There have been tons of controversies recently surrounding the metaverse especially among religious Muslims — many Muslim content creators and scholars branding it as a work of the dajjal and a sign of qiyamah. In this article, we explore, what, when, where and hows of the metaverse and what should the average Muslim think of it.
The metaverse is a fictitious version of the internet that allows users to access permanent online 3-D virtual environments using traditional personal computers as well as virtual and augmented reality headgear. Metaverses are already existent in some form on platforms such as VRChat or video games like Second Life. Since Facebook bought virtual reality company Oculus in 2014 and announced intentions to construct a 3-D social environment to connect various services, business and commercial interest in metaverse-related research and technology have exploded. It has continued to make headlines since Mark Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp’s parent company to Meta last month in an attempt to usher in a new era of the internet.
There have been lots of controversies arising with inventions in the past and metaverse is just one among the newest problems for Muslim scholars. Other inventions such as the television, internet, mobile phones, computers and various other gadgets that have revolutionised the way we practically approach and tackle certain issues and have without a shred of doubt, left a huge imprint on our social dynamics and have eased communications and made us become closer than ever to our loved ones. They too have had their fair share of dystopic portrayal which has led to a very sceptical approach by scholars before which has further isolated the Muslim populace.
But to further add to the issue, the scholars are not to be blamed in the first place since it were the laymen with their skewered conception of Islam and absolutist perspective of morals that has led to scholars having an overly pessimistic approach in the first place as a result of which, many scholars exist in fringe areas that still maintain the view that these technologies are still haram to this very day. There is also this culture of measuring piety through aversion to adopting new technologies which are very predominant in the subcontinent and the Middle East. They avoid purchasing smartphones and make use of the early Nokia button phones instead.
In order to fight the dangers that we perceive with regards to the metaverse, it is incumbent upon us as Muslim that we try to address the issues without trying to restrict progress into this field without portraying the metaverse as an invention that is going to be instrumental in bringing about the arrival of dajjal. Here is an article on how Muslims have adopted the customs of uneducated Christians by awaiting the arrival of the Mahdi and giving in to a lack of hope.
In essence, Muslims have a very sceptical approach towards new technologies. Although this is justified to a certain extent, a lot of the pessimism is extremely unreasonable and is bound to hinder our progress technologically and is going to further weaken us on the world stage. Just as the internet has its large share of immoralities, it can also be used as a force for good and spreading the truth. The metaverse is no exception to this and if we try to avoid the inevitable, we will only make things worse for ourselves. If we do not make efforts towards storming into this new era, we are only going to hand over the monopoly to the forces of evil.