Technology Helps Muslims Celebrate `Eid
Yusuf Estes explains the use of latest technology in presenting Islam in English language. Today, more than at any other time in history, the Muslims find themselves in a most critical condition. Since the end of the Islamic empire in 1922, there really has been no actual world wide network for Islam or Muslims on the television, radio or newsprint. It seemed hopeless for the Muslims to effectively communicate the message of Islam on a global basis, until the Internet came along. <read the whole story - click the 'read' link>
|A popular expression says, "When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." For many Muslims celebrating `Eid Al-Adha away from family, friends, or community, that window is the Internet.|
"My community does not have an outreach [program] to the elderly or disabled," said Linda D. Delgado, founder of the Islamic Writers Alliance, referring to those who cannot make it to prayers at the mosque or community picnics and dinners. "I am pretty much homebound with my disabilities, and the Internet is my way to 'greet' other Muslims on `Eid."
Delgado, a retired police officer who lives in Tempe, Arizona, reverted to Islam at the age of 52, after hosting two police officers from Saudi Arabia in her home nearly eight years ago. After praying the `Eid prayer at home, she likes listening to the adthan and spends part of the day sending e-cards to what she calls her Muslim "cyber-family" of friends online.
One of Delgado's most pleasant `Eid memories happened when a cyber-friend sent her a set of pictures drawn by her children. "They were drawings of themselves - little children stick-like people waving at me and saying 'Happy `Eid, Auntie.' I put them up on my walls every year for `Eid."
`Eid and Dawah
Sheikh Yusuf Estes, a former Christian preacher and retired chaplain for the US Bureau of Prisons who is now active in dawah (inviting of Islam), uses the Internet to reach out to people around the globe. To date, he has registered more than 4,300 domain names, including ChatIslam.com, which provides a venue for people to learn about Islam in a carefully moderated "live" environment. The chatroom is open year-round, including the days of `Eid.
"People come from all around the world to congratulate each other," said a web designer to IslamOnline.net who works closely with Sheikh Estes on his sites and preferred to remain anonymous. "We've had instances where there were some reverts who didn't have any mosques around their towns. They would spend their time in the chatroom, where they could meet more Muslims."
Sheikh Estes uses different methods on his sites to make the practice of Islam fun and accessible. At 2Eids.com, for example, one can print out a list of good deeds that are recommend for Muslims to perform on the occasion of `Eid. "Bring joy to your surroundings," reads one item on the list, "The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had an excellent sense of humor and was often found putting a smile on another person's face."
"Use of the Internet has definitely benefited us as Muslims in our effort to bring about a better understanding, not only for [non-Muslims and those new to Islam], but also for those who were born into Islam, as well," Sheikh Estes told IslamOnline.net.
"The world wide web has proven to me time and again how very inexpensive it is to provide our side of the story for folks all around the world. It does take some time, imagination, creative ability, artistic design, hours of sitting and typing, constant daily updating, and a whole lot of patience at the same time. But, when you consider the rewards both here and Hereafter, you can't find a better deal anywhere."