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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2017: Problems with the world

2018

  1. Criticism – Nobody can accept it, I guess the truth hurts. We are living in absolute arrogant times where you cannot say anything to anyone. Nobody wants to know whether they are right or wrong, whether they offended someone or said something harsh or abusive. People just don’t want to know. I do feel it is worse in the West, we are more arrogant and narcissistic. From an Islamic point of view, the Prophet Muhammad PBUH said, “Arrogance is to deny the truth and think low of people.” (Saheeh Muslim) So if you are wrong and cannot accept it, you clearly have ego issues! Anybody can be criticised, whether they are a scholar or not. An Islamic organisation, madrasah, school or charity. Just because we donate to them for the sake of Allah, doesn’t stop us from criticising them when they do actions contrary to Islam. Good intentions don’t always count when you lack knowledge.
  2. Parents – Some think they know everything, especially when it comes to their kids. They don’t! And loving your child does NOT mean you give them everything they want. How can a five-year-old know what is good for him/her? Just like kids don’t like injections, but we still give it to them? As we know what is good for them (and what is not). If you spoil your children, it won’t even be the age of sixteen (probably before that) you will start to regret it. “Beware. every one of you is a shepherd and every one is answerable with regard to his flock. The Caliph is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned about his subjects (as to how he conducted their affairs). A man is a guardian over the members of his family and shal be questioned about them (as to how he looked after their physical and moral well-being). A woman is a guardian over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned about them (as to how she managed the household and brought up the children). A slave is a guardian over the property of his master and shall be questioned about it (as to how he safeguarded his trust). Beware, every one of you is a guardian and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust.” (Saheeh Muslim)
  3. Passive people – There is no doubt we live in an apathetic society. We see crime, oppression and injustice but we just turn a blind eye. I am not talking about Palestine and Syria, I am talking about the dhulm in your own backyard. Men are to blame first and foremost, because men are no longer men. We have a lot of “males” in society, very few (real) men. Then I blame religious folk, who say “Pray Salah, read Qur’an and do Dhikr… everything will be okay?!” On the day of Badr the Prophet ﷺ didn’t just pray Qur’an and do Dhikr! Be active, “evil spreads not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the SILENCE of good people.” We need to speak up, people are not afraid to speak lies, why should we be afraid to speak the truth? Let’s not be selfish and don’t apply the rule: each to their own. That’s not an Islamic rule. “The best of jihad is a just word spoken to an unjust ruler.” (Ibn Majah)
  4. Da’wah – Not enough people that do it, or do it properly. Then you have the other half who don’t do it at all… this really needs a separate article altogether. Let’s start with “practice what you preach.” Many people don’t even read the hadith/messages they paste on to Whatsapp/Facebook. Secondly, we have people who say if you are not perfect or your family is not perfect you can’t give da’wah. These are definitely words from a Satanic mouth, a true deception of Shaytan. None of us are perfect, so none of us should do da’wah? Exactly what Shaytan wants? Even the uncles of the Prophet ﷺ did not accept Islam, they were Kafir and died as Kafirs. Does this mean the Prophet ﷺ should not have given da’wah to the rest of the world? Think before you speak, people. We now come on to the “fast forwarders” as I call them. They forward anything and everything under the name of Da’wah. When did the Prophet ﷺ say forward fabricated messages? When did the Prophet ﷺ say don’t verify things before forwarding? When did the Prophet ﷺ say if someone asks you for a reference, be defensive and arrogant because your ego cannot accept you are wrong? You get my drift, no further comments. “Do not tell a lie against me for whoever tells a lie against me (intentionally) then he will surely enter the Hell-fire.” (Bukhari)
  5. Fake people – Crocodiles tears, fake smiles, empty messages, people meet you with two faces, nothing from the heart. Why? The Ummah has become all about numbers. Number of followers on social media, we attend lots of talks but not a single change in our life. Madrasahs and schools have become all about numbers, as long as the seats gets full and fees are paid (and we are in surpluses), we are happy. And people perform excessive Hajj and Umrah, but no substance, no spirituality, not an iota of change. We really need a reality check. We have hundreds in the Masjid, we give thousands in Zakah, we are millions in Hajj, but our hearts are not clean. We really are fake and pseudo Muslims. “He who is two-faced in this world will have two tongues of fire on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawud)
  6. Social Media – Some of you are on absoTOTALutely everything!!! Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter and WhatsApp and Telegram, like seriously? That is sad. Definitely for people with no life. I honestly just about manage with WhatsApp messages (I hardly even check people’s statuses). Committing yourself to all of these is like a full-time job, not even a part time job. Then you end up upsetting people and offending people, let alone all the debates and arguments you have. Press pause. Stop. Take a breath. And seriously quit the ones you don’t need, the ones that are eating you up and eating your time up. Maybe the last sentence should say, “stick with one.” In previous times, people kept diaries, if someone read your diary you would be upset and offended. Nowadays, we have social media, if someone doesn’t like your post or retweet your comment you get offended! Strange times! A lot of us do sit on our phones all day, even at work. But some people don’t. Don’t call me judgemental, with WhatsApp you can see everything. Those who are always on their phones and those who check social media first thing in the morning. Is it really that important to you? And don’t say “emergency”. Emergencies don’t occur every day. Time is valuable, it is priceless. Imam Ibn ul Qayyim (rahimahullah) stated: ”Time wasting is more serious than death because time wasting cuts you off from Allah and the home of the afterlife, whereas death cuts you off from the worldly life and its people.’’ [Source: Al-Fawaaid…page 59]
  7. Don’t judge me – Shaytan’s latest plot in spreading evil and preventing good. We have an obligation to enjoin good and forbid evil. If you SEE someone doing bad, stop them. How is that judgemental? Judgemental is when you don’t have evidence. You don’t need to be afraid if you are polite and pleasant in your words. The bigger problem is we don’t have enough people speaking up and stopping evil, so the few that do it, it becomes harder. We have too many ‘yes men’, who bow down to the needs of the people. As Muslims we only bow to the One on the throne (may He be exalted). Here’s one I made earlier.
  8. Impatient & Thinking the worst of people. We are living in super fast times. We don’t just eat a lot of fast food, we want everything fast and quick. We want fast replies to our texts and calls, if we call someone and they don’t answer (maybe because they are busy/in salah/driving/in the toilet) we get offended or automatically assume they are ignoring us. Most of us have zero patience. Be a bit more considerate, some people are busier than others. You think I am wrong? Next time your YouTube video is buffering for a few seconds, look how angry and frustrated you get?! It takes a few seconds to wait for it. Half of us would just switch the video off because we don’t have the patience to wait. Read more here. Driving and patience is another one, especially in the Asian community. Asian drivers have the least patience and some have no common sense, but you can’t teach them common sense. So I end here.

