Note: Please excuse my sarcasm…I get carried away sometimes.
I hadn’t received one in a while. I was happy, relieved, and grateful. Not having to go through that pang of guilt…that annoying, nerve-wrecking hesitation and that strenuous inner conflict of ‘right and wrong’ over something so simple yet so complicated was a relief. However, all the peace and quiet didn’t last long. One day, I was checking my e-mail, and there it was – ‘Br. So and so wants to be friends on Facebook’…. Nooooo!!!! It was someone I had seen once or twice, maybe even spoken to. He seemed like a decent kid. If this same thing had happened a few years back, I would’ve hit the accept button without even hesitating. Things were different now though…
In the past, I was like most of the crowd – innocent and excited about getting friend requests (Ok, I don’t know if everyone gets excited…but I used to get excited…abnormally excited). Whether it was a male or female, I’d hit the ‘accept’ button; only if I somehow knew them or knew that they weren’t weirdos or crazy people of course…ehem. I was ecstatic – my friends list had reached about 300. Perhaps…no, wrong word… that’s most likely an extremely small percentage of the amount of Facebook friends everyone else has, but that was a pretty big accomplishment for me. In the midst of all my butterflies and sparkles and unicorns, my relative announced that she was deleting all the guy friends she had on Facebook. What??? Deleting ALL the guys?? Ok…she was definitely being extreme. I mean, its not like I’m flirting with them or dating them or that they’re stalking me…we’re just friends on Facebook – completely harmless! And then this relative – this sweet, intelligent, and rational relative (May Allah (swt) give her all the best in this world and the aakhira Ameen), sat me down and attempted to explain herself. I listened, but not ‘really’ listened. I mean, she was like 4 years younger than me…the youngest of our group in fact. No one else was doing anything about it so bah! Ok, I’m not shallow. I thought about it later…like really thought about it. When we accept someone of the opposite gender on Facebook, what exactly are we doing? Were opening them up to our private life aren’t we? They can see all our pictures, all the people we’re friends with, all the comments we post on our friends pictures, all the personal/not-so-personal discussions we have on our walls, and a whole page of info about us. Not just that, but they can comment on all our pictures too…and yeah I’ve seen guys and girls write really awkward comments on each others’ pictures. Ok, maybe all this is a bit much. Well, what if we just make our friends and pictures private to those ‘opposite-gender’ friends? What if the only thing they can do is post on our wall? (Ok, yeah…lets be honest with ourselves…that only rarely happens.) Well, they can still see all the discussions on our wall then. Also, what is the point of them being able to write on our wall? I mean, can’t they just send an e-mail or something if it’s really important? Facebook is a social network and it’s not like I’m overly social with the opposite gender in real life. A simple ‘salaam, how is everything is enough’…nothing past club activities and school work. If that’s the case, adding those ‘opposite-gender’ friends really doesnt make sense. We all know there are limitations between males and females in Islam, and that we shouldn’t go and spill our life story or talk about personal or random things with the opposite sex. Because let’s face it, we’re only human beings and we do have fragile hearts – heck even without close relationships I see people freaking out over a little ‘AsSalaam ‘Alaikum sister’ -_-
Ok, don’t wanna go off topic. Anyway, Facebook is, at the end of the day, a door to your personal life. I’m not saying that opening that door is ‘haram’ or anything (Allahu Alam whether it is or isn’t), but do we really want to take the risk of falling into haram by doing so? We all know the story about the righteous priest who was left to take care of the beautiful young sister of three brothers from the tribe of Israel (if you dont, you can find it here – click ctrl F and look for the word ‘doorstep’ and then read the story from there….sorry I couldn’t find a site with just that story). That simple, innocent act of sending food to the doorstep of her living quarters was a result of the whispering of the shaytaan. Similarly, adding the opposite gender on Facebook is just a simple and innocent act….think about it.
So yeah, after dissecting, flipping over, squeezing, stretching, and thoroughly analyzing the issue, I thought it best for me to delete….yes….delete all my male Facebook friends (family members being an exception). It was hard – especially when the person who added you was your group leader, co-worker in club activities, or a classmate that you saw almost everyday. But Alhamdulillah, no one took it the wrong way (at least I hope they didn’t). If they needed to send me something, an e-mail was enough. Oh, I almost forgot, there was this one time a guy from this organization that I attended a couple of classes from was adding everyone who attended (he was one of the ‘in-charge’ people). It was for PR purposes, but seriously? I received an e-mail everyday from the organization and I was a part of their Facebook group that sent messages constantly – wasnt that enough? We can try and make excuses that it’s for work, but it really is unnecessary because nowadays there are countless ways to contact someone ‘professionally’. I will now end this unintentionally lengthy blog post.
…just in case you’re wondering, yes, I did ‘ignore’ Br. So and so.