Q&A: Instagram Influencer

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Q: I am a Muslimah who has a large circle of friends. Since I am a quite popular and sociable person, I have been considering joining Instagram. Through daily posts about the things that I do or by sharing my daily experiences with people, I will get many followers and will become an ‘Influencer’ . This has the potential to become a profitable business venture through adverts which I will post to my followers. Your Islamic advice and guidance on this proposal is most appreciated (question summarized).

A: You have asked for Islamic guidance and advice on the matter. We commend you upon this. A Muslim’s primary and greatest concern is that Allah Ta‘ala must be pleased with him. In order to ensure that one is on the path of earning Allah Ta‘ala’s pleasure, and not incurring His displeasure, one should always first seek Islamic guidance from authentic and experienced ‘Ulama who will guide one in light of the Quraan and sunnah. Doing “one’s own thing” without taking Islamic guidance could lead to major problems – in this world and especially on the Day of Judgement.

Among the greatest qualities of imaan is the attribute of hayaa (modesty/shame). The so-called modesty of the Western culture does not have any resemblance to the lofty and distinct trait of hayaa in a Mu-min. In Western culture, a woman shaking hands with her husband’s friend and hugging him when they meet is part of “etiquette”. However, In Islam this is totally immoral behaviour. Let alone shake hands with a non-mahram, the hayaa of a Muslimah does not permit her to even allow any non-mahram to see her. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “The curse of Allah Ta‘ala is upon the one who looks (at non-mahram women) as well as upon the woman who was seen (due to not covering herself fully and allowing a non-mahram to see her)”. (Shu‘abul Imaan #7399) This highlights how great the level of hayaa is in Islam and how fundamentally important it is in the life of a Muslimah (and every believer). 

With regard to women in particular, a very essential dictate of hayaa is concealment, unless when emerging out of genuine necessity fully covered. When Ummu Humaid As-Sa’idiyyah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) requested permission to perform salaah in the masjid, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) advised her that her salaah in the inner most room of her home is better than salaah in the common room, which in turn is better than her salaah in the courtyard of her home. Her salaah in the courtyard of her home is better than salaah “in my Masjid” (Masjidun Nabawi). (Musnad Ahmad #26550) While the hayaa of Islam teaches  CONCEALMENT, Instagram is all about EXPOSURE. Becoming an “influencer” will demand EXPOSURE.   The West “guides” towards exposure. In the West, the more a woman is exposed, the more “liberated” she is. Islamic guidance is however the opposite — to refrain from exposure.

Another fundamental trait of a believer is tawaadhu (humility). A humble person avoids self-publicity. Instagram is by and large about “I” – about what “I” cooked, what “I” bought, where “I” went and who am “I”. In order to increase “followers” you will then resort to whatever you can to promote yourself and convince people that you are the Instagram “personality”. In the process you may end up with a very bloated ego with all the “followers” — those who have nothing constructive to do, hence they have the time to follow what the “I” specialists are up to.

The above mentioned two aspects are sufficient Islamic guidance and advice on the matter. As a Muslimah you should refrain from trying to become such an “influencer”. Instead in a very humble way try to advise your family and friends to adopt the hayaa that Deen teaches, to shun Western style dressing, to be punctual on salaah, tilaawat of the Quraan Majeed, recitation of tasbeeh, preparing for the Aakhirah, etc. You do not even need a single GRAM of technology to do this. Simply talk to those you interact with and encourage them in a nice way. Being such an “influencer” will insha-Allah earn you the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala.

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