Ali Al Matani –
On electronic media platforms, particularly on social media today we have noticed a behaviour which can be described as electronic bullying. Such practices have become rampant and speak very strongly about themselves.
This is the language of tracking, stalking and phishing along with various means and methods of harassment. These situations are faced by school children in a neighbourhood. They gathered around a child of the same age group and harassed him so that he starts hating his school or gets depressed. This is what we see today in social media.
In its modern form what we see today is known as trolling. Trolling or bullying on social media is in virtual form. But its impact is real. It is a kind of character assassination for which the victim himself is responsible. Whenever one tweets or posts a statement on social media, he is targeted by a group of virtual attackers. They target his personality, his career and try to damage him morally or attack his intellectual capabilities and activities. All this is done so that he stops commenting, putting a post online or participating in an open discussion. The result is that the victim of these trolls sometimes desist from being active on social media or even in some cases from traditional media as well.
The outcome of this practice is very dangerous. This has created a big vacuum in the local social circles to the point that many even do not give any explanation or react on public issues if they are targeted by trolls. Even many officials have opted to stay away from the social media, and have actually become victims of this trolling. Now they are not available to dispel any misunderstandings on issues.
The situation has even reached to the level that even many victims do not want to talk on issues which are related to their own personality, existence, family members and relatives or defend them from this virtual attacks. The verbal abuse is a very serious issue. Almighty Allah has talked about the matter. He has given us a clear guidance about abuse, character assassination and hurting public interest. The guidance and teachings by the Almighty could help us in finding a cure for this modern technology ills.
Those who indulge in character assassination do not know what is told by the Almighty in verse 11 of the Surat Al Hujrat. It clearly says: “Believers, let not a group (of men) scoff at another group, it may well be that the latter (at whom they scoff) are better than they; nor let a group of women scoff at another group, it may well be that the latter are better than they. And do not taunt one another, nor revile one another by nicknames. It is an evil thing to gain notoriety for ungodliness after belief. Those who do not repent are indeed the wrong-doers.”
Do they know that they have become oppressors? Allah the Almighty has also forbidden that one should not do injustice to himself. Do they understand that they are committing crime against themselves, before they could even target other innocents? Do they realise what they are doing?
At many places in the Holy Quran, the Almighty urges people to instruct each other in a good manner. The verse 125 of Surah Al Nahl says: ”Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.” This noble message of the God has lot of lessons and an in-depth meaning. It clears the principles of dialogue, discussion and debate. It is very unfortunate that in day to day life we have left all these valuable Qurani instructions and stooped to lowest levels which may lead us to hell.