The twentieth century ushered in technological advances never previously seen. From the numerous new and technologically advanced devices that have been produced, perhaps nothing has captivated and addicted people to it to the extent that the “smart phone” has possessed its users.
The “smart phone” is a combination of every media related device. One is now able to carry, in the recesses of his pocket, a device which serves as a phone, internet browser, camera, multimedia player, radio, television and fully functional computer. Unfortunately, the day all these diverse devices were rolled into one super-device – the smart phone – was the day all the negative effects of these technologies were combined into one seemingly harmless device.
What was initially viewed as a simple tool of communication has now become an integral part of people’s lives to the extent that the smart phone is, in many cases, the last thing a person sees when going to sleep and the first thing he sees when awaking in the morning. This deep bond and sense of attachment to the smart phone, however, has left its mark. This device, despite the many advantages and benefits that can be derived from its correct use, has been revealed as being one of the greatest inviters to sin of all time and has firmly gripped numerous people in its vice and evil.
At the simple gesture of a finger, one is able to load pornographic material of the filthiest nature. Hence 70% of children under the age of 18 have stumbled across pornographic material while attempting to search for homework related information on the internet. With almost every child carrying a phone in his hand, it then comes as little surprise that 90% of children under the age of 16 have watched pornographic material online. Surfing online has become the most common past-time for numerous people — but many have spiritually drowned in the massive waves of immorality and vice.
With social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, My Space, Twitter, BBM, etc., literally connecting all and sundry, mahram and non-mahram, it comes as little surprise that people are falling into zina and cannot remain contented with their spouse. These illicit relationships are facilitated by the smart phone, and the haraam communication is concealed from others simply by locking it with a password. There are countless couples who enjoyed a happy marriage for many years after which, to their dismay, they found their marriages on the rocks due to one or both of the spouses falling into zina by means of social media. In the year 2009, a UK divorce firm revealed its findings that one out of every five divorces that were filed through them were blaming Facebook as the cause of their marriage breaking. A survey of other divorce lawyers revealed that 66% of divorce cases relied on Facebook as their primary source of evidence to prove their partner’s infidelity.
Very Near — Yet Very Far
Among the major vices of the smart phone is that while it has connected people to the entire world, it has disconnected a great number from Allah Ta‘ala as well as from those closest to them. Often many people sitting in the same room are all engaged in conversation – yet there is pin drop silence.Each one is engrossed in chatting with someone else and oblivious of the presence of those who are nearest and dearest to them in the same room. With the “blessings” of the smart phone, spouses are sometimes as far away from each other as the east is from the west, though both are in the same room. Many people’s Tablet is NOT a pain killer — it is instead a pain instigator and a source of much heartache for their spouse. Likewise a great number of children feel forgotten and off-loaded … because their parents are always busy downloading. And … many children feel ignored … because their parents are too busy playing games on their devices!!!
The only way forward is to “DE-VICE” (to detach oneself from the vice of the device). The following are some important steps towards “DE-VICING”:
– ALLAH CONSCIOUSNESS: The most important aspect is to acquire the consciousness of Allah Ta’ala and develop the awareness of death. The reality that ALLAH TA‘ALA KNOWS all that one is doing or thinking, that He has the Power to take one to task at that very moment and that there is death and also a Day of Judgement when one’s deeds will be exposed to all – the conviction of this reality must be firmly rooted in one’s heart. Minus this conviction, and the consciousness of Allah Ta‘ala, all other means of DE-VICING will not help in any way. Among the fundamental ways to attain this conviction is by accompanying people of firm imaan, daily remembering Allah Ta‘ala by means of zikr and sacrificing one’s wealth and time for the sake of deen.
– ABSTINENCE: If the smart phone has ever gripped you in its vice, do without it. DE-VICE by doing away with the device itself. Do not take chances. It could kill your respect, chastity, marriage and even imaan, may Allah Ta‘ala save us.
– SIMPLER IS SMARTER: Get smarter — keep a simple phone without internet and chatting capability. This is safest.
– TRANSPARENCY: Maintain complete and unconditional transparency. Each spouse should, at all times, be able to monitor the other’s internet browsing and messages (whether over social media, e-mail, whatsapp, etc.). In this regard, it is essential that no device is locked in a way which prevents the next person from accessing it at any time and monitoring its use. In the case of gmail accounts, each person having the password of the next will enable him to remotely access his account from his own device and view his web history, bookmarks, e-mails, etc. Parents also must have unconditional access to the devices of their children.
– NO WiFi: Do not install WiFi in your home. In many homes it ignited a Wild Fire of immorality and vice. If genuinely necessary (not for entertainment and idle surfing – which often leads to drowning in sin), keep securely locked with the password only known to the parents.
– CURFEW: Agree on a device curfew in the home, from asr, or at least from maghrib, to approximately two hours after esha. There should be a strict curfew on devices during all meal times and other quality time which should be dedicated to the children. In the case of genuine necessity for homework, etc., this must be very strictly controlled and limited to the bare minimum access.
– SORRY, NO CHILDREN: Children do not need a cell-phone, let alone a smart phone. If the circumstances necessitate it, a simple phone with no internet access may be given and the usage be closely monitored.
May Allah Ta‘ala enable us to DE-VICE and keep us safe from the vice of every device. Aameen.