Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Internet Talks - Part 2: Medicating and Curing

A man once asked Abû Hurayrah – Allâh be pleased with him, ‘What is al-taqwâ?” He replied, “Have you ever taken a path filled with thorns?” The man replied, “I have.” Abû Hurayrah asked him, “What did you do?” He replied, “When I saw a thorn I would dodge it or pass over it or behind it.” Abû Hurayrah said, “That is al-taqwâ.”

Al-Baihaqî, Al-Zuhd Al-Kabîr p351.

Bismillah wa assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

The key to resolving the problems associated with Internet use are to view going online just like a path filled with thorns - each and every thorn a tool of shaytaan to pierce our obedience to Allah.  Allah has presented us with the Internet as a huge test of discipline and taqwa. The Internet can be an excellent means for His pleasure and drawing closer to Him, when used within very specific limitations and intentions. Allah is watching you. There is no click on a site or surfing the web that isn't recorded, so if it isn't for benefit and some form of worship of Allah, then where is it going - the right-hand book (illiyyeen) or the left-hand book (sijjeen)?

Introspection about what occupies our heart is a good place to start, followed by a practical plan to develop and increase our love of Allah. When we fill our time with beneficial things, we crowd out the time that can be spent on non-beneficial things. Will we ever want to displease or disobey Allah when we think of the fact that He gives us EVERYTHING and exceeds every expectation, hope, desire, wish, and dream we could ever aspire to?
Here are some things to consider, or even to put on a bold screensaver or daily reminder, to remind and warn yourself before going on the internet, opening social network sites, etc.

Remember that everything we say on the internet represents Islam. Are we representing it truthfully, or lying about it? 

For example, we cannot "like", watch, or post a music video without pleasing shaytaan and spreading his evil call to following desires. Furthermore, unless we clearly state that we are sinning in doing so and that music is haraam, we have done one of two things (maybe more, but this is what I can think of):
  • shown the understanding Muslims that we are openly following our desires
  • presented a lie to uneducated Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam, as they will understand that it is an accepted and permissible thing.

If we wouldn't say it or reveal it to someone in person, we shouldn't reveal it on the net - it's still impermissible. 

For example,  describing our physical attributes, our talents, our preferences. If we wouldn't stand in front of a stranger and tell them such things with a clear conscience, then they should not be anywhere on the Internet either. Are we comfortable and happy to read whatever we post, comment on, or surf, out loud to our spouse, children, parents, and friends?

Before you "like" something, check if Allah and His Messenger - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam - would like it too.

This may seem simple, but actually we may have to research to find out whether it is permissible to "like" or post a certain statement or philosophy. We could post something that has elements of kufr, shirk, or is agreeing with something prohibited in our perfect deen.

Here are some practical measures to troubleshoot Internet dangers for ourselves and those under our authority (children, wives, etc.).
  1. Turn our screen, so what we are doing is visible to anyone and everyone around.
  2. Project our screen on the wall, so it's larger than life and public property.
  3. Make sure we are never alone with unmonitored computer/internet access.
  4. Put programs on our computer to record our internet activity and have someone else review where we've been and how long we spent on it.
  5. Set access times so we cannot go on at certain times.
  6. Keep an Internet journal to  note down each time we use it, the intended benefit before using it  and whether we deviated from that. This is so tedious that it should really deter us from using the Internet unless absolutely necessary!  
  7. Be transparent about what we type, like, or post. Never type anything our husband would not fully approve of. (My husband reads all my posts on these blogs, and if I comment on someone's blog I let him know.)
  8. Have our grown son or daughter read our comment, post, or blog first.
  9. Read it out loud to our children of all ages.
The android phone can also accept Internet filtering and restriction programs, and the last three on the list are a good way to troubleshoot Internet use on your phone. After facing the fact that such convenient Internet access is more fitnah than they can cope with, there are some of us who are opting for a return to flip phones for the safety of our aakhirah and our health.

This is probably one of the biggest challenges we will face in our lifetimes: conquering our desires and weaknesses when it comes to the Internet. With Ramadhaan approaching, we need to do everything we can to implement effective remedies and corrections so our fasting will not be tainted, devalued, or ruined by our Internet use. May Allah purify our intentions, fortify our resolve, and give us success in achieving His lasting pleasure - ameen!

Subhaanak Allahumma wa bihamdik laa illaha ila ant, wa astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayk.

1 comment:

  1. Jazakallah khair. May Allah make us strong against the temptations of the internet.