The issue of confining the woman at home under strict supervision where she can’t talk to any stranger because her voice could be seductive to men or that she can’t walk down the street alone because this might tempt some lonely wolves to harass her or that she can’t go to work because the mixed environment with men is a wide field for illicit relationships between males and females or that she can’t post her pictures which are respectful and decent because of the remote possibility of causing the lustful desire in the ill-hearts of some sick men- with such mentality one can only wonder about the effect of women’s pictures on passports, national IDs and similar official documents- these delusional ideas among many others deal with women as an object which should be placed carefully in a closed environment without any interaction with the real world.
Some people developed a false understanding of women to be some source of “fitna” or “temptation” in and of itself and thus should be treated with utmost caution and be under constant surveillance. This warped logic goes against the merciful teachings of Islam which granted women equal rights and dignified their status through granting them a share in inheritance, the right of financial independency, right to vote and to hold political, scientific, and social leading positions. Islam encouraged women’s civic engagement and praised its role as an active part of the civil society. The misinterpreted hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in which he says, “I did not leave after me a more dangerous temptation on men than women”, is taken by extremists as a slogan for thinking of women as a serpent who seduces men at every corner. Having a closer look at the hadith, we would discover that the problem does not lie in women in and of themselves but it lies in men’s thinking of women as a potential temptation which might lead them to commit erroneous acts. Therefore the hadith revolves around men and how , according to their natural inclination, may view women and thus has nothing to do with women as equal human beings with full potentials. The concept of “fitna” is not only about men who can be tempted by women to do erroneous acts but actually the lexical meaning of the verb “f t n” means to overwhelmingly capture the attention and it has another meaning of testing and examining.
According to these two meanings, it would be easy to understand that the concept of “fitna” could apply on many notions such as money for example, it is a huge source for temptation as it is desired and thus forms a test for human beings which they ought to pass through being honest and not to steal, take bribe etc.. This explains the Quranic verse in which God the Almighty says, “And know that your properties and your children are but a trial (fitna) and that Allah has with Him a great reward.” (8:28)
Also other elements which are seen as the sources of fitna or temptation is revealed in the verse in which God says “Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire - of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.” (3:14)
The listed items in the verse such as women, children, wealth, food and drinks, prestige and status are not sources of temptation in and of it- self but actually carries the potentiality of becoming a source for misguidance if people failed the test of using them wisely. The excessive zealotry and intense love of these sources of happiness could very well be correspondent to the seven deadly sins in Christianity which are warned against such as
• Lust – to have an intense desire or need
• Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking.
• Greed - excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness
• Laziness – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous
• Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation
• Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage
• Pride - quality or state of being proud
Therefore waiving the card of “fitna” against women as a potential source of evil is a flagrant attempt to degrade women and their noble status in Islam.
That being said, posting your pictures on Facebook are perfectly permissible as long as you maintain the legal attire of Muslim women and the pictures are void of any seductive moves or poses in order to keep your modesty and chastity intact.