Home > War On Fitna > Are you in e-love?

Are you in e-love?

The Bigger Picture

“And I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me” [Surah adh-Dhaariyaat: 56]
We begin with this verse as it sets the stage for everything in our lives. It directs us towards our ultimate purpose, and that is the worship of Allah – worship that isn’t only restricted to certain rituals at specific times, but requires obedience of Allah’s commands in every aspect, at every minute, during every activity.

To mislead us from this noble purpose, that is the goal of Shaytaan, the mortal enemy of the entire human race. Allah warns us about Shaytaan:
“[Shaytaan] said: Because you have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on your straight path. Then will I come to them from before them and behind them, and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to you].” [Al-A’raaf 16-17]

Shaytaan works in smart ways. His plan starts with whispers towards small evils and end with having us commit major sins. Allah warns us to not respond to even the smallest of inklings from Shaytaan. Allah says in the Qur’aan,
“…and do not follow the footsteps of Shaytaan. Indeed, he is to you an open enemy.” [Surah al-Baqarah: 168, 208]

Easy As 1-2-3!

Understand, dear brothers and sisters, that Shaytaan has his eyes set on the destruction of our imaan, and he works to accomplish this even through the good, beneficial things that Allah has blessed us with.
One such blessing of Allah is modern technology – radio, television, computers, internet, cell-phones, IPods, PDAs… the list goes on. They make our lives much easier in many ways: getting news from across the world is as easy as pushing a button, communicating with relatives far away is as easy as punching a few numbers in a machine, getting info for a research article for your homework can be as easy as keying the right string of words in Google search. In fact, we can even use technology for Islamic work; take for example, using the Internet to learn Islam, organize da’wah events, raise funds for a worthy cause, etc. We thank Allah for these blessings as He is the One Who gave humans the intellect to conjure up such inventions, and us the means to acquire them.

However, keep in mind that Shaytaan tries to get us in any way that he can. Many also use their computer screens to watch/read inappropriate material, waste hours browsing through useless material, and establish indecent interactions with members of the opposite gender. With the ease of modern technology, Shaytaan can really make some sins as easy as 1-2-3.

This article will focus on one such trap of Shaytaan: that is, indecent gender interaction while using social networking tools (Facebook, Instant messaging, etc.) Remember that social networking tools are neither entirely good nor entirely bad. It is what we make of them, just like a knife can be used to slice meat and make delicious “biryani” or it could be misused to kill! This article is adapted from an original internet article by a sister by the name of “Umme Lulu”. The story unfolds from the perspective of a sister, but the message is equally applicable to both genders.

The Initial “Spark”

It starts when a brother adds you on MSN/Yahoo/Skype/GTalk/Facebook for a valid purpose – it could be for something work-related, perhaps you are cooperating on a project. You know your priorities and limits, and won’t allow it to go further than the actual purpose. But then you slip a few times. The conversations start to go off topic and you don’t stop yourself. It is not work/project-related anymore, and you find yourself discussing things as you would discuss with your girlfriends. You feel an initial hesitance, but you tell yourself, “it’s all innocent talk. We’re not talking about anything bad. We’re just communicating about normal, everyday things.”
Time passes by and you find yourself talking to the brother every day now, for hours on end! You and he are similar and it’s nice talking to him. He feels special in your heart. You ask yourself, “do I actually like him? Should I be feeling this way?” You pause that thought, shrug your shoulders and think, “so what… it’s not like it’s haraam to have feelings for someone. I’m not going to act upon anything… and not as if he likes me.”

You assure yourself it will not get too far, and you carry on talking to him. You find yourself coming online more often, waiting for him, while ignoring your other friends so you can talk to him more. He becomes a very close friend to you and you share everything with him. You trust him enough to do that.
Even when you carry on with your routine daily work, he’s on your mind and you can’t wait till you two can talk again. The little voice inside your head tells you something is wrong, but you push it aside. You know your parents wouldn’t approve of you talking to a brother like this. They would flip out! And moreover, you would imagine Allah SWT would not approve of this endless, pointless free-mixing. You recall the lectures you’ve heard about the dangers of free-mixing and what it can lead to. You recall the stories of those who started off with innocent friendships but ended up in something more… something haraam.

