Observed Trends in the Muslim Blogosphere

Originally posted at MuslimMatters.org

With the Brass Crescent Awards coming to a close, and the launch of the new Muslims Bloggers Directory, I feel it’s a good time to take a closer look at the world of Muslim blogging.

I’ve had the honour of working on several online initiatives alongside MuslimMatters these past couple of years. In particular, the website Ijtema.net, which, since its launch back in 2007, has aimed to promote the ‘best of the Muslim blogosphere’.

Our initial approach to achieve this goal was to act as a type of human filter of the Islaminet: our team of editors would link to Muslim-authored content that we found interesting, in the hope that our readers would too. I guess that they did, as we were nominated for a BCA last year under the category “Best Group Blog” – though we were beaten by some unknown entity called “MuslimMatters.org”. Anyone ever heard of them?

However, as the number of Muslim blogs we followed became greater and greater, and the spare time of our editors became less and less, we knew we could not sustain our efforts for much longer. We decided to close the site, albeit temporarily, and focus on a new, hopefully more efficient strategy.

That eventually led to the launch of the Muslim Bloggers Directory – a freely accessible, categorised collection of links to Muslim blogs, vlogs, and other multimedia channels, with a custom search engine allowing visitors to search through the actual content of listed sites.

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Brass Crescent Awards: Ijtema Nominated!

Alhamdulillah, Ijtema.net has made the final round of this year’s Brass Crescent Awards, under the category: Best Group Blog. JazakumAllah khair to all of those who nominated us!

Voting to select the category winners is open until the 19th December, 2008.

So, umm… if you like what we do… you know what to do! {grin}

Best wishes to all the other nominees!

Poverty

From kinzi blogs

I know the ’spread the wealth around’ idealism of the US’s  potential new government isn’t going to cut it with real poverty in the US or elsewhere. Spreading the wealth around has to come from the heart to be effective, it has to be born out of personal responsibility to help the poor and is best done in relationship. Jesus Christ said “The poor you will always have with you”, which means those blessed with plenty will always have the responsibility to help those without. Those in hardship in my circle of influence are my responsibility.

On a more micro level, I was talking to a friend on the phone about how the economic crises will affect smaller scale relief work and economic development at a community level. My friend wisely said: “I am endeavoring to make sure this crisis does not affect our giving. It may change the way we give, but we will need to practice extra generosity in a way that will be more sacrificial than before”.

Anwar Al-Awlaki: The Blog!

I am sure many of you are familiar with the inspiring compilation CDs featuring lectures by Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, who, by Allah’s grace, was released from imprisonment recently. With the help of some brothers, he now has his own blog – I love it when our ulema get with the times, alhamdulillah! :D

His latest entry is just as inspiring as his audio works, as he writes about the positive consequences of his imprisonment:

I was in an underground solitary cell made up of four concrete walls with an iron gate on one side and on the opposite side a small window -rather a hole- covered with iron mesh to allow for some fresh air to come in. I couldnt see much from it because it was about four meters high. Then there was the roof with a bulb hanging from it which was on continuously day and night. Then the floor with a mattress 2-3 inches thick, a blanket, a worn off pillow, a plastic plate, a bottle for water, and an empty bottle just in case. And then there was a Quran

In this environment there is nothing to do and nothing to read but the Quran, and that is when the Quran reveals it secrets. When the hearts are clean; when there is nothing clouding the spirit, the Quran literally overwhelms the heart.

Lahore Nama

I have found Lahoris particularly attached to their city. A blog dedicated to Lahore. Lahore Nama’s about page says:

 

Lahore, the ancient, magnificent city is a wonder of sorts. It has braved the vicissitudes of history, the upheavals of pre-historic and modern times and above all it continues to shine despite the negligence of its current residents and administrators.

This blog will post stories of Lahore – its past, present and visions for its future in the vain hope that there are some who will read and think and then act

[Huge thanks to Koonj.

Image: thanks to manitoon.]

Me in the Mirror

Last week we saw a bunch of self-critical posts. The trend continues, but the tone seems more positive this week. This is second and last in the series.

There has been some discussion about Black American Muslims.

Charles says:

It is my concern, but not mine alone, that Blackamerican Muslims(BAMs) in the US are quite torn between several ideologies, methodologies, and postulates concerning their current position in relation to immigrant, second-generation(GEN II), and ‘foreign’ Muslims.

[...]

When are BAMs going to acknowledge that we do not have concrete leadership? Or when and if we do reach that point, that our leadership may not take the stance of all the other Muslims?

[...]

There is no better time than now for BAMs to start plotting their own course to reach their Islamic ideal. It does not mean incorporating supremacist ideology or shifting blame from White America to Muslim-immigrant America. However, as has been witnessed in circles all around the country, there are outside influences which will impede the progress of BAMs. The jagged little pill is that BAMs are not quite sure how to create a healthy separation to foster the maturation through self-actualization I often speak of.

Marc writes, on the BAM issue:

A quick scan of the Muslim blogosphere, particularly the Blackamerican blogs, renders a mixture of angst, indignation, soul searching and a mixed bag of other emotions. To put it simply, [Black]American Muslims are having an existential crisis. From lack of authority to lack of learning, Modernity circles the camp, constantly threatening, constantly throwing confusion into the mix.

[...]

For me, my part was to get directly involved in the game. Over the past several months, I have come into contact with a variety of Muslims who have been earnestly seeking out some type of guidance. Everything from new Muslims who have been left in a state of dysfunction after the big hoorah of their shahadah to Muslims whove fallen off the wagon but are searching out some rehabilitation.

Mahaguru on the Malaysian government:

Everytime I arrive at the Butterworth Bus Terminal, I cringe with anticipating the express bus that I am in toppling over as it’s tyres descend into the many potholes reminiscent of the bomb blasted airport runway craters of Beirut.

[...]

What good did that blasting into space of that doctor cum part time model into orbit and eventually doing his thingamajig at the International Space Station do for Malaysians?

Many Malaysians are suffering here on Earth and we have the BN clowns at Putrajaya burning money like what people do during the Hungry Ghosts Festival?

Only difference is that these Putrajaya clowns burn real money!

And following up on the old post, Amy on the half filled glass:

To start with, the obscure new rule about strollers not being allowed in the building–somehow the word did get out and the sisters are cooperating. MaashaaAllah. May Allah reward the sisters who repeatedly had to explain this rule, and the sisters who are following it. Strollers are a problem because they block hallways and doorways–which can be a real safety hazard.

In addition the volunteer sisters last night were determined to keep food out of the new prayer area–that didn’t make most people very happy, but it’s something that must be vigilantly enforced, I think. Refreshments, you see, were being served across the hall, and naturally some wanted to return to the prayer hall with their food but they were kept out, and the sisters who kept them out often had to be strong in that but they were also polite, so I commend them. MaashaaAllah. May Allah reward them for setting that good example.

(Editor’s note: You must have noticed that the views are not exactly in sync with each other, nor with that of the IJTEMA team. They are chosen to give a window to different views within the Ummah. The choice is yours.)