There’s a dangerous strand of Islam out there, but it isn’t some low-key sect… it’s Instagram Islam, and it needs to chill. Why?
Because it’s teaching something that is unrealistic and not founded in actual Islamic principles, and young people are spreading it like wildfire because they do not know any better. It isn’t just Instagram, you’ll catch it on Facebook, too, and even catch certain Islamic writers, especially geared towards the heartbroken, using it, too– but I’ll call it Instagram Islam because that is where it is rampant.
The prime topics are:
– Attachment to the Dunya
– Stuff that’s meant to be
And they’re all twisted.
Okay, this originated on Twitter, but it’s being spread on IG now because a popular ‘grammer shared it and wrote a caption about how “this is goals.”
It seems innocent at first glance, but the issue here is that it’s equating lack of stress with high Iman, which is both ridiculous and ridiculously unrealistic. In general, Instagram Islam preaches that those with high Iman are never heartbroken, never attached to anything, never emotional, never frustrated, never angry. Except that this is incredibly untrue, because the one with the highest Iman of all was our Prophet SAW and HE experienced ALL THOSE THINGS.
The religious are not those who are impervious to hardships. The religious are those who utilize their faith to help them get through inevitable hardships.
All the Prophets and all of the Sahaba experienced stress. Why? Because they’re human. The entire point of having Prophets be human is so that humans can relate to them; see a good example to follow. Allah SWT could’ve shown us angels, but no, he showed us humans. Not someone who is perfect, but humans, who live and breathe and bleed just like the rest of us. Humans, who cry sometimes, who miss things and people sometimes, who have favorite places and favorite games, who like nice things and good food, who experience attraction, who get angry sometimes, who experience heartbreak.
The above post is one of many that slip into dangerous territory and I can’t find some worse ones at the moment, but trust me, there are even worse ones, and they’re out there. Yes, “the life of this world is but enjoyment of delusion” (which is referring to worldly pleasures like money and making that what you live for, although it also isn’t at all wrong to make money or even pray for money, but that’s another story) but that doesn’t mean that you can’t love people and places. People use this to justify incredibly unrealistic levels of lack of interest in the dunya instead of comprehending what it actually means.
This quote says that one should never attach their heart to anything other than God, which is not true. You can– you just can’t rely on those people for your entire happiness like you can with God. As in, don’t make a person or a place your God. That’s putting someone above where they realistically are, which isn’t healthy for you or them. But accepting someone/something as they are and loving that? That’s fine.
It does not REMOTELY mean that you are a weak Muslim if you become attached to things in this dunya. Of course you can become attached to other things than Allah SWT! The Prophet SAW was crushed when Khadijjah RA died. Today’s Instagram Islam-ers would dead-serious look him in the face and say “I understand that you’re sad, but you shouldn’t have let your heart get attached to other than Allah.”
NAH MAN. We’re humans! It’s okay to love your family and friends! It’s okay to be attached to them! It’s okay to love a place! An activity! It is okay!
The Prophet SAW and the Sahaba missed Mecca when in Medinah. Today’s Instragram Islam-ers would legit be like “Omg gurl. Don’t be attached to where you used to live; it’s just part of the dunya. You should only be attached to God!”
Strong faith does not mean an unfeeling person who cares about nothing but Allah SWT. These people seem to think that doing something for the sake of Allah means that you’re not doing it with the intention of being kind to a person and instead only doing it to please Allah SWT, when in actuality loving someone for the sake of Allah means loving someone because they are them, versus loving them because they were a part of your clan or family name. You love them under God, not under a title. It’s a pure kind of love. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t miss them if they move, die, or change.
Now the “how dare you.” This is typically about hardships, and it’s spread as using the Prophet SAW to delegitimize people’s struggles, which is one of the worst things, in my opinion, someone could do to someone else in the name of Islam.
This is when someone says something like “I’m really sad because I failed a test” or, “The girl I like said she isn’t interested in me” or, “I feel lost in life because I don’t know what I want to do with it” and someone says something along the lines of:
“How dare you feel sad when THAT happened to you? Ever heard of the Year of Sorrow? How dare any of us feel sad when the Prophet SAW had so many bad things happen to him!! Think of what HE went through and get over yourself!!”
