The Epidemic of Social Media

The epidemic of social media has struck every home, it has swept the vast deserts, the plains, the mountains and all have been touch by this outbreak in the world of technology.
Whilst such advancements create new avenues, and opens a whole new world, it comes with a hefty price. Sadly, many who enter this realm are unprepared for the surge of consequences that result from overindulgence in this blessing.

Yes, social media is a blessing if we know how to use it in a manner pleasing to Allah. Like every device, there are instructions, and laws governing its use. Social media spans so many areas of our lives, it is essential that we cross-examine its usage, especially in terms of our deen. For our deen, is our mode of living, it is not merely a religion reserved for worship rituals. Islam governs every aspect of our daily life, because it is a way of life, a system of living. The entire purpose we are in existence is to be subservient to Allah and His commands.

1. Male and Female interaction: Modern technology has created an e-community, in which people can interact in a virtual world. What we must realise is what is prohibited in the real world, is also prohibited in the virtual world.

Just as it is prohibited for you to freely interact with the opposite gender, or make small talk or engage in unnecessary conversation in the real world, the same applies online also. Private messages, chatrooms, and commenting and liking posts should all be governed by the same principle that forbids us to engage freely with the opposite gender in the real world.

Similarly, just as you are commanded to lower you gaze in the real world, the same applies online. Browsing non-mahram profiles, uploading personal images and sharing them with the opposite gender is all impermissible.

2) Spreading religious Knowledge: It has become ever so easy to pass on messages, with the simple click of a few buttons. You no longer have to memorise the information, nor expend energy in repeating it with your voice.

Sadly, many forward on messages without verifying its origins or source. Whether this is religious knowledge or otherwise, senders should be careful.
In terms of religious knowledge, it carries an extra burden, to lie against Allah is a big error indeed. And to lie against the Prophet is no less. We have been warned in various forms against doing either of these two:

Allah says (the translation of which is),

And when they commit an immorality, they say, “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has ordered us to do it.” Say, “Indeed, Allah does not order immorality. Do you say about Allah that which you do not know?” (07:28)

And it is authentically reported from the Prophet that he said,

Whoever (intentionally) ascribes to me what I have not said then (surely) let him occupy his seat in Hell-fire.” (Bukhari)

Often times, innovated acts of worship are circulated, many a times with a good intention. But this is insufficient, for our religion requires, not only a good intention, but actions that are in accordance with the Sunnah and what Allah has prescribed. Furthermore, the goal of earning Jannah and the pleasure of Allah, does not justify the means, unless it is in accordance to the commands of Allah and the actions of the Prophet peace be upon him.

Today to protect the sunnah is equal to protecting the body and person of Rasulullah, as such we should aim to uphold his practices in their purest form without addition or subtraction. Rasulullah is our beloved and we should aim to protect him and his sunnah to our utmost best.

3) The Loss of Haya: Many think that because they are behind a screen and people cannot see them directly, they can behave as they please without being judged. But they forget that Allah is watching them. How many have uploaded and shared images that are inappropriate, on ‘secret’ accounts? How many have typed things online, they would never dare to say in person? And how many have visited sites which contain forbidden, yet they would never walk into similar places in real life?

Your attitude online should not be any different to your real character. Do not fear the eyes of people, or their unapproving comments. Rather fear the one who gave you the faculties that you use in His disobedience. Know that He is All-Aware, All-Seeing and Hearing, whether you are using social media or otherwise.

4) Publicising Sins:Posting pictures, statuses, and more of yourself engaged in sin, carries a high risk. Ponder upon this hadith:

Abu Hurayrah said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “All of my ummah will be forgiven except those who sin openly. It is a part of sinning openly when a man does something at night, then the following morning when Allah has concealed his sin, he says, ‘O So and so, I did such and such last night,’ when all night his Lord has concealed him and the next morning he uncovers what Allah had concealed.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah of sin, no doubt, but we should conceal it. Keep it as private matter. By publicising it, not only does a person risk losing the forgiveness of Allah, but also such a person makes the sin acceptable among the people, until the people grow to accept it. And what once was a big sin, becomes a norm, as everyone is accustomed to seeing it and immune to it.

5) Incessant Messaging: Dealing with the high volume of messages, we are naturally going to suffer from an information overload. Reminders become mere words on a screen and quickly lose their essence. Rarely do we benefit from what we read, because we barely get a chance to absorb it and digest it, let alone ponder over it. It’s all good sending islamic messages and reminders, but, we should do so in a way that benefits ourselves and others. It’s best to send one reminder at a time, so that the audience can read it, understand it, apppreciate it, and remember it so that they can apply it later on. Furthermore, such a practice is found in the Sunnah. 

The Prophet did not overwhelm his companions with reminders, so as to bore them. Rather he spaced out his teachings, a time for learning, reflecting, and other times for other things. Similarly Ibn Mas’ud only used to teach once a week. When his students requested more lessons, he refused despite their zeal, fearing they would get bored, and suffer a drop in iman from being over whelmed. So, take it easy with the reminders, especially in group chats. If a person has sent a reminder, send yours a littl later.

To conclude, the world is now one, communities that were previously restricted by geographical landscapes can now connect and unite together. How amazing is the effects of these tools? We can benefit a lot from social media, it is not all doom and gloom. Beneficial reminders, online classes, lectures, and research are some of the benefits of social media and the online community. I mean, who would have thought in the time of the Prophet that indeed the ummah would be one ummah connected in unimaginable ways? Alhamdulilah, social media is an immense blessing.

We simply have to be responsible with it. Like with everything we have and use, we will be questioned about it on the Day of Resurrection. The rules that apply in the real world, apply in the virtual world too. Every little deed, will be recorded, and you will be accounted for it on the Day of Judgement.

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