29
Oct
07

Muslims & the Internet : For Muslims, social networks bring new challenges

 

 

 

Are Muslim social networking sites viable and competitive enough to attract Muslim users from MySpace and Facebook? A group of new websites feels it is up to the challenge.

 

 

 

Feeling popular yet?

 

In the oft-cited glory days of the Islamic world, Muslim explorers like Ibn Battuta created vast networks around the world to promote trade and to learn about other cultures. The Silk Road Ibn Battuta travelled linked nations together in a way they never had before, changing them irrevocably and creating an interdependence that became the forerunner of today’s globalised world.

It’s hard to imagine what Ibn Battuta would think of today’s overly networked societies. Advances in transport, communication, and technology over the past century have made leaps beyond cultures instantaneous and accessible to nearly everyone. Commercial access and the free flow of money have been amplified immeasurably by the Internet. And on a personal level, online social networks have become the new frontier.

Among young people, these sites have proven themselves to be more popular than any other form of media. The rapid growth of FriendsterMySpace (now 160 million users and growing), led to the latter’s groundbreaking $580 million aqcuisition by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Facebook, which started as a network among Harvard students, is now the fastest growing social network site, adding some 150,000 users each day. All of these users form a valuable demographic for advertisers, which accounts in part for MySpace’s wildly speculative valuation.

For the ever increasing Muslim diaspora, the appeal of social networks has also become widespread. They have taken to them in droves, with over 2.1 million of them self identified by religion on MySpace alone. Scores of others have done so on Friendster (45 million total users) and Facebook (30 million total users). But it is this popularity that has spurred the formation of social networks that cater specifically for Muslims, with entrepreneurs seeking both to capitalise on a growing economic market and also aiming to provide services and protections for Muslims who feel that the freewheeling worlds of existing social networking sites aren’t sensitive to their needs. Sites like Naseeb.com, MuslimSpace.com, Muslimica, and the soon to be launched Mecca.com have approached these challenges in a variety of different ways with differing degrees of success.

“There are over 105 million Muslims online globally, and Internet adoption rates in Muslim countries are among the highest in the world,” says Sami Al-Taher, Mecca.com’s CEO. “It’s hard to believe that the only mainstream online communities available to us are based in the USA, and don’t resonate with the Muslim population around the world.” Naseeb.com, the first and currently largest of the Muslim social networking sites, has the most number of users, with over 320,000 so far. But others are catching up. MuslimSpace.com, a part of a Muslim portal called Muxlim, has 25,000 users and growing.

But what does a Muslim social network have to offer? For most users, it’s a sense of safety in numbers, with protection from content they find uncomfortable and a way to link with Muslims directly. “The aim of Muslim social networks is not necessarily to pull all Muslims away from general sites, but to complement users’ online experience with Muslim-oriented services, guidelines and features that they would not find otherwise in general communities,” explains Mohamed El-Fatatry, Muxlim.com’s CEO. “Each social network tends to have its own flavour and its own audience.” Saleem Baig, of Muslimica.com adds that he wants to “ensure Muslims from all over the world find a safe secure place to express themselves and their views.”

However, if a “safe” space implies that a user’s sensibilities are not offended, it doesn’t necessarily mean that views won’t be challenged. Even with the few Muslim sites available, there are variations in the aspects of “moral policing” that takes place. Naseeb.com is arguably the more liberal, with areas of the site dedicated to music and debate and less emphasis on monitoring content. But Muxlim.com makes it a key distinction. “Moral policing is one of the important aspects of Muslim-oriented sites, which I believe provides an extra degree of comfort to Muslim users who wish to use technology without crossing into grey areas of their values and ethics,” says El-Fatatry.

“Users are absolutely free to judge each other,” concurs Al-Taher. “That is part of what makes social networking and other online communities so engaging. People want to be free to express their opinions and to be heard. We encourage our users to be honest and open about their opinions.” Although a degree of these types of exchanges already occur between Muslims and non-Muslims on conventional sites, moderating it somewhat to attract a significant number of Muslims remains a primary motivator. Of course, many Muslim countries will moderate the sites anyway, potentially blocking access internally, as Facebook experienced recently in the relatively liberal U.A.E.

