This is one vital issue which needs to be discussed broadly, I recommend everyone who is engaged in sharing Islamic quotes in the social network, to read it thoroughly. I have searched for articles based on this matter but could not find any so this article is fully written by me, so please do point out any mistake I have made.
Firstly, let me state that most of the Quran pages in Twitter, Facebook, Google+ are actually run by young people where mostly they don’t possess a strong Islamic background. Even famous Facebook pages the ones who have millions of likes, they tend to be clumsy while stating Hadiths and this is something not to be taken lightly because the moment we share something, it becomes our responsibility that people read it and they do share it among their friends. Now, if I unconsciously share one Hadith which I found in one page from Facebook which has not reference given below, then there is a possibility that it is not Sahih and that we are in fact spreading falsehood. I don’t know in Facebook especially nowadays, people invent duas of their own and they share it and saying- “This is the dua to remove sadness, remove pain, remove hardship” with no reference given or even wrong reference given. One Facebook page, I remember, wrote one dua and below it wrote- Sahih Bukhari, I searched the net and then found it is not found in Bukhari but rather it is written in Sahih Muslim. Now, people may argue- “So what is the problem? It is Sahih anyways…” Well the thing is that there are people around the world who are actually buying your words in the aspect that they take it that you are sharing it because they take it for granted that you know of this. So the best thing is to learn of the Hadith before sharing it, alternatively, if someone learns of a new dua and want to share it then what that person can do is to share it with full reference with Hadith numbers, that way the person who looks upon the shared dua can believe it for sure that the dua is authentic and nothing is wrong with it.
That goes for sharing duas in social network. The next point upon the fact some “ethical” codes should be followed before sharing one Hadith. If one knows for sure that the Hadith is authentic, then he should share it. Like I now write “Actions are judged by its intention” then just give the reference- “Prophet Muhammad (saw.), we may think, okay, I shared something good and by this way, I spread the word of Islam and that is the end of it. Unfortunately, this Hadith is in fact much longer than that. The problem arose when a random person who made a picture quote, he/she just read the Hadith and upon reading the Hadith thought of making one picture quote with the message and then spread it. I am not saying this act is a sin but the true essence of this incredible Hadith is lost when we in fact SHORTEN THE HADITH. Let me just write the actual Hadith:
“Narrated by Hazrat Umar bin Al-Khattab (rah.): I heard Allah’s Messenger (saw.) saying, ‘The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.’”
Reference: Sahih Bukhari, Hadith Number-1
I want everyone to read this Hadith from head to toe and compare with the picture quote which was written initially- “Actions are judged by intentions”… The point which I want to make it that the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) indeed has said “Actions are judged by intentions” but that is the summary of what he has said, what truly he has said is mentioned in the Hadith which I have stated above, the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) has in fact spread the fact that actions are judged by intention but he has chosen his words wisely, by saying- “The reward of deeds” instead of “actions” the word “reward” itself will lighten up the mind of anyone who reads this Hadith then he even gave one example to the Sahabis to make them understand this words clearly- “whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for”, this message was absent in the picture quote by this the true feeling of the Hadith is lost. The beauty of this Hadith is in fact the word “reward” and the example given and the very reason why the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) mentioned an example was because he wanted this message of his get implanted in the minds of the Sahabis. Now, a person who does not read Hadith book and only rely upon facebook pages for knowledge, if he comes across this Hadith in the picture quote, he just give a click to the like button and then he just scrolls down and that hadith is left with just a worthless like, the words- “Actions are judged by intentions” does not influence him and honestly, the knowledge of this hadith just wears away. THIS IS HAPPENING!!! I see pages just shortening the hadith and by doing so the effect is lost. Some may argue, “I read a Hadith where it says the Propher (saw.) once mentioned- Convey from me even if is one word…” Now, Mashaa Allah, most of the people who share Islamic knowledge come from religious families and we do know a lot, Alhammdulillah. This concept of one word in fact goes for people who are of lesser knowledge, or even we can say a person who has gone astray, this is the minimum most level to deliver the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (saw.), can’t we do better to make the teachings of the Prophet (saw.) look better so that it reaches the heart of the people to whom we are sharing? Allah expects the best from us- quality matters. There is no point of sharing knowledge if it does not reach the heart of the people. The same is true for Quran quotes, nowadays, I even see good and established pages from Facebook sharing Quran quotes but not giving any reference. Now, there is a great problem in that, the problem is the words which have been shared looks like coming out of the admin of the pages rather than the Quran, also the people are deprived of the knowledge that it was originally taken from the Quran. The person won’t learn the reference from which Surah and Verse number, the ayahs shared are taken. I see website writing that below the garden of heaven will be a stream of river, excellent, people give likes, say Allahu Akbar in the comments and that knowledge just wears away, it does not reach the heart… For that reason many of the young people are not moved even after the fact that they go through Islamic messages from Facebook. Let me just quote the original Quran Ayah about the Gardens, there are in fact more Quran ayahs on the Gardens of Jannah but this one is my favourite:
“And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds that for them will be gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise). Every time they will be provided with a fruit there from, they will say: “This is what we were provided with before,” and they will be given things in resemblance (i.e. in the same form but different in taste) and they shall have therein Azwajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives) and they will abide therein forever.”
Surah Baqarah, Ayah- 25 (2:25)
Upon reading this, I can say anyone will be yearning from Jannah, rather than upon reading the message: “Below gardens of Jannah, rivers will flow”, this unfortunately does not create any effect and the person who is reading this will not get moved and the expectation he had upon learning from those pages which he has liked will rather be dissolved, he thinks he has gained Islamic knowledge but he in fact hasn’t.