Ismail ibn Nazir Satia (one who is in dire need of Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and pleasure)

12 Rabiul Thani 1439

HOW TO START A NEW YEAR: https://mylittlebreathingspace.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/the-new-year/

 

 

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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Goodbye 2016 – You’ve Taught Me Well!

Umm Abdullah  (In need of your Duaas)
1 Rabiul Akhar 1438

Bullying in Islam

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In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

Bullying in Islam

Bullying is against Islam as it entails injustice being done towards an individual by another.  Those that engage in bullying actually have a weak nature and want to compensate for that weakness by trying to be ‘superior’ to others that they deem inferior to themselves.

Bullying is a form of oppression. Islam explicitly forbids all forms of oppression and injustice.  Sayiduna Jabir Bin Abdullah (Radiallahu Anhu( narrates that the Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam) said “Be on your guard against oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection.”   (Sahih Muslim)

In a Hadith Qudsi, Allah (SWA) has said: ‘I shall take revenge on the oppressor in this life and the next.  I shall take revenge on someone who saw a person being oppressed and was able to help him but did not help him.’   (Tabraani)

If you are being bullied, especially at school, you should not remain silent but instead inform those who have authority.

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

Islam Says NO to Bullyinghttp://muslimmatters.org/2012/02/24/bullying-islam-everything-in-between/

Noora runs into the house and slams the door behind her.  She bounds up the stairs and her mother hears her bedroom door slam.  She audibly sighs sadly thinking to herself, “She had another bad day at school.  I wish she would talk to me about it.”  Noora curls up on her bed and cries quietly wondering what she did to deserve what she goes through at school everyday.  Sometimes she even finds herself wishing she could just get a physical “beat down” rather than suffer through the daily emotional torment of being teased, ostracized and singled out for abuse.  She feels as though her mother won’t understand what she’s going through and she also doesn’t want to disappoint her by confessing that she just doesn’t know how to handle the bullies.  She feels hopeless and she doesn’t know to whom to turn so she cries quietly in her room, and each day holds in more and more of the torment she faces.

