I am a student of Deen and want to learn and spread Islam. I use the internet extensively for this purpose. Also, because I am studying computer sciences, I spend most of my time on computers checking my mail etc. I was a facebook user until a year ago. I deactivated my account because our ulama wanted us to, based on the blasphemous events that took place in it.
But now, a year or so after this incident, I see a lot of people who seem to be very pious and are daa’ees of Islam using it for the sake of da’wat. Many of my friends and relatives also use it to share things even after being told not to. So if I send them any e-mails, most of them go unread. I think and hope that if I use facebook to share Islamic things with them it would be beneficial for them. And, secondly, I would be able to see what my relatives and friends are up to so that I may think and care about them.
So I want to ask you if I can use facebook for the sake of spreading Islamic awareness and to know what my friends and relatives are up to as I see no other available way. I will be very grateful if you could guide me on this.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh
You mentioned that you want to spread Deen and raise awareness of Islam. We commend you for this intention and pray that Allah, the Almighty gives you the ability to do so. However, you also mentioned that you would like to try and do this on facebook, a website based on the intermingling of the sexes and communicating with non mahram, people, which, unfortunately, some Muslims nowadays don’t consider to be a sin. They consider it to be the ‘norm’ and say that there’s nothing wrong with it.
Allah, the Almighty says in the Quran:
قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ .ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ. إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
“Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with what they do. (24:30)”
This ayah is not restricted to the men because further on Allah gives women the same order.
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا. وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ
And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests (24:31)
If we look at the state of the Muslim youth nowadays, we will see that they have become so modernised that intermingling has become common until the extent that the Muslim girls do not even cover their heads let alone their faces and they freely misbehave, joke and interact with the opposite gender. Then friends take pictures of these people and upload them on facebook just so all their other friends and relatives can see the pictures which is obviously wrong.
Also you mentioned that your family and friends ‘share’ things on facebook. When you flick through their photo albums, you will inevitably see people who may or may not be their mahaarim, but they certainly won’t be yours. And even if you don’t go through their photo albums, when you look at their ‘walls’, the profile pictures of all the non mahram people that post on their wall will be visible to you. At first, you may have the power to control yourself and not interact and communicate with them, but over a period of time you will start to. (You cannot place butter in a hot pan and claim that it won’t melt).
Some people may claim that merely looking at a photo of someone else is not harmful as long as one isn’t interacting with that person. There is a saying that ‘butter next to fire will melt. Every person knows that they have their base desires. The uncontrollable attraction to the opposite sex. And what guarantee does one have that he will stop at just viewing the photo? That he won’t feel like interacting with the girl in the picture. That because the girl in the picture has put on make up to try and make herself look more beautiful, he won’t start to lust after her and comment on the picture and eagerly await a reply. And then when he feels the moment is right, he’ll send a friend request?! And the more friends you have, the more likely it is that you will end up looking at the pictures of non mahram people, even if you haven’t befriended them yourself.
We are not negating the fact that there are benefits of using facebook; however the harms of using facebook outnumber the benefits. Allah says:
وَإِثْمُهُمَا أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا
“Their sin is greater than their benefit.” (2:219)
People need to realise that facebook and other social networking sites are just a mean of spreading Islam and raising awareness. They are not the only means for this. People use Deen as an excuse to sign up to these sites, then they eventually forget their ‘original purpose’ and become like all the other users.
You also mentioned that you want to use facebook to see what your friends and family are up to. This is also not a valid excuse at all because most people don’t disclose important information that needs to be told to others on social networking sites. If it is urgent and you need to know about it, they will call you. Many of the people on facebook and other sites keep on changing their status to unimportant and petty things like ‘I’m going for a haircut’ or ‘I’m going to sleep now’. If you really need to communicate with them, you may do so by calling once in a while…
Is reading these kinds of statuses the kind of thing you want to spend your time indulged in. Even when the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has said:
“من حسن إسلام المرء تركه ما لا يعنيه”
(ابن ماجة والترمذي)
“It is from the good of one’s Deen that he leaves those things that do not concern him.”
(Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi)
لَيْسَ يَتَحَسَّرُ أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ إِلا عَلَى سَاعَةٍ مَرَّتْ بِهِمْ لا يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِيهَا
“The dwellers of paradise will only regret the time they spent in the world not doing the dhikr of Allah.” (Baihaqi)
So do you really want to regret the time you wasted reading an unnecessary status of another person and browsing their pictures.
If you are haven’t already done anything that you regret, there is no need to enter into something that has the potential to make you do something you will come to regret.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.