We live in an era where digital communication has pervaded every sphere of our existence. We first had the personal computer that changed our life as we knew it. Then came along the cell phones that transformed the way we communicated with each other. And finally the smart phones that enabled us to do most of the things that the PC and the cell phone did by just using one single device. Smart phones not only act as telephones but also as a mobile internet, a games console and provide a host of applications that have virtually brought the world to our handset.
Has the smart phone made us smarter? Do we control the smart phone or does the smart phone control us?
Social Impact: People are hooked to their technological devices while at work, while walking, driving, running, eating, and even whilst relaxing. People very often are physically present with others in a gathering yet socially absent because they are ‘connected’ elsewhere. This ability to be elsewhere at any point in time allows people to simply sidestep what is difficult and hard in a personal relationship and escape to a ‘place of safety.’ People addicted to their phones tend to be anti- social as they give precedence to people who not present over people we are with them. How many people do you see, head down plugged to some sort of mobile device? How often do you see people completely detached from their immediate environment, searching, tweeting, scrolling and typing away feverishly totally out of tune from everything else around them?
Twitter Revolution: Information supplied by social networking websites has played an important role during modern-day activism, specifically in the Arab Spring. Social networking played a crucial role, as a key tool in highlighting oppression and driving people to agitate against tyrannical and unjust regimes. It helped create an alternate network that united people, gave vital information to them and led to the overthrow of decade old regimes.
Educational Impact: Schools are starting to capitalize on the technology students love to use, including smartphones, tablets, and other personal devices. The acquisition of knowledge is fast moving away from person to person transmission to transmission via the digital world. This has led to access to instant information…information that may be credible or unreliable. It has decreased the influence of teachers and scholars and diminished the use of libraries. It has also negatively impacted on our ability to spell correctly and think effectively, because we are becoming too reliant on artificial intelligence. We are giving up more and more opportunities to use our own brains and intelligence to carry us through the day.
Muslim Consumption: A survey by Ipsos, a market-research firm, found that rich Muslim-majority countries boast some of world’s highest rates of smartphone penetration, with the United Arab Emirates ahead at 61%. But even in poorer Muslim lands adoption is respectable: 26% in Egypt, not much below Germany’s 29%. More than a third of people in the Middle East now use the internet, slightly above the world average. Muslims use their gadgets in much the same way as everyone else: they text, they use social networks, they buy online. Many smartphone apps cater to religious needs. Some show salaah times, location of masaajid, provide text and audio versions of the Quran and Hadith.
Islam not averse to Technology: Technology should be for doing good things in better ways. Muslim history abounds with examples of scientific and cultural ingenuity. Muslim scholarship made a vital contribution to the enrichment and advancement of human civilization. While Europe was still in the dark ages, religious Muslims were making great advances in the fields of medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, literature, and history documentation to mention but a few. Sophisticated instruments, as well as good navigational maps, were first developed by Muslims.
• Give priority to those who are with you:
Listen intently when you are with friends, family members and co -workers. When you constantly check messages, you send the message that other people and things are more important to you
• Digital rudeness:
Smart phones should not absolve us of good manners. Manners are not out of fashion as yet
A smart phone is not a license to spread rumour or to slander. Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you
• Vanity machine:
Nor is it a device meant to mirror our ego via vain personal profiles. The only nice thing about our ego is that it does not allow us to talk about other people.
“Do not be like those who forgot Allah, so Allah made them forget themselves.” (59:19)
How do you forget yourself?
You forget yourself by being unable to stay away from that which is harmful nor are you able to embrace that which is beneficial. We forget ourselves when we feed our desires and not our souls…when you are pre occupied with our physical selves instead of our spirit. When we find hours of joy in ‘play’ and not in ‘pray’…when we feel a greater sense of fulfilment connected to our gadget compared to being connected with our Creator.
Allah is undoubtedly the best companion for us.