The cell phone is a modern-day invention which most people regard to be a need of life in today’s times. Many people are reliant on the cell phone to communicate with their families, run their businesses, make payments, purchase groceries online and arrange their airfares or taxi fares, etc.
Despite the fact that people’s domestic, social and economic lives are, to a great extent, dependent upon this device, people do not realize the true nature of the cell phone. In reality, the cell phone is a double-edged sword which has the potential to make or break.
When one examines the cell phone, one realizes that there is a lot of benefit that one can acquire through it, but at the same time, it has the potential to create a lot of harm.
The Benefits of the Cell Phone
Among the many benefits and advantages one can acquire through the cell phone are:
(1) A person in the east can instantly communicate with a person in the west with complete ease and comfort.
(2) Volumes of information can easily be accessed in a matter of seconds from websites around the globe.
(3) One is able to find solutions for complex problems, from health to finance or most issues that affect our daily life via this medium through searching the internet, etc.
(4) At the press of a button, one is able to make immediate purchases of one’s daily or weekly necessities and make business payments, etc.
(5) People are able to remain in contact with their family members, or inform them of important news, despite the distances that may separate them.
The Harms of the Cell Phone
Despite the cell phone having many benefits and playing an important role in fulfilling the abovementioned needs of people, it cannot be denied that it is a double-edged sword that also has the potential to cause colossal harm and immense destruction to a person if used incorrectly.
Among the many harms and problems created through the cell phone are the following:
(1) By the press of a button, one is able to view the worst of sins committed on the face of this earth. Every imaginable influence that can spur up man’s carnal desires and arouse his sexual passions is accessible via this cell phone by all and sundry without any restrictions.
(2) A major portion of the numerous cases of broken homes and shattered marriages are the direct result of the misuse of the cell phone and internet. Illicit relationships are initiated through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
(3) Through this device, the kuffaar have succeeded in exporting their evils to the furthest corners of the world, and hence people commit sin via this device – even while residing in the holy cities of Makkah Mukarramah and Madinah Tayyibah, and even while in the holy musjids.
(4) Such is the inherent and overwhelming filth of the internet that even when pious people view the internet looking for halaal content, haraam pops up involuntarily and unintentionally on the screen.
(5) The evil effects which the TV, internet and the computer produced individually have all been combined in the cell phone and spewed out to man, to such an extent that one will not need to go to Hollywood or Bollywood to produce a movie. This device, in the pocket of each person, has the ability to do the same whenever any person desires or wishes.
In essence, the amount of sin that is taking place world-wide through the cell phone is so much that perhaps, in many centuries, sins have never before taken place on such a wide scale, due to which the degeneration of Islamic morals and values in the Muslim Ummah is now taking place faster than an avalanche on account of these devices.
The crux of the matter is that man has surpassed all limits and has broken all bounds in disobeying Allah Ta‘ala via the cell phone and internet which people regard to be mediums of so called “human advancement and progress”.
Exercising Restraint When Using the Cell Phone
When the cell phone has both benefits and harms associated with it, then how should a believer utilize this device?
The answer to this question is that a believer should utilize this device in such a manner that he does not disobey Allah Ta‘ala, but fulfils his halaal needs via it.
In other words, the cell phone can be resembled to a bank where a person deposits his wealth only for safekeeping purposes. A believer understands that a bank is an interest-based institute and its entire operation revolves around usury and interest. However, since it is extremely difficult for one to run his business without having a bank account, permission has been granted to utilize the services of the bank to the point of halaal need without getting involved in interest and taking any extra benefit from the bank – whether in cash or kind.
In the same way, a person will utilize the cell phone to the point of halaal need e.g. making phone calls, sending messages and emails, etc. As for those features of the phone that can cause one to fall into sin, it is not permissible for one to utilize those features if it will lead one to falling into sin.
Many of our Ulama are of the opinion that since most people are tempted towards sin through this device and subsequently fall into haraam, one should get a basic phone which does not have the features that will cause one to fall into sin.