// How Will Facebook and Twitter Impact Islam?
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« on: Nov 29, 2011 06:17 PM »


Definitely something to think about... I had to ban cell phones in my weekend school classes and I mean these kids are like 10 years old! But maybe we should be incorporating their phones somehow into their learning?? Don't think twitter or facebook are ever going to go away and kids reliance on them just increases...J.

How Will Facebook and Twitter Impact Islam?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nidhal-guessoum/facebook-twitter-impact-islam_b_1105006.html

During a recent Friday sermon, a young Muslim sitting next to me took out his Blackberry and started to check his messages (while the Imam was giving his speech). I was quite stunned. The young man then put away his smartphone, but 10 minutes later took it out again and typed a few things. That gave me a good indication of both his (short) attention span and the addiction to cyberspace that youngsters have fallen victim to these days.

I could not shake off this little scene from my mind, so I later googled "Twitter and religious services", and lo and behold, I found pages titled "Tweeting during church services gets blessing of pastors" (an article in the Houston Chronicle two years ago) and "Does God Tweet?", an online forum organized by the Washington Post two years ago, where 16 contributors presented their thoughts on whether a relationship with God can be established through Twitter. Can prayer be reduced to a 140-character statement? Can we no longer free our minds, quiet our inner selves, focus on our spiritual dimension, and establish a meaningful religious state of being?

I thus wondered how Twitter, Facebook, and current and future social networking and micro-blogging tools will affect religions in general and Islam in particular. My worries were heightened when I found an article titled "25 Reasons Why Twitter Is Spiritual," but none of the reasons were remotely convincing.

Facebook poses another set of challenges and concerns for Muslims. First and foremost is the freedom of speech that either can be much greater than many Muslims are accustomed to (in their countries) or can be abused to the point of becoming hate speech. There have already been a number of instances where a page was set up to publicly and crudely "criticize" Islam, and last month an Egyptian was jailed for "insulting Islam" on Facebook.

In reaction to this, some Muslims have either waged Facebook-boycott campaigns or just went ahead and created Muslim social networks, e.g. Muslimsocial.com, Muxlim.com, or Naseeb.com.

Other concerns that many Muslims have with Facebook relate to the loss of "virtual modesty," of "correct behavior" and of privacy. The concern over "modesty" refers to images that can be deemed indecent. "Correct behavior" decries the loss of inhibition that people exhibit online, often in stark contrast to their everyday personalities, and the hypocrisy of voicing views online that are quite different from one's beliefs and practices in "real life". And the issue of privacy online is well known.

Finally, there is the huge problem of time waste in social-networking activity. Two years ago, a study was conducted among evangelical Christian college students; these were found to spend an average of 18.6 hours a week on social media, half of that on Facebook. Interestingly, 54 percent of these religious students reported that "they were neglecting important areas in their life due to spending too much time [on that activity]." On the other hand, 43 percent of the students stated that this helped alleviate stress in their lives, and 35 percent reported that their social relationships were improved by that. The authors of the study warned against the negative impact that this time waste will have on the religious activities (prayer, Bible study, attending services, serving others, etc.) of the users of social media.

And indeed, as I mentioned in my last column, an important Iranian cleric recently warned his students of the "dangers and temptations" of the Internet and advised them to "spend more time praying and less time clicking through cyberspace."

Two conferences have recently been devoted to exploring the impact of 'new media' on the discourse among Muslims (worldwide) and with other religious communities (interfaith dialogues).

Last April, an online "conference" was organized on "The Future of Islam in the Age of New Media," which consisted of 60 speakers, who each spoke for one minute on the topic. Most of the speakers spoke enthusiastically about the effects that the new media are having on the Islamic discourse and culture. Some participants, however, expressed some interesting concerns.

The most important effect that was highlighted is that the new media are allowing a larger exposure of ideas regarding Islam and giving people new freedoms to discover or express thoughts that have often been hidden from view. Muslims are becoming more aware of the diversity within their tradition and can now shape their opinions in a more informed way. This democratization of the Islamic opinions, however, has turned into a "fragmentation," a plethora of views with no core or reference frame. Moreover, a "ghettoization of views" has occurred (as has been observed with other obscure views or groups): liked-minded people linking up and reinforcing each other's views.

