Our faith can not be complete till such time that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is dearer to us than our own selves, our parents, our forefathers, our children and all our businesses and possessions. (Please refer to the Appendix at the end of this document if further elaboration of this statement is required.)
1) What has facebook done?
In this world there are people having all kinds of views / opinions and beliefs. Freedom of Expression of opinions is a right that should be enjoyed by all. Freedom of Expression however does not equate to Freedom to Insult. Facebook has crossed this line as it gave freedom to insult Islam and Muslims. Ironically, Facebook claims to have a set of “regulations” which should have stopped the “Everybody Draw …” page. However, Facebook, showing no respect towards Islam and Muslims refrained from banning the page. They even had the audacity to express disappointment upon being banned in Pakistan!
(Please read Section 6 for a more detailed list of Facebook’s offensive actions).
2) What does it mean?
To us as Muslims, the enormity of Facebook’s crime is incapable of being expressed in words. This is the biggest incident of slander against the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in the entire history of Islam. As compared to this, the most heinous incidents of the past appear to be dwarfed. Do we remember any other occasion when the whole world was given an open invitation to slander the Prophet, and such deplorable pictures of his, spread out to cover the remotest corners of the world – including our own homes (yes, this time these pictures entered our own homes through the computer screens)?
If, inline with the Quran and Hadiths, our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is indeed dearer to us than our mothers and fathers, and our children, then, our pain and hurt should be enough to make us focus all our energies, resources and devote our time towards the single goal of countering this Insult.
However, as followers of the Rehmat-ul-lil-Aalameen (SAW), we must adhere to ethics and logic and refrain from any and all kinds of violence.
It should be very clear that:
i) Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has been installed on the exalted rank by none other than Almighty himself and nobody’s cheap efforts could ever even come close to lessen the brightness of that which has been sparkled by the One who has lit up the stars and the entire universe Himself.
ii) Anybody attempting to insult Prophet Muhammad (SAW) will ultimately face the wrath of the Almighty and will end up in insult, the likes of which we probably can not even imagine.
3) Opportunity for All Muslims
For us all, this is a great opportunity to join with Allah’s messenger (SAW) and thus ensure that we are part of the side that will prevail. Who knows if this will ensure that on the Day of Judgment when the eternal fates of each and every soul will be declared, we would have some positive action to base our hopes on.
4) Life in the Cyber zone and the E-Era
Our lives have been transformed over the years from the physical world to the virtual or “E” World. This is part of the on-going evolution of human lifestyle and there is nothing wrong with it by itself.
Many words and phrases used by us in our daily lives have come to represent their E-Era meanings rather than their old-world physical meanings, where they originated from, unless otherwise specified.
In this E-Era, forms of protest and expression of choices should also be in a manner that is abreast with the times. Our joys and smiles have also come to originate from events taking place on the cyber world, and so have our worst pain and grief. Hence, our response to this pain will also be most effective, if registered in a befitting manner.
5) Action Required
When the threat to the Ideology of Islam, the properties of Muslims and even their lives crossed a threshold, a Hijrat (Migration) was carried out from Makkah to Madina. A similar migration was also carried out by people of the Indian Sub-continent towards a homeland where their Ideologies and Faith could be preserved and practiced with ease. The time has come for a Cyber Migration.
For three reasons, this “cyber migration” is required only from Facebook and not from every other website that uploaded offensive material.
Firstly, Facebook played a deliberate, dishonest and hypocritical role in defying its OWN policies in order to support this contest even when the ORIGINATOR of the event had quitted.
Secondly, Facebook is one of the biggest Internet empires today and the mass “migration” of millions of Muslim users at this time can have visible effect on the revenues of this website and thus send a non-violent but stern message to the entire world – maybe what we have failed to do in the real world can be achieved through the virtual corridor!
Thirdly, the problems with Facebook are not only being faced by Muslims alone. It has been declared a hazard to the future of the virtual world even by non-Muslim analysts for entirely scientific reasons that have got nothing to do with Muslim religious feelings. Maybe this can give us opportunities to join hands with those in the West who care for the future of this world.
Facebook has become the “virtual life” of some people who are so addicted to it that leaving it will not be without consequence. Some people are conducting their businesses online through Facebook. Some use it to stay in touch with their loved ones, and many use it to waste time. It is these people for whom quitting Facebook will be most testing… and it is these people for whom Iqbal has written at the end of Jawab-e-Shikwa:
If you are loyal to Muhammad We are yours
This universe is nothing, the Tablet and the Pen[*] are yours
*Lauh-O-Qalam is a combination of “Lauh” (denotes Lauh-i Mahfuz and means preserved tablet) and Qalam means pen. Lauh-o-Qalam exists in the metaphysical world and they are the implements with which the decrees of God are recorded and in which they are preserved. (G. Sabir – Copenhagen )
It is interesting to note that facebook is being likened to a country by the western media. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20100521/us_time/08599199058200)
It is also interesting to note that many international facebook users are planning to quit facebook due to many different reasons, including facebook’s unethical practices and disregard of user privacy. (http://www.quitfacebookday.com/)
The huffingtonpost has used the phrase “mass, coordinated exodus” for this planned quitting of facebook mostly by dissatisfied international users..
This usage is glaringly symbolic. For Muslims this would be the equivalent of a Cyber Hijrat
In the words of Iqbal:
We must not be violent or act uncivilized. We will only use our right of choice and convince others to do the same. It will be our choice to quit and convince others to quit. Let us starve the Facebook by not giving it anymore of our time and private information to feed on and hopefully the giant will come down on its own.
I do not know if we will be able to bring down Facebook by quitting it. But frankly, despite the fact that I would love to see that end being achieved, I do not care much if it is achieved or not. What I do care about is, if in the end, I am asked if I tried to do something or just remained a silent spectator, I could raise my arm with pride and say – I TRIED.
Is Quitting Facebook for us a bigger deal than Migration from Makkah was to the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) ?
A humble attempt by:
Muhammad Adil Mulki
May 24, 2010
While all efforts have been made to adopt an approach which would please Allah Almighty and honor His Messenger (SAW), we are only human and ask for Allah’s forgiveness for errors.
This document has borrowed extensively from websites and other reference material. Efforts have been made to quote the source of information contained herein. My sincere apologies if a source has been left out.
Love for Prophet Muhammad - صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم (S.A.W)
Love for the Prophet Muhammad is a measure of one's iman (faith and inner conviction) and our iman is completed and perfected only when our love for the Prophet exceeds our love for everything else in this world, including our own lives. The Holy Qur'an says:
"The Prophet is preferable for the believers even to their own selves..." (33:6) 6th Verse of Surah Al Ahzab (Surah 33)
This is a definitional sentence which tells us what it takes to be a believer: preferring the Prophet even to one's own life. In confirmation of this the Prophet is reported in Hadith to have said:
"None of you becomes a believer until I am dearer to him than his children, his parents and all mankind." (as reported by Bukhari and Muslim) Some versions add: "his life, his wealth and his family". - Hadith
The best of believers, the suhaba (companions of the Prophet), did show such love for the Prophet, especially the noblest of them. Hadhrat Ali, speaking on behalf of all the community of suhaba in Medina , is reported to have said:
"The Holy Prophet is dearer to us than our wealth, our children, our fathers, our forefathers, our mothers and cool water at the time of severe thirst." – Saying of Hazrat Ali (RA)
Allah also says: "Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your spouses, or your kindred, the wealth that ye have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah or His Messenger, or striving in His cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 24]
(The above material has been obtained from the sites mentioned below and Quran Software. Some formatting and referencing has been carried out.)