But like the main social networking sites, Muslim social networks are businesses that require economic viablity. The revenue potential from conventional social networks, particularly from advertising, varies wildly. Facebook claims they are on track to earn $1 billion/year by 2015. Friendster could have claimed the same at one point, but the company is now seen as having missed the revenue boat. Many of these sites rely on either their young, Western demographic (Facebook) or sheer numbers (MySpace) to attract the attention of marketers, but many users are becoming immune to ads that target them.

These issues are compounded for Muslim sites, which have to deal with targeted products and services that may be fewer in number and less developed than their secular counterparts. “Muslim businesses are currently too small or are simply not aware of the huge audience they can reach through advertising on Muslim network sites to reach their niche audiences,” says Muslimica’s Baig. Al-Taher is more optimistic. “We believe there are many ‘mature’ businesses that serve the Muslim community with exceptional products and services. However, it is true that these companies that have been leveraging limiting and antiquated media to reach prospective customers.” But if Muslim social networks can’t find enough funding to pass the startup phase, these theories may just be academic. Muxlim.com, in particular, has struggled to find Muslim investors.

Economics aside, the value of a Muslim social network may still be a hard sell. Any social network has to succeed on its utility and entertainment value. The argument for a safe space is understandable when viewed against the chaos of MySpace (where most “friends” can be anonymous and uninvited) but not necessarily with Facebook where friends are defined from the start as people you know directly. Muslims also may simply want to go where the buzz is, just like young people anywhere. In this regard, it’s far easier for well populated and well-designed non-Muslim sites to pull Muslim users in than vice versa. Facebook’s recent decision to open up its architecture to third party developers means that Muslims can create applications to modify the site’s functionality.

Recently, the Malaysian government criticised Britain’s Top Gear automotive show for buying a Malaysian-made Perodua Kalisa – a Muslim car, in other words – and blowing it up because it had “no soul.” The Kalisa, a budget car that sells for about $8,000 USD, may well suit the developing world, including Malaysia. But given the means, aspirational and increasingly affluent Muslim masses in Malaysia and elsewhere would gladly choose a Japanese or German make on the basis of quality, innovation, and branding. The marketing of a Muslim product alternative to Muslims means little if it is perceived as a pale imitation of a superior original.

For the young Muslim social networks available, this factor is both a warning and a challenge. To succeed in an increasingly crowded marketplace, developing a “soul” may be all they need – the “soul” of Ibn Battuta or the “soul” of the next big thing.

Zahed Amanullah is associate editor of altmuslim.com. He is based in London, England.


11 Responses to “Muslims & the Internet : For Muslims, social networks bring new challenges”


  1. July 1, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    i am abdullah Mughal
    my E-mail is abdullah mughal1@yahoo.com..

  2. July 1, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

  3. July 1, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Knowledge is only through study.” While some knowledge can be gained from reading or casually listening to lectures, the best means to gain knowledge is through finding a qualified teacher and then setting up a systematic program of learning. Picking up a book or reading an article and trying to figure things out on our own is no substitute for learning from someone who has a direct link to our living tradition……..

  4. July 1, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    It is the sunna to learn the Qur’an under a teacher. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself was taught the Qur’an by Gibril (peace and blessings be upon him) for a great wisdom and as an example for us, though there was nothing preventing Allah Most High from simply revealing the whole Qur’an directly to His Beloved (Allah bless him and give him peace). This is how the Companions learned the Qur’an, and how it has been memorized and preserved to our times……

  5. July 2, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Sūrah Al-îijr

    Bismillāhir-Raúmānir-Raúeem

    1. Alif, Lām, Rā. These are the verses of the Book and a clear Qur’ān.

    2. Perhaps those who disbelieve will wish that they had been Muslims.

    3. Let them eat and enjoy themselves and be diverted by [false] hope, for they are going to know.

    4. And We did not destroy any city but that for it was a known decree.

    5. No nation will precede its term, nor will they remain thereafter.

    6. And they say,” O you upon whom the message has been sent down, indeed you are mad.

    7. Why do you not bring us the angels, if you should be among the truthful?”

    8. We do not send down the angels except with truth; and the disbelievers would not then be reprieved.

    9. Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’ān and indeed, We will be its guardian.