“But it’s fine,” you tell yourself. “He’s only a friend and it’s all innocent! It’s not like I even see him in person!” You can suppress the other feelings in your heart and continue to be friends. “Everything will just stay as it is – normal,” you convince yourself.
Then one day, OMG you can’t believe it! OMG OMG: wake up! Pinch yourself! Did he just admit that he likes you?! Finally! It got through to him that you like him and it feels like the best thing that has ever happened to you!

You think: What now?? Where to go from here??

Friendship Turned Relationship

“Oh my Allah,” you think… you and him have been ‘talking’ now for six months! Wow! That seems like forever. But now, it’s not like before… you call each other everyday, share pictures (still in hijab, of course!). Yet, you don’t feel the burning guilt each time you think about him or message him or call him. It’s almost…normal. You worry at times because you think maybe you lost your fear of Allah, your imaan. You felt some shame earlier when you talked to him, and tried anyway to turn away from Allah seeing you, even though you knew that was impossible, as Allah is the All-Seer and All-Knower. But now, everything feels oh so comfortable. That little voice in your head that used to warn you earlier has become silent lately. You think to yourself, “is something wrong? Is my internal compass broken now?!”

Your thoughts are interrupted by a very familiar ring tone: it’s him calling again, for the 3rd time in one day! You shove away your earlier thoughts and rush to pick up the phone with your heart racing. Life seems so perfect when you talk to him, he makes everything fine again. You feel happy. He makes you forget all your thoughts that worry you when you’re alone. That’s why you love talking to him. He’s almost become like a shield from any reminder… any painful reminder that is!

Weeks go by and there is no change. No action. Those thoughts that used to worry you earlier don’t even come back to you. You feel great at all times, almost euphoric!

The Pathways to Zina

One day, one of your cousins asks you to come with her to a masjid event. “Sheikh so-and-so is visiting our masjid and giving a lecture!” You decide to tag along thinking, “He’s away on a trip any way, so not like I’ve got much to do this evening.” While in the car, you ask your cousin what the topic is. She replies, “The Pathways to Zina”. Your heart stops beating for a bit. “Relax,” you tell yourself. “Why the sudden panic? Have you committed zina? Or even come close to it? Astaghfirullah, of course not! Well then, relax! You’ve heard the reminders on this topic, you know what it’s about!”

You finally make it to the Masjid with your cousin. The sheikh starts the lecture. First he goes through the definition of Zina. “I know this,” you think. But why are your palms sweaty? Why do you feel like the sheikh is talking directly to YOU? “I’m just being a paranoid mess!” you tell yourself.

The sheikh continues and explains a verse from the Qur’aan by saing that “Allah Azza wa Jall in His Wisdom did not only prohibit the munkarat (evil, abominable deeds) but made the pathways to them prohibited as well.” The sheikh pauses.

You feel sweat coming down your forehead. Is it really that hot in here?
The sheikh continues as you listen attentively:
“So brothers and sisters, let us ask ourselves. What are the pathways to Zina? To this most disgusting sin?”

“And do not approach az-zina (unlawful sexual intercourse). Verily, it is a faahishah (a great sin) and is evil as a way.” [Surah Al-Israa:32]

The sheikh makes a dramatic pause. He continues: “Brothers and sisters, why do you think Allah does not say ‘do not commit Zina’. Why does Allah say do not come NEAR Zina?”

He answers his own question. “Wallahi there are many pathways to this sin. Among them is our negligence of Allah’s command to lower our gaze. Among them is the extreme free-mixing we see in our community….”

Again, the sheikh pauses. Why does he keep pausing?? You just might get a heart attack!

