An Open Letter to Muslimah Bloggers

posted in: Blogging, Musings, Reflections, Writing | 21

An Open Letter to Muslimah Bloggers | Are you Muslim woman/girl who is also a blogger? Here's a letter written for you, a heart-to-heart talk about a topic almost no one in the blogging world discusses: responsibility. Click through to read the blog post!

 

Dear Muslimah blogger,

Today I’m writing to you about a topic that I have rarely seen discussed in the broad blogosphere, let alone the tiny little marble us Muslimah bloggers are in: responsibility. Or more specifically, the famous English saying ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’. Believe it or not, there sayings in Arabic too that draw a line of comparison between pens and sharp objects like daggers!

It seems as though our ancestors knew the true power of words. Let’s not forget that Islam, one of the fastest spreading religions of all time, spread through words. Yes, of course, the words of Allah are incomparable to my and your humble little scratches on our little nooks and crannies in the Cloud, but there’s a point to be taken from it all: words have great power.

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Words can sway your opinion and my opinion so we consider things we never considered before in our lives. You and I, we have the power to change lives with our words. We also have the power to destroy lives, for power is a double-edged sword: you can use it for both good and evil. This gives us a huge responsibility to bear.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let the words flow from our fingers onto our screens via keyboards and touchscreens. It most definitely does not mean that we shouldn’t hit Publish, Tweet, or Post. It means that we should be careful with what we write and share with the world. We must choose our words wisely, and comment on things that we are sure about, or use disclaimers of any sort instead. Today, with the widespread use of social media, it has become quite easy for people to share their opinions, whether foolish or wise, controversial or conforming. Social media also has made the world a small place: today, you can make friends from all over the world armed with just a Twitter or Facebook account, an Internet connection, and a device that connects to the Internet. The smaller the world gets, and the more people you can reach, the bigger the responsibility that sits upon your shoulders becomes.

This doesn’t mean you and I shouldn’t write. This doesn’t mean we should allow the weight of this responsibility to stifle our voices. No, in fact, we should evolve ourselves until the writing we write is suitable and compatible with the responsibility that has been placed on our shoulders.

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As Muslims, we are encouraged to spread the word about good things. There are multiple Hadiths about teaching people good things, and the rewards for that. There is a Hadith ordering us to convey at least a single verse of the Quran or saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In the Quran, Allah equates good words with good trees that are firmly grounded yet reach the sky.

These are also responsibilities of ours as Muslims. So how do we balance the responsibility that is contained in the power of our words, with the responsibility to spread them far and wide?

I’m sure each one of you has her own process, in which she weighs her words and their affect on others. Most of us probably do this to some extent in our personal lives. But a blog post isn’t like telling your sister about something you heard about. Your sister is probably going to double-check it in case it is a rumor. But your fans aren’t like that. Your readers probably look up to you more than your sister does, and they’ll take you for your word. So you have to be careful about making sure that your sources are accurate.

You have to be even more careful if you’re writing about Islam. Or quoting Islamic scripture in any way. You cannot interpret it unless if you have the sufficient knowledge to do so. Yes, you may interpret it for your own self, but handling the responsibility of having mislead yourself for a mistaken interpretation differs from handling the responsibility of havig mislead hundreds, maybe thousands, or more, of your readers.

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I’m not saying this to discourage you from writing, or to make it seem harder than it is. It isn’t easy, but it isn’t that hard either. You need to be willing to accept your responsibility, as well as to find a way to work with it. Read more. Research more. Listen to what others say. Learn from others. Learn from yourself and your mistakes. And most importantly, do not, ever, be embarrassed to admit your own mistakes. Published a blog post with some information that turned out to be wrong a few days later when you came across a better source that corrected your understanding of the matter? It’s okay. Add an update to that post for future readers, and send out social media updates telling your readers that. Maybe even mention it briefly at the beginning or end of the next blog post you publish.

Yes, there are some people who are going to call you out for that. Some readers may unsubscribe, or stop reading altogther. But you know what? You don’t need them anyway. You need people around you and following you who are honest and upfront about mistakes. After all, there is no perfect human being.

Always remember to renew your intention with Allah before writing something. Remember why you’re doing this. Ask Allah to help you in your mission, be it spreading His Word, or even just blogging about OOTDs in order to earn some extra affiliate money on the side. Keep your intentions pure and Allah will be by your side. Accept your mistakes, own up to them, and work hard on changing what needs to be changed with regards to them.

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I wish you all success in your journey. Stay blessed.

