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Published in the 16-31 Oct 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Internet! How to use it right 

As soon as the word Internet strikes the eardrum of a common but practicing Muslim his nose turns up, he would most of the time prefer to avoid it. When you ask for his opinion it would not be favorable. He may pass on profane remarks on this nifty invention and a great gift of Allah, by saying: Internet is the chief cause of immorality among the present day youths, it is spreading nudity and filth faster than any other medium, it is the silent killer of our values and religion, it is the major source of love tangles and resulting crimes and the list goes on. Analysis of such a man is true to some extent but it is much superficial as well and shows only one side of the coin. 

How many of us who have claims like above have ever tried to find a solution for those harms? How many of us who regularly log in on net tried seriously to eliminate filth from net?

If any one has tried then he has got the other side of it, which is very clean and helpful for success here and in the hereafter. 

It’s not only beneficial in sending and receiving emails, getting information of the world by click of button or having web conferences for business solutions but this is the fastest, cheapest and universally accessible medium of communication, which can play a pivotal and revolutionary role in spreading the message of Islam and changing ones life.

Take the example of 20-year old Bint ul Islam from Karachi Pakistan. She was born in a Muslim family of Karachi, like any other Muslim girl at an early age of five she completed reading Qur’an in Arabic. When she started growing older and reached the age of doing hijab she started donning it. But she says she was never comfortable with it. She used to see her parents offering Salah, keeping fasts and removing Zakah but never seriously tried to follow them at any time. Actually she was an atheist like the children of "Modern Muslim" families. But an incident in her life at the age of 17 made her to ponder about life.Despite of having all she was feeling incomplete.

Her mind started questioning about her purpose of existence; at the young age of 17 instead of being in jolly life style she started searching for the truth. Unrest and anxiety in her made her separated from rest of the world. She was lost in oblivion. She was like unconscious for more than 2 years. This made her discontinue studies for two years and her future was at stake she was cut off from rest of the world. She was desperate to know the truth but she had meager resources to quench her thirst until Internet came to her rescue. She had not much books to study and research but had an Internet connection at her home.

She started her journey of search for the truth on the Internet beginning with the study of Hinduism as she was told that her ancestors’ religion was Hinduism. She started reading Geeta, she didn’t find any thing substantial in this religion except stories and humiliation committed on women. Then she switched over to Budhism, which attracted her for its tolerance but couldn’t give her the answer for her purpose of life. Then she moved over to the religion of Christianity. She started reading books on Christianity given by Christian missionaries to which her parents had strong objection but she had told her parents that she would decide about her religion only after studying and researching and not by default. She started reading Bible. While she was studying Christianity she was offered many lures, like free education in USA and UK and scholarships etc if she embraces it. In her study of Bible she found many errors and contradictions along with encouragement to kill babies and women, which made her hate this religion. Then finally came the truth the righteous way, the only code of life for the human beings of this world, which can quench the thirst of millions of people across the globe, yes it was the turn of Islam and the means of study was again Internet. 

The sites, which helped her a lot on Internet, were www.irf.net, www.answering-christianity.org, www.islamicvoice.com, and books downloaded from internet of Jamal Badawi,Bilal Philips, Dr. Zakir Naik, Kurram Muraad etc. After deep comparative studies of all the major religions she came back to the fold of Islam full heart and satisfaction on 1st February 2003. With in a short period of just three years she got mastery in all the major religions of the world. She has got tremendous knowledge and can debate on all the major religions of world with any one. Seeing the potential of Internet she launched her own group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ islam_peace_and_understanding to invite people to the way of Allah. You can get in touch with her by joining this group on Internet. The group was launched by her in October 2003 and has around 2605 members with almost 50 people adding up daily. It is ranked 60th in the yahoo’s list of groups.

The speciality of this group is that you will get answer to all your questions and misconceptions about Islam immediately and even you can talk to the moderators of the group through net at a given time. Many Christians of this group from across the globe talk live with the moderators daily to know about Islam. The group moderators also invite people of any faith to debate. 

Like Bint, Karima Steffany (formerly Christian) from Brazil, has also reverted to Islam after 9/11 after studying Islam on net. Karima even left her husband for the sake of Islam and living lonely with three kids to look after and having very little resources to run her family. Abdullah (formerly Christian) from USA is also studying Islam on Internet. And there are many people who are logging on daily to know about Islam. 

Most of the Internet users are not aware of the facility of forming groups on net. It is a very good way to propagate Islam without investing any thing. We have too many web sites but very few good groups on net even though it is absolutely free. A website requires lot of efforts, time and money but a group doesn’t require any thing to invest. It is absolutely free and as simple as making an email ID. Those who are already having an email ID in yahoo or hotmail or rediffmail can start their own group. Just log on to www.groups.yahoo.com and start your own group. In the group you can keep thousands of email Ids, along with this you will have a complete website kind of thing with a URL name on which you can post messages, pictures and maintain your own data base. 

To know how a group works join http://groups.yahoo.com/ group/islam_peace_and_understanding, and then launch your own group and utilize the Internet for the noble cause.

Syed Sujil Ahmed
ssujeel@yahoo.com

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