“And not to forget our online community as well because Allah Azza wa Jall is not just watching us while we’re in the Masjid, rather He is watching us wherever we are, be it outside our home, or inside, locked away in our room, browsing the internet.”

“Ya Allah!” He didn’t just say that…. Your heart stops.

“Brothers and sisters, we mistakenly trivialize these sins, while they’re nothing but stepping stones to the greater sin of Zina. The uncontrollable gazing, the constant free-mixing online and off – you hear people say it’s not a big deal, just some innocent fun. What fun? Disobeying our Rabb is fun? Disobeying our Rabb is innocence? Since when, ya Shabab?

You see among these same youth how ‘normal’ free-mixing has become. It’s not surprising to see a brother or sister who regularly attends the Masjid, chatting away at home with someone of the opposite gender, for no valid reason, and in a manner completely inappropriate. SubhanAllah, is our piety just outside, where people can see? Do we not fear Allah who sees us as we spend these hours mingling with the other gender? Do we not realize that Shaytaan is laying a trap for us to ultimately commit shameful acts like the bigger Zina, while we commit the ‘smaller Zina’ with our eyes that are seeing haraam, our feet which are walking to haraam, even our hands which we use to mingle and chat profusely with the opposite sex? Do you not realize the Shaytaan’s even bigger trap: to turn our hearts away from the obedience of Allah and to make us his companion in Jahannam? Brothers and Sisters, let’s wake up from our desires!
When will we wake up? When death comes, and it is too late to repent or come back to the straight path? SubhanAllah how many countless people were deceived before us, thinking their sins were trivial. And how many of them now lay in their graves in regret? Do we want to reach the same fate? No! So then we must leave these sins before our time is up. And who is to say when that will be? Today? Tomorrow?”

You are now frozen in your place. The sheikh continues his lecture but you’re lost in your thoughts. You imagine yourself in your room talking to the brother. SubhanAllah what if your soul was taken away at that very moment? You would be raised up in that same state. Complete humiliation! Because of your sin… you finally acknowledge it as a sin! “How did I even get here? What happened? Nearly 7 months in… a… relationship with a brother? Ya Allah!! You feel hot tears coming down. You quickly duck your head down so no one can see.

The sheikh’s words interrupt your guilty thoughts. He is relating the story of a pious worshipper by the name of Barsisa, and the 3 brothers who left their sister with him thinking he would be the best person to take care of her. What happened next? It was so long ago that you heard the story. You listen closely.

The sheikh relates the whole story and it comes back to you. He committed Zina with her!! Astaghfirullah… and it all started with one glance, with one conversation. The whole time Shaytaan was tempting him till the worshipper committed Zina with the girl, and she became pregnant. You remember now how the story ends. The worshipper killed the woman and her baby and ended up asking Shaytaan for help. He made SUJOOD to Shaytaan!
SubhanAllah! And Shaytan ditched him in the end saying: ‘I am free of you, I fear Allah, the Lord of the Worlds’ just like the verse in Surat al Hashr:

“[The hypocrites are] like the example of Shaytaan when he says to man, “Disbelieve.” But when man disbelieves, he says, “Indeed, I am disassociated from you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the Worlds.” [Al-Hashr:16]

The worshipper ended up being killed by the brothers because they discovered what he did. SubhanAllah!! All because he fell for Shaytaan’s whispers!

At-Tawbah: Turning Back To Allah

Now the tears are coming down hard and you can’t stop them. You hide your face and run to the bathroom. You stare at yourself in the mirror: modestly covered Hijabi with tear stained eyes – tears for months of sinning. SubhanAllah. Imagine if you would have ended up like the worshipper? Committing Zina! “Ya Allah…” You cry as you drop to the ground and make a silent du’aa: “YA RABB, FORGIVE ME FOR THE OPPRESSION I HAVE COMMITTED AGAINST MYSELF. O ALLAH I TURN TO YOU IN COMPLETE REPENTANCE. I WILL STOP THE SINS I WAS COMMITTING BEFORE, AND I WILL NOT FALL IN THE SAME TRAP AGAIN. YA RABB FORGIVE ME…”

You sit on the floor for some time sobbing out of regret.

