I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“And the Book (one’s record) will be placed (in the right hand for a believer in the Oneness of Allaah, and in the left hand for a disbeliever in the Oneness of Allaah), and you will see the Mujrimun (criminals, sinners), fearful of that which is (recorded) therein. They will say: “Woe to us! What sort of Book is this that leaves neither a small thing nor a big a thing, but has recorded it with numbers!” And they will find all that they did, placed before them, and your Lord treats no one with injustice.” Qur’an 18:49
One of the most amazing and comprehensive statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him) regarding the manner, in which a Muslim ought to behave at each time, was his advice to Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him). He (peace be upon him) said to him, “Fear Allaah wherever you are, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed, it will wipe it out. And behave towards people with a good behavior.”
In one short statement, the Prophet (peace be upon him) exposed the Companions and the generality of the Muslims to those rights that they must attend to. These rights vis-à-vis include, the rights of Allaah over an individual, the rights of an individual upon himself and the rights of other individuals over a person. This is specimen of an ideal Muslim who remains constantly mindful of his duties to Allaah.
Therefore, a Muslim must remain mindful of Allaah, and be righteous at all times and when he slips he regains his spirituality almost immediately and that he should not trample upon the rights of others.
For this purpose, this ideal Muslim whom every other Muslim aspire to be like, must be an excellent ambassador of Islam wherever he finds himself in. Today, the fitnah (trial) presented before the Muslims is the fitnah (trial) of the social media. And this leads to the question of whether social media is good or bad for most Muslims?
According to Smart insight global social media research 2018, there are about three (3) billion active social media users in the world. Well, going by the population of the Muslims in the world, which is estimated to be about one and a half billion (1.5), it can conveniently be argued that there are more than a hundred million Muslims that are active on social media. This apparent strength, if properly harnessed could send the needed positive spiritual energy to get the world off the brink of destruction.
Generally speaking, if Muslims can fear Allaah, and take full advantage of the social media tools at their disposal, a lot of people will have no option than to be attracted to the impeccable character of the Muslims and eventually be admitted into the magnificent fold of Islam. Alas! They are yet to tap fully into this treasure.
The consequence to the import of the statement of the Prophet (peace be upon him) referenced above, it could be said that a Muslim remains a Muslim whether online or offline. However, with the wave of the negative influence people gets exposed to on social media, a lot of Muslims get caught up in the web of an identity crisis. Some years back, (I) got hold of statistics that suggested that 90% of the contents on the Internet are good and only about 10% of the contents are evil. But ironically, 90% of the users go for the 10% evil content while only about 10% of the users go for the 90% positive contents.
Notably, the majority of Muslims that seem to be active on social media do more harm than good to the image of Islam. Yes, a majority, because Allaah Exalted be He says: “And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allaah’s Path…” Qur’an 6:116. Only a few remain dutiful to Allaah and every Muslim should strive to make it to the list of this few. As Allaah says: “But few of My slaves are grateful.” Qur’an 34:13
Besides, what is being witnessed every day on most social media platforms, of the attitude and the behaviour of some Muslims, only buttresses the above-stated fact. From Facebook, to twitter, to Instagram, to Snapchat to even chat rooms such as Whatsapp, there is little to be proud of. Gossips, slandering, backbiting, PhD (pull him/her down), abuse of sight, vulgarity, lack of respect for dissenting voices, little or no dignity, falsehood, vanity (especially as with the case of Instagram), promotion of prostitution and unchaste nature, spying on each other’s privacy are the dominating factors.
Again, when it comes to differences of opinions that is when the shameful, uncultured and unIslamic traits of most people become manifested. They make all sorts of vituperative comments and hurl insults against their opponents, least forgetting that they are Muslims and ought to behave as one.
Sadly, Satan always makes evil alluring and fair-seeming and this has made it easy for him to deceive a lot of people. To lie and spread fake news against others is seen to be the “in-thing”. To display arrogance against seniors it seen to be boldness, to insult others is seen to be bravery, to display vanity is seen to be riches, to display the awrah (nudity) is seen to be civilization, to oppose certain religious injunctions is seen to be liberation, to deny the existence of Allaah is seen to be intellectualism.
Conversely, 10% of the social media users that go for the 90% positive content are not left behind. Their impact is felt and gradually they will one day be triumphant over evil. Each Muslim, must see himself as a potential marketer of Islam, hence the need to be careful and mindful of Allaah. None has been denied the ability to do well; it only depends on what one decides to do.
The verse of the Qur’an referenced at the beginning should serve as a strong reminder to every Muslim that whatever he or she does online or offline will be recorded and presented before him or her in the Court of Allaah. This realization should spur every Muslim who aspires for Jannah to retrace their track and delete all the evil things they posted on social media and seek for Allaah’s forgiveness.
Each Muslim should strive to use their social media handles for something positive. A person must not be a scholar before he can be of help to Islam, there are the beneficial worldly knowledge that a Muslim can pursue and thus help in propagating it to one and all.
In conclusion, at the end of the authentic hadith Qudsi that was narrated by Abu Dharr from the Prophet (peace be upon him), he tells us that his Lord, Exalted be He, said: “O My slaves, they are merely your actions which I am recording for you, then I will require you for them. Whoever finds it to be good, let him praise Allaah, and whoever finds it to be otherwise, let him blame no one but himself.”
Mr Abdul (Penabdul), an architect, is the Chairman/CEO of Sustainable Project Works (SPW) Ltd & a Lecturer at Baze University, Abuja. Twitter: @Penabdull Instagram: @Penabdul