It is Unlawful to Circulate Frightening Videos, even Jokingly

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
Some videos are circulating on social media where, at the beginning of a video, a certain topic is suggested for discussion to attract one`s attention. However, at the end of the video something frightening appears suddenly. Although this is done as a joke, it is really frightening, and wuld such video be seen by a pregnant woman, someone with heart condition or an old man it would have serious consequences: death, stroke or harm. Could your Grace issue a fatwa prohibiting circulating such videos?


All perfect praise be to Allah The Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all of his family and companions.

When a Muslim wants to circulate certain material via social media, he/she should make sure that it is good and beneficial to society since Allah the Almighty says {What means}: "Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancor….." {Al-Mai`dah, 2}.

A Muslim should also avoid circulating all that which involves mockery or causes fear to others since it is the right of a Muslim upon a Muslim not to frighten, annoy or make him/her sad. Narrated AbdurRahman ibn AbuLayla:

The Companions of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) told us that they were travelling with the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him). A man of them slept, and one of them went to the rope which he had with him. He took it, by which he was frightened. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: It is not lawful for a Muslim that he frightens a Muslim." {Abu Dawoud}.

Al-Menawi (May Allah have mercy on him) said: "It is unlawful for a Muslim that he frightens a Muslim, even jokingly, with a sword, an iron bar, a snake or taking his belongings causing him to panic. This is because a Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe." {Faid Al-Khadeer Shareh Al-Jami` Al-Sagheer, V.6:447}.

Moreover, in some situations, frightening others could result in paying compensation, such as intentionally frightening a child or an adult leading to their death. This is semi-deliberate killing, so Diyah (blood money) must be paid, and also in case an organ lost its function.

In conclusion, a Muslim should avoid circulating whatever frightens others, be they children or adults, even jokingly. And Allah the Almighty knows best. 

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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