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To Sext or Not to? Tips for Building a Safe Internet Culture for Muslim Youth

To Sext or Not to? Tips for Building a Safe Internet Culture for Muslim Youth

Hands up!

If you own a smart phone or device, either for personal or official use.

How often do you check for updates? And how many images, texts, chats, videos and audio files do you receive and send every single day?

Yes, its your phone or device but do you ever question the type of material that comes through for your consumption?

Or do you feel safe in the knowledge that it is ”for your eyes only”. You may think, it’s only normal stuff – everyone reads, likes and shares them. Why not me?

What else feels like the ”normal” culture of using Internet in today’s world? Afterall, who doesn’t use the Internet today? Even your Mum and Gran send you friend requests on social media.

It is so normal for the youth to become exposed to nudity, sexually provocative acts and behaviours through the different media available today. One of such acts is that of sexting. Some people believe it is normal part of youth culture and experimentation.

I ask you – is it normal?

Let’s talk about Sexting

Sexting is a relatively new phenomenon among young people made viral by the advent of new technologies such as smart phones and the Internet.

McEachern et.al., describe sexting as the practice of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs of oneself or others via digital electronic devices.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children [NCMEC], describe it as a term coined by the media, which refers to youth transmitting sexually explicit messages and/or sexually explicit photographs of oneself or others via electronic devices (i.e., cellular phones, tablets, and the Internet).

My question now – is this just another hyped up concept by researchers and those who are determined to remain boxed-in the stone age or just wannabe inventors trying to add new words to the dictionary?

Sexting in our ummah

Not too long ago, a sexting scandal unfolded in a Muslim group. I politely declined looking at the images which my dear doctor friend offered to share. It happened on one of her whatsapp groups; a fun sexting experiment was busted, by an older sister who knew the victim.

After that initial shocking incident, more incidences have come to pass – sadly.

Sexting is real in our ummah. It is common among the youth – brothers and sisters – whatever they decide to call it.

To some, it’s just an experiment – no big deal.

To others, it is simply fun and a means to tackle boredom.

To some others, it is all about expressing love; we love each other so…

Do not deceive yourself and do not be deceived. Do not even come close to zina.

”And do not come near to adultery, it is a shameful deed and an evil, and opening the road to other evils.” (Al Isra, 17:32)

Do not come close to sexting. Do not use your smart devices for not-so-smart deeds.

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: “…the adultery of the eyes is looking (at [that] which is not allowed)…” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “The son of Adam will not pass away from Allah until he is asked about five things: how he lived his life, and how he utilized his youth, with what means did he earn his wealth, how did he spend his wealth, and what did he do with his knowledge.”  {At-Tirmidi}

You can create a safe internet culture to empower yourself. And then, empower our ummah by supporting others in building this culture. Ready? 

Top tips for building a safe Internet culture for Muslim Youth

1. Be authentic. Islam is your way of life – your conduct and activities online should match your conduct and acts offline – and both should reflect the authentic teachings of Qur’an and sunnah.

2. Lower your gaze online just you would offline – close indecent tabs, log off or delete inappropriate content duly.

3. Keep your phone/ device in a ‘pure mode’. Ask yourself, can you give your phone or device unlocked to those you admire the most in life and those you aspire to become? Or do you need to delete or code up a lot of content first.

4. Reflect deeply and bring yourself to account. If you swapped your phone with a friend or sibling for one day – will the content benefit or corrupt them in any way?

5. Strive for moral excellence. And seek beneficial social interactions whether online or offline. Stop following corrupt, immoral people and negative circles/ groups.

6. Fight your nafs. Recognise your whims and desires for what they are, but do not let them overpower you. Your hormones may be raging, but seek spiritual attachment with your Creator and you will find the fulfillment you need.

7. Think of the negative effects of either viewing or sending explicit content; ranging from academic effects, spiritual disconnection, emotional disturbance to disciplinary and legal consequences – the highest court and judgment of which will be on the day of reckoning.

8. Check yourself. Do not create, capture, save, copy or forward sexually provocative images under any circumstance.

9. Manage your time wisely. Take time off social media and Internet regularly , to take digital fasts. And when you are online, monitor your time and the sites you visit.

10. Beware of becoming a digital addict – it can lead to desensitisation; waste of time, energy and intellect.

11. Be Internet savvy. Build personal safety skills as well as survival skills against pressures, distractions and deception.

