Umarfaruk Sadik, a student of Islamic knowledge and a teacher of Qur’an at his local mosque in Bolton, England, was surprised to see his photo going viral on Twitter when someone posted it saying he looks like the musician Zayn Malik:
Soon, his photos were being shared all over various social media websites:
IlmFeed got in touch with Umar and asked him how he felt about the attention.
“At first I also thought it was funny and I shrugged It off”
But he says people started to mock and insult him:
“…but it escalated and turned into a form of mocking and insults, and people assuming I was a fake.”
People were also making inappropriate comments on his photos:
Umarfaruk says he finds some of the comments quite insulting and hurtful:
Right now I can’t really tell how I feel as I thought it’d be nothing and laughed with the people but now it’s quite insulting and hurtful
The internet can be a pretty nasty place and whilst photos of unsuspecting people are used for humour, we must remember that there are real people behind those photos who have feelings. As Muslims, we are guided by the teachings of the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Whilst joking and humour is permissible, it should not be done at the expense of hurting the feelings of others. It is clear that ridiculing and insulting others is not permissible and is sinful.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” Surah Al Hujurat, Verse 11
The Prophet has mentioned:
“It is a sufficient act of evil that a person belittles his Muslim brother. Every Muslim to another Muslim is sacred, his blood, his wealth, and his honor.” Sahih Muslim
The liberal society has no problem with ridiculing others and promotes the freedom to insult. It is unfortunate that Muslims have begun to forget the beautiful teachings of Islam and are adopting a mindset contrary to those teachings.
So before you share another viral meme, please ensure that it will not be a means of hurting someone.
Umarfaruk has requested that anyone who has shared a meme with his photo that they delete it.
By Rafiq ibn Jubair