Big Tech companies are always in a competitive rush to release their products, whether it be the newest IPhone or the latest model of Tesla. However, we seldom hear of the blood the leaders of these companies have to stain their hands with in order to achieve their unmatched success.
Five of the world’s largest tech companies have been accused of being complicit in the death of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) forced to mine cobalt, a metal used to make telephones and computers, in a landmark lawsuit.
Apple, Tesla, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Dell were among the culprits named in this complaint.
The reason is that most of the materials produced by Big Tech require lithium-ion batteries, which actually contain more cobalt than they do lithium. And about 70% of cobalt is produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The above article by Reuters goes on to state:
Six of the 14 children in the case were killed in tunnel collapses, and the others suffered life-altering injuries, including paralysis, it said.
These children took such bold risks on behalf of people like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates for as little as $1.50 per day. Imagine how preposterous it is for an average worker to put their necks on the line for loose change from billionaires, let alone little kids.
Another article by Lifegate notes depressing accounts by the people who were put through this nightmare:
One (anonymous) plaintiff identified as Jane Doe 1 says she’s the legal guardian of her nephew, James Doe 1, who started working at age 15 as a “human mule”, carrying bags of rocks containing cobalt weighing more than 30 kilos on his back for 70 cents to 95 cents of a US dollar per day. When James Doe 1 died, he was working inside a tunnel at the mine.
Another child, described as John Doe 1, says he started working in the mines when he was nine. The lawsuit claims that earlier in 2019 he was working as a human mule for Kamoto Copper Company, carrying bags of cobalt rocks for 75 cents a day, when he fell into a tunnel. After he was dragged out by fellow workers, he says he was left alone on the ground at the mining site until his parents heard about the accident and arrived to help him. He’s now paralysed from the chest down and will never walk again.
Unfortunately, some Muslim men in the Ummah have begun to highly idolize these Big Tech businessmen. They get sucked in by the malicious charisma these people exude. It’s very common for men like Elon Musk to put up a façade of the lower-class hard worker who made it to the top from scrap.
What Muslims need to understand is that this is totally false. Most of these people come from very wealthy backgrounds. And as has been shown above, their global empires is built on the blood of innocent children. Innocent children that they do not hesitate to ooze every cent out of.
But some Muslims fail to see this, and look up to these men who are driven only by greed, whose every decision is made based on maximizing profit, regardless of how many lives that costs. These tycoons are men of materialism, and they see only one thing, the Dunya. To strive to be like Musk, Bezos, Gates, and Zuckerburg is to 100% commit your mind, body, and soul to this Dunya, a lifestyle Muslims must be extremely cautious not to fall into.
Let’s contrast this behavior with that of our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ:
Abu Huraira reported that al-Aqra’ b. Habis saw Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) kissing Hasan. He said:
I have ten children, but I have never kissed any one of them, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: He who does not show mercy (towards his children), no mercy would be shown to him. (Sahih Muslim 2318a)
He ﷺ would frequently smile at children and made it of utmost importance that all his followers show kindness to them, even to the point that it was, and still is, forbidden to kill children during war. Let’s look at an example of how the Prophet ﷺ treated a child who served him for a long time:
I served the Prophet (ﷺ) for ten years, and he never said to me, “Uf” (a minor harsh word denoting impatience) and never blamed me by saying, “Why did you do so or why didn’t you do so?” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6038)
Now ask yourself, is this in anyway similar to how the wealthiest of the modern world treat the children being forced to work for them? The same men who fed off of the poverty-stricken and doubled their wealth in the last two years?
The key to gaining maximum profit both in this life and the next is to make the Prophet ﷺ our main role model.
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