All praise is due to Allah, Peace and salutations upon our master Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) , His family and His companions. We praise Allah and thank Him, who taught man the various means of communication.

Allah states in the Noble Qur’an, Surah Al-Alaq (96:1-4), “Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), 2. Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). 3. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, 4. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen.” Allah also states in the Noble Qur’an concerning communication, Surah Rum (30:22), “And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge.” Allah mentions our limbs of communication by stating in the Noble Qur’an, Surah Al-Balad, (90:8-9) “Have We not made for him a pair of eyes?And a tongue and a pair of lips?”

From the aforementioned verses we see how important communication is, it is vital for society to run efficiently despite what era it is. As such, the means of communication have taken different modes from smoke signals to e- mails. Today, social networking is so prevalent in society,that one would be frowned upon for not having a social page. Many young people have never written a letter before, via the traditional envelope and stamp method. This form of communication has dwindled to such an extent, that it can be said that it is extinct. We will now take a look at social media and the internet.

 What is Social Media?

A social networking service (also social networking site or SNS), is a platform to build social networks or social relations among people who share interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections. A social network service consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his or her social links, and a variety of additional services. Social network sites are web-based services that allow individuals to create a public profile, to create a list of users with whom to share connections, and view and cross the connections within the system. (Wikipedia)

 The Uses of Social Media

Social media touches on many diverse areas, from Blogs and Crowd-funding sites, to collaboration, brand monitoring and media sharing sites. As new tools continue to be developed across an increasing number of sectors, we can expect to see more use of social media features and capabilities. (liquid light)

 The Benefits of Social Media

There are many benefits of social media which include the following:-

• To communicate with family and friends.

• Mass advertising for business and co-operations.

• A means to share information.

 The Harms of Social Media

There are many harms of social media which include the following:-

• Identify theft – Identity theft can be a significant risk of social networking. Personal details like your full name, names of your family members, your phone number, birthday, address, and place of employment can all be used by identity thieves. “Passport-style” profile photos also make it easier for identity thieves to replicate your online presence.

• False information after identity theft.

• People often post detailed and specific information on social media, which makes it easier to be stalked by acquaintances or strangers. These include phone numbers, addresses, class schedules, social plans, etc.

• Anonymous cyber bullying .

• Suicide due to bullying or posting.

• Murders due to meeting strangers.

• Stirring up racial and ethnic prejudice.

• Stirring up political unrest – Social media has affected the life of everyone, even those who don’t use it. Many of the political uprisings in recent times were started or spread via social media.

People have also used social media to defame others, due to which there is a new outlook on crime by law enforcement agencies. Many developed countries have amended their laws, so as to penalize and punish people who use the internet and social media to commit atrocities. This was necessary, because many atrocities which took place via these mediums had no definition in the laws books. Therefore,many assailants walked scot free.

 Muslims Misuse of Social Media

Muslims being part of society, also use social media and have been affected by it. The benefits mentioned previously are for people who use it correctly. As for those who misuse it, then this has caused many problems in the ummah.

The misuse of social media has caused a heightened state of immorality amongst the Muslims. Women are now posting pictures without hijab online, married individuals have illicit relationships, others are brazenly posting the sins which they committed. They idolize the sins which they had committed and share their unlawful joy with the world. They are brazenly opposing the limits of Allah and it is as if they are saying “bring on the punishment.”

The Muslim advocates for the free use of social media, present many excuses as to why it should be used without any restrictions. However, many true accounts narrated, have proven that this is harmful to the Muslims. Allah and His Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) has taught us the limits of communication. Concerning the free use of the tongue the Rasulullah (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) has informed us, “Whoever can guarantee me that which is between his jaws and that which is between his legs, I guarantee him Paradise.”(1) This Hadith shows us the importance of safeguarding our speech. Concerning the use of the other limbs, Rasulullah (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) said “The adultery of the eye is looking (at something which is sinful), and the adultery of the tongue is to utter (that which is unlawful), and the inner self wishes and longs for it (adultery) and the private parts turns that into reality or refrains from submitting to the temptation.”(2) “It is better for an iron rod (nail, needle etc.) to be driven into the head of a man, than for him to touch a woman who is not permissible for him.”(3) The aforementioned ahadith clearly shows that communication in Islam is not as that of the non-muslims. Islaam has a special code of conduct which is for all times and for everyone. Today, many are wailing with tears of
regret due to the damage caused by social media.

 Social Media and the Deeni Institutes

The use of social media has crept into our Deeni Institutes, causing such harms like termites eating a log from within. As a result of this, the administration of many Deeni Institutes prohibits the use of “smartphones” for both teachers and students. This became necessary, due to the misuse of social media which can now be accessed via “smartphones.” Teachers, especially within the maktab system would be listening to a child’s Qur’an recitation, while browsing on a “smartphone.” This has a negative effect on the children’s performance. When the children are at their homes, they are often heard saying “ustaadh is always on the phone.”

As for the Deeni Institutes where higher Islamic education is taught, the main problem arises from the students. Many students are now addicted to the internet and social media, thereby spending long hours of their free time on these social sites. They hardly study, rather they don’t study at all. Due to the obsession of social media, students have now taken their “smartphones” to the class room. While the teacher is pouring out his heart teaching the words of Allah and his beloved Nabi (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), the student is online chatting even to non maharams. Due the misuse of social media and the introduction of “smartphones,” many other evils have crept into our Deeni Institutes. There is now the addiction to pornography, music, sports and video games. Students are now indulged in these evils while being in front of the Noble Quran, Hadith and books of Deeni knowledge. They hide from the teacher, but they can’t hide from Allah. Allah states in the Noble Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqrah (2:9), “They (think to) deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!” Allah states in the Noble Qur’an, Surah Al-Ma’idah (4:108), “They may hide (their crimes) from men, but they cannot hide (them) from Allah, for He is with them (by His Knowledge), when they plot by night in words that He does not approve, And Allah ever encompasses what they do.”

These students may even pass their examinations, however they have not fully benefited from the teachers. They graduate with long certificates and titles however, they are hollow because of the “termite effect” of social media. These are the students, whose conduct reflects negatively on our Deeni Institutes. They speak ill of their teachers and our methodology as they never took the time to understand it. They quickly leave off our methodology, due to which these students become deviated, claiming their teachers knew nothing or were “backwards” in teaching and in methodology. The general public, including the innocent parents who spent so much money for their children’s Deeni education, are then confused as to what these “students of deen” have become. Unfortunately, some of these parents have casted blame on the Deeni Institutes and have vowed never to send any other child, ward or family member to such Institutes. Oh! If they only knew what was their children’s conduct while they were students. This is the “termite effect” on our Deeni Institutes. The walls are standing, but from within that which needs to keep it going are crumbling. Who will be the teachers of tomorrow? What will be the condition of the teachers of tomorrow? If those students who are addicted to social media become teachers in Deeni Institutes, then the future of the Deeni Institutes don’t look promising. Such Institutes will be devoid of spirituality. Knowledge in Islam is imparted from heart to heart, as such, what spiritual good can such students who are now teachers impart to their students?

In concluding, both social media and the internet, have many uses and many people have benefited in a positive way from their use, by using them in the right manner.

The focal point of this article was the harms resulting from the misuse of social media. Alhamdulillah, at our Deeni Institutes around the world there are many pious teachers and diligent students. The fruits of the students, can be seen after their graduation. May Allah continue to bless them and us all, and may He grant us the knowledge and the ability to use these platforms for good and save us from its’ evil. Ameen.

Author: Muslim

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