Having spent almost the last decade on various religious forums, discussion boards, chat rooms, social media sites and what have you, I have been exposed to a wide variety of people. Technology and specifically the internet have played a significant role in putting information on the fingertips of everyone. Particularly in recent years with a trend towards religious and spiritual awakening, everyone seems to want to get on the bandwagon and gulp down a jug of water instead of a cup while not realizing their own limits at times – I myself of course have been guilty of this as well.
In any case, the phenomenon of the Internet scholar is not a brand new one, but it has definitely seen an increase in recent times. I decided to fictionalize a few real scenarios that many of us may have encountered online in some way, shape or form (or may even have been a part of it). Not all of them necessarily need to take place on Facebook – I just used the Facebook status template as it was easy to visualize. The scenarios below don’t always mean that people actually type up things in those exact words; but they do have certain implications when they write things a certain way. So here they are, the top 7 rebuttals of an Internet Islamic Scholar:
Ibrahim: Here I’m sharing an in depth study done on a jurisprudential topic, by a deceased scholar who spent almost 2 decades writing this book.
Abu: Bro, I just ran a search on Google for this topic and it’s clear to me that this scholar wasted 20 years of his life writing this book – I just found a hadith that completely refutes all his points. He surely must have overlooked this one hadith while writing about this topic. I’m now actually in the process of writing a 500 word comment which includes my rebuttal to the complete book (for which I’ve only read the introduction for since that’s the only part of the book that was translated into English).
Hamza: Check out these two beautiful ahadith that I’m posting with sincere intentions that explain why arrogance and pride are harmful for our soul.
Abu: Akhi, both these ahadith are corrupt in their sanad. Next time you should check the authenticity of the narrations before posting them as you could be unintentionally misguiding people. I actually have carried out my own research on the narrators and have published a blog post detailing my grading of the narrators and both of them have a narrator who is majhul (unknown) since I couldn’t find anything about him anywhere. Not even on Google.
Hamza: I actually got these narrations from a book written by a famous Ayatullah.
Abu: It is possible that the Ayatullah who spent his life studying didn’t read any books on Ilm ar-Rijal.
Hafsa changed her profile picture.
Rida: Mashallah sister, great to see that you have now started wearing Hijab. May Allah (swt) bless you.
Maryam Congratulations on the fact that you have now started wearing Hijab.
Abu: Sister, congrats but there are some fundamental flaws in the way you are wearing your hijab and I need to write it out publicly because you uploaded your image publicly and thus it only makes sense I make my point publicly as well. First of all, your feet are clearly showing and this is a great sin! Also it seems that you have a bit of lip gloss on. You should know that hijab isn’t just a mere piece of cloth. You must not be beautifying yourself like this.
I suggest you remove this picture as soon as you read my comment; being a woman, you are already deficient in faith and intelligence and according to narrations most of the dwellers of hell will be women. So let’s ensure that you do not increase that number.
Ali: I would like to invite everyone to my house for koonday (niyaz) tomorrow night at 8 PM. InshAllah congregational Maghrib prayers will be read afterwards.
Abu: Bro, what are you doing. Koonday are a major bid’ah; especially if you consider it to be a direct sunnah of the Prophet or Imams. I don’t know if you consider it to be that, but I’ll assume so anyways. I don’t care if my comments hurt a hundred of your South Asian friends who have been observing this relatively harmless cultural practice for hundreds of years. I need to propagate the message of truth far and beyond to all corners of the world and inform them that Koonday are an innovation. The Arabs don’t even have the letter “daal” in their alphabet – so how can it be an Islamic tradition!
What’s the point of praying Jamat Salah in a gathering that is inherently an innovation?
Wasim shared a video lecture of a scholar on Name 1’s profile.
Abu: Unbelievable – this scholar has lost the plot. How can you support him by having his video on your Facebook wall? I suggest you take it down immediately.
Wasim: I understand you are not a fond of the scholar, but you have to admit that there is nothing wrong in this speech in particular. In fact it was very eye-opening.
Abu: It doesn’t matter – we should not be uploading, posting or sharing anything to do with this scholar.
Wasim: I think you are not giving credit where it’s due. This was a good speech and I personally admire the scholar.
Abu Jee: It’s unfortunate that you have been misguided by him and his allies in a conspiracy against the Muslims. I’m afraid it may be too late to save you.
Hassan: I don’t even know who he is. . .
Abdul: Please make sure to attend the Iftaar program hosted by your local TMA at the university tomorrow.
Abu: Bro, if I were you I wouldn’t go to the iftaar. Some of the executives this year lean towards Akhbarism because they just recently came from a 3rd world country where there isn’t much awareness about Usooli and Akhbari views so they are naturally Akhbari. So instead of guiding them, I will attack them for their ignorance in these matters and not go to any events they are volunteering for. Instead you should come over to our local mosque for Iftaar and bring some cash with you as well, because we will be raising donations for the upcoming Muharram lectures. Let me post a few narrations on the importance of giving charity.
Hamid: Even though I have been guilty of doing this, I have seen the light and here is a spiritual reminder for myself and others on why we should avoid engaging in these wrong acts.
Abu: About time you realized your mistake. I’ve been telling you about this since months, but you were too arrogant to admit your flaws. I still remember the time when you first committed this sin and I explicitly told you how it’s haram and everything; but no – you could have cared less back then. By the way, even though you’re trying to change, I thought I’d let you know that it isn’t the best of deeds to update your Facebook status when its adhan time (like you just did above). Thought I wouldn’t notice that?
Kazim: ^He lives in a different time-zone.
I’m sure there are plenty of more scenarios that I could have come up with – but I think seven is a good number to stop at (no, really – there was actually a study done on how “7-point” blog posts usually gain more attention than the typical “top-10” or “top 5”). It would be interesting to see what some of the readers have experienced or encountered with regards to the Internet Islamic Scholar. Feel free to comment below.