By Mufti Ismail Musa Menk
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu
Bismillahi Walhumdulillahi Wassalatu Wassalamu AlaAbdillahi Wa Rasoolihi Muhammad Wa Ala Alihi Wa As’habihi Ajma’een
Always we praise Allah Subhana Wataala. We send blessings and salutations upon Muhammad may peace be upon him, his entire household, all his companions, and all those who had struggled through the generations in a way that today we are seated here. We thank Allah Subhana Watala for it and indeed we are greatly blessed.
My brothers and sisters, seeing that the time is quite short. I will dive straight into the topic, Islam and social media.
If you take a look at the definition of social media, you will find that it is the interaction amongst people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. And if you take a look at Islam, Islam appreciates and welcomes all forms of advancement for as long as it does not go against the teachings of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and what Allah Subhana Watala has revealed.
So in the nutshell we as Muslimeen, our mission is to learn, to put into practice and to convey and as for the medium of conveying we need to use whatever is at our disposal to convey the beautiful message so that the whole world can taste the peace that we are enjoying. And, we thank Allah for granting us the beautiful example of Muhammad, (may peace be upon him) when it comes to this. And this is why my brothers and sisters if you take a look at the time of Muhammad (peace be upon him), most of the people were unlettered.
Allah says in the Quran:
It is He who sent an unlettered a Messenger who was unlettered amongst the unlettered … Surat Al-Jumu`ah, Qu’ran 62:2
Which means the bulk of these people were unlettered. They used to rely on memory. So much so that they knew the lineage of their camels, going back seven generations. You know I sit and I think of this, I don’t even know my own lineage seven generations going back and I don’t think most of us … 99% of us would probably not even know their lineage. So this is the type of technology they had.
They relied on their own minds. They had powerful memories. They were poets. They were eloquent. But at that time when the message was to be delivered to the leaders of the globe, Muhammad (peace be upon him) chose to write the message to get those who will write it on his behalf because he was unlettered.
So from the few who were educated he told them what to write. Bismillah hirahman irraheem and so on and he sent the message all across. So this shows us that he used something that was not the norm in his own area because he had to get the message across. So much so that when this message was to be delivered to the Romans, the Sahabah radiallah u unhum informed him that you know what, they are not going to read what you have sent because it doesn’t have a seal. It needs an official seal. Immediately he said, ok. Let us get the seal. Let us make sure that we seal that letter.
He did not say, Oh this is their style. It is their method. Let’s not use it because what was at stake was guidance. What was at stake was the message itself. It had to be sent.
And the reason why I start this way is to demonstrate that today we find ourselves with technology advancing in leaps and bounds and if I’m not going to use that technology and you are not going to use it positively then it will be used in a destructive manner in order to promote that which is incorrect. That which is invalid and that which will earn the wrath of Allah Subhana Watala perhaps snatch away the peace from our lives.
So, we have all come to the agreement that it is permissible and in fact it is necessary for us to make use of whatever the latest technology is, in order to beam the message of peace across the globe.
The problem is if you are to read statistics, you will find that these social networking sites and the social media is the cause of the snatching away of the peace of a lot of people. You find wives complaining. You find husbands complaining. Children complain. They are orphans…orphans of what?
Social media orphans. It means mum is busy with her phone. Dad is busy with his. And why we say phone because although it includes the internet at large, the phone and the mobile has become the device of the age. So much so that the S5 before it came out we already ordered some of these phones. And if I were to tell you the S6 is almost on its way, you would probably Google it and find out in a few minutes what’s happening.
May Allah Subhana Watala grant us understanding of the power of this technology so it has spread the whole globe. Remember, Islam governs how to use it. It’s like a knife. You can use the knife to chop up your meat so that you can cook it in proper – MashAllah – little cubes that I enjoy eating as well. You know which are cooked beautifully and soft and tender when you’re chewing them. Or, you can actually use it in a wrong way.
A knife can be used as a weapon. It depends how the person uses it. Islam says, use it in the correct way. Make sure that you use it in the proper way so that the day I meet with my Maker who is the source of all peace I will be from amongst those who has not left a single stone unturned in trying to reach out to the people in a beautiful way. So how did I make use of the social networks that were at my disposal.
If you take a careful look at technology, on many different forms you have the social media. For example, there are magazines, the internet forums, the web blogs, the blogs, the social blogs, microblogging, the wikis, the social networks, podcasts, photos, videos, the ratings, social books and so many other things that we actually have not only the ability to source but even to be a part of its making or creation. So make sure that you have used it in the correct way, and this is how Allah Subhana Watala will bless you and I in this world and the next.
If you take a look at the word ‘social’, Islam has indeed given a very great importance to social interaction but within limits and for the right reasons. If you look at the salah we read, the congregational prayer, the hadith says salatul jamaatee afdhalu min salati fardi sabeena wa ishreena daraja … that Salah in congregation is better than Salah read individually 27 times. One narration says 25 times. It means so many fold more.
The reason is that interaction. You meet the people. You smile at them. The physical meeting is far more important than anything else. And the social networking if we were to take internet out of it, and make it physical then Islam has promoted it from the very beginning.
