The Russian invention FaceApp that was launched for iOS and Android users in 2017 has been banned by the Federal Territories (FT) Mufti in Kuala Lumpur. The government has specifically issued an Irsyad Al-Fatwa that bans Muslims from using the app, while the fatwa has called it 'dilarang' – meaning changing one's gender or age is forbidden in Islam.
In a statement FT Mufti posted on its website, it calls all Muslims to abandon using the FaceApp as it demeans the creation of God. It also points out that using this app, one can predict as to how they would look like when they grow old, again that is forbidden, is what the fatwa declares. This is not the first time that the community has criticized the app.
Earlier in 2019, an Islamic scholar Dr Essam al-Ruby, from Al-Azhar University in Egypt had raised concerns over the app that helps alter and change one's identity. Speaking to cairo24, an Arabic news website, he had explained, "Such applications are a kind of dementia that leads to the unimaginable aftermath, explaining that "God honored all of Adam's sons as stated in the Almighty's saying," and He honored us the sons of Adam and carried them in the righteousness and the sorrow...".
FaceApp Banned by FT Mufti
Al-Ruby referred to certain passages in the holy book of the Quran and said that "Does the app really sho what would happen to people once they are old? No", and he added, "Only God knows that". Also, the Verse-70 of the Surat al-Israa reads: "And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created."
Followed by Ruby, last month, another Malaysian Islamic preacher Nur Muhammad Hadi declared the FaceApp to be haram (forbidden). A preacher from the University of Islamic Sciences in Malaysia's Selangor, Hadi spoke for the natural features with which human beings are born, and declared that going against their creation is 'humiliation' and it degrades God's creation.
He had expressed concern over young boys who would be lured into the transformation of their respective gender "when they see their features as female or vice versa", even if it is virtually. "Pedophiles may be attracted to children who post their photos online when playing with the gender-swapping feature," Hadi had warned.
FT Mufti considering all the objections relevant enough for the ban has now said in its statement that, "We reiterate that Muslims are not to use FaceApp or share the images of faces that have been altered, or edit photos of faces to change them to a different gender."
It has to be noted that last year, the product of Russian company 'Wireless Lab', FaceApp was also criticized by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in the US. Then, Chief Security Officer of DNC, Bob Lord was quoted by CNN as saying, "This app allows users to perform different transformations on photos of people, such as aging the person in the picture. Unfortunately, this novelty is not without risk: FaceApp was developed by Russians."
Lord who has vast experience with major tech giants including Yahoo, warned that there are major concerns over the security of data, once the FaceApp is installed, as it asks for authorization only after it is given access of personal info on the device. The campaigners of 2020 elections in the US were warned against using the app, and those who had installed it, Lord asked them to delete it immediately.