It is no longer a hidden fact that Photo-sharing apps are having a huge influence in our daily and social lives. A platform where ordinary people are now status. An avenue for people to get influenced by the people with a huge following. Part of the negative side of these photo-sharing apps (Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, etc) is that they are making young girls at ages as low as 10/11 years to begin to question themselves about their body and become insecure about themselves. They start to put themselves through diet and gymnastics exercises in order to get what they call a “Perfect body”.
A 19 year old girl who –for the sake of anonymity- identified as Emily reveals that she used to see Instagram as a helpful platform to get healthy tips on how to keep the body in shape but she began to realise that it was eating deep into her when she started to feel uncomfortable with her body that at 19 years of age, she was diagnosed with an eating disorder. According to the guardian, she said:
“I felt like my body wasn’t good enough, because even though I did go to the gym a lot, my body still never looked like the bodies of these influencers,” says Emily, now a 20-year-old student who is in recovery. (Guardian)
When we have a freedom that has no limit, the society of course should expect this sort of backlash from the people. Emily then accused Facebook of complicity in Instagram’s role at damaging teens’ mental health.
The Wall Street Journal also published a leaked article that accessed Facebook of making body image issues worse for one in three girls and in one Facebook study of teenagers in the UK and the US, more than 40% of Instagram users who said they felt “unattractive” said the feeling began while using the app.
Girlguiding also concluded in its research that “Two in five girls (40%) aged 11 to 16 in the UK say they have seen images online that have made them feel insecure or less confident about themselves. This increases to half (50%) in girls aged 17 to 21″
All of these revelations prompt a sensible person to ask: Where are their parents? What are they doing in order to curb and control the usage of these apps by their children? Then you remember that 21st century parents are not the ones raising the children. The children are being raised by this platform that gives them a different view and unrealistic view of life.
The statistics, either we like it or not, will encompass the Muslim community. Hence, we should let our brothers and sisters be aware that there are limits set by Islam on issues relating to the body.
In Islam, the concept of creation and ownership is something that we believe belongs to Allah. He created us and he gave us the befitting physical features that suits each and everyone of us. Unless in cases where there’s a legal need to correct a deformity, surgery is not something a Muslim can decide to embark on. Our body and whatever we do with it is the right of Allah and his Messenger.
Another perspective that this insecurity leads to is that it leads the person to consider getting some tweaks done to their body in order to look perfect like the Kardashians, the Nickis and their ilks. Even though, there’s no sin after upon an non-muslim sins he/she is not a Muslim ab initio. It’s part of the deception of shaytan that he has promised upon mankind. The Qur’an reveals (translation):
Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah.” And whoever takes Shaitan (Satan) as a Wali (protector or helper) instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss. (Surah Nisā: 119)
This insecurity also shows lack or weakness in faith, Muslims are expected to be grateful to Allah for what they have been given and they should be patient and accept it as what they actually deserve. We should also be reminded that we are created in the best of forms and this body is an Amaanah (Trust) that Allah will ask us about on the days of judgement.
Finally, parents are advised to take cognizance of what their children are up to on these photo sharing apps, they should go through their browser history and see who they follow. Don’t let anyone guilt trip you into leaving your child unchecked in the name of freedom. If you don’t raise your child with your views and beliefs, the decayed society will.