The Online Ummah
The Online Ummah
By Khalil Charles
On the anniversary of National information Society Day celebrated every year on 17th May, the Muslim Association of Britain asked whether technology and the increase in digital information has helped or hindered the Muslims in the UK?
How many of us today carry copies of the Quran digitally in a mobile phone? How many of us go online to listen to our favourite Muslim personality? Has technology made us better Muslims?
Much is written about the impact of technology on Islamic economies with the introduction of mobile phones, the spread of the Internet and the increase in social media, but has technology really made us better Muslims?
Quite apart from the shocking indecent images that can be routinely seen on the net, the growing incidences of Islamophobia on digital media television and radio talk show programs, the time wasted on video games and the like; there is still some support for the idea that technology is having a positive impact on the lives of Muslims in this country.
Ramadan Ahmed originally from Sudan told MAB that he feels, “Being in touch with influential inspirational speakers and prominent scholars is one the many benefits of technology. When we used to hear about people who changed the world it was like a different world. Today you can see them, listen to them and even talk to them.”
Mrs Nassimah from London told MAB what she enjoyed, “Qur'an recitations on You Tube are wonderful and so are Qu'ran/Hadith lectures, and Qu'ran and Adhan Apps Masha Allah are just superb. Alhamdolillah.”
On the other hand some have expressed concern about ‘Google Sheikhs’ who rely on the Internet to research topics and give fatwas according to weak or wrong opinions. One scholar told us, “ No doubt, I feel technology has made a big contribution to our better understanding of Islam. We have got more access to knowledge in Arabic and English, but often Muslims are taking weaker opinions because it suits them better. It is difficult to know which are the better agreed upon views, sometimes you can get this only with traditional scholar.”
Almost all the people we spoke to had digital copy of the Quran on their phones. Some preferred to read it rather than hold a copy of the Quran in hand before the beginning of Friday prayers. When asked whether a digital copy had helped them read more passages of the Quran, one worshipper said, ‘It made no difference, but having a digital copy was more convenient.”
What do you think? Is technology making us better Muslims? What are the dangers of technology?