Blackmail

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Question: I was, for a long time, involved in an illicit relationship with a boy. Our relationship eventually reached the point where I trusted him and sent him pictures of myself. Some of the pictures I sent him were quite revealing and explicit. We broke up a few weeks back and now he wants to use the pictures I sent him to blackmail me. Please advise me as to what I can do. I really regret what I did and I know that it was very foolish.

Answer: Alhamdulillah, it is excellent that you have terminated the illicit relationship. This is, however, not sufficient. You must also restore the relationship with Allah Ta‘ala, your Creator and Sustainer, by sincerely repenting. Perform two rakaats of Salaatut Taubah. Then sit in seclusion and cry before Allah Ta‘ala, begging Him to forgive you. Ponder over the innumerable bounties and favors which Allah Ta‘ala has blessed us with and also think of the extent of ingratitude we have shown for these favours by disobeying Him. As a form of compensation for having sinned give some sadaqah as well.  Make a firm resolve and promise Allah Ta‘ala that you will never return to this sin in future.

After sincerely repenting to Allah Ta‘ala, continuously beg Him to conceal your sins in both this world and the next and to allow you to maintain your dignity and respect among people. Allah Ta‘ala has the power and ability to turn people’s hearts. He can change the heart of this person who wishes to blackmail you and cause him to abandon all intentions of disgracing you. Recite the following du‘aa abundantly from the recesses of the heart:

اَللهُمَّ اسْتُرْ عَوْرَاتِنَا وَ آمِنْ رَوْعَاتِنَا 

O Allah, conceal our faults and allay our fears.

You must nevertheless cut off all contact with this person and all other non-mahrams. Do not personally contact him for anything – even to discuss the blackmail. Instead ask someone senior in your family to speak to him or someone who has influence over him to desist from his evil intention.

Al-Haadi Comment:

A plague of such vices is sweeping through our communities, but most people do not seem to even know that such a pandemic exists. The evil and immorality of many actions have left many hearts. Hence, chatting with non-mahrams on social media is almost the norm and not even considered as a sin. This illicit contact often results in the exchange of pictures. Many such affairs eventually finished off like the situation described in the question.

Having one’s sins, and more specifically one’s illicit photos, exposed to all and sundry would result in a major scandal and cause one untold disgrace. However, even if the photos and sins were not exposed in this world, if one passes away without sincerely repenting, they will be exposed on the Day of Judgement in the presence of all of mankind – including one’s parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, etc. On that Day we will have no choice but to hang our heads in shame when confronted by the undeniable evidence of our sins. It is thus necessary for us to cultivate the fear of the Hereafter so that we eventually fear standing before Allah Ta‘ala even more than we fear our reputations being dragged through the gutter while we live.

Picture-Making

Furthermore, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has explicitly warned:  “Among the people who will receive the worst punishment on the day of Judgement will be those involved in picture-making” (Saheeh Bukhaari #5950). There is profound and unlimited wisdom in all the prohibitions of Allah Ta‘ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

The harms in conventional photography have been multiplied manifold with the advent of digital photography. Many sins which were almost non-existent in our societies have reached pandemic proportions with the aid of digital photography. With almost no home left unscathed by this scourge, it comes as no surprise that even the last vestiges of hayaa are being stripped from our lives. If people hid and sinned in the past, they now sin while posing for the camera and waste no time in uploading the evidence of their disobedience to Allah Ta‘ala to the various platforms of social media where they invite friends and strangers alike to comment on their absurd exhibitions of immorality.

It is thus incumbent to totally refrain from photographs of animate objects in any form – conventional or digital. May Allah Ta‘ala save us all from these trials and grant us the ability to live as true Muslims – Aameen.

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