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The internet is used by a massive number of people in the world. It is easily accessible, and its influence on society is immense. It is not only available to people who are wealthy or live in a particular location. Anyone who possesses a smartphone or other device that can access the internet can use it.
In many ways, the internet is a double-edged sword. We can gain an immense number of benefits from the internet. There are also numerous downsides to using the internet. We can, however, benefit from the internet while avoiding the detrimental aspects of it. In order to achieve this, one needs to be familiar with all its pros and cons.
Additionally, we, as Muslims, need to be aware of how the internet impacts Muslim society from an Islamic perspective. Ultimately, the internet can be a force for good or evil. It all depends on how one chooses to use it. We shall now examine the advantages and disadvantages of the internet for Muslims.
Advantage #1: The internet is an excellent source of knowledge
There is an abundance of sources of learning on the internet. Since it is accessible to people all around the world, the internet is a terrific source of knowledge. The internet contains many free resources for those who want to learn something. Muslims can gain in-depth knowledge of Islam from the various Islamic websites that convey its authentic teachings. We must, however, take care only to take Islamic knowledge from trustworthy sources online. We should take care to avoid websites and other online sources that distort the teachings of Islam.
The internet can be particularly helpful for Muslim reverts who are seeking knowledge of Islam. Moreover, Muslims who reside in non-Muslim countries might find it challenging to access Islamic material. They can overcome this obstacle by utilizing the internet to acquire Islamic knowledge. It is also possible to take online courses for Islamic Studies. Doing so helps us study the religion in a more comprehensive manner. Moreover, it enables us to increase our knowledge of Islam and share it with others.
The internet is also a good source of general learning. Therefore, Muslims can use it to acquire general life skills. These life skills can help them earn a Halal living and provide for their families. There is plenty of relevant content available online for Muslims who want to pick up new skills and increase their options for earning a Halal income.
Advantage #2: It is useful for spreading beneficial content
Muslims can take advantage of the open nature of the internet by using it for the noble purpose of spreading Islam. For example, one can write Islamic articles for a blog and spread the true teachings of the religion. In addition, social media can be a superb outlet for believers to share Islamic knowledge with others.
We can utilize social media to share Islamic reminders for our fellow believers. Muslims can also communicate with non-Muslims on social media to invite them to Islam and show them the real teachings of the religion. Doing so is particularly essential in today’s climate of hostility to Islam, as Muslims get the opportunity to debunk all the myths and propaganda that is spread by the enemies of Islam.
Advantage #3: The internet enables us to stay connected
Whether it is with family members, friends, or colleagues, the internet is something through which we can remain connected, even if we are living far apart. It helps us stay in touch with our loved ones at all times and prevents a lack of communication that can negatively impact relationships and spoil the harmony that exists between people. Moreover, we can befriend and stay in touch with righteous people. Keeping good company online can help believers remain steadfast in their faith.
Advantage #4: It can be used for noble causes and helping people
There are plenty of ways in which people can donate to charitable causes online. Charity is something that is very strongly encouraged in Islam, and believers have many opportunities to give charity on the internet and earn Allah’s pleasure. Muslims can also use the internet to promote activities that aid the vulnerable segments of society.
We can raise awareness of the plight of fellow Muslims in stricken countries like Syria and encourage believers to give donations that will help their suffering brothers and sisters. Furthermore, people who are going through tough times can be assisted through fundraisers. Thus, the internet can play a positive role in the lives of people who are struggling.
Disadvantage #1: Addiction to the internet negatively affects Muslims
Excessive usage of the internet often leads to addiction. Addiction to the internet can have an adverse effect on one’s personal life. Addiction is a particularly pressing issue in the case of teenagers who get addicted to social media. Internet addictions can be severe enough to take over a person’s life and negatively impact their adherence to their religion. For example, one can become so addicted to the internet that he spends long hours on it and ignores or forgets about his obligatory prayers.
Moreover, it can spoil one’s family life, as his internet addiction may affect his relationships. If a person spends too much time on the internet, and all his interactions are online, he starts neglecting the people around him due to the internet being the main attraction for him. Hence, people can often be seen sitting beside others but using their smartphones rather than interacting with those who are next to them. Such antisocial behavior is unhealthy for society.
Internet addiction also wastes people’s time and reduces their productivity. It causes procrastination, so people end up spending time surfing the internet when they should be doing other tasks and duties. It can also make them slack off in their education, job, etc. Muslims should not be using the internet excessively and neglecting their religious obligations, studies, and worldly responsibilities.
Disadvantage #2: Inappropriate content is widespread
The internet makes all sorts of indecent, obscene, and pornographic content readily available. Since people from all over the world, with all kinds of beliefs and lifestyles are using the internet and posting all sorts of content on it, there is no shortage of vulgarity to be found online, whether it is on social media sites, video hosting sites, etc. Vulgar content is among the greatest drawbacks of using the internet and something that Muslims have to avoid carefully.
Social media websites are some of the most commonly used platforms on the internet, and Muslims have to be careful to only interact with and follow people who do not post or share inappropriate content that goes against Islamic principles. Inappropriate content that exists online can harm people’s faith and cause them to follow their evil desires, which will please Satan and displease Allah.
Parents should take special care not to allow their children to view problematic content on the internet. Believers should always remember that just as good things exist on the internet, there is also evil out there. We should never forget that Allah is watching us and that we will eventually be held accountable for both our online and offline activities. Therefore, we should stay away from indecent content online and also teach our children to avoid any such material.
Disadvantage #3: Gossip on the internet can be very harmful to society
Islam very strongly opposes backbiting, and the internet is frequently a place where people gossip with their peers. All sorts of gossip and slander take place in casual online conversations, particularly on social media and messaging apps. It is something that has become alarmingly normalized, and as Muslims, we ought to remember how harshly Islam condemns the sin of backbiting. In Surah Al-Hujurat, the act of backbiting is likened to eating the flesh of one’s dead brother.
Hence, it is clear that the internet can very dangerously facilitate the sin of backbiting, to the extent that it becomes a sort of a pastime. We must always be careful with what we are posting online, particularly when it is about someone else. We should either speak good or keep silent. Backbiting is not a matter to be taken lightly, and every believer should remember that their speech on the internet can be every bit as damaging as their speech in real life.
Disadvantage #4: Excessive use is harmful to our health
People who spend an unhealthy amount of time on the internet are harming themselves physically. When people spend too much time online, they frequently end up neglecting their physical health. Exercise is essential for our health, and we should never forget that our body has rights over us. We cannot afford to let our use of the internet lead to disorganization in our daily routine.
Excessive internet use can also harm one’s mental health, particularly in the case of social media, as one can become jealous of others and obsess over things that they don’t have. This jealousy can lead to dissatisfaction and discontentment, which negatively impacts people’s minds. Muslim parents should be particularly careful with how much time they allow their children to spend online and make sure they get sufficient exercise regularly to ensure that they maintain a healthy lifestyle.