Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
After some research, I understood that it’s haram to reveal sins. What if one reveals sin unanimously, like saying some people do such and such, to denounce the sin or to warn people of its dangers?
What is the ruling on acting in a video made for educational purposes that shows someone drinking or stealing, then it shows how these people suffer from the consequences?
Also, if I committed a sin and my friend is addicted to the same sin and wants to find a way out, can I say I know people who found solutions like fasting to help them stop? And lastly, what is the ruling on reading stories with violence?
In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “All of my Ummah (spiritual community of believers) will be safe from their sins except the ‘mujahirin’ (those who publicize their sins). It is a type of publicization that a person commits a sin at night, and though Allah screens it from the public, then he comes in the morning and says, ‘Hey, so-and-so, I did such-and-such evil deed yesterday,’ while he had spent his night screened by his Lord (none knowing about his sin) and in the morning he removes Allah’s screen from himself.” [Bukhari; Muslim]
It is permissible to mention the sin itself, without mentioning the doer, to denounce it and speak of its dangers. This is akin to a teacher giving a lesson on the enormities and explaining that it is unlawful. Similarly, if you mention to a friend that you have heard helpful solutions to breaking an addiction without mentioning names, this is permissible and praiseworthy.
The traditional way of getting through to people is not through skits and plays but through words. Storytelling, and imagery, are powerful and memorable ways of imparting a lesson, and we should employ these traditional methods. Modern methods are suitable, too, but shouldn’t be relied on, as watching videos is already something that people are doing too much, causing people to be dumbed down. Children and adults will benefit from listening and using their imagination.
Allah Most High said, “Invite ˹all˺ to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and kind advice, and only debate with them in the best manner. Surely your Lord ˹alone˺ knows best who has strayed from His Way and who is ˹rightly˺ guided.” [Quran, 16:125]
Although the video is made for educational purposes, it is not permissible to act out the haram. This includes impersonating a prophet, acting out sin, or mentioning that which Allah hates. Additionally, any actor would hate to be put in that position.
Violence in Stories
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani says:
There is a difference between (a) reading stories in which there is an incidental presence of unlawful matters and (b) writing such stories.
- There is nothing in itself wrong with coming up with imaginary worlds.
- Description of bloodshed is permitted if it is restrained and within the limits of decency and the dignity every human (and, in fact, living) soul deserves.
- Characters can be described, but within the limits of restraint, befitting the description of others (e.g., can’t describe the specifics of the `awra or beauty of others, though general mention of them being beautiful, etc., in restrained and dignified ways, would be permitted).
- It is not permitted to write about unlawful situations in specifics.
May Allah give us the correct understanding. Ameen
Please see these links as well:
Reading Literary Fiction
Lord of the Flies: The Benefits of Reading Fiction
Is It Islamically Permissible to Write Fiction?
Are There Valid Reasons to Reveal Sins?
What Does the Hadith on Those Who Sin Openly Mean?
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.