers deliver their work or services through internet at a global level. The Internet is a highly powerful tool among researchers regardless of their background or field. Search engines generate plenty of informative material within fractions of a second! This magic has enabled the ‘impossible to be possible’, with the amount of knowledge flowing out among our fingers on the keyboards.
Many Islamic universities or higher education institutions actively promote distance learning through the Internet to encourage Muslims or non-Muslims to adopt Islamic values by seeking knowledge of life as instructed by Prophet Muhammad in a hadith:
“Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make a path to Paradise easy for him.” (Bukhari)
This hadith shows that in addition to the satiation of the spirit of knowledge, the pursuit of knowledge also comes with the pavement to Paradise. Now this hadith can be interpreted in two ways. Firstly, it is clear that those who seek knowledge are blessed by Allah Almighty. Secondly, when a person strives to attain knowledge they learn how to differentiate between right and wrong, therefore discovering the pathway to Paradise.
Distance learning or online learning through the Internet provides numerous benefits to Muslims. Working adults, retired people, full-time mum or youth who could not physically attend school can learn subjects of their choice at their own pace as long as they have a computer and Internet access at home. What a wonderful idea it is to be able to continue learning and pursue knowledge, unrestricted by age.
The Internet is certainly a friend to Muslims, a good friend indeed if you build a health relationship with it. Allah Almighty with His wisdom gave us the ability to learn and seeking knowledge in life, which allows us to become wiser and be able to differentiate between right and wrong. This wisdom enables a Muslim to retain control in their use of the Internet despite it being another world filled with countless temptations for us.