Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
Recently while on Twitter, I stumbled on a haram picture. Allah has protected me from ever seeing anything like this before. I just want to erase that picture from my memory but Shaytan keeps reminding me of it.
How do I rid myself of this image? I have repented and resolved never to visit Twitter again. I want to preserve my attention in my worship, but I worry about its effect on me.
How do I keep my deeds safe? Please pray that Allah forgives me and secures me in His deen until I meet Him.
I empathize with your situation. According to Wikihow, the Internet is a wide, wild world full of wonders and horrors.
Repentance and Resolve
Your first two steps were excellent: repentance and resolve not to return to Twitter.
Allah, Most High, is the most Merciful of the merciful and He knows full well what is in the hearts and what is manifest. A sincere repentance raises one’s rank and benefits a believer. Allah, Most High, says, “Don’t they know that Allah accepts repentance from His slaves.” [Quran, 9:104] It is a general and absolute statement.
Tawba has four conditions: A) Admission of wrong. B) Uttering any expression of repentance (Astaghfirullah), C) Committing never to do it again, and D) Regretting having done it.
As for the third step, you should install an ad blocker on your computer and/or image blocker. Talk to someone who is technically savvy that can help you out with this. This makes a world of difference, especially if you have children.
Don’t Surf The Net
Fourthly, remember that the Internet is designed to prey on the ignorant. Stick to well-known websites for shopping and learning and don’t ever surf. It’s a waste of time and too dangerous. Never click on anything that warns of a graphic nature. Always put a time-limit on your screen time.
Overwite The Memory
Look at images of beautiful mosques from around the world, or calligraphy. You can even scroll through photos of people or things that are dear to you. Pull these to your mind to overwrite the other that you saw.
Anytime the horrible image pops into your head, push it out immediately, seek refuge from the Devil, bless the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, and replace it with another permissible image in your mind.
This will become a habit, in sha Allah. Leave behind the Internet for a while, and immerse yourself in the world around you.
If you believe that you have seen an image that is illegal, harmful or abusive, be sure to report it.
Last But Not Least
Be sure to read the Verse of the Throne (ayat al-kursi) and the last three chapters (surahs) of the Quran every night for daily protection. Also, read some of the Quran everyday with the meaning so your attention can always be brought back to the right place.
May Allah protect all the Muslims from the dangers of the Internet and allow us to use it only for our benefit.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.