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Chapter 8: The Waning Dusk (series)

know it alls

Myth: I’m a mufti and I know it.

This particular verse struck me in taraweeh tonight. And it does so in a different way, every time I come across it.

Say, “My Lord has prohibited only the shameful acts, whether open or secret, and (every) sinful act, and unjust aggression, and that you associate with Allah anything for which He has not sent any authority, and that you attribute to Allah any thing about which you do not have sure knowledge. (07:33)

There are a lot of ways you can look at it depending on your guilty pleasures and your own flaws you’re intimately familiar with. There are certain sins that we have conveniently chucked in the grey area for our peace of mind. But if they fall into the category above, secretly shameful or openly shameful, then you know now that they are unlawful. That’s one way of dealing with it.

What really came to my mind was– Facebook. A stark contrast between two kinds of people you will usually find making headlines on your your news-feed and in some cases, long comment threads. Average Muslims and Keyboard-Jihadis. The first half of the verse could apply to our average Muslim posting inappropriate pictures of himself, selfies with friends of the opposite gender and relationship updates that make you say “TMI!” out loud. And no, you are not obligated to “like” the garbage.

Then there are keyboard-jihadis (as Abu Eesa calls them), overzealous students of knowledge, fresh out of their summer program planning to correct the deviant awaam on Facebook. And this is exactly what Allah warns about in the concluding statement. Because most of these guys do more harm than good, making stuff up along the way and commenting on matters they are unqualified to speak about. Which is sad and unfortunately, pretty hilarious at the same time.

You have fatwas being issued on voting, on posting Quranic verses on timelines and tutorials on “How to cross a namazi while he’s praying”. Comments like “sitting cross-legged is not allowed in Islam, bro” and “you can’t touch your cell-phone without wudhu if it has Quran inside” makes you want to wish you could stab people on Facebook too instead of “poke”. Forward-this-to-10-people-or-you-are-doomed chain-mails and accusing a person of “chasing cricketers” and telling them how watching sports is haraam because they posted a Pakistani victory status upon hearing the fireworks…

What many of us don’t realize is the gravity of the situation. Know what’s really haraam? Allah (swt) has dubbed it prohibited (haraam as the Arabic text says) to be pseudo-experts on religion, endorsing and forbidding issues in Allah’s (swt) name of which He sent no directives thereof.

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