Unapologetically Telling The Truth Is A Terrible Thing to Admire

Why do we value “unapologetically telling the truth like it is” so highly? When did this become an actual thing that we lionize and aspire to? Why do we celebrate those who do this?

What’s the point of telling it like it is, even if people hate it? And what does it say about us as a community if this is how sincerity and authenticity is expressed? When did it become some type of significant accomplishment that is lauded by others?

There’s obviously an immediate benefit. You gain notoriety, fans, social media engagement, and maybe even just enough of a following to leverage a career (or presidency) out of it.

I have noticed a trend lately, particularly in discourse about Islamic issues online, where people are being heralded and promoted for telling it like it is.

This culture appears to be an overreaction to another problem (as most extremes often are) – speaking about issues without any principles, or watering down and politicizing them. When something in regards to the religion is watered down, the perception is that this is done from a position of weakness.

By speaking the unapologetic truth harshly, a person may feel they are taking on a task for the community that others are not. They are giving voice to a perspective that may otherwise be silent. They are providing objective and accurate intellectual analysis without any emotion or sugar-coating.

Validation follows. Others encourage them for speaking up and saying the things they are unafraid to say. This makes the person feel they are taking on an important task on behalf of the ummah, and continue to do so. Then they get more fans and comments, and the cycle continues.

This validation loop, particularly online when it is in the form of likes and comments, makes it challenging to engage criticisms of this approach objectively. After all, everyone is telling you this is incredible – why should you listen to the few uptight people who are so focused on tone instead of the unapologetic truth bomb you are dropping on people?

This justification comes from prioritizing the utility of giving a correct point of view over how it is delivered – especially when this point of view is drowned out by all the people with the wrong understanding.

When given real feedback on tone or etiquette, people who pride themselves on being unapologetic or authentic will respond by deflecting this advice. Focus on the intellectual merits of the argument they’ll argue. Or they will deflect it by pointing to some type of bad character on the part of people who hold the opposing viewpoint as them. Don’t worry about my bad attitude, worry about that other person’s character instead. Or they’ll appeal to authority and declare that they already have teachers or mentors that give them advice, so they are free to dismiss comments no matter how legitimate. For people who pride themselves on being objective or intellectual, these are all profoundly childish responses.

What is billed as being authentic or unapologetic is really a mask for laziness and ego.

The Qur’an lays out a model that we’ll refer to as the ‘high-competency’ approach:

By an act of mercy from God, you [Prophet] were gentle in your dealings with them—had you been harsh, or hard-hearted, they would have dispersed and left you—so pardon them and ask forgiveness for them. Consult with them about matters, then, when you have decided on a course of action, put your trust in God: God loves those who put their trust in Him (3:159).

Where in this ayah does it appear that the approach of telling the cold hard truth would fall?

Telling the unapologetic truth without regard for how people take it is the easy way out. Anyone can do that. The problem is that it does not work. It causes people to get turned off. Those who lionize this approach will counter by saying, “so what?” They put the blame on the people who can’t handle the message instead of taking responsibility for how they deliver it.

That’s why it’s lazy. It’s a low competency form of delivering a message. The only people who celebrate it are ones that already agree with it. It does not accomplish the ultimate task of winning hearts and minds or changing someone’s viewpoint.

Instead, it puts the focus on the person giving the message – how courageous, authentic, and direct they are. This makes the communication inherently ego driven because the intended audience is now ignored. The actual content of a person’s message also gets lost as they start to craft their identity around speaking forcefully instead of effectively. They show no concern for the recipient of the message, only in themselves.

The task of winning hearts and minds, or changing someone’s ideological worldview, is not done through a hot take on Facebook. It is done as the ayah above indicates – with kindness in dealings with them.

Giving hot takes on social media builds fans and followings, not relationships. The ultimate irony is that unapologetically speaking the truth actually prevents people from developing the relationships to affect positive change in the community because no one wants to be around them.

“How well you take criticism depends less on the message and more on your relationship with the messenger. It’s surprisingly easy to hear a hard truth when it comes from someone who believes in your potential and cares about your success.” –Adam Grant

It requires the hard work of building relationships with people and building community. True leaders understand that this requires years of investment into people – not all of which will be documented on social media. Success means playing the long game.

It means going to a tyrant like Fir’awn, and still speaking kindly because the ultimate intent is different than to just tell it like it is.

It means that when the young man walks into the masjid of the Prophet (s) and asks permission to commit zina (adultery), that the Prophet (s) takes him and teaches him kindly. He could have easily reminded him about the jurisprudential rulings about adultery, and the prescribed punishment – no doubt that would be unapologetically speaking the truth. But it would not have achieved the intended outcome, so the Prophet (s) had to take the approach that would actually produce results.

