Over the weekend, a pretty major scandal broke about a leading Islamic speaker in U.S. There’s been a great deal of denial, accusations, victim shaming and general heartache and confusion in the community. There’s a great article on how to deal with the aftermath here https://muslimmatters.org/2017/09/24/navigating-the-nouman-ali-khan-scandal/
Living in this digital world where we have access to any type of image and can connect with almost anyone, anywhere, has left us vulnerable as a community. How should we approach this topic with our children, many of whom have listened to the speaker at conferences and on YouTube? Many parents have said, don’t say anything. This is problematic and just like the ostrich sticking their heads in the sand, not going to do any good. Our kids have internet access and can find the information out on their own and may be too young to understand what is proper conduct. Even if they don’t access at home, they can hear the rumors from their friends. Hopefully, we have the kind of relationship that allows them to approach us about the issues. If they don’t, they might be discouraged, “if so and so can’t even follow the deen properly, how can I?” Or make them think “everyone is engaged in outside relationships, why shouldn’t I?”
First, we have to realize we cannot place our lecturers on a pedestal. They are simply learning and spreading their knowledge of the deen. The deen is perfect but no human being is. We need to emphasize that a person can make mistakes but we can still benefit from any good knowledge that may have come from them. We have to emphasize Shaytan is always lurking around, no matter how old or famous you are. We have to make a hundred excuses for a fellow believer and if we run out, then we should remain silent. It’s also a good time to emphasize the dangers of sending quote unquote “private” messages. Once it’s out there, anyone can save and share our pics and messages. We also want to speak to them about the dangers of gossip, we don’t want to be burdened with losing our good deeds or perhaps gaining other people’s bad ones on the Day of Judgement. May Allah guide us during these trying times.