If you’re looking for a post about 10 different ways to stop being haram, I have to tell you: I lied.
There aren’t 10 ways to stop being haram; there’s only 1. And it all starts with judging people.
Many of you have probably heard of the Haram Police. Some of you might even be the Haram Police, and might even take great pleasure in being a part of it. But I’m here to tell you: we all need to stop.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, the Haram Police is a way to refer to individuals who point to others and tell them that what they’re wearing, saying, doing, etc. is haram. The Haram Police are not a unified organization, but just a group of people who enjoy pointing out the faults of others, by pointing out all the ways that they (the haram police) believe the other person is being haram or doing something that is perceived unlawful in Islam.
Some people who do this sort of thing have the best of intentions, yet the way they come across is rude, arrogant, and hurtful. Calling other people or their actions haram is another way of shaming them, and it’s most prevalent on the internet.
On the internet, it’s easy to hide behind an anonymous identity. It’s so incredibly easy, that many of us have taken to policing the internet daily and telling people what’s Islamic and what isn’t, just because we can. We don’t need any specific knowledge or education. Social media gives us the freedom to comment and critique people no matter where or when. And so it’s so easy to tell a girl that her sleeves don’t reach her wrists, or her hair is coming out of her hijab, or that her shirt is too short or too tight.
The points may all be valid, but none of us have a right to tell anyone what’s right or wrong. No one has the right to judge his or her fellow human beings. That right only belongs to Allah, and thus by judging our fellow Muslims, by pointing out their flaws and letting them how they’re being haram, we are negating Allah’s right.
None of us know what is in the heart of others; only Allah knows. So stop judging. It’s not your place.
I’m not saying that these comments are always said with ill intentions; many times, the person just wants to point something out and has the intention of helping. But the forum it’s done in and the manner in which the advice is given makes all the difference.
No one likes being humiliated in public, so don’t do it to others. The internet is a very public place and while you may have the luxury of hiding behind your computer screen, your words still have a huge impact on the people that read them, no matter how far away they are. Any good you want to do by telling the person their flaw is thus negated by the shame that individual now feels by being ridiculed in front of their Facebook friends or Twitter followers, etc. So don’t do it. Keep your opinions to yourself. You don’t know the other person’s heart nor do you know their intentions.
If you absolutely must say something, do it privately. Privately message them so as not to humiliate them. Don’t shame them by being rude or obnoxious. Or if you don’t agree with what they’re saying, engage them in a discussion instead of calling them out by telling them that what they believe is nonsense or ridiculing them. The other person might actually be willing to talk with you when you’re not critiquing them.
None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes and we all sin. So look carefully at yourself first before pointing fingers at other people and calling out their flaws. We’re all flawed.
So let’s all throw away our Haram Police badges, and stop judging people by telling people they’re being haram. Let’s all work on ourselves.