Dr. O blogs at Muslim Medicine, a site that strives to serve only the freshest grade-A certified abiah ḥalāl comedy. Contact your local ḥalāl butcher for more details.


Times were much simpler a couple of decades ago, weren't they? Back when you'd collect hundreds of those free AOL trial CDs and pop them in, listen to the ear-grating internet dial tone for half an hour, and then wait eons for a simple website to load while making sincere du'ā' that your family members don't pick up the phone. Back then the internet was something new and exciting- Muslims had yet to discover its near endless virtual pastures, and as such, we actually had a lot more time to ourselves.

 

What kids nowadays think Muslim life was like before the internet existed.

 

Yes kids, its true! Life for Muslims somehow miraculously existed before Al Gore “invented” the internet. We had to painstakingly look stuff up in things called “books” and get our daily news from archaic scriptures known as “newspapers.” Oh and the debate over whether music was permissible or not? Trust me, you'd declare music a crime against the Ummah too if you ever saw someone walking around wearing this laughable ancient device:

If you actually know what this is, then you're old.

 

With the advent of the internet, you and I can now summon thousands of links and resources to a near bottomless trove of sites in a matter of seconds, and then share that information with hundreds of others in just a few minutes. Communication between us is lightning fast, and people can reach one another in ways that we didn't even think was possible a decade ago.

But the age-old rule still stands true- that wherever there are Muslims hanging around, there are bound to be Muslims arguing over ridiculous things. Not surprisingly, the internet is now the boxing ring for our new generation of Shaykh Googles and Mufti Wikipedias to profess their scholarly expertise and argue with one another with far more advanced tools of divisiveness, or as they say nowadays according to modern cyber tajwīd: “trolling.”

 

 

You don't have to look far to find young internet scholars debating over beard lengths, or berating “less practicing” or “less educated” brothers and sisters over eating nacho cheese Doritos or watching TV shows, or even finding Muslims spending hours viciously arguing back and forth over trivial things.

It's a shame that such incredible tools of spreading knowledge and building enlightening discussions such as Islamic Forums, Message Boards, group E-mail threads, Twitter feeds, and YouTube comment threads instead descend into embarrassing hotbeds of heated fights and countless hours of wasted time. And of all these online mediums, the biggest culprit of all is Facebook.

So how does it all go down, you ask? Surprisingly, it's quite predictable: 

 

You know you've seen that. And you know it doesn't end well. But boy, is it entertaining to watch.

Most Facebook arguments usually begin over something innocuous, like posting up a status about your favorite food and having the conversation continue until someone unknowingly posts something about eating pop-tarts, and out comes a fiery Muslim with a quick mouse-click trigger prowling the internet looking for a good opportunity to stroke the mighty beard of morality.

 

But who are the characters behind these arguments? Haha, that's a great question, and I'm glad I asked it of myself. Take out a pen and notepad, my friends, and keep a sharp eye out for these tell-tale signs of a good old Muslim verbal tussle:

 

THE INSTIGATOR

 

THE JUNIOR INTERNET SCHOLAR

 

THE DRAMA QUEEN GOSSIPER

 

THE CYNICAL CRITICIZER

 

THAT ONE JUDGMENTAL GUY

Spotting trouble online early on and avoiding it, diffusing it, or negating it is only part of the solution, but it doesn't completely solve the disease we have as judgmental, gossipy, and argumentative folk. Espousing proper Islamic manners of disagreement, etiquette of mutual respect and understanding, and patience with those we don't see eye to eye with is a prophetic legacy that applies even to our online lives, just as much as it does to our dealings in person.

“I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a house in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.” [Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) - reported by imam Abu Dawud]

The internet may have completely revolutionized the way we interact with one another, but it certainly didn't change the way we're taught to conduct ourselves as Muslims. And above all else, it's always best to ask yourself if the hours you spend arguing with other people online is truly worth giving up your house in the wondrous Eternal Gardens of our Lord.

