And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good. (Quran 29:69)
It used to be the first thing you did in the morning was go to the bathroom to wash your face and brush your teeth. Times have changed and, in these modern times, the first thing you’re most likely do in the morning is check your Facebook page.
The popular social-media platform is a one-stop destination to keep in touch with family, read the latest news and make connections with people from across the globe.
However, as much as Facebook is a blessing, it is also a curse. This holds true, especially, for new Muslims who are just learning the Deen and are at risk of falling into the pitfalls of Facebook.
Misguidance and Misinformation
One of the biggest pitfalls of Facebook, for new Muslims, is the amount of misinformation about the Islamic faith.
For someone just learning about their newfound faith, this can prove to be catastrophic. Anyone can put up a Facebook page that looks legitimate or appears to be “Islamic”.
It can be very difficult for a new Muslim, or even a seasoned Muslim for that matter, to discern the difference between a genuine Islamic Facebook page and one that is meant to sow disbelief in a believer’s mind.
Misguidance about Islam is also rampant on Facebook as well with false preachers claiming gross misconceptions when it comes to the Deen of Islam.
What is worse is that some of these false preachers have huge followings and they spread distortions so stealthy that even a lifelong Muslim might not detect it.
Whether you’re reading a Facebook page or watching a video, always hold fast to the Noble Quran and the Sunnah of Muhammad (peace be upon him) when considering any information from Facebook about the Islamic faith. If it does not live up to either of these two main sources of Islamic knowledge, then leave it be.
Beware of Temptation
There is great fitna, or temptation, on Facebook lurking around every corner. You don’t even have to look for it! It flows just as easily as a leaf rolling down a stream. Everywhere you look, whether a friend’s personal page or even the small profile photos that belong to each account, you will find temptation. And it is a two-way street with both genders equally represented.
However, it has become more and more common for Muslim women in particular to share their latest photos all dressed up in sparkling headscarves and wearing bright shades of lipstick.
For the new Muslim, it might seem that this is permissible in Islam because a Muslim is doing it. The pitfall being that it is not permissible in Islam to reveal your adornments to non-relatives let alone in an online forum. Worst of all, there are countless brothers encouraging it through their comments.
And Allah Almighty says in the Noble Quran:
Then for him who transgressed all bounds, (in disbelief, oppression and evil deeds of disobedience to Allah). And preferred the life of this world (by following his evil desires and lusts).Verily, his abode will be Hell-fire. (Quran 79:37-39)
The beauty of both men and women should be reserved for their spouse and not shared online for consumption by the masses. You never know what someone will do with a photo shared online. It can be shared exponentially and your online identity can even be stolen to make an entirely new account without your knowledge.
The Trust Trap
It’s very easy to form relationships on Facebook. You’ve probably read different stories of how long lost family members have found one another on Facebook or even childhood friends who have reconnected after decades apart. It also has become a place where matchmaking takes place and romantic relationships easily form.
The pitfall for a new Muslim, who might be ready to marry and settle down, is that social-media is not the best place to find a spouse. You don’t know who the other person is behind the screen other than what they’ve allowed you to see.
In addition, Islam has placed limits on the ways in which men and women can communicate. As Allah Almighty says in the Noble Quran:
O you who have believed, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. And whoever follows the footsteps of Satan – indeed, he enjoins immorality and wrongdoing. And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have been pure, ever, but Allah purifies whom He wills, and Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (Quran 24:21)
Be careful with anyone you meet on Facebook, especially when it comes to meeting in the real world. And when it comes to the question of marriage, ask a trusted friend or your local Imam for their support before moving forward on your own.
I is for Isolation
For most new Muslims, isolation is one of the biggest issues that they face in the wake of their newfound Islamic faith. Beloved family members and lifelong friends, quite often, break ties with them out of fear or misunderstanding.
A new Muslim is thrown into intense isolation right from the start. Facebook can seemingly fill the void of those losses. The pitfall is that Facebook is rife with meaningless memes and ‘friendships’ that exist online exclusively. Social media can never replace human interaction. And the more a new Muslims relies on these meaningless friendships, the greater the void will become.
New Muslims can reap immense benefits by attaching themselves to the mosque and meeting Muslims in their neighborhood to form lasting bonds by the Will of Allah. It is through meaningful friendships with Muslims in your community that you can surmount the obstacles that come with leaving your previous faith and embracing Islam.