There is also much greater female participation in the discussions concerning Islam, as Muslim women have avidly taken to blogging, even in the more conservative countries.

The new media also offer interesting opportunities for exchanges with "others," a chance to counter Islamophobia or just plain ignorance, provided that one gets out of his/her "ghetto" or bubble of similar views.

However, one must be careful not to give these new tools more credit or power than they actually have. After all, only a small fraction (10 to 15 percent) of Muslims worldwide has access to the internet, according to the 2011 Global Information Technology Report. Moreover, the internet and the new media, require a certain level of education and sophistication. Thus, the impact that the new media are having on Muslims' views and understanding of their religion is -- for now -- largely confined to the well-educated segments of society.

The organizer of this online conference has now started a second phase of the project, where some of the speakers are brought back for more in-depth interviews. They will be exploring the main themes that emerged in Phase 1.

The other conference I wish to highlight is one that was recently devoted to the exploration of the effect of social networks on interfaith dialogues: "Social Media and Inter-Religious Dialogue: A New Relationship," which was organized in October 2011 in Doha, Qatar.

The conference aimed at addressing a number of themes, including: social media as a tool for dialogue instead of hateful attacks, and how to develop religious frameworks and ethical regulations to protect society from the misuse of these tools -- a 'Global Code of Conduct' for respecting sanctities and religions.

Clearly, the new media and social networks have created a new dynamic within religious communities, including Muslims. Some effects are already being felt, both in the practice and in the formulation and understanding of the religion itself. This is one of the most important developments of our times.
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 29, 2011 11:00 PM »

On one hand, these social media outlets do provide good information/connections for people, but like with everything, it does have the potential to be misused.

Are these media outlets being more misused than their gain? I am not sure. As someone who doesnt use facebook or twitter, I dont have a proper perspective, but I do believe that people can control themselves, if they really try. However, its hard to stop or monitor oneself once once starts using these medias, because the line of appropriate and inappropriate seems to blur.

I agree, though, Sis Jannah. Kids these days are getting tools that we wouldnt have had until after high school graduation. And they know how to use it better than we do too lol. But I think rather than banning their use, maybe address it and help set down some guidelines? I had to do this with my little sister. We gave her a small cheap mobile phone to use to call once she gets on the school bus, once the bus reaches school, and once the bus leaves school again. We had to put restrictions on the phone so she can only 8 different numbers, and cannot use the internet or txt message. She wasnt happy, but after a while she got over it, and started to understand why we did this when she finally saw other kids with unrestricted access to their phones overspending credit and misuing it generally.

Anyhow I dont think twitter, facebook or anything will go, its just a matter of using it and keeping within limits I guess.
I think the best thing to do is just to do the best we can, with the best intentions, and do eveyrthing for the sake of Allah, and hope that what we are doing is right and enough.
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 30, 2011 02:46 AM »

Quote
We gave her a small cheap mobile phone
Cheesy Totally understandable! My phone is just like that Smiley This addiction is precisely why I don't get a smartphone.
Although, I got my phone when I was 14 and in those days it wasn't as common as it is now. My parents refused to buy me one and the reason they gave me was that they didn't have it either Tongue I didn't think it made sense and bought one on my own. Maybe, had they given me the right reason, probably I would've been phoneless till date.
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 30, 2011 03:49 AM »

hahaha my parents didnt want to buy me phone, so i saved up my pocket money for 2 years and bought my own...

my brand new blackberry 9790 is coming in a weeks time!!! cant wait!!!!!!
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 30, 2011 06:20 AM »

Interesting article - yes, social networks can be both a good learning and outreach tool, but also a potential place of harm. Should be interesting to see how they develop in this light - where the world is becoming in even smaller due to such technology, etc.

LOL @ akhan! That's cool though, sticking with the old school phone!

hahahh@ Aust - seems like it's mostly girls that choose blackberry's - what is up with that? Honestly curious about that.
 Congrats though Sis!

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« Reply #5 on: Nov 30, 2011 08:55 AM »

Quote
LOL @ akhan! That's cool though, sticking with the old school phone!
Well, blackberries are a huge temptation(I'm not too fond of the IPhone, or other touch screen phones) for me but alhamdulilah, I've managed to resist them. Let's see how long I can keep up. Daddy dearest is a role model for that, he never actually bought a phone. His first phone was a gift(stone age), the one after that(smartphone), he won it in a lucky draw and the latest, a blackberry, he got it from Saudi Airlines.
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 01, 2011 12:43 AM »

Its cuz blackberries are AWSE!!
I mean just look at it Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 01, 2011 07:29 AM »

Yeah, they do look pretty slick of course and all the different models/colors.

