As I engage with the world of social media, I can’t help but acknowledge the significant role it plays in the lives of Muslim women like myself. It has become a powerful platform that allows avenues for self-expression, community-building, gaining knowledge, and spreading positivity. However, amidst the vast opportunities it offers, social media also has hurdles that test our faith.
To reinforce our discussion, I reflected on the words of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, who said:
“Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty.” (Muslim).
This hadith highlights the essence of beauty and aesthetics in Islam.
As Muslim women, it is important to embody this beauty, both inwardly and outwardly, extending even to our online interactions. Let’s discover how to chart our own path on social media that aligns with our beliefs, upholds our goodness, and allows us to be a source of positive change.
Now that we’ve established the significance of managing integrity and faith on social media, let’s delve deeper into the difficulties we often face. When we understand them, we can better equip ourselves to overcome them and navigate the digital landscape with grace and strength.
1. Stereotypes and misconceptions
Chances are, both you and I have personally faced the stereotypes and misconceptions that exist about Muslim women on social media. We’re often subjected to unfair generalisations, portraying us as oppressed or backward.
However, these stereotypes are far from the truth. In reality, Muslim women are succeeding in all fields like business, science, art, and sports. We have the power to choose their education, jobs, and relationships, just like any other woman.
In the Quran, Allah says,
“Indeed, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.” (Surah Al-Hujurat 49:13)
This verse directs us toward the understanding that genuine nobility is rooted in piety and righteousness, rather than adhering to societal expectations or stereotypes.
2. Pressure to validate societal expectations
As Muslim women, we often find ourselves under immense pressure to conform to societal norms and expectations. We may feel compelled to present ourselves in a certain way or engage in activities that contradict our values. This pressure can be especially heightened on social media, where the pursuit of likes, followers, and popularity can cloud one’s judgement.
In the Quran, Allah reminds us,
“And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves.” (Surah-Al-Hashr 59:19)
We must remember that our purpose on social media is not to seek validation of societal expectations, but rather to seek the pleasure of Allah and stay true to ourselves.
3. Keeping modesty and hijab online
In a world where immodesty is often celebrated and encouraged, manoeuvring the digital space while maintaining modesty holistically can be challenging.
The Quran tells us,
“Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That is purer for them.” (Surah-An-Nur 24:30).
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Modesty is a branch of faith” (Sahih Muslim)
Islam guides us to prioritise the value of modesty in all our interactions. When it comes to social media, let us be mindful of the content we share, the way we present ourselves, and the impact our actions may have on others.
4. Upholding Islamic values
In an ever-changing digital world, it is highly probable that we will encounter content that goes against our beliefs or be tempted to engage in discussions that go against the teachings of Islam. It is in these moments that we must rely on our faith and the guidance of Allah and His Messengerﷺ.
What does the Quran say about it?
Allah advises us,
“And whoever holds firmly to Allah has [indeed] been guided to a straight path.” (Surah Ali ‘Imran 3:101).
By holding firmly to Allah and His teachings, we can navigate social media with wisdom, compassion, and virtue.
I think it is safe to say that challenges will always be there. So how can we sustain integrity and faith in the light of the Quran and Hadith?
1. Set personal boundaries and guidelines
I have found that setting guidelines is meaningful for nurturing probity and staying true to my faith. I ask myself, “What are my values and beliefs, and how do I want to reflect them online?” By defining these boundaries, I establish a clear framework for my interactions on social media.
Islam teaches us why we need moderation and balance in all aspects of life.
The Quran states,
“And We have made you a just community so that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:143)
This verse reminds me that as a Muslim, I should strive to be a witness, even in my online presence. Setting boundaries helps maintain a sense of balance and can ensure that actions align with intentions.
2. Select appropriate content and connections
Being mindful of the content I consume and the connections I make on social media is another essential strategy. I choose to follow accounts that align with my values, inspire me, and provide beneficial knowledge. Surrounding myself with positive influences creates an uplifting digital environment. Fortunately, numerous fellow Muslims are doing fantastic work in order to provide an elevated social media experience for the community.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ advised us to, “Choose your companions wisely, for you are upon the religion of your companions” (Sunan Abi Dawood).
This hadith serves as a reminder to be selective in the company we keep, even in the virtual world.
3. Be mindful of the online impact
Each post and comment we share on social media carries the power to influence others. Hence, we must exercise caution and mindfulness in selecting our words and actions, both in our physical lives and in the virtual world. Asking ourselves, “Is this post or comment valuable? Does it foster positivity in the discussion? Does it align with the values of Islam?” can guide our online presence responsibly.
Islam places great emphasis on the power of speech and advises us to use our words wisely.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent.” (Sahih Bukhari)
It is imperative to remember that when we interact with others on social media, we must do so with respect, gentleness, and the intention to build bridges rather than create divisions.
4. Utilise privacy settings
Utilising privacy settings and implementing security measures, can help safeguard our personal information and create a safer online experience.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Be discreet in order to achieve what you want, for everyone who is blessed is envied.” (Saheeh al-Jaami)
This is a clear suggestion of being mindful of the potential consequences of oversharing or exposing ourselves to unnecessary risks.
While exploring social media as Muslim women, we may deal with tests and trials. With patience, kindness, wisdom, and seeking support, we can hold our ethics and belief in the digital world. It helps to remember that Allah is always with us, guiding and protecting us as we handle the complexities of our world, real or virtual.
Hazra is a lifestyle writer and independent journalist who firmly believes in the profound impact of mindful living. Her work has appeared in Well+Good, Insider, Giddy, SCMP, The Midst, APL Media, WWR Digital, Chatelaine, Humanise by Plum, and more. She is a firm believer and achiever who loves to explore new things. When not writing, Hazra enjoys exploring the outdoors and reading books. Catch her on LinkedIn.