Relationships in Social Networks in Islam

We are far ahead of the time when people lived in actual social networks. People living in a town or village were in a strong relationship with one another, and of course, it served them well.
But, maybe people were too closely related back then. And it had its downsides, too. “Give me a break, please, I need some privacy!” That’s what we said to the social life of the past times. The modern way of life ascribed so much importance to our privacy. This, too, had its downsides and sometimes made us feel so lonely. It didn’t quench our need to see and be seen. We needed to share more.

 

An Exciting Invention… 

 

But, modern life and technology also had the answer to that. They provided an unaccountably cheap and easy way of making relationships, without the need for getting quite out of our private zone; virtual Social Networks!


Well, that’s great! We can get to know about our family and friends without spending much time or money. We can easily make thousands of friends from around the world. We can share our ideas and lifestyle with them and get to know about theirs. Like all other inventions, there are many good ways to benefit from social networks. And there being many good ways to benefit from something, is somehow equal to its lawfulness in Islam. 


… who bids them to do what is right and forbids them from what is wrong, makes lawful to them all the good things and forbids them from all vicious things…” (7:157).

 

social networks in Islam, Salam Islam


Social Networks in Islam: Rules Apply!

 

But is using social networks in Islam forbidden? Does Islam have any special resistance to these networks? Well, not really. And the rules on what we should do and what we should try to avoid are pretty much the same as the ones we need to observe in actual communications.

 


Therefore, as we are always careful to avoid any harm in our actual relationships [1], we should also do the same in these virtual sites of getting together, and try not to go for the bad things that might be found in there, nor spread things that might do more harm than good to others or to the society. 

 


That means even if it is a boy-girl or man-woman relationship, there is nothing wrong with it as long as it is an upright, righteous, and honest one, and as long as you observe modesty and the rules of covering, the same way as a relationship between men and women in the outer world.

 


Also, Islam very much calls us up to mind the circles we move in [2], which are, more or less, a representation of our character and inclinations! Do our friends and groups in social networks –as well as in the real world– help us and change us for better? Or that they are just fun for a short time and may bring us lasting sorrows and regrets? [3]

 

Social networks in Islam, Salam Islam


Slippery Road… Watch Your Steps!

 

You might have noticed that conventional social networks, being inherently so cheap and easy, tend to make everything cheap and easy in all respects… and maybe too much so sometimes!
Suppose you share a highly valuable and precious post on Facebook –which is the easiest way to share it, of course– and your friends would barely spend five seconds to look at it! 

 


We are in the habit of taking everything easy in these virtual places; even our relationships. We don’t care that much about what we see or share, and sometimes about the kind of relationships we are making, while, to the contrary, a Muslim is always required to be watchful of his or her doings! [4]

 


So, apart from the benefits of being cheap and easy for use, they also make it easier to lie, to pretend, or to do any wrong. We may not be quite conscious that some of our relationships in the social networks could be, more or less, a kind of betrayal of our wedlock! Or a little too open to be modest and righteous! For, according to Islam, a husband’s level of modesty affects that of his wife and vice versa. [5] That means, the more righteous a spouse, the more so will be the other! That’s why it is even more important here never to forget that, little as it may be, a wrongdoing is always wrong, whether in a virtual social network or out there in the real world. 

 


So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” (99:7,8) 

 

References:

[1] Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 26, p. 14, Al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, vol. 1, p. 90
[2] Al-Amali, p. 518, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 167
[3] Quran, 25:27,28
[4] Quran, 59: 18, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 74, p. 349
[5] Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 5, p. 317