WE are living in the 21st century, which is considered the century of technology. Modern equipment such as computers, mobile phones, the internet, home gadgets and thousands more are all manifestations of technology.
Thus, technology has given us many gifts that have made our lives relatively hassle-free. These gadgets have become part of our daily life. They have created thousands of job opportunities. From communication to entertainment and travelling to warfare, every aspect of life has been impacted by technological advancement.
Today, with the help of technology and science, a person can measure the depths of the sea as well as scale great heights. Science and technology have also enabled man to explore space. It has helped us discover thousands of secrets contained in the universe. This has provided extraordinary means of learning to millions of people around the globe and changed the shape of towns and cities. Similarly, it has facilitated the challenges of life and has fast-tracked our work.
In the light of all this progress, one can term technology as a divine sign, a miracle or a blessing from Allah. Allah says in the Holy Quran, “We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth” (41:53). Thus, we can consider technology to be the unfolding of the divine promise made in the aforesaid verse. Allah continues to show His miracles as long as the universe exists.
Technology reminds us that Allah is the Creator.
All technological advancements stem from the human mind — the greatest creation of Allah. The mind produces ideas and concepts that later materialise in the shape of equipment in the physical world. This equipment is useful for humanity, however, when misused, it can cause negative consequences. The very existence of the world itself is at risk as humans have developed lethal weapons that can decimate the world in no time. Moreover, in day-to-day activities most people tend to overly rely on technological gadgets rather than explore their God-given potential.
Technology reminds us that Allah is the Creator and His creation is continuous. The Quran says “Every day He has a matter to bring forth” (55:29). We need to be thankful and humble in our attitude as we benefit from so many wonderful inventions and discoveries that technology has made possible. In spite of these developments, there is no escape from the fundamental need of spiritual humility. This can be understood from the following examples.
In today’s era, a modern farmer cultivates his land and spends days and nights trying to get the best results from his cultivation. He uses modern tractors, threshers and other agricultural machinery and also uses the best available fertiliser and good seeds and irrigates his crops in a timely manner. But in the end, looking upwards in humility, he prays to Allah to bless his land with a good crop. No doubt he receives blessings in the shape of better crops and remains thankful to Allah.
Similarly, a well-experienced doctor with specialisation examines his patients for treatment. He uses all his knowledge and modern techniques. He prescribes the best medicines for the patient, but in the end, says that he is just treating the patient to the best of his ability. However, cure comes from Allah who is the ultimate source of healing. It is He who eradicates disease. Recovery is not in the hands of the doctor; he does his best but, in the end, prays that Allah may give shifa (healing) to the patient.
Further, technology is yet to help humanity attain inner peace and tranquillity, and enable man to understand the ‘summum bonum’ (the highest good) of life. It is a dire need of entire humanity. Many people, unable to get inner satisfaction from these gadgets, sometimes find themselves in a chaotic state. It has rightly been pointed out that we live in taller buildings but with a shorter temper. We build bigger houses but ones that are bereft of love. We have more doctors and hospitals as compared to the past but are still not well. We cook many dishes but don’t get the essential nutrients. We have multiplied our wealth but belittled our values. This is largely due to the absence of humility and thankfulness.
If we consider technology to be a divine sign, we should secure and support our value system, and not lose track of morality and spirituality. We should be able to create a balance in different spheres of life. Though technology has improved the standard of our physical life, our lifespans are limited. The preparation for life in the hereafter must not be ignored. What is essential is to pay heed to the spiritual aspect of life which is beyond time and space. These are the fundamental teachings of all religions.
The writer is an educationist with an interest in religion.
Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2023
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