Source: Al Jamiat - Vol 6 No 2
Internet technology has brought about dramatic advances in communication and information accessibility. The blessings and favours of Allah Ta'ala upon His servants are indeed innumerable. Expressing shukr (gratitude) for these favours by word and deed is incumbent. Internet usage is fast becoming a norm in many a Muslim home. Adults, youth and even children are becoming savvy to the exciting ease of information access. However we need to be extremely cautious that this newly found "connection" should not disconnect us from Allah Ta'ala. Rather it should drive us to strengthen our relationship with our Creator. Hence it is important to formulate certain guidelines and parameters when using the internet. Hereunder are a few points we should keep in mind:
Distraction from salaah
Under no circumstances should our engagement with the internet distract us from observing our salaah. Nothing surpasses the firm establishment of salaah in the life of a Muslim. Allah Ta'ala has not commanded us to merely perform salaah; rather the command of the Qur'an is to firmly establish salaah in our lives.
Confine to Shariah
With the presence of 4.2 million pornographic websites serving 372 million pornographic webpages, the internet is very much a double-edged sword with a razor sharp evil edge. Internet usage should be strictly confined to the Shariah. A suggested method of surfing websites where there is a increased possibility of obscene advertisements or graphics being displayed, is to turn off the 'showing images' setting which is a common feature with internet browsers. Using the internet for illicit and haraam purposes is abuse of a ni'mat (blessing) of Allah Ta'ala. There are severe consequences to this. If one is unable to contain himself and his desires he should permanently disconnect from the internet service by unsubscribing. There is great safety in this.
Time is a most valuable asset. To carelessly waste this valuable asset in trivial activities is contrary to Shariah. The internet should be used as a platform for education and information. Surfing the net aimlessly should be avoided. Time should be utilised constructively. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said, "Two blessings are such; which many people are in deception with regards to; good health and free time." (Mishkat)
Special care should be taken that one does not become so absorbed on the internet that family duties are neglected. Of high importance is the time due to the wife. To spend quality time with the wife, speaking with her light heartedly and keeping her heart happy is imperative. This duty should not be disturbed by excessive internet engagement.
Monitor the children
Parents who allow their children to use the internet for educational purposes should keep a close eye on them. Children seem to be outdoing their seniors in computer literacy. As such there are able to access and explore almost anything from the PC without the parent even knowing. This makes it essential for parents equip themselves with the necessary knowledge of utilising the internet as well as how to monitor what is being accessed on the internet. Another ideal solution would be to situate the computer in such a place which is an "open" area in the house, where a person cannot be in seclusion. This will be a preventative measure for anyone wanting to abuse the facility. It is also incumbent on parents to employ any other monitoring device or strategy to ensure that children are kept on guard with the internet.
Visit only authentic sites. It is very easy to be misled by attractive sites conniving to mislead. These sites pose a major threat to one's Imaan. Be careful. Do not visit a site for the sake of curiosity. The more hits a site receives the better its chances of survival. If you visit an undesirable or deviated site don't make it an issue. The more people visit the site the more exposure it gains. Without visitors the site will die a natural death. May Allah Ta'ala grant us the ability to utilise the internet beneficially.