    10. And We had certainly sent [messengers] before you, [O Muúammad], among the sects of the former peoples.

    11. And no messenger would come to them except that they ridiculed him.

    12. Thus do We insert denial into the hearts of the criminals.

    13. They will not believe in it, while there has already occurred the precedent of the former peoples.

    14. And [even] if We opened to them a gate from the heaven and they continued therein to ascend,

    15. They would say, “Our eyes have only been dazzled. Rather, we are a people affected by magic.”

    16. And We have placed within the heaven great stars and have beautified it for the observers.

    17. And We have protected it from every devil expelled [from the mercy of Allāh]

    18. Except one who steals a hearing and is pursued by a clear burning flame.

    19. And the earth – We have spread it and cast therein firmly set mountains and caused to grow therein [something] of every well-balanced thing.

    20. And We have made for you therein means of living and [for] those for whom you are not providers.

    21. And there is not a thing but that with Us are its depositories, and We do not send it down except according to a known measure.

    22. And We have sent the fertilizing winds and sent down water from the sky and given you drink from it. And you are not its retainers.

    23. And indeed, it is We who give life and cause death, and We are the Inheritor.

    24. And We have already known the preceding [generations] among you, and We have already known the later [ones to come].

    25. And indeed, your Lord will gather them; indeed, He is Wise and Knowing.

    26. And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud.

    27. And the jinn We created before from scorching fire.

    28. And [mention, O Muúammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “I will create a human being out of clay from an altered black mud.

    29. And when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration.”

    30. So the angels prostrated – all of them entirely,

    31. Except Iblees, he refused to be with those who prostrated.

    32. [Allāh] said, O Iblees, what is [the matter] with you that you are not with those who prostrate?”

    33. He said, “Never would I prostrate to a human whom You created out of clay from an altered black mud.”

    34. [Allāh] said, “Then get out of it, for indeed, you are expelled.

    35. And indeed, upon you is the curse until the Day of Recompense.”

    36. He said,” My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.”

    37. [Allāh] said, “So indeed, you are of those reprieved

    38. Until the Day of the time well-known.”

    39. [Iblees] said, “My Lord, because You have put me in error, I will surely make [disobedience] attractive to them on earth, and I will mislead them all

    40. Except, among them, Your chosen servants.”

    41. [Allāh] said, “This is a path [of return] to Me [that is] straight.

    42. Indeed, My servants – no authority will you have over them, except those who follow you of the deviators.

    43. And indeed, Hell is the promised place for them all.

    44. It has seven gates; for every gate is of them a portion designated.”

    45. Indeed, the righteous will be within gardens and springs.

    46. [Having been told], “Enter it in peace, safe [and secure].”

    47. And We will remove whatever is in their breasts of resentment, [so they will be] brothers, on thrones facing each other.

    48. No fatigue will touch them therein, nor from it will they [ever] be removed.

    49. [O Muúammad], inform My servants that it is I who am the Forgiving, the Merciful.

    50. And that it is My punishment which is the painful punishment.

    51. And inform them about the guests of Abraham,

    52. When they entered upon him and said, “Peace.” [Abraham] said, “Indeed, we are fearful of you.”

    53. [The angels] said, “Fear not. Indeed, we give you good tidings of a learned boy.”

    54. He said, “Have you given me good tidings although old age has come upon me? Then of what [wonder] do you inform?”

    55. They said, “We have given you good tidings in truth, so do not be of the despairing.”

    56. He said, “And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except for those astray?”

    57. [Abraham] said, “Then what is your business [here], O messengers?”

    58. They said, “Indeed, we have been sent to a people of criminals,

    59. Except the family of Lot; indeed, we will save them all

    60. Except his wife.” Allāh decreed that she is of those who remain behind.

    61. And when the messengers came to the family of Lot,

    62. He said, “Indeed, you are people unknown.”

    63. They said, “But we have come to you with that about which they were disputing,

    64. And we have come to you with truth, and indeed, we are truthful.

    65. So set out with your family during a portion of the night and follow behind them and let not anyone among you look back and continue on to where you are commanded.”

    66. And We conveyed to him [the decree] of that matter: that those [sinners] would be eliminated by early morning.

    67. And the people of the city came rejoicing.

    68. [Lot] said, “Indeed, these are my guests, so do not shame me.

