Monday, 27 May 2013

The Impact Of Social Media On Islam

In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful

Indeed all praise is due to Allah, we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness, we seek refuge with Allah from our soul’s evil and our wrong doings, he whom Allah guides, no one can misguide, and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad the Messenger of Allah and his family and Companions and all who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment.
Dear respective brother and sisters, elders ulama in Islam, Assalamu’alaikum wa rahamatullah.

Mass  media as we all know  is a means of public communication in  reaching a large audience, in the past this is usually achieved through the use of town-criers and horse men to deliver messages within and outside communities, those medium were less advanced and thus subject to control and also less probable of truncating the limits of Islamic jurisdictions.

Today this means has gradually evolved into the use of facilities like the satellite TV, telephones, billboard, social networks such as Facebook, twitter, and so on. These social networks are today known as the social media because they invariable support the spread of information and in the least controlled manner also.
These modern media tools will in most cases serve to promote the traditional role of mass media as defined by the media practitioners which is to inform, educate, and to persuade the people by providing them with the right information and education on critical and trivial matters within and outside their environments.
The media can bring changes in behavior and attitude of the people by emphasizing certain issues.
 But today due to the lack of control and rightful actions, these tools are used to de-propagate the religion of Islam by showcasing anti-Islamic vices, promoting anti-Islamic ethics (westernization and western habits as well as their approach to matters)
We shall however outline some of its negative and positive impacts on Islam as well as a best practice approach to utilizing its potentials positively in-sha-Allah.

Negative effects of social and mass media

1.            promotion of indecency

Islam propagates the emulation of certain manners by Muslims, these manners are without a reason to better the ummah in general, and one of such is the lowering of the gaze as stipulated in the following ayah where Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala said Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do” [Surah An Noor 24:30]
 The rule of modesty applies to men as well as women. A brazen stare by a man at a woman (or even at a man) is a breach of this refined manner.
This is a commendable virtue which today has been abridged by the social media platforms we have. The expression of almost naked pictures of both men and women on social media such a Facebook, Blackberry messenger, twitter as well as all other electronic communication mediums has made it almost impossible for the Muslim community that utilizes such tools to uphold such a noble command from the Almighty Allah.
This is ultimately because it is not easy refusing to enlarge the display picture of that Aura exposed girls or guy on your social network profile.
 2.            Unguarded Utterances
 One of the founding principles of the media is “freedom of speech”, freedom of speech irrespective of its effect on the individuality of society, freedom of speech weather blasphemous in  nature to the principles of not only islam but also other people ideology in general.
This principle of mass media practice has been transferred to the social media of today and has caused several negative tendencies to its users which include the Muslims in general, tendencies such the act of engaging in illicit discussion with the opposite sex and all that care to participate, public insult/abuse of individuals via these electronic means, display of illicit pictures of one’s self and foes, all these are done in the name of “freedom of speech and expression”.
Abu hurairah reported that the messenger of Allah SAW said, “…He who believes in Allah and the last day, let him speak good or remain silent” Bukhari and Muslim
The Prophet has commanded “good” in the speech of man, this is to promote good qualities in individuals and promote peaceful coexistence beyond the right to utter anything we like in the name of “freedom of speech and expression” which only end in sowing seed of discourse between people.
This prophetic manner is also an indication of the faith in Muslim for He said …He who believes in Allah and the last day…”
This manner is fast becoming absent today in the way words are being exchanged through social media. Updates of Un-godly statement are the trends of the day on our social media.
The spread of illicit pictures and lyrics of western songs has done no good but succeeded in corrupting the minds of the Muslim ummah against upholding good virtues and manner as stated in the quoted hadith above.
Reading these messages, engaging in hearing them or promoting their subsequent multiplication will invariably lead to a decline of iman in the hearts of any Muslim, a danger which today drives some even out of Islam. Subhanallah
Or how do you explain your individual “belief in the messenger and the last day” when you have chosen bad and illicit utterances as against prophetic traditions and manners.
We should be aware that the things we write online are also recorded by the angels so we shouldn’t allow ourselves to fall into a false sense of security thinking that our anonymous comments go unrecorded.
 3.            Demonization of Islamic clerics and Muslims

Opposing basic rights are the primary images that are repeatedly portrayed through the media,
 This creates misconceptions that portray Islam as a religion of violence, today the western Media has launched a campaign against Islam in the name of a campaign against terror by referring to these clerics or the Muslims as “terrorist”, “extremist”, “radical Islamist”.
These are all misconceptions about Islam that are due to the media’s prejudice and ignorance mostly because not enough knowledge is always sought in Islam
Abu Darda reported that the prophet SAW said “nothing will be heavier on the scale of the believers on the day of resurrection than good manners; Allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language”
In another tradition, Abdullah Bin Umar reported that the Prophet SAW said “the best of companions to Allah is one who is best to his companions and the best of neighbors to Allah is the one who is the best of them to his neighbors.  At Tirmidhi
 So how does one define as “radical” a religion that preaches the best of manners and thereby forbidden the utterance of utter and foul language?
How do you define as “extreme” a religion that preaches the best in a man as that who is best to his neighbors?
So how does one define as “terrorism” a religion that preaches kindness to animals and even plants?
The media today does not carry or portray all that is good in the religion of Islam but miss-represents it mostly through doctored or one sided show in order to influence people’s views on Islam.
The Western media usually identifies “Islam” in Muslim conflicts. It hardly points other religions out in their conflicts.
For example, the news would say, "Five Israelis may have been shot, but they were shot by five Muslims", instead of saying "Five Israelis were shot by five Palestinians". The media often reverses this action when a conflict is against Muslims, for example the news would usually say "Bosnians are being killed by Serbians", but instead rarely says, "Muslims are being killed by Christians”
The negative impact of the media and social media in general are numerous but that also in not without an advantage in plays in the role Muslims lives and Islam as a religion.

