The Dilemma of Social Media Religious ‘Experts’ In today’s digital era, the rise of self-proclaimed experts on social media has muddied the waters between genuine religious guidance and opportunistic exploitation.
The recent episode with preacher Amir Muneer is a glaring example of this trend.
Amir Muneer’s Controversial Proposition
Amir Muneer, branding himself as a religious guide, recently made waves on his Facebook page with a unique proposition. He proposed that followers pay 4,000 Egyptian pounds to have someone else perform the Umrah pilgrimage for them, all facilitated through a digital app.
He painted a picture, saying,
“Imagine performing Umrah for your loved ones (whether they are deceased, ill, or incapacitated) for just 4,000 pounds.”
While it may sound altruistic on the surface, does it align with the core principles of Islam?
Short answer, no.
For the long answer, Masrawy sought authentic religious guidance from Dr. Ahmed Krema, a renowned figure in comparative jurisprudence and Islamic law, who was swift to comment.
He emphasized the significance of turning to genuine scholars for religious insights, echoing the sentiment,
“Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.”
Krema’s words highlight a pressing issue: the surge of self-declared religious ‘gurus’ on social media, many of whom lack the necessary qualifications. The Perils of Misinformation Krema expressed his concerns about the widespread misinformation disseminated by these self-styled experts.
“Social media has seen a surge of self-proclaimed muftis, many of whom issue sensationalist fatwas on controversial subjects.”
He further warned against seeking religious advice from questionable sources, naming groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS leaders, and Shia orientations.
The Authenticity of Personal Pilgrimage
Regarding Muneer’s offer, Krema was clear in his stance:
“The authenticity of the Umrah pilgrimage lies in personally undertaking it, not outsourcing it.”
He also shed light on the potential financial incentives behind such proposals. He pointed out that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, previously dependent on mosque donations (now prohibited), are always on the lookout for new ways to generate income.
In response to the backlash, Muneer defended his stance by sharing his personal experience. He mentioned using the app to have someone perform the Umrah for his deceased father.
While he perceives this as validation of the app’s authenticity, many see it as a clear attempt to commercialize faith.
Navigating Faith in the Digital Age
While technological advancements have added convenience to our lives, it’s crucial to tread carefully when it comes to religious matters. Relying blindly on unauthenticated sources, especially those with hidden agendas, can distort one’s understanding of their faith.