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April 10, 2004
Commenting... And Don't Fall in Love With Me Or Anything

by Justoju

aka the chick who gets her very own column to propagate her ideas and hallucinations in.

Bismillah hirrahman nirrahim

AssalamuAlaikum,

It seems I have finally reached that point. I feel guilty every time I post a comment because I have not yet sent in an article. Its kind of like the feeling you would get if you weren’t fasting but you ate a fasting person’s food (not that that’s ever happened to me or anything…) Congratulations Hidaya, you caused me to taste guilt, you won. And so I write…

I began writing this piece as a response to the discussion that was taking place in the ‘The Just Ruler, Part 1’ comment board. Eventually my comment got to be so long that I figured if I sent it in as a comment I would be forever mocked, and written as and resurrected amongst those having no life. So I came up with this ingenious plan to use my comment as an article and thereby reap the benefits of article-contributor-status. Then, InshaAllah, I would be written and resurrected amongst those who write for Hidaya. What a happy day that will be. I am so smart mashaAllah.

There are two issues that I have been thinking about:
1. Commenting and its benefits; and
2. The issue of showing your personality to non-mahrams.

An issue that was being discussed was the casual nature of the postings on the comment boards. I feel that far from being bad for Hidaya, critical commenting and having discussions on the comment board is a good thing. Before I begin, let me issue a formal disclaimer so that random bearded underclassmen don’t come up to me later, ‘ijtihadify’ me to be a heathen, and beat me with their half-chewed miswak.

“I, Justoju, being of sound mind and body, am not condoning or encouraging the transformation of the comment board into some sort unregulated hedonistically-idle chat room”.

There are gender lines that need to be honored (especially when people are able to connect certain online personalities with certain real-life faces). I will give you no disagreement on this point. Am I clear about my views? “Commenting and discussion good. Flirting and hookup bad.” Aint nobody allowed to use this site for macking or attraction purposes. Please try naseeb.com.

It was mentioned that the comment boards should not turn into discussion boards and should be for positive reinforcement only…ZzzzzzZzzzzzZzzzzz…oh sorry I fell asleep for a moment there. Look, that’s how boring that thought is... Where were we? Oh yes... Here is why I think critical commenting is good: (In my “I am talking to a 9 yr old” voice) When people read certain articles they might have some useful "comments" or info they want to share. But they might not want to write an ENTIRE article on it. In fact, they might not want to separate their comments from the article that generated their comments since without the article background their comments might not convey the point that they are attempting to get across. What do those people, these poor well-intentioned souls, do? Same thing that I have been lazily and passively doing up until now—they post a comment of course! (You guys did good, here is a lollypop. [Putting away patronizing tone before I get beat up].)

I think that restricting the comments to mere compliments (positive reinforcement) hinders the energy of the site and prevents constructive discussion. Reader interaction keeps a site jumping and encourages readers to sign on to the site in order to follow certain constructive discussions that they might be interested in. It provides motivation to come to the site even when there are no new articles to read. In the long run this translates to a certain amount of loyalty. Now notice I said 'constructive discussion'. I apologize for my part in the unconstructive web ramblings—though my intention was to inject a bit of levity on the comment boards so as to attract more readers and lighten the mood—but there is one point that needs to be kept in mind and taken into account: reader-comfort.

Honestly, honey attracts more flies than does vinegar. On that same note, humor is one of the best tools that we have available to us when writing. Not only does it allow you to say serious things in a way that is smoother to swallow and understand, but it also disarms the reader and allows for easier absorption of the information you are putting forth. Plus, there is just the simple fact that most readers would much rather LIKE to read something humorous than something dull and will find it easier to focus their attention. Our Rasool, may peace and blessings be upon him, understood this very well and was a jovial cheerful man who would often smile and joke with the young and old. He was serious, firm, and angry for the sake of Allah (SWT) when he needed to be and when the situation called for it, but not so often that people considered him to be a prudish or angry man. In the same way, islamically appropriate humor is an excellent way of drawing people to Islamic organizations and to Hidaya. So I wouldn’t cut it out since it can be an EXTREMELY constructive force. I enjoy reading random bursts of wit on the comment boards and see them as being an asset to the site.

The only time I can think of humor being a problem is when it comes to the issue of ones safeguarding ones personality from non-mahrams—Which brings us to the second issue. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you pious tahajjud-praying souls, but I find it impossible to write without sounding like myself. Writing is only good when it is able to touch the reader's personal side--and it cannot do that without revealing some of the writer’s personality. This is not just a problem for the sisters, but for the brothers as well. For the witty playful men of Hidaya: be careful for your exposure of your personality can cause as much harm to, and attachment of, your female readers as the opposite situation could cause for you. But it is absurd to demand that writers should mask their talent and witty writing styles and produce bland writing. So how does one produce quality writing without being inappropriately exposed? It seems the best solution is to hide ones identity...in fact, in my ideal world, everyone would write anonymously (while strictly monitored by the editors) and no one would ever know from whence particular words came.

