Facebook, which initially had just ‘Like’ and ‘Comment’ as interactive engagements on its platform, has now evolved to allow different reactions too: sad, angry, love, care, and laughing. Not everyone is pleased with the laughing, or ‘Haha’ react as the laughing face with its eyes closed is popularly know in Internet culture. A cleric in Bangladesh, while responding to a person’s query about what Islam says about ‘laughing, mocking or joking’ about someone, said the ‘Haha’ react on Facebook is Haram. Ahmadullah, who is a well-known cleric from Bangladesh has also suggested issuing “fatwa” against people using Facebook’s “haha” emoji to laugh or mock people. Ahmadullah has more close to three million followers on Facebook and YouTube. He regularly appears on television shows to discuss religious issues in Bangladesh.
In his Facebook video from June 19, which has since gone viral, Ahamadullah says that “haha react” on Facebook on a post or comment is okay, if the person who wrote it also takes it in a joking tone or is speaking about a funny subject. But using the ‘Haha’ react to mock somebody, is haram in Islam. He goes on to add that the holy text says that “no one should be mocking or making a joke at someone else’s expense.”
He continues it by explaining, “Using haha-react has become very common Facebook,” and explains that someone who uses the ‘haha’ react is committing a sin and shouldn’t be using it at all as Islam forbids mockery. “In any circumstances, using ‘haha’ reaction to laugh at someone should absolutely be avoided,” he says. In the end, he sums it up by saying, “If you want used this haha react you need to stop the habit.”
Ahmadullah is among one of Bangladesh’s newest internet-savvy religious preachers who have drawn millions of followers online. Ironically, over 1,100 people ‘Haha’ reacted to Ahamadullah’s video itself.