But what about the recent service failture with BBM? Are you worried about that?


I am guessing that is the model you ordered?


I think we are getting a bit off topic though - shouldn't this discussion be in the iPhone vs. iPad thread Huh? Huh?

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« Reply #8 on: Jul 13, 2012 08:44 PM »

so I hopped on to the blackberry bandwagon, daddy dearest gifted me a curve - graduation present!
I was kinda shocked coz one, I didn't expect him to give me a present and two, both of us have resisted the smartphone temptation for a long time so a blackberry was completely unexpected. So much for the excitement, let's talk reality now - I don't know how to operate it lol I'm just using it to make calls and send smses for now. I've no clue about email, bbm, apps..blah blah..should hire a tutor Tongue
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« Reply #9 on: Jul 13, 2012 08:46 PM »

hahahahha, you're funny bro!

Good luck with that and yeah maybe a tutor will help...I've managed to always just pick things up as I go, trial and error, when it comes to gadgets and whatnot.

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« Reply #10 on: Jul 13, 2012 08:50 PM »

I'm serious bro, I've only been using it for calls and smses. I tried to connect to the internet, failed and still got charged. Confusion, confusion, confusion..sigh
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 14, 2012 04:04 AM »

Kind of related somehow?

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 14, 2012 04:09 AM »

OK, this one might be a little of topic, but I liked it despite the missing word! Both courtesy of FB of course!!!

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 14, 2012 04:19 AM »

What can say? Its FB related!

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 14, 2012 08:18 AM »

Salams,

BBs are for uncles, i'm deeply saddened to see young people buying them! You guys should exchange them with Droids a.s.a.p.

All the smartphones I ever had were provided by my employer. We develop smartphone software, so I get to play with Droids, Win Phones like HD7 and iPhones. Contrary to the popular opinion, I actually liked Windows Phones, especially the one's running version 7.5. And HTC HD7 is top of the line WP.

Quote
I had to ban cell phones in my weekend school classes and I mean these kids are like 10 years old! But maybe we should be incorporating their phones somehow into their learning??

Some of us are working on same lines. Would unveil something soon Smiley

Wasalam

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« Reply #15 on: Aug 27, 2012 12:08 PM »

Does anybody know of a Fortress of a Muslim app for blackberry?
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 29, 2012 12:22 PM »

I think twitter is just awesome.  I think twitter is world-changing. 

Facebook is stale.  In fact its sad, because none of my hundreds of Facebook friends are real friends.


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« Reply #17 on: Aug 29, 2012 12:46 PM »

Salaams,


Quote
I had to ban cell phones in my weekend school classes and I mean these kids are like 10 years old! But maybe we should be incorporating their phones somehow into their learning??

Some of us are working on same lines. Would unveil something soon Smiley

Wasalam


Well not for BBs, but for Droids. Check this out Wink https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=proapps.touch.n.learn


The knight doesn't wait when he's ill or has cancer brother, the knight fights on... He finds a strategy, changes tactics, and hits hard.
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« Reply #18 on: Aug 29, 2012 12:50 PM »

I think twitter is just awesome.  I think twitter is world-changing.  

Facebook is stale.  In fact its sad, because none of my hundreds of Facebook friends are real friends.


I really like twitter.  It's great for breaking news and commentary.  I read so many news articles and written pieces linked on twitter.  However, it's almost too good because it's an epic timesuck!  During Ramadan, I tried hard to cut back my time on it because I found I couldn't stop scrolling down for endless tweets.  Currently, alhamdulillah, I've cooled it on twitter.  

Facebook is beyond boring.  

"Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth “you owe me”. Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky." Hafiz
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« Reply #19 on: Aug 29, 2012 01:43 PM »

Twitter Sucks!

But my company has an iPhone app for twitter, its called iPicTweety Smiley

Link: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=346518881&mt=8


The knight doesn't wait when he's ill or has cancer brother, the knight fights on... He finds a strategy, changes tactics, and hits hard.
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