Don’t be a keyboard warrior

It’s all too often that we come across such behaviour online. Whether we were on the receiving end of it, or we witnessed others who had fallen victim to it, or we’ve been unfortunately guilty of doing it ourselves – we’re all too familiar with the epidemic of keyboard warriors. They’re a small online community who consider themselves entitled to police and bully others online to conform to their narrow worldviews and opinions. Through the anonymity of a pseudonym account and behind the comfort of a computer, they have hurled the most vicious of online campaigns of abuse to those around them. To make matters worse, the religion of Islam is quite often used as the guise for this type of abuse and online-bullying. Unfortunately, it is for this reason, that many keyboard warriors themselves consider their pursuits not only justified but rewarding, yet such statements couldn’t be further from the truth. No doubt, as Muslims we have the responsibility of advising one another towards goodness and steering one another away from evil – but by no means should we have mistaken this noble role with the kinds of abuse we are seeing online. At the outset, many of these keyboard warriors engage in abuse, threatening behaviour, foul language and the worst of all, mass-Takfir (the act of declaring a Muslim a disbeliever). All such behaviours are shunned in Islam especially when exchanged between Muslims. The Prophet ﷺ would say
“ A believer is never a person who scoffs at others, calls them names, or utters vulgar and obscene phrases.” (Tirmidhi).
Many of these keyboard warriors will also frequently be spotted engaging in disputes on matters in which they have no right to speak upon due to their lack of knowledge. Yet they will openly and recklessly make online comments and verdicts on matters even the biggest of scholars were afraid of speaking on. Such debates often lead them to not only backbiting certain scholars but even to the extent of declaring such people disbelievers. As the Salaf would commonly say in regards to such people “The bravest of you towards issuing legal verdicts, is the bravest of you towards the Hell Fire”. Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz would also say “May Allah have mercy on a man who knows his limits and stops at them”. For those that know people like this or perhaps if you are one of these people yourself reading this, we remind you with the weighty words of the Prophet ﷺ in warning us on the use of our tongue or in this case our keyboards.
“Verily a person utters a word, that he deems harmless, but it results in his falling into the depths of the Hellfire.” [Tirmidhi; Ibn Majah]