A woman in gray hijab using macbook air
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Here’s How Howling Comments Section Became the Muse of Fouling Online Interactions

Wholesome Muslim social media content makes my heart smile! But here’s how the comments section ruined one of the most precious content on the newsfeed.

Recently, MuslimGirl reposted a video to their Instagram where a Muslim mother shared that she is reviving a forgotten (read: ignored) Sunnah by teaching her son to do housework. The compassion she showed her son by instilling these Prophetic values into him was truly inspiring.

With tears of joy and inspiration welling up, I ventured into the comments section – big mistake! Cue lots of comments picking this woman apart for details utterly irrelevant to the message of the video:

“If you wanna talk about the Prophet’s life, his wife wore a hijab. You are a mother of 4 and still not following your most basic obligation as a woman, yet wanna be relevant to Western society by forcing your son to do chores at home and pick and choose what they did in the Prophet’s time. You’re a joke.”

“It’s ironic that you couldn’t find what our Prophet told us about COVERING BODY AND HEAD.” 

“Her parents should’ve taught her how to cover up properly, so she doesn’t turn her husband into a cuck.”

What an incredibly heartbreaking turn of events to go from being deeply moved and inspired by this woman’s character to reading the insults spewed at her due to perceived shortcomings! This emotional whiplash and empathy for the mother left me struggling to understand the behaviour of these heinous commenters who claimed to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Primarily, this struggle revolves around reconciling the striking disparity between the forgiving values of Islam and the pessimistic, judgmental conduct that seems to saturate our online interactions.

These forgiving values include the right and commandment to give and receive advice or counsel from your siblings in Islam. In the Qur’an, Allah (SWT) commands us plainly: “And continue to remind. For the reminder benefits the believer” (51:55). Here, our Lord commands us to advise one another due to the benefit it provides. This shows that advice is full of barakah (blessings) and meant to be a mercy and guidance for believers.

In addition to this Quranic commandment, in a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah in Sahih Muslim, our Prophet (PBUH) said:

“The Muslim has six rights over another Muslim.” To which someone asked: “O’ Allah’s Messenger, what are these?” He replied: ‘When you meet him, offer him greetings; When he invites you to a feast, accept it; When he seeks your counsel (advice), give it to him; When he sneezes and says: ‘All praise is due to Allah,’ you say ‘Yarhamuk-Allah’ (may Allah show mercy to you); When he falls sick, visit him; And when he dies, follow his bier (Janazah).”

This narration establishes that among the six rights owed to every Muslim is the right to seek counsel and advice from one another. Including this right in the context of these six rights underscores the interconnectedness of Muslims and the duty to support and guide one another. Our responsibility to advise and remind our fellow Muslims is deeply rooted in compassion and camaraderie.

The decision to hurl insults by saying the woman in the video is a “joke” with the potential to “turn her husband into a cuck” diverges significantly from the intended values of sincerity and camaraderie.

The compassion and camaraderie inherent in advising our siblings in Islam are best personified in the Sunnah of our Prophet (PBUH). In a hadith narrated by Mu’adh Ibn Jabal in Abu Dawud & An-Nasa’i, the Messenger of Allah (SWT) showed tenderness and sincerity when advising his companion, Mu’adh Bin Jabal. He held Mu’adh’s hand and said: 

“O’ Mu’adh, By Allah I love you, by Allah I love you. I advise you not to miss this supplication after every Salah (prayer) in which you say: ‘O Allah, help me remember You, give Shukr (gratitude) to You, and worship You in the best manner.”

This hadith exemplifies the sincerity with which we should deliver advice. The Prophet (PBUH) held His companion’s hands during the exchange and clarified that the direction was coming from a place of love by stating it twice. This is beautiful because it’s the perfect example of fulfilling Allah’s (SWT) command with gentleness and sincerity.

Compared to the example set by our Prophet (PBUH), it is easy to see the contrast between the compassion embedded in the Sunnah of advice and the egregious comments found online. Instead of emphasizing a foundation of love, the commenters seemed to come from arrogance and a desire to attack.

The decision to hurl insults by saying the woman in the video is a “joke” with the potential to “turn her husband into a cuck” diverges significantly from the intended values of sincerity and camaraderie. This highlights the disparity between the forgiving values of Islam and the heinous, critical comments in online spaces.

It’s time to close the gap between the Sunnah of offering advice and the unfortunate displays of arrogance and hostility that plague Muslims’ comments section today. Doing so can enrich our lives and foster a stronger sense of community.

All too often, I come across ex-Muslims who point to the harmful behaviours within the community as a reason for their departure from the faith. Furthermore, individuals who leave such hurtful comments inadvertently harden their hearts and spread negativity, ultimately harming their well-being.

Let’s use the comments section to revive the beautiful Sunnah of offering advice and treating each other kindly. Given the challenges of this world, there’s already enough negativity; let’s strive to make a positive change.