You have for example the Jumuah that is compulsory upon us as Muslimeen. We need to know that that is a gathering. The Eid is a gathering. It is something important. To go out to visit the sick is highly rewarding.
Today you can just send a WhatsApp message and say you know what, I heard you are unwell. I’m praying for you. And so on. And do you know that you will get a similar reward? If the person is far away, you would have visited them had they been nearer. But because of your busy schedule or whatever else it is, you were only able to message them so you have a beautiful reward.
I always say that there was a time when we could invite one person. You know I can talk to you. Interact with you, brother. This is the goodness. This is what it is. This is the peace. This is what Islam is all about or you know, I can share some good moments with one person, two people, perhaps – a group of people. Whereas Allah Subhana Watalaa has made it so easy for us to earn a huge reward just by the touch of a button.
Let’s ask ourselves, “Are we doing that? Or are we earning the wrath of the Almighty by the touch of the same button?” Because in the same way that I can press just some knob on my phone or a little, perhaps a part of my touch screen as it is today and I can reach out to hundreds or millions of people with the correct message. I can do the same with the bad message. So ask yourself.
Allah has made it easy for you to earn reward packed as many rewards as possible before you meet with Allah Subhana Watala.
My brothers and sisters, it’s extremely important to know. To know that this social interaction in Islam is definitely an act of worship if it is done correctly, and this is when it comes to the physical relation, you know, to spend time with your parents, and with your children and so on, it’s extremely important.
If you’ve gone away somewhere further away from home, how many messages do you send home? How many WhatsApp messages do you send home? Do you Skype your children? It’s a question. But we are quick to use all that when it comes to wrong sometimes because the devil is also as powerful.
Remember, pornography is something that would destroy your peace. It is something that might soothe your lusts that is inside but as a result the cactus that grows around your heart is so huge because it snatches away peace. So therefore, stay away from it. And worse than actually engaging in perhaps looking at something derogatory is to forward it to others just as a joke. And this is where Islam comes in.
My brothers and sisters, man sanna sunnatan hasanatan falahu ajruha. We know the hadith wa man sanna sunatan sayeeata falahu wizruha. Wa wizru man amala biha ila yawmil qiyamah. La yunqusu zalika min awzarehee shayaaa.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) says, whoever sets a bad example, whoever has started a bad trend, they will have … they will bear the burden of it and the burden of everyone else as a result who has been affected by it, or who drops into it up to the Last Day. And that would be not decreasing the burden from anyone of them.
This is something very dangerous. So remember, do not just forward something that is perhaps pornographic. Something that is bad. Something racist. Something of the nature where we are earning the anger of Allah or it is something sinful because click of the button could mean great detriment to us.
It could mean great destruction to us. We ask Allah Subhana Watala to save us. It is something extremely important. Also what Islam has done is it has given us rules and regulations regarding so many things. Do you know if I have to have for example a twitter handle, or a Facebook page or for example, on Instagram, WhatsApp, BBM, whatever else it is, Skype, the first thing I need to do is to choose a name and a profile.
It is extremely important as muslimeen, the bearers of peace, that you choose a profile befitting whom you really are in terms of your link with Allah because sometimes it is these profiles that are made in such a way that automatically they beam a lot of nudity. They beam a lot of negativity.
And as a result what will happen to our inner and outer peace? What will happen to the peace of this world and the next? And be honest with yourself. You know sometimes people want to hide so they create a profile with a dubious name and this brings me to the point I wanted to raise.
People are on social networks for different reasons. Some are there to spread goodness. Others are there to have just fun. And some are there to con you and to dupe you and others are there just to abuse you. So be careful.
Let us not be from amongst those who are doing wrong. Let us be from amongst those who are there in order to maintain perhaps our family ties, perhaps to find out what’s happening to our friends in a beautiful way and to spread the message of goodness whenever we have a chance and in whatever way we can for as long as it thought of quite clearly and it is the best chosen method. As Allah Subhana Watala says,
When you call towards the path of the Almighty, choose the most wise of all methods. Surat Nahl, Qu’ran 16:125
And when you engage people in discussion, make sure it is the most powerful or the best of ways. So this would apply even when we are interacting with one another when it comes to social networking and so on. The difficulty we have after we’ve created a profile, we have friends. So we choose friends, we allow friends and people befriend us. The type of friends you choose is extremely important. It will shape your peace or it will break it. This is why those who have chosen bad friends. SubhanAllah. May Allah protect us all from that.
It is important for us to realise if they are having a bad effect on us and they probably will, then we need to get ourselves out of that as soon as possible because Allah Subhana Wataala speaks about it in the Quran.
Beautiful verses of Surah Furqan where Allah speaks of the one who will regret because of his bad company and he will say, Oh! I hope I had taken the path that the Messenger had taught and I hope I did not have so and so as a friend of mine because he has led me astray after the goodness was made manifest to me. Surat Al-Furqan 25:27-29
How can that happen? So make sure even your online friends are those who are people reminding you of goodness and turning you away from that which is bad for you. If they encourage you to do something bad, you need to take a step back. And you need to ask yourself, what am I doing to help them? May Allah Subhana Wataaala use us to help them.
