Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Problem with Instagram(actually, social media to be exact)

(Assalamualaikum, before I start, this post is not meant to purposely offend or attack anyone in anyway, just sharing personal thoughts and everyone is free to disagree)

I'm not going to lie, since I recently joined instagram, something has been bothering my mind for quite some time. I see a lot of beautiful Muslim girls all covered up, looking so stylish and chic, yet somehow, something just doesn't feel right. Most of the time it's about the modesty that I feel is decreasing(be it appearance or even acts, speech or manners). I feel like the HIJAB doesn't serve it's true purpose anymore, that to many it's just a piece of cloth that they put on their head simply to cover their hair when the truth is, hijab is so much more than that. The hijab embodies a sacred metaphysical dimension whereby it acts as a 'curtain' to guard one's modesty and beauty as well as providing protection to women against the evil eyes. Hijab is also about guarding one's modesty in dressing, acts, manners and speech. But the reality of what's happening now is I scroll down to the comments section and bam! So many arguments about the fashion that these girls are portraying. So I came up with a few categories of types of people who usually comment on these kind of photos:

The Haram Police.

This particular group of people are the kind that love to point out was is haram and what is not by saying things like 'Sister your shirt is too tight, this is haram!' or 'This is not hijab!' or 'You shouldn't be showing your arms, Allah doesn't allow it'. While almost 100% of what these people state are actually TRUE, but I have to disagree on HOW they are said. Why I don't agree with this method is because I've personally had people say things like that to me in public and not only is it embarrassing to be corrected in public, I feel more angry towards the person commenting than actually feeling guilty of wearing something that I actually know is wrong in my dressing. Imam Syafie says "If you tell your brother his faults privately, then you have carried out your responsibility well. But if you tell him his faults in public, then you have stripped him naked in front of people.." I couldn't agree more. And MasyaAllah I've had sisters who personally email me correcting some of the ways I dress or just to share what they read on a certain ruling on Islamic dressing. These are the kind of healthy ways to actually CORRECT someone and to make them clear of what they have done wrong. Also it is the best way(in my humble opinion) to make people want to better themselves. Comments like 'The Haram Police' will only lead to online debates and nasty arguments because each party will end up commenting with more emotions than actually what was their initial intention. When seeing someone doing wrong, it is essential(and I couldn't stress this enough) to always remember: hate the ACT, not the PERSON. So if people still want to comment in public, they should address the hadith/advice TO ALL MUSLIMS, and not to address the wrong-doer directly. It's fine to state what is haram BUT it should be done without personally attacking anybody. Especially if the person is new to hijab. They might not know that a certain way of dressing is not permitted in Islam. Therefore, it is our duty to EDUCATE them. Educate here does not mean by simply commenting. How about emailing them to explain why a certain trend is not allowed or maybe suggesting to them books on the proper ways of wearing hijab. Now wouldn't that be much more nicer and show better akhlaq to our newly hijabbed sisters? :)

The Dont-Judge-Others-Just-Because-You-Sin-Differently.

While I agree that we should never judge people based on their appearance or what they wear, because at the end of the day, only Allah knows whats inside their heart, I've found that many girls(especially that have worn hijab for a long time or since baligh) have actually used that statement only as an excuse to stay in ignorance. They know what their wearing is completely wrong yet they get comfort in thinking that you know what, 'It's ok even if my clothes are super tight, at least I'm wearing a headscarf, and you know what, only Allah can judge me' Again yes, only Allah will judge you, but do you honestly think He will be pleased that you're still not covering properly even though you already know the Do's and Dont's in Islamic dress code? I'm pretty sure He won't. So think about it and reflect back to the very basics. That being said, it's still not acceptable to judge and say things like 'This is the kind of dressing that will drag you to hellfire'. C'mon girls, you can do so much better than that:( Take the positive and try to give contructive critisism rather than blindly judging that someone will for sure go to hell. And vise versa. Don't JUDGE, instead GUIDE.

