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Islam and Technology (Summary Of Panel Discussion) PDF Print
Islam & TechnologyWe are living in an age of remarkable technological change and advancement. Modern Technology has changed our lives; from the way we do business to the manner in which we communicate with one another or pass our free time. On Friday the 1st of March, Radio Islam presenter, Ml Habib Bobat hosted a Panel Discussion on Islam and Technology.  Panellists were; secretary general of the Jamaitul Ulama South Africa, Ml Ebrahim Bham, renowned scholar from Zimbabwe Sh Sajid Omar and Ml Obeidullah Bhoja.

When Moulana Ebrahim was asked whether the Muslim community has embraced technology whole heartedly or have they been circumspect.  He said: “From the practical point of view it seems like people have embraced technology. It has made our lives easy. When we speak about technology we general restrict it to communication i.e. Facebook, Youtube, Twitter etc. However, it is far more encompassing. It includes weapons like drones, which are being used to kill Muslims mercilessly in various parts of the world. It also includes medical developments like the stent, which is used in a heart operation. Technology is very vast and we do not seem to have a clear cut direction with regards to it. “

Ml Habib asked Sh Sajid if it was possible for someone to isolate himself or herself from technology. Sh Sajid responded by saying: “Anything is possible if one has the will to do it. But, it would not be healthy for someone in this day and age to say that they are divorcing themselves from technology. It has far reaching influence in our live, from medical treatment, to the manner in which we purchase our daily necessities.  We should not think of a person who has embraced technology to being far from the Quraan and Sunnah.  Allah Ta’ala says in the Quraan :“It is He, who created for you all that is on the earth” {Surah Baqarah: Verse 29}The Ulama have extracted  from this verses the principal : ‘From the outset, everything is permissible.’ This is with regards to matters that do not pertain to worship. So if a person divorces himself from technology, he is divorcing himself from something that is permissible.

Ml Obeidullah added that there are many aspects of technology that we use in our day to day life and it has very much become part of our lives. He said: “Today we had some good rain. As a result of it, in South Africa, many traffic lights do not work. This causes mayhem in the traffic. This is a simple way in which technology has affected our daily lives. Another example we have in our home. We are able to prepare a meal very quickly with the use of a microwave. The food is defrosted, prepared, and with a few minutes the family are enjoying a meal. These are some of the simple ways in which technology has impacted on our lives.“

The issue of the harms of the technology was also covered on the programme. Ml Ebrahim said that in everything there are benefits and harms. A medium can be used correctly or incorrectly. The cell-phone or BBM can be used effectively to communicate, but it does have its draw backs.  One of the draw backs among many other draw backs is that, through the means of a cell-phone one can wirelessly connect with someone across the globe and in the process almost disconnect with those around you.

Many other aspects of technology were covered on the programme. Many listeners contribute to the programme by calling in, smsing and tweeting. Ml Bham concluded by saying: “Technology is a reality. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to stay away from it. We need to embrace it. We should fall for it hook line and sinker and say everything is correct. We take all that is in accordance with our norms and shun that which is against our norms. Another point is that we should not only be the docile recipients of technology. People say: ‘Let other invent we’ll use’. If other will invent they will invent with their norms and values and then we will be using it with their norms and values. This is where we as an Ummah as failed. However, it’s not too late. There have been some remarkable gains in the Muslim Ummah and perhaps we could take that further.”  Listen to the Podcast

Yusuf Moosagie - Radio Islam Programming
7th March 2013
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