    69. And fear Allāh and do not disgrace me.”

    70. They said, “Have we not forbidden you from [protecting] people?”

    71. [Lot] said, “These are my daughters – if you would be doers [of lawful marriage].”

    72. By your life, [O Muúammad], indeed they were, in their intoxication, wandering blindly.

    73. So the shriek seized them at sunrise.

    74. And We made the highest part [of the city] its lowest and rained upon them stones of hard clay.

    75. Indeed in that are signs for those who discern.

    76. And indeed, those cities are [situated] on an established road.

  6. July 2, 2011 at 12:01 am

    77. Indeed in that is a sign for the believers.

    78. And the companions of the thicket were [also] wrongdoers.

    79. So We took retribution from them, and indeed, both [cities] are on a clear highway.

    80. And certainly did the companions of Thamūd deny the messengers.

    81. And We gave them Our signs, but from them they were turning away.

    82. And they used to carve from the mountains, houses, feeling secure.

    83. But the shriek seized them at early morning.

    84. So nothing availed them [from] what they used to earn.

    85. And We have not created the heavens and earth and that between them except in truth. And indeed, the Hour is coming; so forgive with gracious forgiveness.

    86. Indeed, your Lord – He is the Knowing Creator.

    87. And We have certainly given you, [O Muúammad], seven of the often repeated [verses] and the great Qur’ān.

    88. Do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [certain] categories of the disbelievers, and do not grieve over them. And lower your wing to the believers

    89. And say, “Indeed, I am the clear warner” –

    90. Just as We had revealed [scriptures] to the separators

    91. Who have made the Qur’ān into portions.

    92. So by your Lord, We will surely question them all

    93. About what they used to do.

    94. Then declare what you are commanded and turn away from the polytheists.

    95. Indeed, We are sufficient for you against the mockers

    96. Who make [equal] with Allāh another deity. But they are going to know.

    97. And We already know that your breast is constrained by what they say.

    98. So exalt [Allāh] with praise of your Lord and be of those who prostrate [to Him].

    99. And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death).

  7. July 2, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Sūrah An-Naúl

    Bismillāhir-Raúmānir-Raúeem

    1. The command of Allāh is coming, so be not impatient for it. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.

    2. He sends down the angels, with the inspiration of His command, upon whom He wills of His servants, [telling them], “Warn that there is no deity except Me; so fear Me.”

    3. He created the heavens and earth in truth. High is He above what they associate with Him.

    4. He created man from a sperm-drop; then at once, he is a clear adversary.

    5. And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat.

    6. And for you in them is [the enjoyment of] beauty when you bring them in [for the evening] and when you send them out [to pasture].

    7. And they carry your loads to a land you could not have reached except with difficulty to yourselves. Indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful.

    8. And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know.

    9. And upon Allāh is the direction of the [right] way, and among the various paths are those deviating. And if He willed, He could have guided you all.

    10. It is He who sends down rain from the sky; from it is drink and from it is foliage in which you pasture [animals].

    11. He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.

    12. And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are subjected by His command. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason.

    13. And [He has subjected] whatever He multiplied for you on the earth of varying colors. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who remember.

    14. And it is He who subjected the sea for you to eat from it tender meat and to extract from it ornaments which you wear. And you see the ships plowing through it, and [He subjected it] that you may seek of His bounty; and perhaps you will be grateful.

    15. And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided,

    16. And landmarks. And by the stars they are [also] guided.

    17. Then is He who creates like one who does not create? So will you not be reminded?

    18. And if you should count the favors of Allāh, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allāh is Forgiving and Merciful.

    19. And Allāh knows what you conceal and what you declare.

    20. And those they invoke other than Allāh create nothing, and they [themselves] are created.

    21. They are, [in fact], dead, not alive, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected.

    22. Your god is one God. But those who do not believe in the Hereafter – their hearts are disapproving, and they are arrogant.

    23. Assuredly, Allāh knows what they conceal and what they declare. Indeed, He does not like the arrogant.

    24. And when it is said to them, “What has your Lord sent down?” They say, “Legends of the former peoples,”

    25. That they may bear their own burdens in full on the Day of Resurrection and some of the burdens of those whom they misguide without knowledge. Unquestionably, evil is that which they bear.

