Assalaamualaikum (peace be upon you) Brothers and Sisters in Islam,
Have you ever received emails with titles such as above? I bet you have. And mostly it is from a close friend, a family member or an acquaintance in your office.
They forwarded it since it has some messages that needs to be spread among other Muslims. A part of it are reminders to us, which is a very good thing to receive every once in a while. But half of the time, it is about some pictures or websites that is provocative against Islam, or just plain anti-Islam. In this entry I would like to take you to have a look into this phenomenon. If you haven’t know already, there is a possibility that the act of forwarding such messages itself is ironically most damaging to Islam!
Among these are the messages that have links to such provocative websites.
“Go to this website to see for yourself the shocking pictures of anti-Islam!”
“Brothers and sisters, click to this link and see for yourselves the shocking article defaming Islam!”
All too often we get such messages, and we readily click to the website to ‘confirm’ the news. (Curiosity at its best, I guess)
Yes, most probably the site/article is owned by a (Islam-hating) non-Muslim. No surprises there. BUT, for all we know, the one who started the message thread might also be one of them too!
Why would they do such a thing?
For those who don’t know much about the internet (as if I know that much), allow me to explain how the system works. Every anti-Islam website, similar to other websites, wants their website to be known. They want to spread the word (because they think they are right, I guess). To be known easily, there website have to be in the first page, or better still the first page’s top list of search engines, when people type such word as ‘Islam’, for instance. This is because people will generally just search the few first pages in the search engine only, before maybe typing another keyword to search.
To be on the top list is determined by how many clicks or visitors that have visited that site. The more visits you get, the higher in the list you will be. You don’t necessarily have to like the website, but just merely visiting it automatically registers you as a visitor.
Well known TRUE Islamic websites are mostly in the top list (such as islamonline.net, etc), but by generating more clicks and visits, these fake Islamic websites can sit side by side with the real ones, thus can create confusion.
These websites need people to introduce their website, as widespread and as effective as possible (since they are not as famous as the real Islamic websites). And what better candidate then Muslims like us, whom are predictably emotional when it comes to issues concerning Islam and our Prophet (peace be upon him), and whom will not hesitate to forward it to as much acquaintances as possible!
By gaining a lot of clicks (even though from people who hate the website, like us), especially for the websites that the anti-Islam propaganda is very subtle, they get two benefits. One is to cause confusion amongst Muslims, and two, it will stray away the non-Muslims who are interested in Islam.
“Muslims worship the moon god, Allah. Thus, the symbol of Islam is the crescent moon…” (totally false!)
I have seen with my own eyes information such as above written in such websites. Though it is not provocative, its subtlety leads people who are just beginning to understand Islam astray! Because it does not condemn Islam directly, people can’t differentiate the truth from the false.
Shamefully I have made this kind of mistakes again and again before, not knowingly being an agent to spread the anti-Islam propaganda.
So beloved brothers and sisters, I ask you to please restrain your curiosity to see for yourself what are the so-called ‘so shocking’ pictures/articles for the sake of Islam! You are indirectly contributing to the propaganda!
I agree that this websites should be known to all of us to avoid that website in the future. But my suggestion is that we put in the end of such messages for the people to NOT click/visit the website (with explanations as to why), as it will contribute to the website being in the top list.
Lastly, beloved brothers and sisters, do not be intimidated by such messages, and act rationally with a cool head, before we deem a received message worthy to pass around as reminders to other Muslims. AlhamdulIllah (praise be to Allah) that we still have our love of our religion, but that does not mean that we should act emotionally. That is not the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) way. Muslims should be proactive, not reactive!
The Prophet (peace be upon him) once said;
“A believer is not bitten in the same hole twice”
[Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim]
And an old English saying goes;
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Let’s be more careful from now on, for the love of our religion!
Your brother in Islam,