Dr. Ahmed Sebihi From Different Corners
The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Islamic Societies
Imagine a world in which a singular invention has not only transformed communication but also became the backbone of our global society? The Internet, which was first introduced in the early 20th century as a way to blog and store information, has since become a global platform for social interactions, connecting people from all over the world.
The percentage of social media users have increased exponentially in recent years from what it used to be when it first came around. Today, more than 50% of humanity is connected to the internet and social media, mostly for social interactions. This exponential increase in connectivity raises the question: How has this technological miracle affected the very structure of society. More specifically, how does it affect the realm of Islam, especially within the domain of social media? These questions pave the way for our exploration of the relationship between internet, social media and Islam. As we embark on this journey we will delve into the nuanced ways these technological advancements are shaping Islamic discourse. From the propagation of religious knowledge to the fostering of online communities and the addressing of challenges posed by digital extremism, we aim to unravel the relationship between the social media and the Islam.
Tracing the History: Islamic Knowledge Transmission and the Social Media Shift:
As we navigate onto the world, shaped by internet and social media, it's important to explore how Islamic knowledge was previously shared, During the time of Prophet Muhammad, with a smaller population, information primarily spread through oral means. The teachings of the Prophet were heard directly, and this knowledge was meticulously passed down through generations, as reflected in Hadiths that often begin with "narrated by”. Consider this Hadith: "Narrated by Muhammad ibn Bashshar, from Abu Dawood, from Imran al-Qattaan, from Qatadah, from Yazid ibn Abdullah, that Prophet Muhammad said"
It illustrates the meticulous transmission of knowledge. Islamic knowledge was also thrived in Halaqas, which are communal gatherings where scholars and students convened to share and discuss ideas, fostering a vibrant atmosphere of intellectual exchange and community. While traditional methods involved oral transmission, Halaqas, and manuscript preservation, implementing them in today's vastly populated and diverse world would be impractical. The risk of information distortion through continuous verbal transmission is high. And so Social media emerges as a powerful contemporary tool, efficiently educating a wide audience about Islam.
Challenges in Navigating Social Media Impact on Islam:
While Social Media offers numerous advantages, it also presents its fair share of challenges. The easy and affordable access to the Internet has unfortunately given rise to individuals with malicious intent who freely distribute illegal content. Additionally, some people, exploit social media platforms to spread misinformation against Islam. Online communities have become susceptible to deceptive activities, where individuals, especially the youth, can be easily misled. Despite the widespread popularity of these platforms, they inherently present challenges. Users must exercise caution as media can easily become a source of threats and may also be susceptible to exploitation due to its inherent vulnerabilities.
Like many societies worldwide, one of the most pressing challenges for the Islamic community is extremism. On social media, Islamic extremists exploit the platforms to spread radical ideologies, manipulate religious doctrines, and advocate for violence. Rooted in political, social, or religious motivations, these individuals or groups use online spaces to recruit, share extremist content, and influence vulnerable individuals.
Spread of Misinformation and Negative Perception:
While many utilize social media positively, individuals with extreme views exploit these platforms to sow discord among followers of various religions. They disseminate biased information and portray an unbalanced perspective of Islam, influencing public perception. Western media tends to oversimplify conflicts involving Muslims, attributing them solely to Islam and neglecting similar issues in other religions. Social media amplifies this by circulating false rumors about Islamic leaders, fostering misconceptions about Muslims. Regrettably, this misrepresentation can lead non-Muslims to perceive Muslims as either traitors or terrorists.
In conclusion, social media has profoundly influenced Islam, facilitating the global dissemination of religious knowledge and the formation of online communities. While connectivity transcends geographical boundaries, allowing individuals to connect, learn, and find support, it also brings challenges, such as the risks of extremism and misinformation. Muslims must use technology to strengthen, not weaken, their faith, guided by the Quran and Sunnah's teachings. The Quran's admonition to "fear Allah as He should be feared" serves as a shield against challenges, emphasizing the importance of resilience in the face of negativity.
The Prophet's warning about the signs of a hypocrite—lying, breaking promises, and betraying trust—offers a roadmap for discerning falsehood. By fortifying hearts with sincere faith and adhering to the moderate path of the Sunnah, believers can navigate the digital landscape, resisting extremism and falsehood. Influential Islamic figures, content creators, and online communities play a pivotal role in addressing these challenges by upholding values of sincerity, knowledge-sharing, and mutual support. As we navigate the ever-changing digital landscape, let us heed the Quran's call, “O you who have believed, enter into submission to Allah completely and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, Satan to you is a clear enemy”. May these words serve as a guiding beacon, illuminating our path towards unwavering faith and righteous conduct in this digital world, where the echoes of truth and falsehood intertwine. falsehood intertwd intertwine.
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