The Plain Rude

This unforetunately is the most shocking of all for me. Only on instagram have I seen such behavior from our Muslim sisters (and brothers too). It's like watching a hijabi version of 'Mean Girls'. There are comments like 'Those jeans are so ugly, did you raid your brothers closet? haha' or 'WTF' 'Yuck!' 'ewww her tan and her lips' 'Are those mom jeans? LOL. they're the ugliest I've ever seen'.. How can one be a Muslim be so disrespectful when they know that those hurtful comments will be read by the photo owner. These comments are the perfect example of what cyber bullying is. Islam never taught our sisters(or brothers!) to be mean and disrespectful to one another. We all come from different backgrounds and have different opinions. It's ok not to like something but what have you got to lose if you be polite about it? For instance, I don't agree that the turbans, skinny jeans, let alone leggings are qualified to be considered as a 'Hijab' (I have my own reasons, will blog about that later insahAllah!:)) but I don't go around being all rude telling them mean things about it. Imagine when non-Muslims read those rude comments. Is that the type of example/dakwah we are setting for them? Muslims are supposed to convey the beautiful akhlaq of our beloved Prophet S.A.W. How embarrassed do you think our beloved Muhammad(peace be upon him) would feel if he read these rude comments, which are sadly are coming from our own Muslim sisters. If you don't like a certain style and still feel the need to point it out, say something neutral maybe like 'I dont think this is a style I would wear because of...etc' or 'This is just my humble opinion, but I don't feel this style is suitable for hijabis' as opposed to 'this is hideous!'. Again, there's nothing wrong about difference in opinion or not liking a certain style or the way people wear something, but I do believe that as a MUSLIM it's wrong to be plain rude. Then again, this is just my humble opinion.

The-Cheering-Squad

Now I have mixed feelings about this group. Usually they are very one-sided people. They tend to defend one side without any substance by saying things like 'Well at least she wears hijab' or 'That is not your concern' 'You should mind your own business' or 'Shut the hell up' Astaghfirullah..For one thing, yes, we are all still struggling to better ourselves. But in Islam, is that all we're going for? to be just 'at least' people? Is that 'at least' attitude going to encourage others and ourselves to be better Muslims? To me it's like saying, it's ok if I don't get a good KPI at work, at least I go to work and get money. Or its like seeing a huge diamond and stones together but you only take away the stones(if that makes sense). Secondly, if you know the comment will only ignite more arguments, debates (and even swearing!) I think it would be best to not say anything at all. Last but not least, the 'mind your own business' mindset should immediately be put to an end. In Islam, we all have the duty of doing dakwah no matter how small or how insignificant we might feel it is to others. Because contrary to what most of these people are commenting about, we will be accounted for the wrongdoings we see done by our fellow Muslims but did not have the slightest effort to stop, correct, advise or pray for them. We were sent to this world as khalifahs, and part of our responsibility is Amar Maaruf Nahi Mungkar. Dakwah is an invitation, and like any other invitation, people might accept or decline. And that's not what is important. What is important is that on the day of judgement when Allah asks, 'What did you spend your youth on did you convey the message of Islam?' You don't want to answer 'No, I said it's none of my business'..

The Politely Positive

Now this is what I expect to see more of in the future InshaAllah. Masyallah I think these girls have a good understanding how to correct someone in the akhlaq that truly represents Islam. These comments are not defending any side or any particular person, but more to how we can all improve as a better Muslim ummah.

I'm going to be completely honest, when I started blogging back in 2011, I didn't really know what I was getting into. I started the blog just as an extension of sharing my personal style, and that was it. I never really thought that this humble blog of mine would one day mean something so sentimental and so dear to my heart as it does now. I realized that people(Muslims and non-Muslims) all over the world actually read my blog and the poof is that I get tons of emails from blog readers (I appreciate every single email I've received even though some emails are simply just to say Hi!) Sometimes I don't get to reply them all because of other commitments but I always try my very best to attend to the questions and experiences shared by my blog readers. Anyway, my point is that when we put ourselves out there, we all have a responsibility of setting the best examples not only for our fellow Muslims, but for our non-Muslim friends too. For instance, if there is a non-Muslim who is actually intrigued to learn more about Islam, then she sees a Muslim women in a turban that doesn't cover the chest and neck, the non-Muslim's idea of hijab would be that ' Oh, i guess Islam allows women to show the shape of their bosoms and neck'

I know to some it all seems like a small matter, but collectively if all Muslims don't care about what kind of example their setting for the public, than that's a HUGE problem for the Muslim ummah. Our akhlaq and appearance itself is a form of dakwah. Dakwah isn't about joining protests or proving to non-Muslims we can be fashionable too. We are so much more than that. We are a reflection of Islam. A physical embodiment of what Islam is, if you will. And yet we still wonder why so many people have Islamofobia.

At the end of the day, truly the best way to defend our religion is to actually PRACTICE it the proper way. Wallahualam. All that is good comes from Allah s.w.t and all that is bad from my own weakness.


