What is the explanation of this speech of As-Sheikh Al-Uthaymēn in which he says “compete with the people of falsehood on the internet”. As you are not blind to the fact that the internet sites have increased a lot and if we were to start competing with the people of falsehood I fear that there would be no end. The question is ‘what is the correct approach to this’?
The correct approach to this is to compete with the people of falsehood with the truth within the permitted boundaries, as for other then this, then no.
Therefore if the person is going to spread knowledge and good and call to Allah by way of social networks without using anything that is impermissible, without pictures, without temptations, without entering corrupted sites then there is no problem with this. As for if it consists of temptations then it should be left off.
It is not conceivable that the person strives for the well being of others while corrupting himself and strives for the salvation of others while ruining himself. This person’s state is like the one of the candle, it makes light for others while burning itself.
We came across some speech of Abu Hāzim Salamah ibn Dīnār (may Allah have mercy on him) where he mentioned that the person should not strive for the well being of others while ruining himself. So therefore, anything you do which includes the benefit of others and corruption for yourself then leave it. Likewise, if there is something which if you were to leave it off it would harm others however it benefits you then take that which benefits you because the Prophet ﷺ said, “Adhere to that which is beneficial for you. Keep asking Allah for help and do not refrain from it”. Reported by Abu Hurairah in Sahih Muslim.
Therefore this is what is sought after, as for competing with the people of falsehood on websites and then you end up becoming astray and fell into temptations and corruption and evil (then you should not do this). Verily these websites are dangerous and they include many evils so therefore it is necessary to be alert.
Also the speech of a scholar is not a Quranic verse or prophetic saying. Verily the intent of As-Sheikh Al-Uthaymēn (may Allah have mercy on him) here is to compete with the people of falsehood without using falsehood. As for competing with them whilst using falsehood then no! Therefore if you were to pursue the permitted approach in calling the people then this is what is sought after as for if this approach includes harm then (the Prophet ﷺ said) “Do not cause harm or return harm”(Reported by Ubadah bin Samit in Ibn Mājah) . Repelling harm is given precedence over obtaining that which benefits, this is a principle.
And Allah knows best.
Answered by: Shaikh Abu Abdillah Muhammad Ba Jamaal (May Allah preserve him)
Translated by: Abu Musa Jamaal al-Britani