MODERN MEANS OF communication exhibit the truth implied in the prophetic message of Muhammad ﷺ. Despite posing a great challenge to Islamic missionaries to fully make use of its potential, such means provide them with a golden opportunity to spread the message of Islam.
A Prophet for All Mankind
Modern communication has rendered the world a small accessible village, similar to the ones where individual prophets of Allah would be sent in the days prior to Muhammad ﷺ. This may be seen as evidence that Muhammad ﷺ was sent as a Prophet to humanity in its entirety, rather than to a specific people or nation.
Our Creator has always possessed the knowledge that all corners of the world would become interconnected, eliminating further need for prophet after prophet to relay the message of Allah to individual townspeople.
And accordingly, Allah sent Muhammad ﷺ, whose example would become accessible to all people at all times.
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A Random Coincidence?
Mass communication, in fact, started with the beginning of the message of the Prophet ﷺ and continues to spread and develop today. The future surely will bring further development in the field of communication and make our world even smaller and more connected.
Who, other than The Almighty Allah, could have possibly possessed this knowledge?
For Muslims, the connection between people that has brought this about through modern communication is not simply another aspect of modern life. It relates to the essence of Islamic faith as it further strengthens the case for the absolute truth of the message of the Prophet ﷺ.
Communication Technology Explosion
Modern communication provides us with an opportunity like no other to spread the word of Allah. This is evident in numerous areas. Book publishing has gained unprecedented speed and ease of distribution. Words and ideas may now be stored, in infinite numbers, in different portable forms immediately accessible to millions.
No longer is the spoken word restricted by the boundaries of time and space thanks to developments in audio and visual technology. Gone are the days when written communication was entrusted to camels or messengers. Now, in a matter of seconds, we can exchange ideas via e-mail or social media. The internet combines all of these media with ease of transmission and storage further advancing communication.
Our Sources and Voices are Free to Be Heard
Islamic missionaries have thankfully made use of these developments. The words of the Book of Allah have been recorded in the voices of several of our renowned readers and, many of the aḥâdîth of the Prophet ﷺ have also been recorded.
Today we listen to talks and lectures delivered by some of our greatest scholars who have since passed away.
The internet too, has been put to use: The appearance of Islamic sites and information is increasing and I have met and exchanged ideas with several people – may Allah guide them – this way.
Muslims in the West had been complaining that papers and magazines had been denying them any opportunity to be published, even in response to fabrications or attacks on Islam. Today, these people are free to express themselves on the web.
Directions of Development
On the other hand, I still wish to see increased interest in and development of this amazing tool. I hope to see the day when all Islamic references can be easily accessed on the web, when online courses can be offered in Islamic sciences to guide interested scholars through all levels of mastery.
I wish individuals and Islamic organizations would give more attention to the importance of distance education, which is now being described by Western educators as the system for the future. This system is being given the utmost support and subsidization in the West, to ensure that the education they offer can become free of charge and available to all, regardless of geography.
From another side, modern means of communication may challenge Muslims for two main reasons:
(1) Adulteration of Concepts Promoted by Super-funded Missions
Even though we have been able to have our message heard by non-Muslims all over the world, we are better able to hear the messages carried by non-Muslim missionaries, particularly those in the West.
Those missionaries are backed by solid financial support and they possess a firmer grasp of the workings of modern technology and communication than do their competitors, whether religious or other. They have thus surpassed the Muslims in conveying their ideas to others.
In addition, they do not limit themselves to conventional methods of access to the minds of people across the globe. They have their agents among us, speaking our language, writing in our papers and making prominent appearances on our radio and TV channels. Their mission is to Westernize – be it our political or economic systems, values, behaviors, education, upbringing, literary styles, historical theories—or even our religious views.
For example, they give Arabic and Islamic terms new meanings and then bombard us with those terms so that we change our view of things. Take the word Uṣûliyîn, originally meaning “orthodox.” is now being used to describe all religious and conservative Muslim entities as though they were extreme. The idea being spread today is that the “modern” [i.e., good] Muslim is the one who views religion with a Western and liberal eye.
(2) Secularization of Global Systems
The second challenge that comes to Muslims with modern communication is that we are constantly reminded that most people on Earth are not Muslim and that the great military and economic powers of the world are non-Muslim.
We are able to see that the majority of Muslim countries have already adopted secular legal systems and lifestyles. Now, man is weak when swimming against the current, even when it only involves going against a small group of people, as might have been the case in the past. So, how would he fare defying most of the people in the world?
This kind of feeling may cause one to give in and join the crowd in their rejection of the Truth.
Our Heritage and Birthright
In Sûrat Ṭâ Hâ, âyah 16, the Almighty addresses Moses saying:
So do not be hindered from it by [him] who disbelieves in it, following his own whims, or you would be lost. [Sûrat Ṭâ Hâ, 20:16]
Seeing people refute one’s religion—for whatever trivial reasons—may subject one to pressure leading him to become uncomfortable with what he knows to be the truth. In Sûrat Hûd, Allah the Almighty tells Muhammad ﷺ:
Perhaps you may feel inclined to give up a part of what is revealed to you, and you feel uncomfortable with it, lest they say, ‘Why has a treasure not been sent down to him, or an angel come down with him?’ But you are only to warn them, and Allah is the Trustee over all things. [Sûrat Hûd, 11:12]
Allah does not send prophets whose message will be modified by the desires and ideas of the people, nor whose mission will be obstructed by the rejection of the people. In this verse, Allah gives the Prophet ﷺ a reminder and a warning to the existence of this human weakness of submitting under pressure. And if even prophets need to be warned of this, then others, all the more, need to be warned over and again.
The Bright Side…
However, I do believe that what may appear to be harmful to us in modern means of communication may hold benefits which are not immediately apparent and which may be used to serve the spread of Islam.
Originally posted 2015-06-22 12:00:16.