The sheikh’s beautiful recitation can be heard on the loud speakers. You are still sobbing but you try to focus on the recitation.

“Say: ‘O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’ ” [as-Zumar: 53]

The verse strikes a special chord in your heart. How MERCIFUL is Allah, our Rabb, Who forgives His slaves for their wrongdoings! You continue to sit there reflecting and thinking about the next steps, what you’ll do as soon as you get home. You get up, dry your eyes and examine yourself in the mirror before leaving. This time a small smile appears on your face. You think to yourself: I’m a Muslimah!! Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ’Alameen! Alhamdulilllah for my deen, for my Merciful Rabb, who calls to good and forbids evil and sends reminders to His sinning slaves so they correct their ways. Imagine if I didn’t have the blessing of Islam! I would be so lost! Alhamdulillah!!

You go downstairs to the women’s section. The sheikh is now talking about marriage. You can hear it in his voice that he is smiling as he talks. You like his merciful approach!
The sheikh says:
“The youth sometimes approach me and tell me, ‘Ya sheikh ! Why are you making marriage hard on us? Do you want us to remain single forever!! How are we supposed to find people if we can’t even be friends with them? That’s what everyone does, especially in my culture… they can’t all be wrong?!’

Well, firstly, no way, I certainly don’t wish to make marriage hard on you! There are too many singles in this Ummah! So please hurry and fulfill this sunnah! Quit snoozing!”

Some people in the crowd laugh.

The sheikh continues, “Brothers and sisters, remember marriage is half of your deen and it will definitely be a form of protection for you in the dunya against many sins. So if you are able to, then marry! The Prophet Salallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said in an authentic hadith:

“O group of youngsters, whoever amongst you has the means should get married, because it keeps the gaze down the best and it is the most protecting for the private parts. Whoever does not have the means should fast, because that breaks the temptation.”

I encourage all the youth here to get married. And I remind their parents to make this path to halal easy for them, for if you make it hard, they will pursue the paths to haraam instead.

Secondly, in response to “how do we find people, if we can’t be friends,” then brothers and sisters, there are many ways to find suitable people to marry both online and offline. No need to swim in the rivers of haraam to reach this goal. The first step the youth should take is to talk to their parents and convince them that they’re ready for the responsibility of marriage. Don’t go out and search for someone to marry without your parents’ knowledge; this is especially true for sisters, because they require a Wali (a male guardian). And yes, this applies even when you are on the internet. The Shari’ah of Allah doesn’t change over cyberspace!

So if you are offline, get in touch with community members who can help out. Ask a married brother/sister or the local imam to see if they know of someone suitable for you.

As for online, there are countless matrimonial websites… but beware as some of them contain a lot of fitan such as pointless free-mixing, sharing pictures and the like. Make sure that the woman you question has her Wali’s full knowledge and supervision. This communication should also be according to the etiquettes of gender interaction. Have a serious intention, and keep halal. Marriage is a very important step in your life, so does it make sense that you start it off through something haraam, thus earning the displeasure of Allah?

Let me wrap up by advising you all to have a firm intention to marry, follow the permissible means, have Taqwa of Allah and trust in Him and insha’Allah brothers and sisters marriage will be made easy for you.

As for the last statement that ‘everyone does this, especially in such and such culture,’ I ask you: since when do we take our religion from other than Allah and His Messenger? Do we follow an opinion above what Allah and His Messenger have told us? No! And besides, please know that most of mankind, like Allah SWT said, will lead you into wrongdoing. So fear Allah and do not follow them in their wrongdoing and refrain from using such reasoning. Hear and obey what Allah Has revealed and you will be fine!”

“This makes so much sense,” you think! SubhanAllah all this time you were deceiving yourself, using the wrong means to achieve a right end. It’s just wrong, plain and simple.