UM. NO. Please stop. Please.
The Prophet SAW didn’t go through hardships so that people could then use what he went through to tell other people that their troubles don’t matter. His hardships are supposed to be relatable. Whatever we’re going through, he went through something similar, and we can take comfort in knowing that he overcame them, and take comfort in the fact that we aren’t alone, that even the greatest can be affected by things in this life.
Don’t YOU dare try to tell someone that their struggles do not matter. Islam is meant to make our lives easier. This is regardless of what your life is comprised of. The Sahaba would pray when they were stressed over losing a random object; don’t ever make someone feel like their life fitnahs are not worthy. You are allowed to take comfort in the stories of the Prophet SAW even if you’re just sad that your crush doesn’t like you. You are allowed to pray about something that wouldn’t “be a big deal” to someone else who you know. You’re allowed to pray if you lost a shoe. You’re worthy, and don’t let some random Instagram Islam-er tell you otherwise in some twisted form of “motivation” because that is blatantly not what this religion is about and has no place in Islam.
The last one is about stuff that’s meant to be. This is only toxic because people are attempting to use Qadr to justify their choices in life in a backwards way.
Let’s take a look.
Hooo boy. So with this quote and others like it, don’t hold on to people pointlessly, but don’t try and say you know what Allah is doing and use it to justify your choices. Why are you being so presumptuous as to act like you know who “God is trying to remove” and how are you saying that Allah is “trying” when God doesn’t “try” he simply “does” or “doesn’t.” “Trying” implies that God can fail at removing someone because you’re “not letting him” and that therefore you’ll have your “blessings hindered” whatever these people think THAT means.
Similar veins include quotes that are something along the lines of “If they don’t reach out to you, Allah is trying to close that door, and if you keep them around you’ll be punished by this life” which is, again, implying “trying” and saying that you can prevent God from doing things, justifying angsty thoughts with a whole “Don’t worry about them yo! God doesn’t want them for you and he’s got your back 😛 ” type presumptuous attitude, and claiming some kind of cause-and-effect where you can go against Qadr apparently and then in result of that you’ll be faced with trials, which is both impossible and irrational.
You don’t need these random Instagram philosophies when there are loads of ahadith and quotes from the Quran that can do the trick. These people act like Allah SWT is a part of their girl-squad, and use “meant to be” as a way of justifying whatever they think is or isn’t supposed to be in their life or someone else’s.
Pair this with the “don’t be attached” stuff, the ridiculous view on what constitutes strong Iman, and the how-dare-you view on being affected by hardships, and what do you get? A bunch of guilt-ridden young Muslims who think that the ideal position is basically not caring about anything but God and not even living as a human, and then uses the concept of Qadr to justify all of this. I would say “well maybe it won’t get to anyone” but the problem is, it DOES, and I know people who became Instagram Islam-ers because the media is their prime exposure to Islam as adults.
As a convert, the main thing that got to me was the attachment to the dunya thing. I do believe at one point (and absolutley still in some ways now) I was overly-attached to the dunya in that I gave it too much power over me. That was my main lesson of 2016 (FREAKING CRAP YEAR) was about learning what I allowed to have too much power over me. However, I care about a lot of things in this dunya, and a lot of people. I look to my martial art for contentment and achievement, and I care a lot about my friends and family, among many other examples. So as a younger convert, I was confused as to what exactly this whole “don’t get attached” concept was and if I was potentially viewing something “incorrectly.”
But Wisam Sharieff, who gave a talk about dua a few months ago near me, put it well. “Um, no, bump that” he said when asked about the “don’t ever get attached to anything” Instagram-isms and, therefore, if you were allowed to pray for things in the dunya if you weren’t supposed to get attached, “That’s some warped pseudo-Sufi ‘you can’t care about anything’ ish and it’s way unrealistic. The Sahaba used to pray when they lost a shoe. You can pray for things that you want and it’s totally okay to want things in this life.”
The moral of the story is, don’t perpetuate self-serving impossible standards. Your religion AS IT ACTUALLY IS is enough for you, you don’t need teens on Instagram’s random thoughts muddling your mind.