The Muftee Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Aal ash-Shaykh Speaks About Twitter

After speaking about technology, the internet, and the obligation of considering the harms and benefits of them in the first khutbah, Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Aal ash-Shaykh (may Allah preserve him) said the following in his second khutbah:

…Dear Brothers,

From the modern kinds of social networks that the people have today is what is known as “Twitter.” This website is actually a new phase of technology that  employs short phrases (to communicate).  It has reached far and wide, and many people are deceived by it.  People with no knowledge, understanding, or specialization speak freely.

Just as a scholar speaks on it, so does an ignoramus!  Those with no experience or knowledge go on and write whatever they want, follow whomever they want, criticize whomever they want, support whomever they want, and condemn whomever they want, without contemplating or following any Islamic guidelines.  Instead, they (Twitter accounts) are websites where people of no specialization or knowledge speak.

Some people even trust them and believe everything there to be honest reports, without any contemplation, and they are not so!   Many of the reports there are based on baseless lies and fabrications!  Sick individuals pop up there to stand against the truth so that falsehood and lies spread.

So beware!  Beware of believing and getting behind every idea that is spread there, as it is an erroneous medium, wasting (people’s) time, altering their (good) culture and traditions, without any guidelines in place to distinguish between truth and falsehood.

It only encourages people to spread accusations of people, and to circulate lies and (false) conspiracy theories (to cause strife).

Some people use it to gain popularity there and become famous and seen.

It is a medium of negativity for whirling whimsical insults and baseless personal attacks.

These are serious affairs that Muslims are not allowed to be involved in!

It conveys Islamic verdicts at times, deceitfully wrapped in (what appears to be) Islamic knowledge, yet they are lacking true evidence.  People take these rulings as Islamically valid verdicts.  This may be done as the enemies (of Islam) would do it, twisting words from their proper places, spreading lies and stories that never happened!

A Muslim is required to verify what he hears, without spreading what he has no knowledge of, as it is sufficient to consider a man a liar that he passes on everything he hears.

( O you who believe!  When a disobedient person comes to you with some news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and later regret what you have done! ) [Meaning of Quran 49:6]

People who really want to rectify things and offer poignant, constructive criticism have proper channels and means to do that.  As for using this medium (Twitter), one that spreads lies, (false) conspiracy theories, all kinds of falsehood and baseless fabrications having no evidence, then this is a truly dangerous matter!

A Muslim must rise above these lowly traits and honor himself by not becoming a source of them, aiding them, nor being pleased with them.  Instead, he must fear Allah personally, and protect the honor of the Muslims.  He must thank Allah for giving him safety and security from such trials, saying: “Praise is due to Allah, the One who has kept me safe from what so many are being tested with, and He has truly favored me over much of His Creation!”

As for following what is spread on this website (Twitter) and making it a source of our knowledge that we gain, aiding the spread of it (Twitter) and helping to market it, as some people do – every time they sit to talk they say, “I heard such-and-such last night on this website,” speaking about this and that – then what is their source!?  And what has caused you to spread their reports and favor their opinions without knowing the reality!?  Do you follow such people (blindly)?

Accepting their reports (blindly) and following after them in everything they invent and speak about is extremely dangerous, since it is sufficient for a man to be considered a liar that he passes on everything he hears.  What a horrible condition this is!

So let Muslims beware!  Let the Muslims fear their Lord, and let them beware of being unknowingly tricked into sinful behavior!

Helpful criticism and good advice has its place and channels, and it has its manners.  It is not to be spread about on this medium (Twitter), so that people jump on the bandwagon with lies, fabrications, fraudulence, and personal attacks, casting doubt on many (good) things, calling to confusion, chaos, and every harmful thing.

There are people behind it (Twitter) who are enemies to our Religion.  They market this medium, invite to it and make it attractive.  Sadly, our youth have occupied themselves with it, while our enemies are busy with what benefits them, gathering what gives them advantages, leaving the negative, harmful things in our hands!  O Muslims!  We pass on information from it (Twitter) and speak to one another assuming it to be true, as if it is entirely accurate, while it is a lie, a falsehood, and a fabrication!  We ask Allah for safety and good health!…

Source: The Muftee’s Friday Khutbah in Riyadh (1433/3/4)

Arabic Transcript: http://www.mufti.af.org.sa/node/2467

Translated by: Moosaa Richardson (1433/3/13)

18 thoughts on “The Muftee Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Aal ash-Shaykh Speaks About Twitter

  1. BarakAllahu feek, I’m a bit confused though.. is it haraam to use twitter then based on this? Because I see a lot of people still using twitter despite the Shaykhs statement regarding it..

    • Whoever would like to implement the detailed advice of a highly-qualified scholar in their lives, they are welcome to do so. I personally believe that I (and many Muslims) could use twitter and gain its unique benefits while keeping away from its harms,** yet I believe that there is a whole lot of good in giving priority to the insight and opinions of our elders in knowledge over our own. This is not blind following or fanaticism, rather it is deferring to our elder scholars in matters of opinion. And Allaah knows best.

      ** One year later: Opinion changed, see comments below.

  2. Assalamu ‘alaykum

    I take the view that sites such as twitter and facebook do contain some good but the evil present there is far greater and it is something that we should avoid as Muslims. I really do not see the need for us to use such things. Sites such as this one are an example of not needing them. Email is also just as good as opposed to other methods. I was surprised however after reading this article to see that this site uses twitter itself?? This seems a bit bizarre in regards to the above advice mentioned and Allaah knows best.

  3. As’salamualykum wr wb…!!

    Brother MOOSA…..can’t we link our websites to twitter & facebook…for Benificial posts……May Be ”ALLAH KNOWS THE BEST” some would be BENIFITTED in a way..????

    • Wa ‘alaykumus-salaam my brother, I’m refraining from giving my personal opinion on the topic, and sufficing with narrating from Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez. Any follow-up questions on the argument need to be directed to the shaykh himself, not me the translator.

      Also, regarding “wr wb” in our greetings, Shaykh Wasee Allaah ‘Abbaas said, “It is not permissible to abbreviate the salaams in general in one’s writing, just as it is not permissible to abbreviate the salaah and salaam on the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). It is also not permissible to abbreviate either of these in one’s speech.” See:http://www.bakkah.net/en/saw-saws-pbuh.htm

      May Allaah bless you.

  4. It’s too bad that the mufti is speaking about twitter like the ummah doesn’t have bigger issues than to decide if they should go on twitter or not… [inappropriate comments deleted]

    • While academic criticism is valued and accepted here, our site does not allow baseless criticism or wild accusations against the scholars. Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez (may Allaah preserve him) is a man who has dedicated his life to teaching Towheed and warning against shirk, and to suggest that his advice about Twitter means he is not devoutly engaged in warning against and prohibiting the manifestations of shirk in the Muslim lands is ridiculous. May Allaah guide us to good speech and actions.

    • Some people seem to have understood from the link you posted that Shaykh al-Fowzaan allowed it in general. The reality: He began and ended his answer with a clear explicit warning to stay away from social media in general, without specifying Twitter. The questioner mentioned “Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, and others.” They were described in brief in the question and there is nothing in the shaykh’s answer that shows any distinction between them. He only mentioned that some KNOWLEDGABLE, DISTINGUISHING people might be able to use them to spread good and refute evil, while he closed his advice by saying how dangerous and difficult it is to remain unscathed from the evils of such things, saying it is better and safe WITHOUT DOUBT to stay away from them. (Note: the translation needs reviewed and ammended.) How some people get from this that Shaykh al-Fowzaan said its OK to use Twitter in general is absolutely beyond me.

      And in any case, how can this be similar to the designated muftee of Saudi Arabia giving a Friday khutbah to warn the whole Muslim ummah against Twitter specifically, after discussing the harms and benefits of internet and technology in general, and then singling out Twitter with a specific discussion with some very insightful and detailed points, showing in-depth insight into the reality of Twitter?!

      My personal advice to those who are being tried by the Twitter issue: Step away from Twitter for a couple weeks, revisit the khutbah of the Muftee and the words of Sh. Fowzaan, think about the additional details I have mentioned above, and ask Allaah for the Truth in the matters the people differ over. This will help tremendously in shaa’ Allah. Accuse yourself and be suspicious of yourself that you might be like the TV personalities and cameramen who, when confronted with the issue of photography and videography, manage to find the fatwaas endorsing what they already do quite efficiently, without honestly considering the other position, in a very dangerous affair. Or the smoker, who fishes and finds his fatwaa claiming that smoking is not haraam. Beware of desires, as desires interfering with your practice of Islaam is extremely destructive.

      Following desires seems to be the only way someone could have concluded that Sh. Fowzaan said its perfectly OK to use Twitter, that’s the balanced view (with a hint that maybe the Muftee was not…?), and therefore keep tweeting to hundreds or thousands of people about the kind of food he just ate! I advise you with what the Muftee advised me with just a few days ago to my face: Try to benefit the people with other mediums, not this one (Twitter).

      • I just started a new twitter account to check my suspicions related to who they would recommend me to follow. It’s the same thing as I remember back when I registered for my original account, immediately I am recommended to follow a number of Muslim political activists. So as this medium grows, so does the popularity of those ikhwani figureheads, as they rank high as the most-followed accounts and thus, most recommended. Because of this system of being recommended to (nearly) every new Twitter account associated with Islam, they will remain the most popular accounts and the most recommended among the Muslims. The more this media grows, the more the people of innovation get popular, and the more their reach spreads. Its a nasty trap, with no need for a student of knowledge to open an account in it and gain a few hundred or thousand followers and tweet some advice that could go easily in an email.

        I fear that I would advertise that I tweet about Islamic benefits on Twitter and some people would join Twitter who had remained safe and unharmed by social media until now, and I am the one who lead them into it. Be smart, brothers and sisters, open your eyes, and give the Muftee the benefit of the doubt, since he dedicated a Friday khutbah to request you to avoid Twitter. This forum is ESPECIALLY unsuitable for da’wah, as people of the Truth appear there as weak and unsupported, while the political activists are propped up as brave and strong, and they contiinue to be raised FAR above the levels of our senior-most scholars there, in ways that are very effective and unique to Twitter. And Allaah knows best.

  5. There’s a poignant statement of al-Hasan al-Basree rahimahullaah:

    When the fitnah approaches,every scholar recognises it and it is (first) recognised by the ignorant one when it is gone and has turned its back.

    http://www.sahab.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=132260

    Perhaps Bakkah could permanently remove its account permanently to remove doubts and put an emphasis to its stance in regards this issue.

    Allaah grant you success.

  6. Assalaamu alaykum.

    It has been noticed that you have returned back to Twitter.

    It would be beneficial for the readers to know, in detail, why you have decided to make use of this medium to give Dawah.

    baarakAllaahu feekum

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Twitter has only become more and more prominent world-wide over the past few years, and even KSA government authorities, as well as Mashaayikh, through their offices and/or students, are commonly on Twitter. The advice of the Muftee is apparently not seen as a binding official fatwaa. Apparently, it is being regarded as his individual stance. Just as I did not blame anyone who was on twitter when I chose to follow the Muftee’s advice then, I do not blame anyone who stays off twitter while I now use it. And Allaah knows best.

  7. Asalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi brother musa.
    What what the triggering factor in which changed your position on twitter, thus leading you to return back to it? barakAllahu feek may Allah allow you to benefit yourself and others.

    • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Factors: Seeing lots of benefit from other Salafee du’aat and mashaayikh in their use of it, noticing its role in society become more serious, being a servant of Allaah who revisits modern issues critically from time to time, those not prohibited with clear texts, but are a matter of ijtihaad, to name a few, not being bound by my previous position or unable to re-evaluate the issue as times change and factors evolve (following the imaams of the Salaf in that, who had an ‘old’ position and a ‘new’ position on many fiqh issues), not believing that I am required to rigidly maintain a stance on one specific matter of modern fiqh, and others. And Allaah knows best.

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