Alhamdulillah what a great lecture! You give your cousin a big hug after the lecture and tell her sincerely how blessed you are to have such a good friend like her and that you really benefitted from the talk. Surprised, she returns your hug.

As soon as you get home, you turn on your laptop and start typing an email to the brother:
“Assalaamu Alaikum…I have something important to tell you. I just came back from a lecture in the Masjid. It really scared me straight, Alhamdulillah. It made me realize what we are doing is so wrong. We cannot continue this ‘friendship’ anymore, we can’t call or text each other or share pictures. By saying that eventually we will marry, it does not make what we are doing halal. It’s still haraam. The fact is, marriage is several years away for me and for you. When the time is right then I will take the permissible means to find a suitable person, and so should you.
I know we’ve been talking for a long time and it won’t be easy to part, but I’m doing this for the sake and pleasure of Allah and for Him alone. Death can come to us at any moment, and I do not want to die in a state that is displeasing to my Rabb, by sinning. And this is sinning… what we have been doing for all this time. May Allah forgive me and you!
It’s time to wake up from this trap Shaytaan is setting for us. I am going to remove you from my list and from my phone and from any other place I have you. Please do the same. Let’s both repent to Allah, and leave these sins and never return to them.”

After sending the email, you sit back in your chair and breathe a sigh of relief. You remind yourself of the 4 steps of repentance: Sincerity to Allah; Remorse for what you’ve done; Stopping the sin immediately; Determination to not return to it.

“Alhamdulillah I took the big step and stopped; now for the hard part: staying firm!”
In your ‘Isha prayer you make sincere du’aa to Allah to make you strong in your imaan and not return to the sin. You also make du’aa for the brother that he sees the truth of your words and doesn’t try to maintain contact with you.

Next morning, no email, no phone call. A couple days go by, then a week. Nothing. Alhamdulillah.

Gender Interaction – A Brief Guideline

1) Need for Interaction/Communication
Islam recognizes that there may be a need for men and women to interact with each other and communicate for valid purposes. Such interaction is allowed as long as it doesn’t exceed the genuine need for the interaction, and is carried out in a modest fashion. We find that in the life-time of the Prophet (s), women would approach the Prophet (s) to refer matters to him and ask questions, and he would answer them. Moreover, the Prophet (s) would also set aside a day to teach only the women of his ummah. Similarly, we find other examples from the lives of the sahabah and the salaf, of men and women interacting if there were a need. In our times, permissible interaction may take the form of, for example, collaboration for a community project, commercial and trade purposes, talking to a colleague at work place, gaining education from an instructor of the opposite gender, etc.
When we interact with members of the opposite gender without any purpose and without adhering to the other etiquette, then this falls under free-mixing. Prophet (s) instructed the sahabah by saying, “do not go near non-mahram women”, and when he was asked about the in-laws (non-mahram), he replied, “the in-laws are death” [recorded in Bukhari and Muslim]. Keeping this in mind, it is not wise to argue that Islam allows men and women to be friends and to interact with each other without any genuine need. In fact, such socializing and intermingling isn’t allowed even if it be in group settings.

2) Avoiding Seclusion
In Islam, seclusion or “khalwa” occurs if a man and woman are alone such that the unlawful may happen between them. This would include a man and woman meeting, without a third, in an enclosed, private area where others can not see them and/or walk in on them.
Thus it is allowed for a man and woman to converse with each other, as long as it is done in a public area, without them having full privacy. This is to maintain the purity of the hearts and so that Shaytaan doesn’t cause them to act immorally, or even harbour immoral thoughts. As the Prophet (s) has advised, “when a man is alone with a [non-mahram] woman, Shaytaan makes the third.” [Bukhaari]

3) Correct Hijab for Both
Both men and women should dress properly and modestly in front of one another, as outlined by the shari’ah. Men must cover their awrah with loose clothing that does not define the shape of the limbs below. Women must wear an outer-garment to not display their adornments and the shape of their body, and wear a headscarf to cover their head which extends below to cover the neck and chest. As well, women must not wear perfume so that the men she would interact with, or even pass by, would smell the scent.