Another important ruling which I want to point out is that when writing one Hadith, people must write “sallallahu alayhi wa sallam” while writing the name of our Prophet in a Hadith. Best is full form, or we can shorten it (saw.) or even write “peace be upon him”, people write the Prophet said this, the Prophet said that without writing “sallallahu alayhi wa sallam” and while reading too we should also whisper “sallallahu alayhi wa sallam” if we come across the Prophet’s name. This is something most of us follow, what we don’t follow and this is true for many Islamic websites, (they also overlook this) when writing the name of the Sahabis, we don’t write “’radiallahu anhu” for males and “radiallahu anha” for females or even an “R” at the back of their names. This is so true for so many website, pages etc. that they think it is not a necessity. It is in fact a must, I read it from an Islamic book of mine, that writing “’radiallahu anhu” for males and “radiallahu anha” for females when mentioning one Hadith gives us blessing because it is in fact a dua made for the Sahabis when writing “’radiallahu anhu” for males and “radiallahu anha” and if mentioned, the angels will also make duas for us in return. So if we avoid using “may Allah be pleased with him or her”, the person reading the shared Hadith will also think that making dua for Sahabis is not needed and by doing so he is also deprived of the duas made by the angels. This is something which I discovered on my own that we got people with names of Sahabis, I have got University friends named Salman, Saad and Talha (I am not joking) so if I write a Hadith like this- “Talha narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) mentioned…” it means that I am indirectly grading one Sahabi with my friend by not mentioning “radiallahu anhu” and also the term “radiallahu anhu” confirms that the person is a Sahabi. There are Imam with the names of the Sahabis as well and that is why in case of important Imaams it is necessary to write “rahmatullahi alaihi”, Imam Bukhari, Imam Shafi, Imam Hanafi, Imam Ibn Kathir were no ordinary humans, they were scholars gifted by Allah so that they can preserve the Sunnahs and the Deen. Now, we may say why are the scholars of Islam are needed to be respected. Allah mentions in Surah An-Nisa:
“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.”
Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 59 (4:59)
“Those in authority among you” are in fact the scholars of Islam and Allah has honored them through this Quran ayah so the mentioning of “rahmatullahi alaihi” is quite important Allah protects the Quran through scholars as He promises:
“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.” (15:9)
Another important ruling is that when quoting words from the Quran, it is better either to use the translation from Sahih International or Mohsin Khan. I find Yusuf Ali and Pickthal a bit too difficult but apart from these please don’t quote any Quran Ayahs from random sites; they in fact ruin the translation of the Quran. These are issues we don’t think much while sharing but it is important.
Now my recommendation is that care should be taken when sharing any Islamic knowledge. Nowadays, mistakes can occur any time without our consciousness. The fault is not ours but rather the way we acquire knowledge, we depend too much on technology rather than ponder over the Quran. Just reading one ayah and its meaning and then sharing it won’t help us. We need to ponder over Allah’s words.
“(This is) a Book (the Quran) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.”
Surah Sad, Ayah 29 (38:29)
The reason why the Imams of those days learned so much is because they used to sit and think over the words mentioned in the Quran with a lot of effort. This is something we all should do, that way we can fully grasp what we learn and also spread the words of Islam. Try to read tafseer, this is something really fascinating and the way Imam Ibn Kathir (rahmatullahi alaihi) wrote his explanations is mind blowing. Another tafseer which is really great is by Imam Razi (rahmatullahi alaihi)- “Tafseer-e-Kabeer” where he uses real life examples to explain the ayahs. I remember my Accounting teacher onetime mentioning- “Knowledge spread with examples from one’s own life experience is the best knowledge gained by one”, his words made an impact on me and this was before I read the Tafseer, so from then on I explained Quran ayahs with my and others real life experiences. By doing so, the knowledge will create an impact on the people who are reading your posts and also it will stay inside you and also that person. One example which I can give is my explanation of Surah An-Anam, Ayah-116 and this is something faced by all serious Muslim youths. The ayah is:
“And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie.”
Surah An-Anam, Ayah 116 (6:116)
This ayah explains the fact that those who are religious will face lonesomeness and as they don’t lie meaning spread lies among their friends (it is a sport among the youths), that they will be less popular among their friends. We see usually the people who backbite, who like joking, gossiping, they get most of the popularity and also people like listening to them. I became confused at the number of evil people who exist within ourselves which Allah describes this like:
“Say, “Not equal are the evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you.” So fear Allah, O you of understanding, that you may be successful.”
Surah Al-Maidah, Ayah 100 (5:100)
So see Allah has described the condition of everyone of us in the Quran, it is needed that we realize the value of His words, getting likes and just reading the ayahs plainly won’t increase our Imaan. Try to live like the words of the Quran, this will make you view the Quran in a lot of ways to improve your lifestyle and then you can share it to your friends and that knowledge, trust me will impress the heart of your friends because you have added experiences within the ayahs to explain it and those words will be of your own and people then will also learn from you. The reason why Nouman Ali Khan and Mufti Ismail Menk are influential is because they always explain Quran ayahs with their own experiences. But care needs to be taken when explaining one ayah so that falsehood is not spread and that can be done with the help of a simple ayah. The ayah is:
“Allathee khalaqanee fahuwa yahdeen”-
“Who created me, and He [it is who] guides me.”
Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayah 78 (26:78)
This is the dua of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and through this we are in fact praising Allah for the fact that He created and guided us and it also ensure we get proper guidance in the future as well. By this we are prevented from falsehood.
May Allah (swt.) guide us all to a sustainable knowledge of Islam and also that may we be protected from making mistakes and spreading falsehood, Ameen…