Bullying was once viewed as a necessary rite of passage of childhood, something children simply must endure.  However, bullying is not simply something children will mature out of; rather, bullying can result in serious harm and long-term consequences.  Bullying can take different forms, including[1]:

  • Physical bullying: includes hitting, punching, kicking and other types of physical harm, as well as destruction of a child’s property.
  • Verbal bullying: includes teasing, name-calling, taunting and racial slurs, as well as spreading gossip or malicious rumors.
  • Cyberbullying: includes harassing emails, instant messages and text messages, as well as intimidating or threatening websites, blogs or posts.

Parents often feel completely powerless as they witness their child’s tears day-after-day, as much a part of the afterschool routine as homework.  Bullying has reached a new peak in our society and with tragedies such as the shooting at Columbine, bullying has received a great deal more attention than it used to. With the advent of technology, bullying no longer occurs exclusively within the walls of schools.  Rather, social media has provided another opportunity to bullies who seek to demean others.  Home is no longer a safe haven for victims of bullying; a Facebook status can hurt just as much, if not more, than hearing the typed words spoken aloud.

The Victims of Bullying

Being the victim of bullying can evoke a great deal of shame in children and teens (and in adults as well, since bullying is not an epidemic that exclusively targets children).  Therefore, your child may not confide in you and may go through great pains to hide the fact that s/he is being bullied.  The signs may not be as visible as a black eye; although children are often physically intimidated, bullying can be also be targeted in a way that leaves psychological and emotional bruises.  Some things to keep a lookout for, which may signal that your child is being bullied includes (but is not limited to): damage to personal belongings, unexplained injuries, a decline in academic performance, physical complaints (i.e. stomach aches, headaches, tiredness, etc.), reluctance when going to school or riding the bus, few friends, or a noticeable change in sleeping or eating habits.

There are certain qualities that may make some children more susceptible to bullying.  These include the following characteristics: cautious, sensitive, quiet, withdrawn, shy, anxious, insecure, low self-esteem, unhappy, lack of a close friend, relate better to adults than peers, physically weaker than peers.  Bullying is a cycle, so these characteristics can be just as much a consequence as a partial cause of being victimized.  There is also another subset of people within this bullying cycle who are characterized as bully/victims, who are both bullies and victims of bullying simultaneously.  Bully/victims tend to experience a greater variety of symptomology including both internalized (anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts) and externalized (hyperactivity, rule-breaking) issues[2].

The Bullies

Although the focus of prevention and interventions are often on victims of bullying, it is important to provide support to bullies as well.  As the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,  “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is oppressed.” The Prophet was asked: “It is right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” He replied: “By preventing him from oppressing others.” (Ṣahīh Bukhāri, Volume 3, Ḥadīth 624)

From this ḥadīth, we learn the importance of helping those who are oppressed but, even more profoundly, the need to assist oppressors by stopping them from committing this infringement on the rights of others.  Bullies are often misconstrued as people who simply take pleasure in the pain of others.  However, research has found that some are quite complex and somewhat of a mystery.  Many research studies have found that bullies are more likely to exhibit behavioral issues including aggressiveness, hyperactivity, attention deficits and conduct problems.  However, contrary to what is normally considered of bullies, one research study found that they suffer from depression, anxiety, psychosomatic disorders, and eating disorders to the same extent as those who were victimized by their bullying[3].  Some things that may signal that your child is bullying others include: being aggressive with others, gets sent to detention often, has unexplained new belongings or extra money, quickly blames others, refuses to accept responsibility for actions, and has a need to win or be the best at everything.

Verbal, Emotional & Psychological (Nonphysical) Bullying

Interactions between individuals, from an Islamic point of view, are governed by the fundamental right of sanctity of life, honor, and property.  Therefore, anything that compromises these rights should be stopped.  In Sūrat’l- ujurāt (49:10-12), Allah says, Verily, the believers are brothers…

  •   let not some people mock others, for they may be better than themselves,
  • nor (let) women (mock) women who may be better than themselves.
  • And do not slander yourselves, nor revile by (offensive) nicknames
  • O you who believe, avoid (indulging in) much suspicion; truly, some suspicion is a sin.
  • And do not spy or backbite one another; would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor that.
  • And be conscious of Allah; indeed, Allah is Relenting, Merciful.” 

