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Posts Tagged ‘internet’

I’m assuming most sisters reading this have already taken their shahadah; or are very close to doing so. It is unanimously agreed that a person doesn’t have to have an in-depth knowledge of the deen; only to know the very basic pre-requisites of it that Allaah is the only true God worthy of worship and Muhammed Salalahu Alaihi Was Sallam [commonly translated as ‘Peace be Upon him’] is His Messenger. So often sisters come to the deen with little but the most basic of knowledge; that is if you’re blessed enough to come to the deen with those who have knowledge; or with anyone at all. The shahadah as opposed to common misconceptions can be said privately; although it is recommended to make it public due to reasons of being recognised publically as a Muslim; which is necessary in cases of going on Hajj or Umrah; also any one of us could die at any time and in order to have the correct Islamic burial it is important to be known as being amongst the Muslim Ummah. I took my shahadah online at a time when I was not really around many Muslims; the book I learnt the salah from was a book I had been allowed to borrow from my non-Muslim school by my R.E. teacher; although it is a book used by many madrasahs and the like in the UK; it did contain some errors and cultural beliefs that I found quite confusing. For a long time after becoming Muslim I knew about the word Tawheed; but not what it entailed; as for the word Aqeedah I didn’t understand what it meant until about 3 years later. I just read a random array of books; some authentic, some highly dubious and many on topics that are not even required knowledge. This is coming from someone who studied Islam; to a level I thought to be very thorough at the time, for two and a half years before saying my shahadah! How wrong I was!

After taking your shahadah the first thing you should do is learn enough to enable yourself to practice Islam properly; and to protect yourself from incorrect beliefs; or even Shirk (associating partners with Allaah; which is unforgiveable without repentence). This may seem like a gargantuan task; but with the correct intention, [or niyyah] InshaAllaah it can be done very easily. Of course no-one becomes an expert overnight; we are just talking about the basics here. If you are blessed enough to have a good community; and a good sound masjid or centre close to you; take advantage of any classes or circles for new Muslims they offer; the added benefit of this is; you may also get to meet new sisters on your wavelength; or other more experienced sisters who can share their wisdom with you. If you aren’t blessed enough to have a good community around you; for whatever reason then MashaAllaah while not the ideal; there are always other means such as books, CD lectures, and the internet.

InshaAllaah I will cover recommended books and CD lectures in a future post. What I will cover here is the internet. If used correctly; the internet can be a fantastic resource for learning. However; there are some common mistakes in seeking knowledge ‘online’ and I will cover these; before covering the obvious pros of learning online.

  • Joining social networking sites; such as Myspace and Facebook with the sole aim of learning Islamic knowledge [‘ilm] from them. While such sites serve a purpose; in meeting like-minded sisters, and this is what I use them for in a limited capacity myself; to rely on them for genuine authentic Islamic knowledge; is a mistake. There are all types of people on there; some even from groups such as The Nation of Islam (who are not Muslims at all; by consensus) yet their religion says ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam’. Also such sites can take up your valuable learning time; with learning nothing at all. Thirdly such sites are full of fitnah [trials and tribulations], free-mixing which is not permitted in Islam and many other things such as music playing on the page; impermissible images etc. If you’re a very new-Muslim to be bombarded with such mixed messages; can be too much.
  • Going into general chat rooms; and expecting to learn from them. The only chat rooms I would recommend are the Paltalk rooms such as ‘salafi publications’, ‘Understanding Islam’ (found in social issues) and the ones of various smaller masajid [mosques] upon the correct understanding; in various countries. In the distant past I used to make the mistake of going on general Islamic or even just Arab chat rooms; and expected to learn my deen; instead I got harassed by brothers, got told a lot of falsehoods and ended up being banned by my non-Muslim folks from going online at all due to me being so het up; which didn’t give them a great impression of Islam at the time; I’m sure. Another mistake is those new to the deen; with very little knowledge; going into such rooms to refute people or argue with them. Don’t, these people have probably already made up their minds about what ever they believe; and if you don’t know entirely what you’re talking about you could say something incorrect or misleading. Even the scholars do not debate in this manner; which is just a big waste of time.
  • ‘Free-mixing’ online. This follows on from the previous two, free-mixing between unrelated men and women (and unrelated includes anyone you’re allowed to marry, including cousins) is not permissible in Islam. Of course most of us know this; but when it comes to the internet; a lot of us forget. A lot of impermissible mixing goes on in chat rooms, forums and other places; just because you are not face to face with the brother; does not mean it is ok. Such rules are only in place to protect us; as Muslim sisters. There are unfortunately unscrupulous brothers online; and I have come across sisters known personally to me who have met a seemingly pious brother online; whom they ended up sleeping with outside of marriage; which is a major, major sin. In other cases the sister has gone on to marry such a brother; and found he was not as he claimed.
  • Taking knowledge from any site that comes up in Google and ‘going with it’; I know it sounds funny but i have seen this done. However I’m sure we all know that the way Google works is on what is most popular; not what is most authentic. Just as I am sure you wouldn’t diagnose yourself with an illness; via a page you found on google; you wouldn’t take knowledge of the deen from any old page. The most troubling thing is even the dodgy pages have daleel [textual evidences] and often from authentic sources; but unless you know the source it is hard to distinguish what has been taken out of context; or misquoted from what is authentic and genuine. I am not saying don’t use Google; but just use caution and if you find an article; check its credentials; if you are in doubt then don’t take anything from it.

In part two I will continue InshaAllaah with the benefits of learning online; and ideal resources for learning InshaAllaah.

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