I have a family friend who is in a dilemma. The family is a reputable and deeni inclined family. Recently his teenage daughter was dating a man from a foreign country. The boy manipulated her and within a month of their relationship she sent explicit pictures of herself to him. We do not know the boy. They met online. There recently has been a surge in social media usage due to Covid19 such that school and Madrasa lessons have also started online thereby becoming difficult for parents to monitor their children full time. The mother of the girl has become suicidal and the family have really taken this badly. There are a lot of complications and implications of this incident. Kindly advise us on how to deal with such a situation. Also, kindly advise how we can prevent and protect our children from this. It is really frightening and can happen to anyone. Looking forward to your valuable advice.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
The incident in reference and similar such incidents in general are unfortunate and a matter of grave concern.
We understand the mindset and emotions of the mother especially when she had nurtured her daughter with Islamic values.
We make Dua Allah grant the daughter Tawfeeq and ability to make Tawbah, exercise restraint and conduct herself with chastity and honour. We also make Dua Allah grant the mother patience and courage to overcome the traumatic experience and make her daughter the coolness of her eyes. If need be, the mother should be counselled.
The relationship between the daughter and the boy did not go beyond exchanging pictures especially when we hear of incidents of rape, Zina and teenage pregnancies.
We also advise that you seek legal counsel to arrest the boy and possibly give up any pictures of the girl. All this may give further relief to the mother.
We also offer the following guidelines to avoid such unfortunate incidents:
- Instill in the children the fear of Allah, and that Allah is watching them at all times. This is the best solution. Create a consciousness of Allah being with the child at all times. The famous scholar and saint, Sahl Al-Tastari (rahmatallahi alayhi) – while a small child – was told by his uncle to read at night: “Allah is with me, Allah is watching me, Allah is aware of my actions.”
- The parents should routinely inform their children of how there are predators on the internet. One should be extremely careful and not give out any information to any stranger over the internet, least of all pictures.
- Share real stores about what has happened to other kids and adults who have been deceived by criminals and predators online. Show them the articles. Prove it to them that its real and very disconcerting.
- Setup a “learning zone” where all tablets and internet-connected devices are put in a public section of the house. Any one wishing to learn and use the internet should use these devices in that public section of the home, so its in full view of everyone.
- From time to time the parents should spot check and monitor what exactly their child is doing on the internet. The child should know that at any moment what I’m doing will be reviewed.
- Parents should educate themselves on how the internet and browsers work, how browsing histories can be deleted, etc. so they can adopt proper strategies to deal with any issues before they become major problems.
- If need be, there is software and services available that can help monitor and prevent such contact.
- Make dua for your children. Spend lots of quality time with them. Make sure they can come to you with any problem. Be their friend so they confide in you. Discuss with the frankly. The time and age for parents to not discuss issues that have long been considered taboo is gone. If they are not getting it from you – they are learning it from others.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Sohail ibn Arif
Assistant, Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.