4) Lowering the Gaze
Allah has instructed us to lower our gaze and not look at a member of the opposite gender with desire so that Shaytaan doesn’t corrupt our hearts. As we find in Surah Nur, ayah 30-31, this command applies equally to men and women.
This also stands as a further proof against those who argue that men and women can be friends and socialize together. When Allah has prohibited us from even looking at those of the opposite gender, how can we justify socializing with them and being friends with them?
As well, let us keep in mind that lowering of the gaze extends to online communications as well. If we’re not supposed to check out someone of the opposite gender in person, then similarly we’re not supposed to check out their pictures over the internet either.

5) Correctness in Speech and Manner of Talking
When the need arises for men and women to interact with each other, the communication must be in a modest fashion.
Allah (swt) instructs the mothers of the believers in Surat al Ahzab, verse 32, to not be soft in speech, and to speak in an appropriate manner, when they talk to men. Thus, we can extrapolate that both men and women must watch their tone so that their voice is not soft or can be taken as suggestive or flirtatious. This doesn’t mean that men and women must be harsh when they interact with each other; rather the interaction should be in a formal, business-like manner. It is more important to watch ourselves when we interact with those non-mahrams we’re in contact with on a regular basis (for example, relatives, co-workers, peers) as there is a greater chance of letting our guard down when interacting with them.
As well, since any inter-gender interaction is only based on a need, any jokes or leisure talk should be avoided between the genders, so the conversation is not steered off topic.

Online Communication:

Often times we let our guard down when speaking to a member of the opposite gender online or over the phone, simply because of the lack of physical presence. However, it is important to keep in mind that the same rules apply, as above, when it comes to online communication. Below are some additional points to keep in mind specific to online interaction (including with a potential spouce):

– Emailing is a better idea compared to Instant Messaging. Instant Messaging tends to get more informal and easier to get off-topic, compared with email.
– Keep your emails formal.
– Limit or completely avoid the use of emoticons/smileys. Sometimes it helps to add a “” at the end of the sentence if you feel what you’re saying could be misinterpreted or come across too harsh. However, there is no reason to use winking or tongue-sticking-out faces.
– Depending on the nature of the conversation, sometimes it is better to add a 3rd person in your communication.
– Do not show your picture in display images and avatars. Remember that “lowering your gaze” extends to the online world as well. Help others lower their gaze by not displaying your pictures to them.
– If you are on a forum, ask yourself, “what is the purpose?” If you are on a forum for leisure purposes and communicating with the opposite gender, then this isn’t necessary communication. If it is for informative/educational purposes then avoid going over-board in your interaction and stick to the topic and purpose.

Categories: War On Fitna Tags: , , , , ,
  1. June 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    nice article… made me think… this should really be mass circulated…. loved the sheikh who gave a lecture… especially when he said “I remind their parents to make this path to halal (marriage) easy for them, for if you make it hard, they will pursue the paths to haraam instead.”…
    I don’t know if i shd say this but my whole life is (or has been till now) defined by this line…. many many times, i have interacted in shady grey areas with the opposite gender while feeling extremely guilty but whenever i ask my parents to make my halal easy for me, they do not understand that hell might be waiting as they delay and deliberate.
    “for if you make it hard, they will pursue the paths to haraam instead.”….. This is my nature and i cannot reform easily with fasts, and all with my health …you know this …i dont need to tell you the details…. I have to marry or keep sinning… at this crucial dilemma, i seek help from whoever… even if it is reckless…. so in this rather astonishing comment i ask you (author of ilmrush and brother) to understand my need and the weight of my akhirah’s punishment, if people who decide my future delay, and to help me and do what you can to recommend for me a spouse at the earliest….

    I merely follow your advise: I quote:
    “get in touch with community members who can help out. Ask a married brother/sister or the local imam to see if they know of someone suitable for you.”
    Your Brother.

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