These verses emphasize the non-physical face of bullying.  Verbal and emotional bullying can have even greater and longer-lasting negative effects on the victims than physical bullying.  Many of us may have grown up asserting the maxim, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” however, we soon realize that sometimes words can hurt more than anything else.

According to Rachel Simmons’s Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls[4], this type of bullying is particularly common among girls and often goes unnoticed by non-participants (such as teachers and parents).  Due to the expectation of girls to be sweet, nice and caring, direct aggression is deemed unacceptable in them.  However, girls are just as likely as boys to experience anger, a natural human emotion, so they engage one another in nonphysical, alternative forms of aggression.  This includes:

  •  Relational aggression: acts that harm others through damage (or the threat of damage) to relationships or feelings of acceptance, friendship, or group inclusion.
    •  This is seen through behaviors such as ignoring someone to punish them, excluding someone socially for revenge, using negative body language or facial expressions, sabotaging someone’s relationships, etc.
  • Indirect aggression: the bully avoids confrontation using covert behaviors.  In this way, it may seem as though there was no intent to hurt anyone and others may be used as vehicles to cause pain to the targeted person.
    •  This is seen in the spreading of rumors, backbiting, “accidentally” knocking over someone’s books, etc.
  • Social aggression: intent to damage the self-esteem or social status of a targeted individual.
    • This can include rumor spreading, backbiting, and social exclusion.

Rather than using physical intimidation as a weapon, relationships are used for leverage.  What could be worse than the threat of loneliness and social isolation as you wander friendlessly through the halls of school?  Hearing lies spread about you to cause you to lose your friends and fall into a downward spiral of lowering self-esteem?  One of the issues inherent in these forms of alternative aggressions is the fact that they can easily be committed under the radar of others.  Teachers are often caught unaware when their students speak with them about this type of bullying and don’t know how to deal with it since it is not easily spotted.  When engaging in covert aggression, the bullies often seem like the type of people who would never mistreat someone; it’s the perfect disguise for accomplishing as much damage as possible while ensuring their actions are undetectable to others.

Girls in this type of situation often have nowhere to turn; they may feel too ashamed to speak to their parents or teachers about the torment they’re enduring because they may feel as though they have failed at a fundamental rite of passage – making friends.  There is also a great deal of uncertainty regarding these alternative aggressions; girls may question, “Did she just bump into me on purpose?;” “Did she roll her eyes at something I said?;” “Is that note she’s passing about me?” It’s easy to know when someone gives you a black eye, but if you’re uncertain whether others are shutting you out or teasing you behind your back, it becomes much more difficult to discuss it with others.  By the same token, many girls withstand emotional abuse from their close friends in order to maintain the inclusion as a part of a group; they fear that the creation of any conflict (including voicing their concerns) will cause them to lose a relationship.  Due to this, anger continues to simmer and issues pile up and are rarely addressed.

Practical Tips & Possible Solutions

It is incredibly important to arm our children, our students, and ourselves with the proper methods of coping with bullying.  This is not simply a rite of passage that children must endure. Furthermore, the issues brought about by bullying can quickly, and dangerously, spiral out of control.  In the next segment, practical tips and possible solutions will be offered to promote healthy relationships.


[1] Mayo Clinic Staff (2010, August 24). Bullying: Help Your Child Handle a School Bully. Children’s Issues.  Retrieved January 19, 2012, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bullying/MH00126

[2] Olweus, D. (1999). Sweden. In P. K. Smith, Y. Morita, J. Junger-Tas, D. Olweus, R. Cata- lano, & P. Slee (Eds.), The nature of school bullying: A cross national perspective (pp. 7–27). London: Routledge.

[3] Kaltiala-Heino, R., Rimpelä, M., Rantanen, P., & Rimpelä, A. (2000). Bullying at school. An indicator of adolescents at risk for mental disorders. Journal of Adolescence, 23, 661–674.

[4] Simmons, Rachel (2002).  Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls.  San Diego, CA: Hartcourt Trade Publishing.

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