12. Make du’a. For increased faith and steadfastness. Strive to use the Internet as a tool for earning Allah’s pleasure and increasing in taqwa. Use your phone, other devices and Internet to become a better Muslim.

13. Keep good company always. Surround yourself with those who remind you of Allah (swt) and your purpose on earth.

14. Be modest – in speech, thoughts and action.

15. Build worthy connections. Who are your influences? Maintain positive and sincere relationships with trusted mentors who will guide, support and encourage you in purposeful ways.

16. Have a sincere intention. And keep renewing that intention in the manner you use your devices.

Remember…

For the Muslim youth, there isn’t a single positive effect of sexting. It is a lewd culture and a waste of time, energy, resources and life.

Nothing in the life of a believer is done without purpose.

Utilise your youth today, so you don’t regret tomorrow.

Prophet (saw) advised: Utilise 5 things before 5 things.

He said:
“Take benefit of five before five:
your youth before your old age,
your health before your sickness,
your wealth before your poverty,
your free-time before your preoccupation,
and your life before your death.”
(Hakim)

Hands up!

If you use your Internet and devices to better yourself and better our Ummah.

In what ways can the youth utilise a smart phone, electronic device and Internet for growth and empowerment?

Comments

  1. Thats so powerful post 🙂

  2. It is good to see muslims addressing such issues on their blogs. My children are young but this is something I worry about when they are older. You may not give children phones but if their friends have phones at school or out and about who knows what they will be getting up to. Such a big worry.

  3. Great advice masha’Allah

    My daughter is 9 and was asking when she would be allowed a phone. I have no desire to give her one yet and even when she does get one she will get a basic one not a smartphone. Things like this worry me as even if we don’t admit it it does happen in amidst our youth

    • Amina Edota says:

      Masha Allah. That’s a smart move as a parent.

      We need to make sound decisions that will protect those under our care – as inconsiderate as they may sound to the young ones.

      And with Allah is all help.

  4. Great post! Its a topic that needs to be tackled on so many levels too.

  5. Myda Tahir says:

    Asalamoalikum
    As usual Superb,
    Jazakallah

  6. A much needed article on an unfortunate fast growing topic. I especially like #4. I think it’s very good mA, you’re keeping up with what youth these day might get into and educating others. Jazakillah khayr.

    • Amina Edota says:

      Wa iyyak dear Ruku,

      yes indeed we are living in interesting times and need to address these issues as they arise.

  7. Ahsan Arshad says:

    Jazakallahu khairan.
    This is a real and a significant problem among the youth. I am always glad when such issues are addressed. It is sad that some societies do not like to talk about it. Ignoring it has escalated the problem to unprecedented levels of pornography.
    Now we are at a time where not only do we need to talk about it but aggressively educate the masses of the consequences of such acts and develop organizations/systems where people addicted to such acts can talk openly about it for counselling.
    Salaam alaykum

    • Amina Edota says:

      Wa iyyak.

      Thank you for your thoughtful response.

      It isn’t enough to just talk but that’s the first step to change. Not – as you rightly pointed out – ignoring issues as if they will go away.

      The time has come when active education and enlightenment is needed to safeguard our faith. And we need to join hands in order to develop and utilise such systems as you have mentioned for guidance, recovery and reformation of our Ummah. May Allah keep us steadfast.

      Wassalam ‘alaykum

  8. Great advice mashaa allah, will benefit the youth greatly inshaa allah.

  9. May our children remain guided and follow the right path as desired by Allah.

  10. Zainab Dokrat says:

    Its sad but it is so common amongst the Muslim youth. May Allah guide us all inshallah.

  11. Honestly I think that no one should ever do these type of things. No matter how long you’ve been with that person. There is a thing now called “screenshot”. Don’t give up your dignity and make yourself vulnerable like that. May Allah help us and very good article really 🙂

    • Amina Edota says:

      Amin dear sister. No one should be doing such, but… it happens, sadly.

      Let’s keep spreading the truth and encouraging to morality and modesty. Jazaakillah for sharing your thoughts.

  12. Asma Muzammil says:

    Assalaamu alaikum.Masha Allah. A really good article to keep us clear from this sin.

    • Amina Edota says:

      Wa alaykum salaam dear sister.

      I pray it brings the much-needed awareness and keep our youth away from this and other sins.

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