Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Fiqh Of Facebook

As an avid Facebook user of a few years, I have tasted its fruits but also experienced the sickness of excess and felt the danger of getting lost among the trees. Whenever Muslims are faced with a new environment, they enter it carrying their principles with them. We also need a sound understanding (fiqh) of the realities of this environment and how to handle some of its specifics.

If time is life, then Facebook is many people’s favorite weapon of suicide. We struggle to find time to seek beneficial knowledge, yet trivial comments about trivial matters get more than their fair share. Someone remarked on Imam Suhaib Webb’s FB “wall” that we check out people’s latest FB updates more frequently than we check our Qur’an to take benefits from its verses. 

The technological aspects of Facebook, particularly with its ever-updating interface, can have an intoxicating effect. It is built upon the principle of maximal stimulation of the eyes and brain; it is not far from the imagination to compare it with hypnosis. All this has a long-term effect on the mind and on the spiritual heart.
What are the signs of excess? Specialists in addiction can list a few, but let me point out one thing that I believe is frighteningly common. I noticed once that when Twitter went down for a few hours then resumed, someone commented on the experience, writing: “When Twitter went down, all I wanted to do was tweet about it!” Ridiculous, yet I would suggest that it is quite representative of a common urge to use these media as a natural outlet for all our thoughts, desires and emotions. As I once wrote:

“We express our thoughts in the form of a status update instead of turning to Allah with our fears and joys. The day of a believer should be a constant conversation with God.”
Even when we are reading and forwarding religious content, if we do so with hearts unaware. To quote from Shaykh Abdallah Adhami’s FB comment: “By all means: share, post, sms, blog, im, email, tweet… (though most importantly, internalize)”. This is the point! If you read a supplication with your eyes, it is no use if your tongue remains dry and your heart remains silent. Is reading a du`a’ (supplication) anything like making du`a’?

Let’s be in no doubt that FB is a public space, though certain aspects (messaging) allow one-to-one communication. If Facebook is like a public street, doesn’t it have rights? The first is lowering the gaze: not just from unseemly images, but from everything that doesn’t concern you. Think about it as hundreds of conversations are presented before you.

The above FB Fiqh advice was based on a hadith (report concerning the Prophet ﷺ) reported in Sahih Muslim, in which Allah’s Messenger ﷺ questioned some people sitting in the road and instructed them to avoid doing so.  When these Companions explained their purpose, the Prophet ﷺ said: “If you must sit, then fulfill the rights of the road: lower your gaze, respond to greetings and talk in a good manner.”
Not only does Facebook make it all too easy to look at pictures of members of the opposite sex and personal details we have no business knowing, but it makes it tempting to pore through threads of comments that at best, are a complete waste our time, and at worst, involve a level of prying. Just as we take responsibility for what we post, we should also be ethical in what we access.

Privacy in general is a major and widely discussed issue of concern regarding Facebook, so a Muslim should be even more aware of the issue. Both sisters and brothers need to beware of broadcasting details that could be misused, and especially pictures in which they are more exposed than they ought to be in public. Even a “private” FB album is never truly private, when you think about it.

These few thoughts on Facebook Fiqh are by no means exhaustive, but I hope they provide a starting point to a greater consciousness and care when using new technology and emerging media.

Source : Suhaibwebb

p/s: kena buka mata hati selepas mata akal membaca. Facebook, Twitter dan teknologi seangkatan dengannya berpotensi menjadi pembunuh senyap kepada HATI malah boleh juga membunuh "pemerintah" seperti dalam kes mubarak..

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