Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawki Allam recently issued a fatwa against the act of buying or selling "fake" Facebook likes, claiming such an action is "prohibited under Islam because it's a form of fraud and deception."
Earlier this week, the grand mufti shared his views in a post on his official Facebook page, in which he stated that it is "religiously prohibited" to buy and sell certain types of likes on the platform.
It is only permissible under the condition that ads and promotions on the platform don't grant profiles or pages fake users.
"If likes are fake, or electronically generated, and do not resemble real individuals, then that would be considered impermissible given that it's a form of fraud," the post stated.
Allam explained why buying fake likes is a form of deception, as it prompts others to believe certain Facebook posts or pages are more popular than they actually are.
He went on to cite Prophet Muhammad's saying (He who deceives is not of us) to back up his claims.
In addition, he explained that running ads to reach a wider audience, which also leads to an increase in likes, is not haram as the likes are from "real individuals."
The mufti's fatwa was later discussed during Amr Adeeb's talk show Kol Youm.
Not the first time the mufti causes a stir online
Earlier this year, Allam issued an official fatwa stating cryptocurrency is not considered an "acceptable interface of exchange."
Justifying the fatwa, the grand mufti compared cryptocurrencies to gambling. He said the comparison is merited "due to [digital currencies'] direct responsibility in financial ruin for individuals."
He also said the use of cryptocurrency could negatively impact Egypt's economy, explaining, "[it] impinges on the state's authority in preserving currency exchange as well as its necessary supervising measures on domestic and foreign financial activities."