A message for those who post on social media
The Amir of Ahl al-Sunnah, ʿAllamah Abu Bilal Muhammad Ilyas Attar al-Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ
Engineers and doctors both study for similar amounts of time, but their field and skill set differ from one another. If an engineer were to meddle in a doctor’s affairs, he would perhaps cause the death of a patient as he is unaware of how to administer medical treatment. In the same vein, if a doctor were to intervene in an engineer’s work, he could render the relevant machinery useless or perhaps break it entirely.
An Arabic proverb related to this is, لِکُلِّ فَنٍّ رِجَالٌ - “There are experts for every field.” For this very reason, one should work in the field to which they belong, and that in which they have relevant skills.
If a non-scholar involves himself in the work of a religious scholar, it is highly likely that he may say things which negatively impact him in this world and the Hereafter. In particular, one should consider the following point when posting on social media or sharing a post. Think carefully to yourself, “Is what I am writing here correct or not? Is what I am sharing actually something that should be shared?” To answer this, make sure to take advice from a proficient Islamic scholar in regards to any post, but especially when posting anything Islamic. If someone sends you a post which openly contains sinful content, one should advise the sender against this and tell them the post is improper. Sharing these sin-filled posts could otherwise carry the person who posted and shared them into Hell.
Many Sharīʿah-related posts come to me via social media. If they contain something doubtful or potentially troublesome, I strive to ensure that the post is not sent into the public domain lest I propagate something incorrect and become sinful. This applies no matter how skilled the writer of a post may be, or how stringently they avoided mistakes.
It is also not necessary for something I consider incorrect to actually be incorrect in the first place! However, I do not forward a post if I am not fully content with its validity. I first seek to ascertain whether its content is correct or not. If we all develop this mindset, many improper things can be stopped from being sent around, because social media does contain a host of untruthful information.
مَعاذَ الـلّٰـه, sometimes forged hadith are even made viral. Words of hearsay or the statements of a saint are sometimes labelled as hadith. Complete lies are sometimes prefaced with, “Allah says…”. Some people make religious posts go viral seeking nothing but likes. With the blessings of the company of religious scholars, my experience has taught me the following: a post may have much good written in it, but on occasion, a single word or phrase it contains means it cannot be shared as per the rulings of Sharīʿah. The evident reason for these mistakes is not having the social media post checked by religious scholars beforehand.
Some people even translate hadith in a manner not done before by any scholarly predecessors. In Arabic, one word harbours a host of multiple meanings. This means someone who knows simply Arabic is still not capable of translating hadith correctly. In order to translate hadith, then alongside being proficient in Arabic, one must also keep hadith commentaries in mind. This is a matter to always remember. The same principle applies for translating Quran. Alongside knowing Arabic, one must know many other branches of knowledge and keep Quranic commentaries in mind. Experts in Quranic commentary sometimes explain a word to mean something other than what we may consider it to mean. As a result of this, a person can fall into error when translating. Keeping all this in mind, you should only refer to, write, and read translations written by authentic scholars from the Ahl al-Sunnah.
This article was derived from a Madani Muzakara held after ʿishā salah on the 29th of June 2019. Further amendments and adjustments were made by the Amir of Ahl al-Sunnah دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ himself.