So many warnings are being given, including from our own scholars such as Shk.Saalih bin Fawzaan Al-Fawzaan, advising the Muslims to get off the Internet and social media sites and return to seeking knowledge. We can easily find talks, warnings, and admonishments about the social media being a cause of our destruction wa audhu b'Illahi min dhaalik. Here are a few personal observations about the Internet that I want to share with you.
The Internet, in particular social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, are for the most part in complete contradiction with the hadith on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allahu anh) who said: The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Part of the perfection of one's Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him."[Tirmidhi]
If I simply open up Twitter, I see photos of a Muslimah's hand holding a cup of Starbucks coffee, another of a container of ice cream someone is enjoying, another with a photo of someone from the nose down, some from the neck down, and a plethora of ideas, opinions, and information that can be found by anyone who seeks it. So instead of me learning something that I specifically need or concerns me, I inadvertently see an onslaught of things that don't concern me at all.
We seem to have lost the ability to differentiate between what is good to share in the differing situations of friendships, relationships, the public at large, and strangers. Most certainly, professing love and happiness over coffee is something the vast majority of people have no need to know about. It is also dangerous territory, as in the case of Muslimahs, they are giving out private information (yes, even loving Starbucks or a type of ice cream) to non-mahrem men who have no business knowing her likes and dislikes, let alone what her children's bodies look like from the neck down.
Do you see the danger in this? Those key bits of information are actually a nice, tidy puzzle easily put together by a man with a sickness in his heart or mind, who could seek out that sister by hanging around the Starbucks in her area and actually recognize her by her children's bodies once he finds her there...or by the photo showing her hand. It is a stalker's paradise.
So much danger and so much haraam comes from putting batil, unnecessary information about ourselves on social media. Subhaan Allah, Twitter is nothing compared to Facebook wa Allah ul Musta'an. I have seen decent, private Muslimahs end up in flirty repartee with non-mahrem, and at times non-Muslim men, simply from commenting on a sister's or friend's post. They mention personal things: likes, preferences, talents, or plans, on posts or comments, and perhaps forget that anyone can read them. That means that anyone can also respond to them, or at the least, formulate a more intimate or detailed picture of them that they have no right in Islam to have. Just remember, once you give away private information, you can never take it back. It is planted in the other person's/people's minds for as long as they like to keep it.
Even for those who want to use media to further their Islamic knowledge, there are many drawbacks as we:
- don't learn the manners and etiquette of seeking knowledge that are learned in a face to face lesson
- don't learn the patience required to seek knowledge, as everything is done on our own time, at our own convenience
- do not see the character and mannerisms of the teacher, in order to emulate them
-without proper research methods and logic, can be misled by the information and knowledge available
- simply read without guidance or explanation, which is not seeking knowledge according to Shk. Al Fawzaan and other senior scholars of Ahl us Sunnah
- face information overload, where so much information is available that we don't take in anything with any level of depth.
I have experienced this, personally. I use Whatsapp and Telegram to keep in touch with my mother, husband, and a few close friends. However, some well meaning friends started sending me beneficial reminders, until I got between 10 and 50 of them in a day. Imagine, this was just from a few friends not exceeding 10 in number! So many of the reminders I had read before, and others have nothing to do with my situation (for example, I am not going out to fight in the way of Jihad, my jihad is in my home alhamdul'Illah). The time it took me to read the reminders made them end up being the opposite of benefit, as my responsibilities suffered as a consequence.
If we simply look at the examples of the best Muslims on this earth, we will see that the sahabah learned 10 ayaat of Qur'aan and didn't learn another 10 until they had fully understood and implemented those ayaat in their lives. How does that equate to what we are doing now? It is impossible to read the tens of hundreds of messages and implement them in our day. It is impossible to even remember what those messages are, due to the sheer volume - so where is the benefit?
Are we really benefiting, or simply spending our days reading so many messages that we don't find time to read the Qur'aan, let alone memorize and implement it in our lives. We snatch pieces of information from these reminders instead of properly studying and memorizing the Sunnah and foundational texts and mutoon. It is like spraying perfume on a dirty body instead of giving it a bath. The first thing to know is our Book and the Sunnah; understanding and adherence to these will cleanse us and fragrance us from the inside out bi idhn Illah, ta'ala.
So the first stage is to see the situation and sickness of our relationship with the Internet truthfully and clearly, seeking Allah's aid in this. Then we can look at the ways to medicate and cure ourselves, bi idhn Illah ta'ala, which I will write about in Part 2 inshaa Allah.
Subhaanaka wa bihamdika la ilaaha ila ant, wa astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayk.