Tuesday 27 January 2009

Playing Nicely

I have always been a keen reader of the blogs of both Brother Umar Lee and Brother Yusuf Matthews, finding their blogs interesting and insightful. Recently however some of what is emerging in their blogs has troubled me.

Brother Umar posted this, which was responded to by Brother Yusuf with this. What followed was this from Brother Umar (with the attached comments) which elicited a further response from Brother Yusuf (here). I was amazed at the posts, but what especially bewildered me were the comments left by readers and fellow bloggers.

Slander, swearing, generalising examples across whole groups of people, badmouthing of Shaikh’s and other Muslims and general bad behaviour despite a few voices of reason requesting moderation and adab (good manners) in people’s responses.

Recently a fellow blogger (whose blog is now password-protected) mentioned that she was scared to begin blogging because some of the nasty comments that people can leave. I also felt this way when I first started blogging. I have avoided matters of fiqh, tariqah, madhab or anything else theologically challenging or controversial partly because I am not knowledgeable enough about these things, but also because of the intolerant response that they sometimes get from people. The other thing I try to avoid is politically charged issues because I have seen some very nasty non-Muslims leaving insulting, abusive and blasphemous comments (another example is some of the comments further down this post on Brother Umar Lee’s blog). I have had such comments left on my blog and promptly delete them.

I don’t believe that bloggin is haram as someone has said in the past. I believe that it is important that brothers and sisters share their stories, viewpoints, knowledge and experiences for a variety of reasons. So that others will know that they are not the only one in a situation (i.e. Muslimah working mother who wants help with praying at work), so that we can show that we are ordinary people with rent and bills and families not some exotic others with harems and palaces. I believe that such efforts are dawah without the lecturing. Blogging also affords us the chance to learn from each other – I have learnt so much from my sister’s alhamdulillah; I never knew there were Native American Muslims or Muslim life-coaches for example.

I would beseech my brothers and sisters to be thoughtful in their posts, responses and comments and to remember the gentleness and calmness of our beloved Prophet’s (PBUH) speech. Once what you type is out there the whole world can see it to judge you by your words.

The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy. -Al Quran 49:10


  1. Ok the fellow blogger whose blog is now password protected is mine! I am so sorry for doing it so abruptly Umm Salihah, especially after u left such wonderful comments. I even replied to your comments [Did you read it?]. I had to make it private because I got to know that someone got to know of my identity, something which I don't like. My blog is not password protected but shut down temporarily. :)
    [Had to reply as anon because too lazy to login to my blog]

  2. ASA Sister,
    I hope that you will feel free to write and ask questions in your blog and Anonymous I am sorry that your identity was found out 'cause I know that can be scary!!! But I found blogs that were so insightful and as a new Muslim I love that I can go to different blogs and learn. Of course I have to across so blogs that may view their opinions that I may not agree with but then I take it with a grain of salt. Just because we are Muslims does not mean that we will agree on everything so at some point if you come across a blog you don't agree with you can either leave a polite response or not comment at all and just look forward to their next blog post.

  3. Bismillah
    as salamu alaykum

    I think it all comes down to what our purpose is with blogging. One of the things that I've realized in my years of blogging (have been many with different blogs) is that there must be a sincere purpose for improvement. Those are the types of blogs that people really enjoy and benefit from. The ones where people complain and love to cause fitnah.. well, sure, they may have a lot of readers and comments, but quality? I think not!

  4. Assalam-alaikam Sister Thoughts Unchecked,
    No I didn't get to see your responses which I was looking forward to. Please do drop me a note when you make your blog public again as I enjoyed reading it.

    Assalam-alaikam Sister Malek,
    you would think that common sense would prevail and people would just leave a polite comment or not comment if they can't be civil, but seems people can get very passionate.

    Assalam-alaikam Sister Umm Layth,
    I agree, purpose is important and it does come through in the quality of what people write.

  5. Assalamualikum,

    Your blogs really nice.i am enjoying reading all that i missed.