20 comments:

  1. Loved this article very very much dear Aishah. I think we should draw upon our Prophet's advice which is "If there's nothing good to say, remain quiet" and if we really should correct our fellow friends, we should do it discreetly without exposing the 'aib of our friends. Wallahualam :)

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  2. i truly agree with you sis! nice post :)

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  3. Hello there, I've followed your blog for a while now and I've never commented before, but after reading your post I felt compelled to say something. While I am not muslim believe me when I say its that way with all religions. Everyone has their own options and thoughts. It's always been that way, only you meaning whoever it is knows exactly who they are and how they are living their lives. No one is perfect but you do your best. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Salamu Alaikum :)
    If I had to say something bad oof IG it would be this too, but in fact, it's not IG but the ppl who coment. I agree with all what you said. The rude and haram coments should be said or more politely or in private, I prefer in private and politely because in that way they will be taken more seriously and will be able to help.
    I think that every muslim girl that shows her style on the internet has like a responsability of what she's showing, because many other musilim girls may take her as an example. Anyway, we are all improving, maybe those sisters will end dresing even more modest, maybe this is just a phase where they are trying, were they are improving and changing. The changes go little by little, step by step, and in my opinion that's the best way.

    Really good post!

    xx

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  5. Asslm, in my humble opinion...that's a consequences becoming a "public consumption", meaning to say, when we put our photos for public, there will be many feedback coming in..it could be bad comments or good comments.so,, if we want to avoid some judgmental things..maybe keep on private our account could be the best way,though.

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  6. assalam.. the best among all act is the moderate one.. so is it in wearing hijab, talking, ikhtilat, taking photos and all.. and not to be forgotten, the best among all is the one who avoid the fitna.. so how to avoid the fitna dear sister? dgn kurangkan menzahirkan diri, hijab truely hijab dari pandangan terus fizikal dan alam maya.. sy x nafikan, girls mmg suka ambil gambar, sama mcm sy.. saya percaya semua org sedang dalam stage mereka tersendiri dlm merubah menuju Allah.. namun, terimalah pandangan2 yg dtg dgn cara keras ataupun lembut dgn niat bahawa itu semua adalah gerak dari Allah.. sy pun pernah terima teguran keras dr org.. tapi.. take it positive, lapang kan dada dan minda.. ambil itu sbg motivasi kita utk berubah ke arah yg lebih baek.. dan Alhamdulillah.. berkat teguran2 itu, sy juga sedang berubah skrg.. wallahualam semoga bermanfaat.. :)

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  7. i could not agree more on the 'setting up a good example for the non muslim'
    yesterday, me and y friends went for a hair treatment and the package includes blowing and etc, and of course it all looks so 'photo ready saloon hair' and they started saying, 'you know some time muslim girls come here wearing tudung and after their hair ready,. they went back without the tudung, is it ok?' we keep quiet for awhile and we trying to find the right word to explain it to her and went for, its not.. ehmm not... 'respectable?' coming from the hairdresserand we just nodded. same goes to, some people can wear short sleeve shirt with tudung why u need to cover all, and some people can pray at 3++ pm for zohor, why u need to pray at 1++.... sometime it is quite a test to answer these questions coming from the non muslim. perhaps you can provide us with some skills on answering this type of questions..

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  8. I hate Instagram more than you do..=p

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  9. Meaningful post. Can't wait for the next one :)

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  10. I couldn't have said this better myself. It was very eloquently put and you make very valid points. i've recently joined instagram, and i must confess i'm probably a tad bit addicted to it. If you dont mind me asking whats your instagram name? and are you from indonesia?

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  11. Agree with you. This cyber bullying also happens in Youtube comment section.
    Oh, is it right to address Allah with He? Because in my language he and she share the same word. Imho, we should just call Allah, Allah. :)

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  12. great post. so inspiring me. thanks dear :*

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  13. Jazakillah khair sister mashAllah first time I am coming across your blog and you really hit the nail on the head because this is how i feel about this issue on IG. I always remember this ayah "And Remind for verily a reminder benefits the believer"(51:55) and at the same time like you said advise our sisters in a matter befitting to the situation. May Allah help and guide us all ameen :-)

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  14. I couldn't agree with this more. I love that quote under "haram police". I just posted today on my blog with a bunch of situations in which I have had girls like the haram police (as you call them ;-) attack me at the masjids and tell me what I'm wearing is not correct or whatever. People are so rude and bold and you're right, it's wrong to say things like in front of other people. It should be done in private one on one

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  16. i love this post. really make me learn to be more careful using words. love your blogging style sister. =)

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  17. This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses.
    فساتين زفاف مسلم

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Salam to all readers..

No disrespectful or offensive comments should be posted here that includes insulting other commentators, or Allah S.W.T or His Prophets (peace be upon them). and for guys, please respect this as a private space for women. there are too many things on this site that you should be lowering your gaze from.

thank you so much.