Now some people will say, "but shouldn’t we know the source so that we can know whether or not to trust the writing?” and to that I say: Look, if the writer is some sort of mujtahid/alim/sheikh or something, THEN I would like to know. If he isn’t, then no matter WHO he is, he is simply and JUST a layperson to me, and I am most likely going to take his words with a grain of salt the way I would take anyone else’s. I don’t care how long the beard is or how flowing the robes—I can take nasihah from lay people, not fiqh or aqeedah. Oftentimes, the reason many people want to know who is behind the writing is because they intensely dislike getting advice from hypocrites. It’s a pride bruiser. They look to the messenger to judge the worth of the message. I personally feel that if the nasihah carries weight then it carries weight and should be considered. Compliments are a nice gesture and all, but really, you’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all. Unless you are giving me specific instructions as to what to do more of, compliments don’t help people improve much. My nafs and self-esteem are well-satiated thank you (in case you don’t understand human language and haven’t noticed), and what I really need are critical comments and nasihah from whoever is willing to give it. And that is why I don’t care who is behind the words…unless it’s a matter of fiqh/aqeedah, in which case I want to know first what your qualifications are. If you are a layperson, then on whose authority are you transmitting what you are transmitting? And finally, if you are on crack. That last part is very important to know as I once had a homeless NYC drug-addict tell me that it was haram for me to buy those glazed peanuts you get off the street. I must have spent a good 20 minutes thinking about it. And those are 20 minutes I could have spent eating those peanuts or like buying them for others or something.

One of the reasons I am perhaps a bit sensitive about this whole pseudonym bidniz is because after I started commenting on Hidaya, I received emails from interested parties. No offense to the brothers (I don’t know who any of you are in real life and am sure you are all good wholesome people), but I was kinda horrified and considered ceasing to post for Hidaya. So let me begin my life as a Hidaya columnist by offering my second and final disclaimer for this article:

I am not on Hidaya to advertise myself. I am not here to get married. Furthermore I am immensely obese and hideously ugly. Really, I most likely have a larger beard than you do. Shoot, Tom Selleck is jealous of my mustache. I am older than all of you. My hobby is drooling while staring catatonically at unmoving objects. Sometimes I blink; its exciting. In real life I lack personality on all sorts of different uninteresting dimensions. You don’t want to know me. I don’t know 99.9% of ISRU or the NB community and honestly don’t care to know who is behind what name. I am only writing because I was asked to. I wish to benefit this cause in any way I can and have no desire to socialize or be ‘known’. Please take my words for what they are and “ignore the man behind the curtain”. You will be doing me a great favor by thinking of me as just transient words on a flickering screen of light and shadows…after all, isn’t that what we all are anyway…

WasalaamuAlaikum


of and relating to...
Gillette aka Hassan Khaja said

The discussions on hidaya about pseudonyms have been lengthy, but, after reading "Where's the Washing Machine?" (http://www.hidayaonline.com/archives/000033.html), I couldn't blame you.

I agree with you on adopting a light mood once in a while, but I could never imagine doing that myself in an article.

on April 10, 2004 2:59 PM
Rami said

Aslaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

Alhamdulillah...and I want to congratulate you(give you positive reinforcment) on your article.

Interestingly enough your comment(the first one) in "The Just Ruler, Part1" was the only comment that was actually about the article...so thanks. I wondered if anyone actually got what it was about --- There is a hadith that says (once again I cannot find it) that the best of men is the one who stands up to an unjust ruler and tells him he is unjust. So in reality all these rulers today...if they wanted to become the best of men would just simply have to say it to themselves...but what's the likelihood of that happening?

Aaah...the ideas you get sitting in an overcrowded microbus...and help from Rabbina.


So I hope this comment was of benefit. i belived I included everything (longevity, off-topicness, positive reinforcemnt, a reason for people to read my article, and I believe that last one would count as humor...but really, everybody should read it).

Please let me know where to mail the Niqab and beard trimmer.

Salaam Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on April 10, 2004 2:59 PM
Faisal Akhtar said

Assalam-o-alaikom.
Let me be the first to say welcome to Hidaya BintAbbas. May your stay be long and may it be beneficial for all of us. Ameen

Walaikomassalam

on April 10, 2004 3:08 PM
Talal said

Sorry 'bout the technical difficultes earlier... the column now appears as the writer originally intended it to.

on April 10, 2004 4:23 PM
Justoju said

Its an honor to write for Hidaya and I would like to thank all of you for your support(I feel like I am giving an academy awards speech).