But wait, what about all the times in the life of the Prophet (s) when harshness was used? Didn’t he speak the truth clearly? Yes. There are always going to be situations where this is called for strategically as a tool intended for a specific result. The problem we are highlighting is not of speaking the truth clearly, but one of expressing it in a harsh way such that people are turned off. And worse, people who respond to the harshness with cheerleading and zealousness instead of genuine care and concern for the one who is wrong to gain some sense of rectification.

There is something deeper at play here than ego or taking the easy way out. Authenticity.

Authenticity is the buzzword we use to express sincerity. When I tell it like it is, I am being authentic and sincere. Not fake. Not a sell-out.

Authenticity presents a paradox: Do you do what’s effective, or do you do what is true to yourself? We might reach a certain level of success and influence by being a certain way. The challenge is getting to the next level. If that means suddenly changing how I communicate or speaking with what I term to be watered down political jargon, then no thanks. This is the mindset that allows us to morally justify our unapologetic approach, and actually double down on it when told to act otherwise.

Authenticity is a barrier to personal growth. We use this idea of it representing sincerity as an excuse to keep from changing. We have to shift from delivering the information people need to know (low-level) to creating the conditions of increasing learning (high-level).

This requires putting in the work to change our approach and character.

The Prophet (s) said that ‘the two characteristics that led the most people into Paradise were consciousness of Allah and good character’ (Tirmidhi).

Don’t let anyone subvert this in the name of unapologetically speaking the truth.

Low competency individuals are drawn to telling it like it is. High competency individuals are attracted to painting the vision of how things could be – and building the bridge to help and serve people in getting there.

https://www.ibnabeeomar.com/blog/unapologetically-telling-the-truth-is-a-terrible-thing-to-admire

 

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Using Social Media and Technology Responsibly


By Hadhrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 A key feature of the era we live in is the rapid development of technology and the continuous impact this has on our lives, both in terms of the way we live and how we spend our time. As Muslims we understand that the purpose of our life is to acquire the pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā, by spending each moment of our life in accordance with His commands. As Allāh ta‘ālā is the All Knowing, He was completely aware of all material and technological developments that His servants would witness when He revealed the Glorious Qur’ān and showed us its practical application through the blessed life of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. Therefore, Alhamdulillāh, Allāhta‘ālā has equipped the ‘Ulamā until the last day with the tools to guide the Ummah on how it should use any new developments, whilst not forgetting its ultimate objective.

A significant phenomenon of our time is the emergence and widespread use of the internet and smartphones which has led to new methods of communication, such as social media and email. Whilst social media and email has led to a revival of reading and writing, often the content and quality is highly questionable. Therefore, one must be mindful not to fall prey to the harmful aspects of these mediums, for example using them to engage in, or even publicise, acts of disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā.

My objective is to outline some guidance for those who use the internet and smartphones, specifically in relation to messaging, email and using social media applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook. By sharing with readers some essential Islāmic teachings in this regard, inshā’allāh, we will be able to use technology productively, safeguarding ourselves from harmful activities.

Forwarding Messages Requires Precaution

A common trend upon receiving a message is the thoughtless and endemic usage of the ‘forward’ button. Messages are instantly forwarded to others, without proper understanding of its content nor consideration for the recipients. Many messages received are vague in nature; the truth behind them being seldom known. To spread a message without substantiating its content is very detrimental and could lead to sin, as to forward a lie is to spread a lie and be in support of it. Messages should never be shared until the content is verified and authenticated. False news or incorrect information regarding any matter can cause others unnecessary worry and concern, and will be tantamount to spreading a lie. Our Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

To narrate whatever one hears is enough for an individual to be considered a liar. (Muslim)

More Precaution for ‘Islāmic’ Messages

Messages of an Islāmic nature demand even more precaution. Verses of the Glorious Qur’ān and ahādīth of our beloved Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam with their translations are often carelessly miswritten or many times are sheer falsehood; yet are haphazardly forwarded and shared on social media. Messages promising fabricated virtues for baseless actions are shared with a caption to forward to as many as possible. At times emotional blackmail and false threats are also included, ‘if you do not forward this message to at least x amount of people then such and such shall happen to you’, naturally all such messages are a complete sham. Our Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam warned us:

Whosoever speaks about the Qur’ān without knowledge should take his place in the Fire. (At-Tirmidhī)

In another hadīth he sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam mentions:

A lie against me is not similar to a lie against any (normal) individual; whosoever lies regarding me should take his place in the Fire. (Al-Bukhārī)

One should be precautious when forwarding messages with seemingly Islāmic teachings without being completely sure of their authenticity or else such grave warnings await us. Once authenticated, messages maybe thoughtfully shared.

Permission to Share?

