Am I Sinful If I Intentionally See Something Impermissible on Social Media?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

I was scrolling on my social media accounts like Instagram or Facebook, and some haram content showed up (a naked man or woman), which is unintentional. Is this a sin? It also happens when I’m watching movies. Is this Zina of the eyes? What should I do if this happens when watching movies or using my phone?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

If one accidentally looks at something impermissible and immediately turns away, they are not sinful.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to ‘Ali (Allah be pleased with him), “O ‘Ali, do not follow up an impermissible glance with another. Indeed, you get the first one but not the next.” [Ahmad]

Note that the first glance is pardoned only if it is unintentional.

Excuses Don’t Repeat

The unintentional glance is pardoned. However, the above concession does not apply if one watches something that has a high likelihood of having impermissible content or knows of the presence of forbidden content beforehand; the above concession does not apply. This is similar to intentional looking. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Looking Without Lust

To look at the face of the non-relative woman without lust is permissible when necessary or when there is religious or worldly benefit entailed by doing so. However, caution is recommended and encouraged due to the natural human desire for the opposite gender and the fear of lust arising from looking. [Ibid.]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.