And yes, bro. Talal is correct. All that is good and beneficial in my article is from Allah (SWT), and all that is bad and harmful is due to technical difficulties.

on April 10, 2004 5:06 PM
Justoju said

Oh and regarding the beard trimmer-- no way, the hair only grows back thicker and more luxuriant.

Niqabs are cool. They are even more fun when you wear them and then you tell people in a really deep voice that you are a man.

on April 10, 2004 5:06 PM
Tanweer said

As-salamu 'Alaikum,

Why do you have to get "horrified" if brothers email you. Just tell them you have to take care of Abu Khudanawanakhasta bin Babaghanoush. They'll understand. Their "fever" will be cured.

Infact i think the bros did the right thing. If the fever doesn't get cured by centrum or other vitamins (fasting and tahajjud), then you have to have someone contact the doctor either through a referral or by e-mail. The doctor's answer shall be the final answer and a cure to the fever. Otherwise you have to have a real good immune system to fight of the fever yourself - which we should all try to develop.

Allahu 'Alam. May Allah(swt) grant us all hidaya.
wassalam
Tanweer

PS: I havn't seen any "flirting" going on at hidaya, alhamdulillah. Yes Bros and sis have complemented each other, but for the most part it has been a learning experience. Therefore there is no reason to hide your personality and behave like a lunatic. Just keep your intentions sincere inshallah.

on April 10, 2004 5:27 PM
Gillette said

"I havn't seen any 'flirting' going on at hidaya, alhamdulillah. Yes Bros and sis have complemented each other, but for the most part it has been a learning experience."

mashallah, i'm glad you think so highly of your brothers.

on April 10, 2004 9:58 PM
Wajahat Gilani said

BintAbass,

assalaamualaikum.

nice article but I think i'm the only one that said the posts should be "positive reinforcement" but i was talking in regard to the posts that really don't add anything to the article, like general ramblings in fob accents. but i also did state that constructive discussion should take place, because like you said it makes the site more interesting.

second, about psuedonames in the past the brothers never used them and i don't think the younger brothers should use them, i'd prefer the brothers stand by their article be they comedy or "fire". of course i do understand talal's reasoning for wanting it so i stay at bay. but neverthless its to me as "amin trips discussing cell phone plans" are to tanweer. :)

walaikumsalaam
wajahat gilani

on April 11, 2004 12:20 AM
Justoju said

AssalamuAlaikum,

Well I wasnt accusing anyone of flirting. I was simply putting out a disclaimer regarding my beliefs. In fact, I didnt mean to be accusing anyone of anything. As my first article I wanted to plug in certain disclaimers that I felt were important to give right in the beginning. And again, if I gave my identity I would be forced to bore you all with very bland uninteresting writing. Let me give you an analogy: If you met a sister in real life and she spoke to you the way I speak online to everyone there is no doubt that it would be highly deeply inappropriate. It seems the only way for me to write truly as myself is for me to cease to be a 'person'. Think about it, I might not even be a girl. I might even be a brother who you see every day...this actually inspires me to ask a question: What do you all think about this? Is it OK for a female, or ANYONE for that matter, to speak in a casual and humorous tone if they post under pseudonym and complete anonymity? Come on Hidaya, lets hear what you think...lets see some Qalam's cross:)

WasalaamuAlaikum

on April 11, 2004 1:46 AM
Gillette said

There's no real fitnah per se in posting stuff online, with identities, considering we can neither hear nor see each other. So, whatever mood a sister adopts online is like adopting an equivalent mood in an article, and I know of nothing wrong with that (correct me if I'm wrong, with references/sources/adillat).

In spite of the potential harm that can come out of revealing your identity, there have been discussions on Hidaya about anonymity, and they convinced me into revealing my identity (if my writing didn't give it away already).

on April 11, 2004 9:47 AM
Nadia said

Allah(swt) says in Quran:
"O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former)...nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each others by "offensive nicknames..." (Quran 49:11)
Let us all try our best to act upon this Hidaya because Allah(swt) is Gentle and He loveth Gentleness.

on April 11, 2004 10:21 AM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

salaam alaikum,

nice article bintabbas...i think ure right about pseudonyms...especially for sisters, they should keep their identity a little hidden...no need to be flashy or so outright about everything...the brothers, i don't know...cuz i don't think this goes both ways...as for all the other stuff you said, yes some levity should be there but only under the guidelines of our Shari'ah...

take care insha'allah and any suggestions for my next article?

'work in this life as if you'll live forever, prepare for the Hereafter as if you'll die tomorrow'

on April 11, 2004 3:31 PM
Saima said

bintabbas.. welcome :)

on April 11, 2004 7:57 PM
Justoju said

"cuz i don't think this goes both ways"

brother I.M.S.H., why do you think that?

