Two Muslim Clerics Say Posting Pictures on Facebook and Twitter is Un-Islamic… If You’re a Woman

This is one of those stories that’s getting passed around on a number of websites, with very little in the way of information or details… so take it with a grain of salt.

As it stands, two Muslim clerics who run phone helplines in India have said it’s not okay for women to post their pictures — veiled or unveiled, I don’t know — on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“You can’t see someone’s face on Facebook and decide that you want to be friends. Look for ‘pyar aur mohabbat’ (love) in real life. Virtual relationships are not ‘faydaymand’ (profitable),” Sunni Mufti Abul Irfan Naimul Halim Firagni Mahli told PTI on phone from Lucknow.

“If one is on Facebook for business purposes or for constructive purposes, then the account is justifiable,” he said.

“Women should not post pictures on Facebook or anywhere else on the Internet. This is un-Islamic,” he said.

First off, what the heck is up with that guy’s name?

More importantly, what exactly is un-Islamic about women’s pictures? The article never says, though it’s safe to assume it has something to do with Muslim men’s inability to control themselves when a woman shows some skin, even in small doses like you might see in a Facebook profile picture selfie. The solution, therefore, is not for men to get some self-control, but for women to refrain from fully using social media.

The other cleric was no better, offering precisely that explanation:

A Maulana from the minority Shia sect too endorsed the Mufti’s views.

“Women are not allowed to show their faces to anyone apart from their ‘mehram’ (male kin like father and brothers). So posting pictures on Facebook is ‘haraam’ (banned),” Maulana Saif Abbas Naqvi told PTI.

Here’s what brave Muslim women everywhere should do: Post their pictures on Facebook and tag Abbas Naqvi just to spite the guy.

Ditto with the other guy once I figure out what his name is.

(Thanks to Shashi for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • DougI

    He should have been more specific. If it’s a woman, taking a bathroom selfie with the toilet in the background while making a duckface; that’s unIslamic.

    • baal

      {shudder} duckface.

      noone looks good in duckface

  • A3Kr0n

    Abbas Hovind has deeply encrypted messages on his FaceBook page. Maybe I should report him to the DHS so they can get a wire tap on him. Silly me! We ALL have wire taps on us!

  • Mick

    At least American men treat women with respect. No misogyny in that fine country. (Well not enough to make a fuss about.)

    • TheG

      Yes, and you should ignore the house on fire because you have a cigarette lighter in you pocket.

  • C Peterson

    Using computers at all is un-Islamic. All modern operating systems make extensive use of icons, and we know what Islam has to say about that…

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    I’m so confused…. Is it ok for me to post my wife’s picture because she is my property no matter how much skin shows. Or is it her posting that is the problem. Uh-Oh wife coming into room must go….. she take issue with the property idea.

  • EvolutionKills

    Oh look at that, arbitrary nonsensical rules used to discriminate against women.

    Color me surprised.

  • Agrajag

    This ain’t new. Significant cultural forces inside islam wants to eradicate women entirely from the public sphere. It’s rare that they come out and say that in clear words, but the actual tendency is easy to notice. Let me give one practical example.

    Visit for example interpals.net – search for women from saudi arabia who speaks arabic. Eyeball the results. At the moment the first 20 results have 7 with pictures of themselves, but of those 7 one is a pic from young childhood, one is taken from the back, and many others are obscured or veiled in some manner. *2* pictures actually show the face well enough that you might actually manage to recognize the woman.

    Identical search for men ? 17 have pictures of themselves, 9 of them show the face clearly visible.

    This ain’t precicely scientific, but the tendency is the same no matter which predominantly islamic country you search for. The same does *not* happen for more secular countries. For example, if I search for Norwegian-speaking women from Norway I get 17 with a clearly recognizable face, for men I get 15, i.e. no significant difference.

  • Oranje

    But it’s still okay on Friendster, right?

  • DavidMHart

    To be fair, many of the Spanish and Portuguese people I know have a similarly long list of names when given in full … they just don’t tend to insist on them all actually being used when they’re being referred to.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Maybe it makes him feel all important about himself and his actual role in the world. God knows, he’s got nothing else.

  • Bdole

    Telling teenage girls not to use social media. Good luck with that. This alone could spell the end of this religious piety bullshit.

  • nietzschesbreeches

    I mean, is this news to anyone? Women putting themselves on display where they can be looked at by strange men has ALWAYS been a sin in Islam. You can probably find hundreds of individual fatwas from individual scholars using a cursory internet search. Why talk about this now?


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