The worst is when we disrespect our own scholars. It is common to see statements like “Are you out of your mind?", "I’m sure the Qur’an doesn’t say such a thing!”, defying a reputable scholar who is better qualified. This is especially predominant on a ruling that people don’t want to comply with. Suddenly, everyone is a de facto scholar, even if they have no Islamic knowledge to back their point. No one wants to listen to the learned. Is this the way of the Sunnah? What is the value of a nation that does not respect its scholars or the wise elders?
There is manner and respect, even in disagreeing. The Companions, early pious people and scholars had different opinions and understandings on certain issues. Yet they never allowed themselves to lose their manner and their relationships with each other. Their different opinions were based on different sources of information, whereas today, we have different opinions based on our egos, conjecture and limited knowledge. It is a tragedy.
4. Criticising and Judging Others
A lady posts a YouTube video on Islam, and she gets slammed because her scarf is too colourful. A moderator posts a comment which is in line with Islamic principles, and people accuse him of bid'ah because Allah is not written in all caps – "ALLAH".
Certain keyboard warriors grant themselves the authority to behave as Islam’s policemen, judge and jury. Many are policing based on ignorance and without sound Islamic evidence. They judge, label each other as mushrik and kafir, not realizing that such accusations, if Allah finds them false, will land back on their own souls.
We are not Prophets or Messengers and we do not have the benefit of Angel Jibril AS giving us revelations. It is not our right as human beings to label and pass judgments on others. Yet in this age of instant gratification, so many keyboard warriors give knee jerk reactions.
Sometimes, someone is clearly on the wrong path. Let us check to our intention if we want to correct them. Is it because we want to look clever and get praised, or is it because we are concerned for the person’s soul? Only the ignorant and the arrogant disgrace others in public. One who genuinely cares can send a private message and address the issue in a tactful and civilized way.
Prophet SAW, in correcting the actions of others, did it subtly and discreetly, sometimes using metaphors, to avoid humiliation or embarrassment.
Fear Allah. You do not want Allah to be harsh in His assessment of you, and being harsh in the treatment of others is one of the instances where you deprive yourself of Allah's mercy.
5. Less “Flowery” Language please
It does not matter what the topic is. Hijab, salat, politics, abortion, responding to a rude comment on Islam … foul language is not acceptable.
It does not matter if you are joking, trying to look like a "modern day Muslim" or replying to a Muslim or non Muslim. It does not matter if the other person uses profanities. We are Muslims, and no matter what era, profanities are forbidden.
We can do better than this. Islam is a noble religion, and we as its ambassadors must behave with politeness and restraint. Allah is owner of dignity, and why will Allah grant this to you if you are so obscene in your language?
6. Keep Calm and Don’t Take The Bait
Some people, both so-called Muslims and non-Muslims, love posting controversial comments just to provoke an argument. It happens everywhere. Discussions on the manner of eating are taking place peacefully, until some internet troll posts an irrelevant comment to say that the Qur’an encourages murder and abuses its women. Immediately all the keyboard warriors take up arms, and engage in lengthy arguments.
These exchanges usually become hostile and aggressive. Statements and insults are hurled from either side. At the end, we pay the price of looking vulgar, irrational and emotional, while the aggressor is having a good laugh behind his screen at home.
Don’t entertain this cheap trick. What happens is that you are giving the internet troll exactly what he wants, which is attention.
What if he is actually seeking to learn about Islam? You can recognize this from the way the question is posed and how he reacts. If he is a sincere seeker of knowledge, he will ask politely and listen to the answers, even if he is not convinced of the reply. If his intention is to argue and be disruptive, this will be apparent from the outset. The discussion will go in circles, the internet troll will keep diverting tack and topic (from murder to hijab to insulting our Prophet SAW) and the original subject matter is abandoned. Who benefits at the end?
Ignore the comment, or better still, delete it or block the person. It is that simple (and nothing frustrates an internet troll more than being ignored!)
7. Do Not Propagate Fitnah
I don’t understand why people do this. “Urgent! Some kaffirs are spreading a hate video about our beloved Prophet. Pass this on to warn others". The person then posts a link to the offensive video, so that other people can watch and spread it! What is the benefit of this?
They are only propagating slander and giving free international publicity to the creators. Others who have never heard of the video before will be watching it, and that burden of insulting and defaming the Prophet SAW will be theirs to bear. So will all the hatred that is incited and the hostility that it creates. At the end of the day, again, Muslims are cast in a very bad light, and who was originally responsible?
In Islam, spreading a fitnah is prohibited. The rule in Islam is to stop all slander against the Prophets, Messengers and Companions from spreading, not to publicise them. How can you explain to Allah that because of your one post, 60,000 people have watched filth and lies about the Prophet SAW?
Raise awareness, but with wisdom. Whenever someone posts something offensive, react by showing good manners, instead of spreading the material and making death threats. Do not affirm people’s misconceptions about Islam by propagating the false!