Q4: What is the religious principle ruling about dialogue over the Internet? Such dialogue may be with people who are injurious to the followers of the Infallible Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them), whether their harm is by deliberate insult to them, or by creating doubts in the dignity of their great scholars such as al-Tusi and al Kulayni, and the like.
There is no doubt that the dialogue with people from which good is expected is recommended. It might even be mandatory since it is promoting the truth and raising its esteem, or defending it and preventing the attacks of the offenders against it.
The dialogue with one from which good is not expected is not prohibited by itself; the fear is that it could cause religious obstacles such as:
(i) Increasing the propagation of falsehood as a reaction to conducting the dialogue.
(ii) Encouraging the site and increasing its esteem – where such dialogue takes place through websites – even by criticizing it, since having dialogue with them might be the reason for them to feel that the website is so important that the adversary needs to criticize it and try to refute it. It is not the same if they were ignored since this might make them feel their insignificance in such a way that the adversary does not see them worth criticizing or having a dialogue with. This is similar to what the Almighty said: “And when they hear any vain talk, they withdraw from it, and they say: For us shall be our deeds, and for you shall be your deeds, peace be on you, we don’t desire the ignorant people”.(28:55).
This might make them feel disappointed and it may be the reason for the decrease in their extremism. This is what we recommend usually with respect to people that disfigure the truth with stubbornness and determination outside the borders of logic and common sense.
Q5: Is it permissible for a person to teach another how to use chat programs and websites if they are commonly used by sinners for unlawful purposes like presenting debauchery by words, pictures, exchange of telephone numbers and other kinds of promiscuity? What if the case is that one is sure that the person he is going to teach is dishonest?
Teaching by itself is not prohibited; however it is forbidden for other reasons like encouraging and propagating promiscuity. It is then a precaution not to teach, or even to avoid visiting the site and chatting in it. It might be obligatory to avoid it if it serves to forbid the wrong-doing.
Q6: What is the religious ruling regarding participating in internet chatting? What is the ruling regarding listening or seeing forbidden things between the chatters? What if he was subjected to be sworn at, insulted or similar things whether he was known or whether he was anonymous by using nicknames? What is the religious principle for what is allowed and what is forbidden? What kind of participation would be allowed with those kinds of people?
Listening or seeing such things by themselves is not prohibited. They might be forbidden for other reasons like encouraging and propagating wrong-doing if the person’s visit would result in that and also if it causes sexual excitation.
As for answering the swearing and insults, it is allowed provided that it is equal in proportion without the usage of obscene words. It is better for the believer to walk away from this as Almighty Allah disciplined them when He says: “And when they hear any vain talk, they withdraw from it, and they say: For us shall be our deeds, and for you shall be your deeds, peace be on you, we do not desire the ignorant people”(28:55).. Or one should respond in the best way as Almighty Allah said: “And the good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel though (evil) with what is the best, when lo! He between whom and thee was enmity, shall be as though he were a warm friend () and none are granted it but those who are steadfast, and none are granted it but the owners of great happiness.() And if an enticement from Satan entices you, then seek refuge in Allah; verily, he is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing” (41:34-36).