6th Edition Editors Note

Asalaamualaykum to all our readers & thank you all for picking this copy of ISLAM HERE.
Social Media as a platform, whether we LIKE or DISLIKE it, has become part of our everyday existence. As a generation that ‘remembers’ a lived experience without Social Media and smart devices, the particular task we find ourselves in is to re-access and properly define the world we live in, engaging with a new language unable to link itself sufficiently to the value system we grew up with.
Crucial to understanding our sense of morality and values in the present Social Media Age, especially as a Muslim community, is that these morals come from a time when this technology did not exist. Suddenly our right to privacy, has become a vital aspect of our daily lives as we willingly participate privately and publicly on a platform where your information and location are not in your ownership. We willingly sign this over when logging on to social media platforms.
What we inherit from this, besides having to trust these multi-national corporations in possession of our information, is a need for digital security, to prevent hackers from accessing our personal information. We are now in pressed position to delve evermore into the virtual experience. No as I have entered my 30’s, I ask myself some reflective questions about my own lived experience now integrated so dependently on what feels like an inescapable participation with these digital platforms and frameworks.
I watch as a seven year old navigates an iPad faster than I can decide what to do with it. I asked this young boy what he thought an iPad was, so he explained to me, “It’s like a phone, only bigger, that’s all.” He wasn’t incorrect, however I began to grow worried that in what he participates so easily and willingly of this virtual experience he is having, he does not as yet realise its impact on him. The truth is that I hardly know what the impact of this technology or Social Media is having on me either. But out of a sense of responsibility for this child’s future, we ought to find out!

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As for what it is, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with social media. It is still qualitatively constructed on the input of people. What they desire, what they hope for. Social Media gives this to us. But only virtually. The real problem is how we perceive things. So really the question is not about Social Media. The question is about us. Who we are. I don’t mean to say just as Muslims, although there is an inner obligation in us as Muslims to engage with this knowledge, but as what ‘Man’ is as a creature.
This touches on the many different aspects of our lived experience. How we deal with issues effecting us socially, and Social Media facilitates this brilliantly. There is a lot of good in this as the desire for Justice is a central issue for us. But what about how this effects our actions online. Legally speaking do we have the total freedom to say whatever we wish to without punitive repercussions from the law? What does the excessive use of social media do to us on a physiological level? Does it change just the way we do things or how we think? How does this affect our psyches and how does this affect us long term? If our brains are wired to connect, what are we connecting to? Can we really connect with people without being in their presence and by simply looking at a screen? Social Media has proven itself a great tool for networking but the question is what we are using it for.

Nabeel Abdalhaqq

ISLAM HERE Editor