    26. Those before them had already plotted, but Allāh came at their building from the foundations, so the roof fell upon them from above them, and the punishment came to them from where they did not perceive.

    27. Then on the Day of Resurrection He will disgrace them and say, “Where are My ‘partners’ for whom you used to oppose [the believers]?” Those who were given knowledge will say, “Indeed disgrace, this Day, and evil are upon the disbelievers” –

    28. The ones whom the angels take in death [while] wronging themselves, and [who] then offer submission, [saying], “We were not doing any evil.” But, yes! Indeed, Allāh is Knowing of what you used to do.

    29. So enter the gates of Hell to abide eternally therein, and how wretched is the residence of the arrogant.

    30. And it will be said to those who feared Allāh, “What did your Lord send down?” They will say, “[That which is] good.” For those who do good in this world is good; and the home of the Hereafter is better. And how excellent is the home of the righteous –

    31. Gardens of perpetual residence, which they will enter, beneath which rivers flow. They will have therein whatever they wish. Thus does Allāh reward the righteous –

    32. The ones whom the angels take in death, [being] good and pure; [the angels] will say, “Peace be upon you. Enter Paradise for what you used to do.”

    33. Do the disbelievers await [anything] except that the angels should come to them or there comes the command of your Lord? Thus did those do before them. And Allāh wronged them not, but they had been wronging themselves.

    34. So they were struck by the evil consequences of what they did and were enveloped by what they used to ridicule.

    35. And those who associate others with Allāh say, “If Allāh had willed, we would not have worshipped anything other than Him, neither we nor our fathers, nor would we have forbidden anything through other than Him.” Thus did those do before them. So is there upon the messengers except [the duty of] clear notification?

    36. And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], “Worship Allāh and avoid ‹āghūt.” And among them were those whom Allāh guided, and among them were those upon whom error was [deservedly] decreed. So proceed through the earth and observe how was the end of the deniers.

    37. [Even] if you should strive for their guidance, [O Muúammad], indeed, Allāh does not guide those He sends astray, and they will have no helpers.

    38. And they swear by Allāh their strongest oaths [that] Allāh will not resurrect one who dies. But yes – [it is] a true promise [binding] upon Him, but most of the people do not know.

    39. [It is] so He will make clear to them [the truth of] that wherein they differ and so those who have disbelieved may know that they were liars.

    40. Indeed, Our word to a thing when We intend it is but that We say to it, “Be,” and it is.

    41. And those who emigrated for [the cause of] Allāh after they had been wronged – We will surely settle them in this world in a good place; but the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if only they could know.

    42. [They are] those who endured patiently and upon their Lord relied.

    43. And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the message if you do not know.

    44. [We sent them] with clear proofs and written ordinances. And We revealed to you the message that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought.

    45. Then, do those who have planned evil deeds feel secure that Allāh will not cause the earth to swallow them or that the punishment will not come upon them from where they do not perceive?

    46. Or that He would not seize them during their [usual] activity, and they could not cause failure?

    47. Or that He would not seize them gradually [in a state of dread]? But indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful.

    48. Have they not considered what things Allāh has created? Their shadows incline to the right and to the left, prostrating to Allāh, while they are humble.

    49. And to Allāh prostrates whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth of creatures, and the angels [as well], and they are not arrogant.

    50. They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded.

    51. And Allāh has said, “Do not take for yourselves two deities. He is but one God, so fear only Me.”

    52. And to Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth, and to Him is [due] worship constantly. Then is it other than Allāh that you fear?

    53. And whatever you have of favor – it is from Allāh. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help.

    54. Then when He removes the adversity from you, at once a party of you associates others with their Lord

    55. So they will deny what We have given them. Then enjoy yourselves, for you are going to know.

    56. And they assign to what they do not know a portion of that which We have provided them. By Allāh, you will surely be questioned about what you used to invent.

    57. And they attribute to Allāh daughters – exalted is He – and for them is what they desire.

    58. And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief.

    59. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.

    60. For those who do not believe in the Hereafter is the description of evil; and for Allāh is the highest attribute. And He is Exalted in Might, the Wise.