34 Responses

  1. Nida Ninjabi

    As’salaam Walaikum,

     This was awesome, jazakAllah for the laugh and pointing out out internet common sense! plz keep it up! especially the humor!

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  2. Frank James

    haha. great article with nice pictures. makes me wanna think twice before i post or comment on facebook. i save my controversial stuff for twitter
     “the mighty beard of morality”

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  3. Usman

    One of the most important online articles this whole century.

    IMHO.

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    • Usman

      Err sorry, I meant decade. But maybe it will be for the century to come : )

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      • Usman

        As a bearded person, though, I do object to the “stroking the mighty beard of morality” bit. And I’ve encountered a lot more anti-beard discrimination from Muslims than from non-Muslims. 

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  4. nicole j. h. m.

    had to smile at this…i notice all of the different types of facebook arguments happening quite a lot, but it seems like the drama queen one is especially alive and well. and i think that the first drama queen status should also include something about how the sister posting it just really hates drama. that’s always there. and one of the comments to that status always says something about haters. ;)

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  5. Serena

    haha had fun reading this. it was informative and a great reminder! jazakallah khair! The hadeeth at the end clinches it!

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  6. siraaj

    Great article, and now by acknowledging that this was a good article, I have affirmed in a passive-aggressive way that others on here need to read and benefit :D

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  7. Aziza

    Love it SubhanAllah. We just gotta laugh at ourselves sometimes.
    “When I eat them, it feels like I’m celebrating Eid in my mouth.”

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  8. Profafzal

    How can I move on without praising the wit and humor of Dr. O. I hope when you finally graduate and report it online, I will be your first partient (doesn’t matter what you specialize in)…

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  9. Zafarkhanpesh

    Jazakumullah Khair Dr. O……… It really nice article and a final stamp by quoting the Hadith .
     

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  10. Layla

    Funny article, now I’m glad I don’t have facebook, but all that is discussed above an apply to out other everyday interactions as well

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  11. Charming Calming.

    This blog parallels many people’s discourse on the internet and their posts and debates whether Muslim or not. You find religious, anti-religious, political etc discussions everywhere on the net with many taking high moral grounds and putting down others for their views. One I didn’t see here is “the contradictor” – the one who contridicts everything others say just for the air time whether they are right or wrong and attempts to back their point up with weak paraphrased hadith and ayats and fatwah. The fatwah police. lool all this is true of so many Insha’ALLAH I learn to recognize this behaviour in myself and avoid it. A couple years ago, when I was new to facebook, I got into a few moral high ground arguements and religious debates with attackers of Islam and Muslims who would play the halal and fatwah police cards. I could waste hours of heated back and forth with them. But I learnt to read the signs and keep away and not to get involved in a discussion already heated because often they would all suddenly turn on you when all you wanted to say was something like “peace! Calm yourselves before you give yourselves an anorism!”  lol. But what can you do but give gentle advice (or laced with comedy, like with this article)

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  12. Nietskaya

    obviously I want to point out that the prophet is in no position to grant anyone any favour from Allah ……… but I don’t want to start a FB feud ;)

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    • ibrahim

      the Prophet (alayhi salat wa salam) actually is in such a position, as in the hadith in Bukhari “Allah is the Giver and i am the distributor (qasim)” and in the verse in sura Tawbah, “Allah will give us of His blessings, as will His Messenger”. 

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      • Guest

        and there we go…come on brother Yahya, Siraaj and Dawood…lol

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  13. Dr. O

    JazakumAllahu khairan for all of the feedback and commentary, everyone! I really enjoyed reading through the comments, and I apologize for not posting any individualized responses. But insha’Allah I wish you all a nice, enjoyable, and argument-free internet experience!

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  14. berserk hijabi

    OMG guys. Let’s talk about the enzyme content in cheese,my research shows it’s derived from beef.

    This ios so funny but so true!! JAK akhi!

    P.S I love cheddar cheese.

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  15. Freshly Humorized

    Hahaha this is so cool! Love your articles Dr.O. Jazakallah khair ^_^

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