Yours in writing,
Bouchra Rebiai

21 Responses

  1. Chelsea

    Aww this was a beautiful post with an extremely important message! It’s so true that although writing is a beautiful thing it comes with great responsibility, especially for us Muslimah’s as we are held to a certain standard in the eyes of Allah. May Allah (swt) accept our intentions, help us to seek and spread correct knowledge, and keep our hearts pure. Ameen <3

  2. Joanna Imran

    That’s a very important reminder to all of us, and beautifully written! If I happen to write about anything related to Islam, I try to include the sources I used – I think I also put a disclaimer somewhere in writing about halal food, that I’m not a scholar and just base my posts on what I’ve learnt. Still managed to make a few mistakes, so when readers pointed them out I was grateful that I got a chance to correct myself. I think it’s so upsetting when bloggers taste a bit of fame and consider themselves absolute authorities in certain matters, and won’t even consider any constructive criticism…

    • Bouchra

      Jazakillahu Khairan for your kind words Joanna! Honestly, while this is super-important when it comes to things related to Islam, I think there are many topics in which we should double-check and triple-check. For example, the other day I was writing some posts for my business, and I needed some information that I couldn’t find – I could either use a 2014 statistic, or guess-timate something for 2016, and end up being wrong with both. I chose to use the 2014 statistic and add on ‘and more’ instead of guess-timating, because anyone who has access to that information can call me out, and I need to do my due diligence on the topic. Alhamdulillah, I welcome criticism as long as it is constructive, but I find this a really upsetting matter – people not accepting it just because they think they ‘know better.’

      May Allah help us do our due diligence and be more accepting of constructive criticism. Ameen <3

  3. Raya

    What a great advise! Ma sha Allah!

    Controlling one’s tongue, whether it be literal or on the internet should definitely be in our minds, especially if you’re a blogger. Ma sha Allah it is so easy to forget too whenever your creative juices are flowing.

    • Bouchra

      Jazakillahu Khairan for your kind words Raya! Yes, it is quite easy to forget, but that’s why we need to edit 😉

      May Allah help us control our words so we don’t say anything but good words. Ameen <3

    • Bouchra

      Jazakillahu Khairan Sahar! Yes, we definitely should. Islam is too beautiful not to share it with the rest of the world – no matter what they think, it’s up to us to be the best versions of ourselves and spread the word about Islam in a beautiful manner!

      May Allah make us from those whose words influence people in a good way and show people the true beauty of Islam. Ameen <3

  4. Aisha Id

    So beautiful and thoughtful sister. Yes, you are right. We ought to be careful about what we write on our blogs. This a great reminder. Jazakillah khair.

  5. Iqra Asad

    Jazakumullah khair for writing this in such an effective manner. May Allah bless your pen (touchscreen/keyboard) and make it a sadqa e jaria for you and a way to earn the pleasure of our Lord. Ameen.

  6. Umme Hafsa

    I love your point about being particularly careful about writing about Islam – it’s so true. The other things is not to write when you’re overly emotional or triggered by things. I see this online a lot – even though social media allows us to share our thoughts, sometimes its better for the person to fully heal offline then later on share their experiences.

    • Bouchra

      True, that! We tend to complain first, then think later. We should be sharing more positivity to counter the negativity in this world!

      May Allah help us become more positive people, and give us the wisdom of sharing our experiences in a manner that will help others rather than just increase the negativity in this world. Ameen

  7. Shahira

    Amazing post. I hope this post gets shared far and wide.

    I am often worried when I post any thing relates to religion especially when it quotes or explains Ayah or Hadith. For being wrong. For being incomplete etc.
    This is how I pacify myself – Having knowledge about a certain something also gives us a responsibility to share it others.
    So basically 2 degrees of responsibility
    1. For sharing the knowledge we have
    2. For being correct, authentic and honest in the in formation we have shared.

    May He make our writings beneficial for us and others and also a Sadaqah Jariyah finally!

    • Bouchra

      I’m glad you liked the post Shahira! Ameen to your beautiful dua!

      May Allah give us more knowledge to be even more confident about the accuracy of the content we share. Ameen!

  8. Iman

    I could not agree with you more Bouchra – I absolutely love where you are coming from and I wish more of us, not just bloggers, would be careful of what we share, whether it’s a forward on Whatsapp or an article on a Mummy forum or encouraging someone to parent a different way because of something we read but didn’t verify. It is SO important to be careful of what you say!

    • Bouchra

      I think it’s easier for us to dismiss the words we say and write when they’re private or shared with family/friends, compared to when it’s open to the public. This is wrong, obviously, as guarding our private words will allow us to be less anxious about when we say things in public.

      May Allah help us make our private words as good as the ones that we utter in front of everyone. Ameen!

  9. Shukrallah

    Beautifully explained and great advise that I have definitely taken on board. Jazak Allah Kheir! The last point, is the most important one for me. Without making Du’aa to Allah there won’t be much Barakah in our work/hobby. I

    • Bouchra

      I’m glad to know you’re taking this advice 🙂

      May Allah help us implement all of what I’ve written above and more. Ameen!

Your thoughts on this will be appreciated!