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KUALA LUMPUR, July 2:

“Before we do anything, we selfie first” is a common phrase among the youngsters these days, reflecting the selfie craze of today’s society, particularly the Gen Y and Gen Z.

Selfie refers to the act of snapping one’s own photos using a smart phone, web camera or other handheld gadgets and uploading the photos at the social websites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The selfie craze has become so phenomenal that even Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, the guardian of the Malay language, found it fit that the term “selfie” be accepted into the Malay lexicography (Kamus Dewan).

And there is no letting up to the”‘selfie” craze — selfies at parties, planes, bathrooms, holy abodes, funerals and the list goes on. While the real purpose of the selfies is being debated, more than often selfies are presumed to present a flattering image of oneself.

Some of the images highlight one’s ego and being self-centred, intentionally or unintentionally, something to be shunned especially during the holy month of Ramadan where Muslims are required to achieve moderation in their desires and behaviour.

While Muslim scholars are in agreement that selfie does not go against Islam, University Malaya’s Islamic Studies Academy Ustaz Dr Muhammad Lukman Ibrahim reminded that it all depends on the intentions of the person who does the selfie.

‘SELFIE’ IS ALLOWEDIf the intention is just to snap pictures and share with friends, then it is allowed.

However, he stressed that selfies from the fairer sex have to take note of their modesty, including covering their body parts like required in Islam and wear loose clothing.

They should avoid exaggerating or boasting of what they have, be it their physical appearance of wealth.

“When ‘selfie’ becomes a habit, where one wants to selfie anywhere and anytime, then this is an act that does not benefit one in anyway and thus strongly opposed in Islam,” he said to Bernama.

Dr Muhammad Lukman also referred to the blatant attitude of some who share pictures flaunting their luxurious lifestyle and boast of their ways and this is something that selfies have to stay away from.

In the context of Ramadan, he said pictures of sumptuous meals at five star hotels at best should not be shared at the social websites.

The pictures create temptation for the poor who cannot afford a luxury meal and make them envious of their rich brethren.

The bottom line is that things that depict luxury and boasted by the society should not be shared freely.

WHEN SINCERE INTENTIONS CAN GO WRONGSharing similar views with Dr Muhammad Lukman is Dr Mohd Izhar Ariff Mohd Kashim, a senior lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM) Islamic Studies Faculty, who opined that the “selfie” culture regardless should be viewed positively.

“If their selfies are just to boast or flaunt, then that is between him/her and Allah, as far as I’m concerned it does not go against the ethos of Islam.”

And the selfie’s purpose is considered really good if it is to glorify Ramadan.

“Maybe a selfie of one at the mosque may help motivate others to attend prayers or programmes at the mosque. Selfies like this also highlight one’s appreciation for the Ramadan,” he said.

When asked on some who fancy sharing pictures of breaking fast through social websites, he said: “There is nothing wrong, as long as the selfie is shared among ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ who are of the same status with the selfie.

However, if their friends and followers are from difficult or poor background it is best avoid uploading the selfie.

Dr Mohd Izhar advised the community to utilise selfie in calling the people to get closer with Allah and avoid intentions that deviate from devotion to Allah.

SELFIE ATTRACTS SLANDERMeanwhile one of the youth leaders at the Batu Gajah Mosque in Perak, Mohd Shaiful Rizal Mohd Saed, 29, believed that the “selfie” medium is unnecessary as the act of devotion is only between and Allah.

“It is undeniable that there are selfies that do good but there are fears that the photos shared may create slander. Thus one may accrue sins for slandering the photos though the selfie may have uploaded it with sincere intentions.

“In a nutshell, it all depends on the intention of the individuals, whether they are doing it to achieve something good or otherwise.”

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