Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Think of the past days when a caravan used to reach its destination, by sea or land route, passing through plains, climbing mountains and navigating in water with lots of adventures and sufferings. No need to go far; just think of your childhood days when the postman of village used to knock at your door carrying a bag full of letters, money-orders and so on. Now, all these things have gone by and the journey of information revolution surged ahead from conventional table phones to multi-function mobiles. Communication is the field in which the modern science and technology has made extra ordinary progress. Once upon a time, an incident occurring in a nearby city would take days to travel to a neighboring city. But, thanks to science, now sitting at a lonely place at a remote area one can stay informed of petty happenings going on anywhere in the world.
And, naturally, with the spread of mobile phones there arose many new problems and issues in the society. Islam, being a living and comprehensive religion, has a set of ethics and teachings related to mobile and the like. First of all, let us discuss what Islam, basically, says about the use of mobile, whether it is allowed or not. Before jumping to a conclusion, let us have a look at the things that a mobile includes. Besides being a talking tool, a mobile phone contains watch, alarm, reminder, calculator, converter, calendar, games, phonebook, tones, internet connection, audio recorder, camera, video camera and so on. The majority of these things are basically allowed in Islam, except some which are related to photography or music, they are partly disallowed. Keeping in view the nature of mobile, according to Islamic principles, it is allowed to use it since it has more advantages than disadvantages. Islam has permitted the things that are useful for the community and forbade the things that are harmful. Mobile involves more positive points than negative. So, on the basis of its positive points it will be termed as allowed for those who use them in the right way. But, if anyone utilizes mobile for an anti-social, immoral or wrong way it will be regarded as sinful and forbidden. It is just like a knife; if one uses it to cut vegetables it is quite right, but if anyone thrusts it into the belly of his fellowman then his hands shall be cuffed and he shall definitely be sent to retire behind bars.
Forbiddances of Mobile
It is noteworthy that the mobile phone involves some dangerous stuff that is principally not liked in Islam. Most important of these are music and picture. Music, which arouses carnal desires and inflames sensual passions, is prohibited in Islam. Thus, the songs that contain such attributes are disliked. The mobile tones that are based on songs or that indicate to songs fall in the same category and hence are disallowed. The Glorious Quran and Hadith have categorically dismissed music. The Quran says: “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Qur'an) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment”. While in a number of traditions the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) warned us against music. He counted spread of dance and musical instruments', among many things, a sign of Qiyamah (Doomsday). Hazrat Ali (Raz.) reports that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "when people start taking ‘spoils of war’ unduly, occupying trust, considering Zakat as tax, seeking the knowledge of religion for the sake of the worldly gain, obeying wife other than mother, approaching friend and distancing father, making noise in mosques, when the sinner ones rule people and the leader is the lowest one, when a man is honoured due to his mischief, when singer women and music is common, when wine is drunk and when the following people start cursing their predecessors then wait for red wind, earthquake, disface etc.” The Prophet said that Allah has sent him as mercy and guide for mankind and He commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance. Allah said that if a man took even a mouthful of wine, He would make him drink the same quantity of pus of the wounds of the people in Hell.”
As far as the matter of pictures is concerned, Islam prohibited making pictures of living beings as well as keeping them. Capturing pictures and scenes from a mobile camera is forbidden. Likewise, keeping pictures in a mobile phone can never be encouraged by Islam. If the pictures are hidden then it is allowed to keep it but not desirable. It is narrated by Hazrat Aisha: Allah's Apostle said, "The painter of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them, make alive what you have created." It is narrated by Hazrat 'Aisha : The Prophet entered upon me while there was a curtain having pictures (of animals) in the house. His face got red with anger, and then he got hold of the curtain and tore it into pieces. The Prophet said, "Such people who paint these pictures will receive the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection." Hazrat Ali (Raziallahu Anhu) Says that I prepared food and invited the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). When he came and entered he saw a curtain having pictures on it, he went out and said that angels do not enter a house in which there are pictures."
So, those who use the mobile phone in wrong ways are warned of their consequences. If we use the mobile in listening to songs or we set musical ringing tones then this mobile will amount to musical instruments. Likewise, if we capture pictures of living beings then using mobile in this direction will be as unlawful as a photographing camera.
General Ethics of Using Mobile Phone
However, there are many general rules that one should follow. For many people, mobile is a tool of play and amusement, they kill their most valuable time and energy. This is surely not liked in Islam. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "It is beauty of one's Islam that one forsakes the things that are unmeaning.” Also, it is narrated by Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "There are two blessings which many people lose: (they are) health and free time for doing good." Also, he stated: "On the day of judgment, the feet of one cannot move until he will be questioned about four things: about his age how he spent it, about his knowledge how much he acted upon, about his wealth from where he earned and where he spent it, about his body in which things he exhausted it.” Therefore, it is strongly recommended that one should carefully watch whether or not the mobile is engaging him into rubbish things.
Generally, mobile is a dangerous device for youngsters. It affects their education and proper development. Mobile plays key role in engaging them into immoral and sinful activities.
We must remember that as acts like telling a lie, deceiving, backbiting, abusing, hurting etc are unlawful in general conditions, these things are unlawful on mobile too. Likewise, taping some one's call or listening without his consent is also prohibited.
One must switch off his mobile in mosques, religious meetings and at places where ringing mobile may disturb the people or cause interference. Similarly, while going to meet respected and elderly persons and while visiting a sick, it is better to switch mobile off.
If any one wants to call a person first he should look, in general situations, for an appropriate time to ring. It must not be time for prayer, rest or engagement as per the situation of the one who is to be called. If any one intends to talk on an important subject, seek some suggestion or talk for a considerable long time then one should have prior permission.
While calling, some people ring repeatedly for a long time that causes inconvenience. Likewise, some have habit of unnecessary miscalling; these are unlawful as they cause trouble.
While calling to a person one should greet with Islamic greeting 'Assalamu Alaikum' followed by a brief introduction so that the person at the other end should easily get informed. One should avoid uttering words like 'hello' and so on. One should greet at the end also.
One should maintain calmness while talking. It is commonly seen that some people talk with maximum volume as if the person at the other end is hard hearing. Similarly, one should avoid talking on mobile while walking as it may cause him harm. One should talk as much as is needed. Talking too much for nothing is not liked and it is wastage of time and money.
One should avoid, as much as one can, calling Ghiar Mahram (strange, to whom marriage is allowed) individuals of opposite sex. If a woman happens to talk to a man she should not speak in too complaisant of speech. She should talk only needful to men.
While calling to non-Muslims one should not greet him with Islamic greeting nor reply him with the same. One can use common words of greetings used for non-Muslims like ‘Wa’alaikum’ or ‘Hadakallah’ etc.
 Surah Luqman 31:6
 Tirmizi, chapter 32, Hadith No. 2308
 Musnad Imam Ahmad, Vol. 5, Musnad Al-Ansar, Hadith Abu Umamah
 Bukhari, Chapter 93. Oneness, Uniqueness of Allah, Hadith 646
 Bukhari, Chapter 73, Good Manners and Form (Al-Adab) Hadith 130
 Nasai, Chapter of Zinat
 Tirmizi, Chapter of Zuhd, Hadith 2419
 Bukhari, Kitabur Riqaq, Hadith No. 6049
 Tirmizi, Chapter of Doomsday, Hadith No. 2532