(and thank you Saima:) )

on April 12, 2004 2:19 AM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

Sr. BA or UBB whatever you prefer,

What part are you referring to..that brothers shouldn't use pseudonyms? i think it just has to do w/modesty issues...sisters should keep a sense of aloofness so that they don't appear too friendly...
i hope u guys get my point...just so that there remains a distance...

'work in this life as if you'll live forever, prepare for the Hereafter as if you'll die tomorrow'

on April 12, 2004 10:46 AM
Jannah said

" i think it just has to do w/modesty issues...sisters should keep a sense of aloofness so that they don't appear too friendly..."

It seems as if you are saying only sisters should keep a sense of aloofness- since earlier you stated it 'doesn't goes both ways.'

why shouldn't brothers also keep that same sense of aloofness?

on April 12, 2004 11:28 PM
Talal said

Gotta agree with the akh here...

There's a much much much much bigger danger in a brother's interaction with a sister, than the vice-versa of the situation.

It's sort of an embedded evil that every guy has to do his utmost to fight...

Not to say that sisters are completely free of this particular waswasa, but it's much more active among the men of the world.

on April 12, 2004 11:36 PM
Gillette said

I don't agree with sisters being required to be aloof, but the rules of modesty are different between brothers and sisters. if bintabbas feels that aloofness is a part of that modesty, then my reasoning might explain it.

on April 12, 2004 11:37 PM
Umm Baba Babaghanoush said

Bro. Talal is def. right about there being greater danger on the sister's side. It seems that brother's can become much more easily entranced by a sister's beauty (which is why the ladies have to cover up a bit more), and sisters can become much more easily entranced by a brother's personality and 'image' (which is why the brothers need to undergo the struggle of keeping their personalities in check in front of the ladies)...

You know, all this makes you see the total wisdom behind the Prophet (SAW)'s emphasis on the home and his discouraging loitering, without business, outside of it.

on April 13, 2004 4:42 PM
faqir said

miss justoju,

i think you should relax and take it easy, for some reason you are under the impression that every muslim male will be uncontrollably attracted to your out of this world personality....

on April 16, 2004 12:47 AM
justoju said

PHEW! Thats a relief! Thanks Bro. Faqir...

on April 16, 2004 1:01 AM
z said

2:225 Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the INTENTION in your hearts; and He is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing.

I don't know anyone’s intentions; therefore I cannot judge anyone. Out of modesty brothers and sisters should conceal their identity, otherwise this is no different then sitting on aol messenger committing zina of hand and the brain. It's sad to see such pointless arguments being made so late at night. Spend your free time doing ziker of Allah so you can feel his presence. Please don't take this offensively my intension was guidance insahallah.

on April 16, 2004 9:20 AM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

jazakallahu khair z...you're right we must spend more time in zhikr of Allah so that we can become closer to Him and then we won't have 'time' for these worldly things...but you can't teach modesty - haya - you have to develop it yourself

on April 16, 2004 9:56 AM
justoju said

JazakAllahu khair brother z for your wisdom...

on April 16, 2004 3:10 PM
Abdullaah for you said

I am almost getting the feeling that Bint Abbas aka justoju aka umm abu khudanakhasta
was highly dissappointed in finding out that I was a sister( I think that was it! just kidding, totally joking). Sorry but life is one of dissappointments and girl sorry to say this but in a way you are attracting more attention to yourself by writting funny remarks on how obese or ugly you are( no one is gonna buy that) because Allaah has created all women beautiful
Guys are attracted to shy quite and submissive girls. If you want a love marriage, change your personality and become a shy quite, submissive girl who says, yes brother, no brother,
brother you are right, brother I am wrong, I am sorry. I can bet( I know betting is haraam) you will have an arranged marriage otherwise. In real world personalitites like yours will not live up to the grandour because people will soon stop appreciating unless you are drop dead gorgeous which will get you anywhere from an old man rishta to a young man financially rich rishta. but this is my rambling, i only read a couple of your sentences and I guess I dont really share the humor with you that much. I dunno. No offense though.
For me, one way I thought was to use male pseudonym, in this way, what you say is taken more seriously and with much importance on both sides, by sisters and brothers.
But even if I had not adopted Abdullaah Somebdoy ,
I can tell you; people would have still thought I was a guy.

(I guess that is why I sound like a guy)

on May 15, 2004 8:08 PM
Gillette said

"For me, one way I thought was to use male pseudonym, in this way, what you say is taken more seriously and with much importance on both sides, by sisters and brothers."

1) i doubt that.

2) that's no excuse for misleading people. concealing your identity is OK, and if a sister feels shy, is preferable. but don't lie.

on May 15, 2004 11:57 PM
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