At times, messages are of a personal nature; information or news regarding a certain individual or institution or even a country. One should contemplate before forwarding whether the sender or those whom the information is regarding would consent for the details to be shared with others? Has specific permission been granted to forward and spread the message? If not, then it would be totally unethical and in many cases a sin to do so.

A Beneficial Message?

If we stand back and objectively reflect, we will conclude that a large percentage of emails and messages received on social media applications are of a futile nature. Our Dīn encourages engagement in prosperous activities and to avoid spending invaluable time and energy on any endeavours which are of no avail or in some instances harmful. Our beloved Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

It is from the excellence of an individual’s Islām that he leaves Lā ya‘nī (those things which do not benefit him). (Abū Dāwūd)

The Islāmic teaching regarding futility is eloquently set out in the hadīth above. One must contemplate before writing or forwarding any message, “Is it of any benefit in this world or the hereafter?” If the conclusion is negative, then this is a futile action which every Muslim should abstain from. Furthermore, sending or forwarding messages of such a nature may become the cause of others engaging in futility as well. Futility is in essence a waste of time and energy. Whilst one may ask what is the harm if a futile action is mubāh (permitted); it is akin to receiving a gift of £100 and thereafter throwing it down the gutter. Any reasonable person would be shocked and amazed at such an action, as whilst no apparent harm was suffered, the benefit that should have been achieved wasn’t and so in reality there has been a loss. Futility also brings one to the boundary of sin and therefore it is best to avoid, as it can easily lead to disobedience directly or indirectly through other actions which may follow. May Allāh ta‘ālā save us.  

A Clear Message?

If all the above guidelines are dutifully met, then one should finally consider whether a message will cause any misunderstanding or misconception amongst those who receive it? After all it is an Islāmic principle and also a general etiquette of life, to always consider whether sharing information has the potential to cause a misunderstanding. Ibn Mas‘ūd radhiyallāhu ‘anhu mentions:

Whenever you speak to people regarding something which is beyond their intellect, it will surely be a means of fitnah (tribulation) for some of them. (Muslim)

If one is unsure or even has the slightest doubt whether a certain message could cause a misunderstanding, then it should not be shared. We should be extremely careful and considerate in this regard, as this will bring peace and comfort to all.

Recording or Taking Photos without Permission

The use of technology to record private conversations of people without their permission is against the teachings of Islām. A person is generally informal when in private with one’s close associates and generally the topics discussed are within a specific context and with the relevant background known to those present. If excerpts from such conversations are shared, it can become the means of causing immense misunderstanding and result in serious consequences. One should respect the privacy of others when in private environments and only record their voices when clear permission is granted. The same principle applies to taking photography or video filming at a private or an informal gathering.

Photography & Video Filming: Respecting the View of Others

It is widely known that there is a difference of opinion amongst the ‘Ulamā regarding video filming and photography; some adopt the view of permissibility whilst others take a precautious stance. To make a video of or to take a picture of someone who holds the latter view is extremely unfair and discourteous. This is tantamount to open disrespect for the personal view of that individual and gravely inconsiderate.

I would appeal to my readers to pay due attention to the etiquettes mentioned above in relation to certain aspects of using technology and bring them into practice. May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us all the understanding of our beautiful religion and its all-encompassing teachings of pure and considerate morals and ethics. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 25 No. 2, Feb 2016)


• Please forward this message on to all your contacts

Please also find below Forty Hadith on Social Media by a different author, Omar Usman.

40HadithSocialMedia

SOCIAL MEDIA & PATIENCE

SOCIAL MEDIA & PATIENCE

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SOCIAL MEDIA & PATIENCE Mobile phone😬 ~~~~~~

Engineering Patience  … In An Age of Instant Gratification


I remember reading a book, and the kids in there were arguing over who got to sit near the window. 


I was confused. Why would they want to sit next to the window? 


I was accustomed to wanting to sit in the middle because that was directly in front of the vents blasting cold air from the AC. 


This was especially important if the car had been parked outside and had become an oven when you went to sit inside.


My dad used to do something that would drive me crazy. 


He would start the car and not turn on the AC. He would let the fan run, and tell us we could roll down the windows (which doesn’t do much when its 95 degrees Fahrenheit). 


I would plead with him to turn on the AC on max, and he would just sit there and tell me to relax. 


Once, with the creativity only a kid could muster, I told him “Allah blessed us with AC, so turn it on.” 


He explained that he was trying to teach us to relax, and to be patient.


This is how parents are. They see the ease with which we enjoy the world, and we lose sight of hardships others went through. 


In many places in the world, especially 20 years ago, air conditioning in a car was a major luxury item instead of a standard part of life.


Now when someone complains about a YouTube video buffering too slow (or not fast enough for HD), I feel like yelling at them to try using a 28.8kbps dial-up connection – the kind I had to grow up with.


