Four Things An Average Muslim Can Do When Your Social Media Feeds are Breaking Your Heart

If your social media timelines/newsfeeds are anything like mine you are currently being bombarded with images, statistics, and other information that lets you know the Ummah is bleeding. As I write this, we've embarked on the 2nd half of Ramadan and it's heartbreaking to think that as we worry about which masjid we feel like going to for iftar tonight, there are folks across the world whose scant iftar meals are accompanied by the sounds of missile fire.

You may feel sad, even despondent because you just aren't sure WHAT you can do, and you definitely don't want to be called to account on the Day of Judgement for simply ignoring the situation!

In the last week or so I've made some strides and wanted to share them for anyone who might be feeling helpless to change the situation.

 1. Make Du'a

This is actually the video that inspired my sketch note & in essence this blog post. Even if you don't read the whole rest of my post (which of course I want you to do) please take the time to watch this!

I'm clearly not going to dive into any issues related to the fiqh of qunut, as I'm not qualified to do so. However, after watching this video I did consult my good 'ole book about Night Prayers and found this interesting hadith which I thought was worth sharing.

"It is ordained in the Sunnah to perform qunūt when a great hardship or disaster befalls the Muslims, such as wars, earthquakes, floods, famines, etc. The evidence for this is the hadīth of Anas
(رضي الله عنه)

"The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) sent seventy men, who used to be known as al-Qurrā' ( the reciters), on a mission. Two branches from the tribe of Sulaym, called Ri'l and Thakwān, stopped them by the well of Ma'ūnah. They told them, 'By Allāh, we are not out to fight with you; we are only on a mission of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Yet, they killed them. And the Prophet made du'ā for a full month during the morning prayer. This is how qunūt started, because we did not do it prior to that." -Al-Bukhari & Muslim

(Excerpt from The Night Prayers: Qiyam & Tarawih , from the works of Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen al-Albani and other scholars compiled by Muhammad al-Jibali, p.111)

2. Click Through Ever So Often

Yes 1/2 of the things you come across are shocking, heart wrenching pictures, especially those of children. Your first instinct might be to keep scrolling, not because you don't care but  because, as Shaykh Yasir Qadhi mentions, your heart just can't take it. It is never easy to view these images which these days seem to be taking over our news feeds, especially when and because you have your own little people perched on your lap or peering over your shoulder.

However, I advise you as I advise myself to click through at least sometimes, actually read news articles and personal accounts. Why? For one it's rather hard to be sincere in your du'a when you have zero clue what's going on. Is a generic du'a about our oppressed brothers and sisters around the Ummah going to be tear filled and heartfelt, maybe. However, it's more likely that a du'a that you make as a result of reading a personal account of hardship, destruction, loss and injustice is going to be  even more heartfelt and thus more powerful.

There are other reasons to click through, which I'll cover in a minute. 

3. Share Ever So Often

No I don't expect that every post, video, article, photo that you come across automatically gets a share! In fact that would be plain irresponsible and by some accounts sinful because you are inevitably spreading misinformation. 

Rather, my advice is to find news sources that are trustworthy and share only what you think may be beneficial for generating awareness. The thing about social media is that unlike our own communities, where everyone is Muslim, we are often connected with a variety of people from all walks of life. You can use your personal pages as a means not to bombard people with information about "the Ummah", but to occasionally raise awareness about various humanitarian crises. 

I find that for these purposes articles and stories that come from mainstream sources and not necessarily targeted at a Muslim audience are most effective. It is also helpful if you help in framing the narrative as a "person with a conscience" problem rather than a Jewish vs Muslim problem or Buddhist vs Muslim problem, etc. It's highly unlikely that your non-Muslim friends, relatives and colleagues want to get caught up in any "Us vs Them" drama, but if you take care to share articles say from Israeli's who are opposed to their government's actions, or the Dali Lama who is opposed to the Buddhist extremists, it helps to paint a clearer picture that this is about WHAT is right and not WHO is right.

Still unsure if that photo of the baby lying in smithereens is share worthy, I highly recommend that you check out Nur Fadhilah Wahid's article, How to Avoid the Mistake of Harmful Sharing.

4. Put your Money Where Your  Mouth Heart Is

This ties in closely to "clicking through". As we may, out of our own ignorance, be supporting the very regimes which are oppressing our brothers and sisters. We were already four days into Ramadan when I realized that the dates that my family and I had been using to break our fast were a product of Israel. I think this discovery during the month of Ramadan that in my effort to complete my ibaadah and practice the Sunnah I'd aided the oppressors was enough to wake me out of my stupor. It was enough to make me click through a few days later to find out what other brands I've been using that are supporting Israel. Start making a conscious effort to back up your adiyaa with simple actions like being aware and avoiding brands that support oppressive regimes. Due to how social media works, much of this info we don't even have to hunt for, it magically appears on our timelines all we have to do is "click through" and take the time to read the information.

You can also put your money where your heart is by giving sadaqa as Shaykh Omar Suleiman mentions in the above video (which I'm sure by now you've watched right!). If your heart is truly with the Ummah of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) then when a fundraiser comes around for a country that you aren't from, or is held by a masjid that you don't go to, you should still try to support it in whatever ways are within your means. And I remind you as I remind myself.

This list is by no means exhaustive but an effort to suggest a few simple things.

If you have suggestions of  other things that an average Muslim can do for our brothers and sisters that are being oppressed please feel free to share them in the comments below!


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