Positive effects social and mass media
 1.            Teaching the Quran.
 Uthman bin Affan reported that The Prophet said, "The most superior among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur'an and teach it."
It is not without doubt that this is a indeed a noble tradition, the social media no doubt today presents us with countless opportunities to achieve this spiritual superiority before Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. Muslims today have developed countless ways of giving online courses in Arabic, Tajweed and so on through the social media and internet.
People can now learn the language of the Quran as well as its recitation within the comfort of their homes. Islamic internet websites provides question and answer segments which are closely regulated by certified clerics and Ulamas of the Deen and I don’t mean sheikh Google and Mufti Facebook. Masha Allah
 2.            The ease of propagating dawah.
 During the early Islamic era, the Sahabis and other muslims ride Horses or use other local transportation means to travel to nations to in order to call them to Islam, the religion was propagated through dawah in gatherings or during discussions with individuals, these local means of communications thou not as viable and fast but nonetheless aided successfully the spread of islam through the special grace of Allah.
The Prophet SAW said “If Allah guides a person through you, it is better for you than all that is on the earth.”
And in another tradition The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said  "God, His angels and all those in Heavens and on Earth, even ants in their hills and fish in the water, call down blessings on those who instruct others in beneficial knowledge." - Al-Tirmidhi
We have an advanced media and other electronic means of communications today to that can enable us achieve so much more that’s better than all that’s on this earth before Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala.
A simple message today on Islamic propagation can be viewed and read by billions of people around the globe through the use of social media platform and electronic aids.
This social and electronic media in this regards provide us with the opportunity to enlighten more individuals about Islam within a concise span of time, so therefore if used right has no limit to extend of which the messages of islam as a religion travels to all around the world, this can also be used to positively correct the view of islam in the minds of certain individuals.
Methods of constructive usage of social media and electronic aids
 1.             Ensure that you limit yourself to the quest for useful knowledge always, The Prophet SAW said, “He who sets foot on a path in the quest of knowledge, Allah facilitates for him the path to Paradise. Tirmidhi.
It is therefore essential for us that if we must indulge in the use of the social and mass media, then we should do so in such a manner that it will be beneficial to use with respect to the acquisition of rightful knowledge and May Allah guide us to paradise through such venture. Amin
 2.            We live in an environment dominated by non-Islamic values and behaviors. Parents and elders should understand that Islam makes it clear that children are a blessing, a trust, and a test from Allah, Allah says, “And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial and surely with Allah is the mighty reward” (Suratul Anfal: 28)
This remind us of a binding responsibility to ensure that we instill the path of guidance on those we are responsible for be it our friends, brothers and sisters as well as our children.
We can always endeavor to educate them on the most effective ways to utilize the media tools they find at their disposal.
3.            The social media today enables us to bridge communication boundaries by staying in a virtual company of people from all over the world. This is similar to a gathering of people around each other but just with the absence of physical presence.
We therefore stand to benefit just as much w in a social/virtual gathering as we would in a physical one. And this is of course with reference to our contacts on Facebook, twitter, blackberry, yahoo, google+, TUMBLR and so on.
Prophet Muhammad SAW said: “The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” Bukhari and Muslim
And In another Tradition, the Prophet Muhammad SAW said: Mix with the noble people, you become one of them; and keep away from evil people to protect yourself from their evils.” Bukhari and Muslim
Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala says
“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.” [Al-Isra’i  18:28]
My dear Brothers and sisters we can see from the hadith and Ayah the Importance of keeping good friends and also the effect of it.  If we stay with someone for a long period of time, after some time the quality of that person that we are with will be reflected in ourselves. We begin to talk or act like them so if their action and lives values are not in conformity with that of  Islam, we begin to loose our iman by  gradually being with them.
It is therefore imperative that we regulate the communication we make with people through the social and mass media to that which will benefit us and Islam positively.

Kindly note that any mistake in the contents of this article is due to my imperfection as a human being as only Allah Subhanahu Wa-Ta'ala is perfect in all affairs.
May Allah Forgive us our sins, guide us right from the evil of insincere intention, save us from misguided knowledge and grant the entire ummah benefit from this work AMIN.
Kindly feel free to make comments, contributions or corrections where necessary.
May Allah Bless us all, AMIN


Anonymous said...

Superb post.. May I post your article in my blog along with your site name as source..? MAy blog is

Ibrahim Atta said...

Ma-sha-Allah and yes you can post the article in your blog.

King Faisal Amin said...

Salaam Yaa Ibrahim

modou lamin sanyang said...

Mr Atta i found your article being very helpful during my research paper. can i share it to my friends on facebook?