In fact, a study of the viewing habits of 6.7 million people showed that people abandoned watching a video if it buffered for longer than two seconds. TWO SECONDS !!


Social media has made everything quicker. 


What used to be a 24 hour news cycle is now barely 30 minutes. 


The half-life of a tweet is less than 3 hours. 


With this quickening of pace, our expectations have changed as well. 


If someone doesn’t reply to an email within a few hours we get upset. 


If they don’t respond to a text message within an hour, we get impatient. 


There is a manufactured hurry to each of these interactions.


Patience and gratitude go hand in hand. 


Patience, as we famously know from the hadith, is at the moment calamity strikes. 


To have patience in that moment requires a gratitude mindset. 


It comes down to being cognizant and intentional about each situation – Am I exercising patience


Am I being grateful to Allah?


One way to reclaim this is to engineer moments of patience in our lives.


Sit at a red light without touching your phone. It’s only 30 seconds, but we are at the point now where the mere thought of that is agonizing for some. 


Sit down with your kids and just be bored for a little while. Reflect on what is around you and enjoy the quiet moments.


The fast pace of technology is now the norm. 


That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it does mean that sometimes we just need to sit in the car for a few minutes before turning on the AC – to give ourselves a small reminder and lesson.


FiqhOfSocial.Media – A Faith Based Guide to Navigating the Social Media Lifestyle


http://fiqhofsocial.media/

Facebook or Fasaadbook?

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Social media is a great way to promote and propagate our beloved Deen – Alhumdu Lillah. But at the same time it’s important we are practising what we preach on social media. Or at least have the intention to practise upon it.
Brothers and sisters, it is very easy to copy and paste Hadith. This doesn’t make you a scholar or holier than other people. Nowadays, the problem is you can’t even correct anyone. We get fired with missiles of: ‘don’t judge me’. I guess this is Shaytan’s new plot/deception.
The second issue we have is ‘likes’ and ‘followers’. Before you post, ask yourself, brothers and sisters, are we posting for the sake of Allah SWT?
For His pleasure?
To promote His Deen?
Or is it just to get 200 likes and 1,000 extra followers. I’m not hesitant to say this, sadly scholars have fallen prey to this. Judgemental again? We judge people from the way they talk and the words that come out of their mouths. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
For those who think they’re accepted in Allah’s eyes because of excessive  “followers”….think again.  We have become consumed by this fame culture and overpowered by the, what I would call, neediness of likes and followers. Is it insecurity from within us? Or is it just a downright crave and love of oneself?
Even Dajjal will have 70,000 followers:
The Prophet SAW said, “70,000 Jews from Isfahan will follow the Dajjal.” (Muslim)
Still think you’re popular?
(Mawlana) Ismail ibn Nazir Satia (On who is in dire need of Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and pleasure).
1 Shaban 1438

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“Only God Can Judge Me!”

Dear Friends,

I’ve never liked this statement, nor do I agree with it. It is wrong and flawed in so many ways.
Firstly, if someone commits a crime in a country which goes against the law of the country, will they not face trial and prosecution? Will evidence and witnesses not be presented to ‘judge’ them? Will they not go to a courtroom and face a ‘judge’ and a jury, which will eventually sentence a punishment?

Secondly, if you don’t commit a crime, but rather a sin or an act of indecency, people can and will ‘judge’ you. To say at the point ‘only God can judge me is stupendously funny. It does not say in any law book or holy book people cannot judge you… Rather I have always believed, people will judge you and CAN judge you by your words and actions. If you judge someone on what you see there is absoTOTALutely nothing wrong with that. Being “judgemental” is when there is no evidence present and you accuse someone of a crime/sin. Even though that is common sense!

judge
My point being if you really don’t want people to judge you, don’t behave immorally. Behave sensibly and show your maturity and intelligence.

I take it those who say it really and truly believe in God/Allah? Whether you’re a Muslim like me or follow another religion, please quit using this statement. Don’t stop because I say so! Rather remember, when God does finally judge you, you will not have a leg to stand by. It doesn’t matter if you are the Pope or Her Majesty, the Queen. In front of God, we are nothing. So please stop being foolish and acting proud. God is Great, the Greatest, the Supreme.

I do believe this is a plot of Shaytan, to stop us from preventing evil. As Muslims, we have an obligation to command good and forbid evil. If you see evil, you stop it. It is not judgemental.

Finally dear friends, remember that the world will always judge your outer appearance no matter what your intention is. It is not sufficient to say God knows my intention. . . Simply because we (the people of the world) are not God! How can you expect someone to know what your intention is?

Yours Truly,

Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (One who is in dire need of Allah’s Forgiveness, Mercy and Pleasure).

20 Rabiul Akhar 1437