    61. And if Allāh were to impose blame on the people for their wrongdoing, He would not have left upon the earth any creature, but He defers them for a specified term. And when their term has come, they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it].

    62. And they attribute to Allāh that which they dislike, and their tongues assert the lie that they will have the best [from Him]. Assuredly, they will have the Fire, and they will be [therein] neglected.

    63. By Allāh, We did certainly send [messengers] to nations before you, but Satan made their deeds attractive to them. And he is the disbelievers’ ally today [as well], and they will have a painful punishment.

    64. And We have not revealed to you the Book, [O Muúammad], except for you to make clear to them that wherein they have differed and as guidance and mercy for a people who believe.

    65. And Allāh has sent down rain from the sky and given life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who listen.

    66. And indeed, for you in grazing livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from what is in their bellies – between excretion and blood – pure milk, palatable to drinkers.

    67. And from the fruits of the palm trees and grapevines you take intoxicant and good provision. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who reason.

    68. And your Lord inspired to the bee, “Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct.

    69. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you].” There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.

    70. And Allāh created you; then He will take you in death. And among you is he who is reversed to the most decrepit [old] age so that he will not know, after [having had] knowledge, a thing. Indeed, Allāh is Knowing and Competent.

    71. And Allāh has favored some of you over others in provision. But those who were favored would not hand over their provision to those whom their right hands possess so they would be equal to them therein. Then is it the favor of Allāh they reject?

    72. And Allāh has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren and has provided for you from the good things. Then in falsehood do they believe and in the favor of Allāh they disbelieve?

    73. And they worship besides Allāh that which does not possess for them [the power of] provision from the heavens and the earth at all, and [in fact], they are unable.

    74. So do not assert similarities to Allāh. Indeed, Allāh knows and you do not know.

    75. Allāh presents an example: a slave [who is] owned and unable to do a thing and he to whom We have provided from Us good provision, so he spends from it secretly and publicly. Can they be equal? Praise to Allāh! But most of them do not know.

    76. And Allāh presents an example of two men, one of them dumb and unable to do a thing, while he is a burden to his guardian. Wherever he directs him, he brings no good. Is he equal to one who commands justice, while he is on a straight path?

    77. And to Allāh belongs the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth. And the command for the Hour is not but as a glance of the eye or even nearer. Indeed, Allāh is over all things competent.

    78. And Allāh has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful.

    79. Do they not see the birds controlled in the atmosphere of the sky? None holds them up except Allāh. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe.

    80. And Allāh has made for you from your homes a place of rest and made for you from the hides of the animals tents which you find light on your day of travel and your day of encampment; and from their wool, fur and hair is furnishing and enjoyment for a time.

    81. And Allāh has made for you, from that which He has created, shadows and has made for you from the mountains, shelters and has made for you garments which protect you from the heat and garments which protect you from your [enemy in] battle. Thus does He complete His favor upon you that you might submit [to Him].

    82. But if they turn away, [O Muúammad] – then only upon you is [responsibility for] clear notification.

    83. They recognize the favor of Allāh; then they deny it. And most of them are disbelievers.

    84. And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect from every nation a witness. Then it will not be permitted to the disbelievers [to apologize or make excuses], nor will they be asked to appease [Allāh].

    85. And when those who wronged see the punishment, it will not be lightened for them, nor will they be reprieved.

    86. And when those who associated others with Allāh see their “partners,” they will say,” Our Lord, these are our partners [to You] whom we used to invoke besides You.” But they will throw at them the statement, “Indeed, you are liars.”

    87. And they will impart to Allāh that Day [their] submission, and lost from them is what they used to invent.

    88. Those who disbelieved and averted [others] from the way of Allāh – We will increase them in punishment over [their] punishment for what corruption they were causing.

    89. And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect among every nation a witness over them from themselves. And We will bring you, [O Muúammad], as a witness over your nation. And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.

    90. Indeed, Allāh orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

    91. And fulfill the covenant of Allāh when you have taken it, [O believers], and do not break oaths after their confirmation while you have made Allāh, over you, a witness. Indeed, Allāh knows what you do.

    92. And do not be like she who untwisted her spun thread after it was strong [by] taking your oaths as [means of] deceit between you because one community is more plentiful [in number or wealth] than another community. Allāh only tries you thereby. And He will surely make clear to you on the Day of Resurrection that over which you used to differ.

