Instagram influencer Raisyyah Rania Yeap talks to Naressa Khan on her use of social media to spread goodwill and messages of faith
RAMADAN is over, and we are more than halfway through the festive month of Aidilfitri. But that should not halt our spiritual efforts. In fact, our hard work must go on.
Life is, after all, a continuous journey. That is why hope is an important ingredient in the concretisation of one’s existence. Just ask Raisyyah Rania Yeap.
Born Felixia Yeap Chin Yee, the Malaysian model and social media influencer is actively spreading Islamic virtues on Instagram since converting to Islam in 2014.
The momentum at which the Muslim convert is pacing to share her newfound inspirations is astounding for the observing soul. Asked what this Aidilfitri has meant for her, she was quick to mention a subtle increase in her own awareness of life.
Raisyyah says: “Daily, like with every other month of the year, I have been using my Instagram page to spread messages about the beauty of Islam, in an effort to dakwah (preach) online.”
“I am also using it as a platform to scout around to see what charitable activities I can join or contribute to,” she continued.
AN EXTENSION OF FAITH
No stranger to Instagram, Raisyyah was dabbling in social media long before her embrace of Islam, an act she constantly refers to as “reversion”. Born and bred in Ipoh, the soft-spoken Chinese beauty spent most of her 20s modelling, a career path that came to be after her involvement in the Dewi Remaja pageant in 2005.
Her first online presence came when her then-manager opened up a public Facebook page for her. “He persuaded me to jump onboard with the rest of the world,” she mused.
Raisyyah explains: “Social media to me is a tool, and it has been very effective in helping me spread messages about Islam to everyone. And it is definitely the most effective way to reach out to other underground reverts and non-Muslims too, especially those who are curious about the religion.
“Social media requires no physical approach, and it’s therefore a very gentle way to spread the beauty of Islam. With it, we only require words and stories, via the sharing of our daily life activities,” she said.
What many do not know and “remain ignorant of” is that Raisyyah still retains the traditions of her background and upbringing. She says, “I still celebrate Chinese New Year.”
She also retains her original name on her identification card — something that she has always been open about online and offline. Regarding opinions on the topic, she says, “I normally just try to explain politely, in my effort in trying to follow the example of our Prophet.” Proving that it doesn’t have to be hard, Raisyyah continues: “If a poster continues to be rude, I just ignore or block them.”
A BRIDGE BETWEEN WORLDS
According to Raisyyah, Instagram allows her to continue to place her hope in everyone around her. Having engaged in the platform with such conviction, she admires how tech-savvy Malaysians are in their expressions of faith and interest.
Noting that Muslims today are as technologically driven as people of other faiths, Raisyyah contends that there is no such thing as discrimination when it comes to benefitting from social media. “When it comes to technology, it does not matter if a person is a Muslim or non-Muslim. We should use it sparingly and moderately, as there is real life out there,” Raisyyah said.
“Social media is a tool for us to connect, share information and educate each other with kindness. Don’t be dependent nor get addicted, and take the things that truly matter around you for granted.”
This year’s Aidilfitri, for one, has been all about discovering spiritually uplifting pages. In her own words, it’s the best form of stalking. “Most of the accounts I recently subscribed to are anonymously operated. Their posts are subtle and gentle easy-to-understand daily reminders about Islam, which I like.”
A closet painter and pursuer of fine arts, Raisyyah has also been turning to Instagram and YouTube to expand her breadth of references. “I have been following loads of artist accounts out there, just to feel inspired by their paintings, drawings and artworks.”
Asked on the best thing about being online these days, she conclusively quips: “Sincere advice, inspiring reversion stories, lots of encouragement, and potential friendships.”
Follow Raisyyah Rania’s journey at www.instagram.com/raisyyahrania.official.