Another very important aspect of speaking about the type of friends. Extremely important for us to know the character, the language we use, the type of person we portray ourselves, or we come across as, and the type of comments we make when it comes to other people’s perhaps pages or twitter accounts, handles and so on. The type of comments we make, we need to carefully think of them.
Remember one thing, these comments will last forever and ever. Not like a long time ago, you make a mistake and you can just say I’m sorry to the person you made a mistake towards, but now it will beam across the whole globe, being retweeted, and shared and perhaps multiplied so many times before you know it the whole world has been affected by your mischief or misdeed. We don’t want that to happen. We’d rather be from amongst those who can use that for peace and that too InshAllah encourage people to do that which is good.
Extremely important, the time and the limitations that I spend on these social networks and the social media and so on. Allah Subhana Watala has taught us to be mindful of time. Look at what Mohammad (peace be upon him) says,
There are two blessings which many people waste: health and free time. Sahih Bukhari, 6049
There are two gifts of Allah that a lot of people have been duped about. A lot of people are deceived about. What are those two? Health and your time. Your free time. Many people you know you’re healthy and you end up doing all the wrong things, not realising one day your health will go. It has to go! May Allah protect us and make it easy for us on that day. And when we are free we just waste the time.
Nowadays even when we are engaged in the most important of things, you’ll find something happening very important and such a big irritation. Do you know how irritating it is? It is so irritating the most important of issues I may be engaged in and next thing I find SubahanaAllah I’m busy on WhatsApp. Such an important event. So many people watching me and I’m busy trying to…
[Ring, Ring, Mufti Menk’s mobile phone rings out of the blue!]
That’s my phone. Give me a second.
Salamualaikum. Oh my brother, to be honest with you, I’m very very busy. Right now, I’m speaking to thousands of people. And you know what, you have to believe me. I don’t really have so much time, my brother. They are waiting for me. Each one of them has a minute. My brother, can you call me in about half an hours time perhaps? Can you? It’s a very important. Ok, mine is more important. Ok, ok. I’ll speak to you later. I will give you a call later. Shukran.
You see that!!!
How irritated were you? That was planned by me before I came here. SubhanaAllah.
To show you how bad it is. How irritating, I’m sure some of you must be just Unnhhhh! What just happened? It’s real life. I’m talking to you reality. My wife is suffering because I’m on WhatsApp up to 3 in the morning with some woman whom I’m never going to see perhaps. And, I’m just smiling with her. That’s what’s going on in my home, my brothers.
Social media in Islam. Please, know the time limitations. Switch off your phone and talk to your wife. Please. Switch off your phone and spend time with your husband. That’s all it needs beaucese we are Muslims. We have the ingredient of peace. We are here at a beautiful peace conference. We want peace in the house.
If you do not know how to govern your own life and how to have rules and regulations in your own life. How on earth the peace is going to emanate through the globe when in my own home there is a disaster because SubhanaAllah I don’t know how to use the Internet.
It is the most beautiful gift of Allah. Can I tell you why? We have online lessons where you can become a strong Muslim. Do you make use of that? Those mashaikh and those scholars who are teaching you the Deen or any other education you would like to receive, it is discipline. They will tell you 45 minutes. That’s the time. They will tell you 20 minutes. That’s the time. And, you will stop at that time. But it is only social waste of time sometimes that would actually destroy a marriage.
And remember, I have come across cases where people have gone through divorce. And they’ve gone through someone else. And then they were busy with the third party because it does not stop. Islam says discipline yourself and InshaAllah you’ll be the happiest person in this world.
My brothers and sisters, there is so much to talk about on this beautiful topic. I’ve already touched on pornography. I’ve touched on the disaster of the phone, yet it is a great gift of Allah. I want to end because obviously we are restricted for time by reminding you, my brothers and sisters, it is your duty that you’re not overtaken by technology in a way that you become enslave but rather stay above it.
Make sure you use it in the best possible way so that your wife can be so happy when you come back home after the day of work. You’ve sent her 20 messages with flowers and roses and so on. And, your children know that dad loves – SubhanAllah – them. And even mums, SubhanAllah some of the mums are guilty of the same.
My brothers and sisters, this is something extremely important. We need to know it. I want to end off by saying one thing. Never ever be duped by emoticons. Do you know what is an emoticon? How many of you have used the term LOL when you’ve not laughed at all. Can you please raise your hands? Look at that. How many of you have used LOL? You have not laughed. We saw all the hands.
This shows that sometimes these emoticons are actually just a way of conning you. Do not be conned by the media. Let us make sure we live as Muslimeen. We use it InshaAllah for the best, for the best to spread goodness and peace, to earn rewards and to inquire about the sickly and the others, to pray for the whole world and to make sure we reach out as best as we can – not only to our family members, but to one and all. May Allah grant us goodness.
Wasallallahu salaam wa baraka ala nabiyeen a Muhammad. SubhanAllahi wabi hamdik. SubhanakAllahumma wa bi hamdika wa nash hadu laa ilaaha illa ant, nastaghfiruka wa natoobo ilayk.