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Engaging in Cyber (Internet) cafe

Q.) Is it permissible to engage in a cyber-cafe (Internet Cafe) business? Internet has advantages and disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages are young girls and boys do online chatting with strangers and also go on pornographic sites. There are also other un-Islamic entertainments in the cyber cafe, for example, music, etc. One of my friends runs a cyber-caf�. He often misses Salat and keeps his cyber cafe open till late at night, thus neglecting his family.

A.) There are two aspects to your query; a) Cyber caf� business, b) Your friend's attitude

Cyber caf� business is analogous to the sale of a radio which may have permissible and prohibited programmes. In principle, it is permissible to sell any item that has dual or multiple purposes, some of which are permissible and others prohibited. The responsibility of the abuse will rest on the purchaser and not on the seller. However, if the service provider is certain that the cyber caf� will be abused, for example, communicating with the opposite gender, checking pornographic sites, etc., then it is not permissible to offer this service to such a person. It may not be possible or practical to restrict the use of a cyber caf� to any person, therefore, if one is certain that his clients will abuse the facility, it is Makrooh to engage in such a business as that will be assisting in sin.

The second aspect of your query regarding the attitude of your friend, neglecting his wife and family, etc. That is haram (strictly prohibited). If what you say is true then your friend is guilty of committing the sin of depriving his wife and children of their rights. Rasulullah said, 'Verily, your wife has a right upon you.' (Sahih Muslim Hadith1156; Darul Wafa). Your friend is also guilty of committing a sin of not performing Salat. Rasulullah said, 'Salat is the pillar of Deen. (Maqaasidul Hasanah pg.266, Khanzi) Sayyidna Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, said, 'Whosoever safeguards this pillar has safeguarded Deen.' ( Muatta Imaam Maalik vol.1 pg.247; Ilmiyya) Your friend should make sincere Tawbah and change himself by fulfilling the rights of his family and performing Salat.

Albalagh Note: The misuse of Internet is a very serious problem, especially in cyber-cafes where privacy, anonymity, and secrecy further aid in committing grave sins. We are in danger of producing a morally bankrupt generation who has been exposed and addicted to obscenities never before imagined. Anyone engaging in this business has a responsibility to make sure they do everything they can to eliminate this scourge. This may involve installing firewalls and filter software; declaring a written policy that no visits to pornographic sites etc. are permitted or will be tolerated; as well as active monitoring and enforcement. The owner could also have published material on the grave consequences of these sins that could be distributed to each client. If there is an understanding of the serious nature of this problem and a sincere desire to avoid it, many other options will evolve. However, today the cyber-caf� scene in the Muslim countries is pathetic simply because such awareness is lacking.

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