    93. And if Allāh had willed, He could have made you [of] one religion, but He causes to stray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about what you used to do.

    94. And do not take your oaths as [means of] deceit between you, lest a foot slip after it was [once] firm, and you would taste evil [in this world] for what [people] you diverted from the way of Allāh, and you would have [in the Hereafter] a great punishment.

    95. And do not exchange the covenant of Allāh for a small price. Indeed, what is with Allāh is best for you, if only you could know.

    96. Whatever you have will end, but what Allāh has is lasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do.

    97. Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.

    98. So when you recite the Qur’ān, [first] seek refuge in Allāh from Satan, the expelled [from His mercy].

    99. Indeed, there is for him no authority over those who have believed and rely upon their Lord.

    100. His authority is only over those who take him as an ally and those who through him associate others with Allāh.

    101. And when We substitute a verse in place of a verse – and Allāh is most knowing of what He sends down – they say, “You, [O Muúammad], are but an inventor [of lies].” But most of them do not know.

    102. Say, [O Muúammad], “The Pure Spirit has brought it down from your Lord in truth to make firm those who believe and as guidance and good tidings to the Muslims.”

    103. And We certainly know that they say, “It is only a human being who teaches the Prophet.” The tongue of the one they refer to is foreign, and this Qur’ān is [in] a clear Arabic language.

    104. Indeed, those who do not believe in the verses of Allāh – Allāh will not guide them, and for them is a painful punishment.

    105. They only invent falsehood who do not believe in the verses of Allāh, and it is those who are the liars.

    106. Whoever disbelieves in Allāh after his belief… except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith. But those who [willingly] open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is wrath from Allāh, and for them is a great punishment;

    107. That is because they preferred the worldly life over the Hereafter and that Allāh does not guide the disbelieving people.

    108. Those are the ones over whose hearts and hearing and vision Allāh has sealed, and it is those who are the heedless.

    109. Assuredly, it is they, in the Hereafter, who will be the losers.

    110. Then, indeed your Lord, to those who emigrated after they had been compelled [to renounce their religion] and thereafter fought [for the cause of Allāh] and were patient – indeed, your Lord, after that, is Forgiving and Merciful

    111. On the Day when every soul will come disputing for itself, and every soul will be fully compensated for what it did, and they will not be wronged.

    112. And Allāh presents an example: a city which was safe and secure, its provision coming to it in abundance from every location, but it denied the favors of Allāh. So Allāh made it taste the envelopment of hunger and fear for what they had been doing.

    113. And there had certainly come to them a Messenger from among themselves, but they denied him; so punishment overtook them while they were wrongdoers.

    114. Then eat of what Allāh has provided for you [which is] lawful and good. And be grateful for the favor of Allāh, if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.

    115. He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allāh. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit] – then indeed, Allāh is Forgiving and Merciful.

    116. And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, “This is lawful and this is unlawful,” to invent falsehood about Allāh. Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allāh will not succeed.

    117. [It is but] a brief enjoyment, and they will have a painful punishment.

    118. And to those who are Jews We have prohibited that which We related to you before. And We did not wrong them [thereby], but they were wronging themselves.

    119. Then, indeed your Lord, to those who have done wrong out of ignorance and then repent after that and correct themselves – indeed, your Lord, thereafter, is Forgiving and Merciful.

    120. Indeed, Abraham was a [comprehensive] leader, devoutly obedient to Allāh, inclining toward truth, and he was not of those who associate others with Allāh.

    121. [He was] grateful for His favors. Allāh chose him and guided him to a straight path.

    122. And We gave him good in this world, and indeed, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous.

    123. Then We revealed to you, [O Muúammad], to follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth; and he was not of those who associate with Allāh.

    124. The sabbath was only appointed for those who differed over it. And indeed, your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which they used to differ.

    125. Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.

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Stefan Rosty Founded TruthBooth22.04.07

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“Virtual Insanity”

That's not nature's way Well that's what they said yesterday There's nothing left to do but pray I think it's time I found a new religion Waoh - it's so insane To synthesize another strain There's something in these Futures that we have to be told. JAMIROQUAI

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