#WelcomeBackTo1DZayn: Is Zayn Malik Really Returning To One Direction?

The hashtag #WelcomeBackTo1DZayn is either a cruel joke or a huge leap of faith. Zayn Malik left the group One Direction in late March. Since then, fans and non-fans alike have questioned the future of the British pop sensations.

Usually the exit of a band member, especially a very popular member, spells doom for the group as a whole. Replacing Zayn Malik doesn't seem to be an option either, as One Direction fans might not be receptive to the idea. Things have felt particularly bleak for 1D fans, which for those who hate the group and its fans, presents the perfect opportunity to troll.

Hence the #WelcomeBackTo1DZayn hashtag's viral popularity on Twitter.

Fans are reacting to the Twitter trend with a mixture of emotions. Inevitably, there was joy on the part of Zayn Malik fans who missed his presence and strong vocals.

"Don't toy with people's emotions like that," Brittany Chenteale wrote in response to the Zayn Malik rumor. Some prayed for it to be true, and others questioned the wisdom of helping a fake hashtag to trend. As for the origin of the #WelcomeBackTo1DZayn hashtag, the Telegraph claims that @LUXOJONES started it. Within a few hours, it was a viral trending topic.

This isn't the first time in recent days that a trend related to Zayn Malik has taken over social media. #ZaynMalikInManila started trending after fans in the Philippines began buzzing about the rumor that the former One Direction singer would be putting on a solo concert. Despite a lack of verifiable reports, the fans insisted that he would be launching his post-1D career in the Philippines.

Malik's personal life has also been a heavy source of discussion, thanks to speculation that he intends to marry girlfriend Perrie Edwards. Edwards was spotted wearing a new ring after the cheating scandal involving Malik broke. Shortly afterwards, Zayn left One Direction and returned to England. Some fans remain angry at Zayn for leaving the group and at Perrie for her alleged influence on his decision.

Although this hashtag is probably not true and Zayn Malik will probably not be immediately returning to One Direction, there is some good news for disheartened fans. Eventually, it's not uncommon for members of disbanded boy bands to reunite at some point in the future. For instance, groups New Kids On The Block and the Backstreet Boys have performed for fans in recent years, even touring together for double the nostalgia.

If One Direction fans wait long enough for Zayn Malik, it's possible that in a decade or so, the #WelcomeBackTo1DZayn hashtag may prove prophetic.

[Image Credit: Ian Gavan / Getty Images]