We are living in the age of technology and everyone wants peace of the limelight. What is the ruling regarding muslim females engaging on social media?
There are groups like Muslim mums etc where muslim females post about their partners education levels, household contributions, children’s photos, food cooked etc. These groups certainly create awareness on certain topics, however the greater part is just banter.
What are the Islamic views on groups of this nature?
Are we sinful for reading and or participating in posts about people’s husbands, aunts, uncles, kids and neighbours who may not necessarily be on the group?
Is posting food pics etc ok?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Sister in Islam.
It is apparent to all that social media is a double-edged sword that can be beneficial or harmful. Depending on the way it is used.
That vast majority of your questions can be seen this way – it depends on the user’s intention and the content of the post(s).
It is not so much of a question of whether the user is a male or a female (since your question specifically asks about females) – but rather, whether he or she is using social media in a permissible or impermissible way and whether the post that is being read/shared/written is permissible or impermissible.
If a person (male or female) reads/shares for example, beneficial posts that authentic scholars share on their pages, or follows a business to get updates on upcoming deals or learns/shares a recipe for a dish they like, etc., then such users are clearly using social media for permissible and practical purposes – as long as there is nothing that would otherwise make such posts impermissible.
Reading posts about others:
When you ask about reading posts about people’s aunts, uncles, neighbors, etc. – again the basic principle is that if it is something innocent, such as mentioning somebody’s recovery from an illness, someone returning from Hajj/Umrah, etc. then there is no harm in reading such posts as long as they are free from anything impermissible (i.e. slander, backbiting, etc).
Pictures of food might also be shared, for example, to show others how to make a certain dish or to thank Allah for being able to make a certain dish.
In general, posts that allow one to share in the happiness or sorrow of another Muslim are perfectly okay to read as long as such posts are free from anything impermissible.
The above permissible uses are obviously not the same as reading posts that have impermissible content.
Needless to say, posts that deal with spreading rumors and gossip, showing off one’s possessions or bragging about one’s achievements are exactly the type of actions that a Muslim need to avoid, as one sin leads to another – and social media is a never-ending source for these things.
Educational Achievements / Pictures of Food:
At the same time, it would be imprudent and impractical to issue a ruling for example about a sister writing about her husband’s educational achievements or posting a picture of a dish she mastered, etc. Since she might just be sharing that information by way of thanking Allah and mentioning His favors upon her. We do not know her intention and we shouldn’t harbor baseless suspicions.
If a person mentions the blessings and favors of Allah upon their family, by way of thanking Allah, then there is nothing wrong with that – as the purpose is to praise Allah for His Blessings and to get ourselves used to asking only Allah for one’s needs since He is The Provider (al-Razzaq) and The Bestower (al-Wahhab).
However, if a person mentions such achievements by way of bragging, showing-off or thinking himself to be better than others, then such pride is condemned and certainly impermissible.
The best approach would be to stay away from all those things that are clearly impermissible. To be cautious in one’s approach towards those type of posts that can be a gray line between halal and haram but without harbouring baseless suspicions about others’ intentions.
When in doubt, avoid doubtful posts, so that one does not inadvertently commit a sin by reading gossip or defamatory content (ghibah) as reading such content is the same as listening to it.
Backbiting others is a major sin, but unfortunately some do not realize the gravity of what they are doing as it has become a part of their daily life on social media. In fact, since these posts (which backbite/slander others) are shared, they will stay in the public domain long after having been written which means that the author (and those that share these posts) will continue to receive sin as long as people read that content. May Allah guide them. Ameen. For further details, please see: http://askimam.org/public/question_detail/35542
As for your question regarding posting pictures of one’s children, etc. the position of the Darul Iftaa is that it is not permissible to take digital photos of yourself, male or female, adults or children and neither is it permissible to post them on social media sites:
For further details, please see the following answers:
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student Darul Iftaa
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Mufti Sohail Bengali
Chicago, IL (USA)
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.