Dr Nasim Rehmatullah, In-Charge alislam.org
In 1995, alislam.org began as the first Jamaat venture into cyberspace and since then has had an orchestrated progression consistent with the directions of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh. We were the first to initiate streaming services which primarily streamed Khalifatul Masih’s Friday Sermons. This allowed people without access to satellite dishes to watch the Friday Sermon online. Later, Alislam launched an MTA app, which is now managed by MTA International.
Under further guidance from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, we have been blessed with the rapid growth of Alislam through the digitisation of Islamic content to include books, articles and audio-video content on various digital platforms. Alislam.org has become a reference library and our mission is to be the leading provider of authentic Islamic content to the world by helping people understand the unity of Allah and the unification of man under the banner of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa and his Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas Qadiani.
To arouse awareness about alislam.org and its vast library of materials, the initial thought was to use marketing via advertisements. However, we realised the better way to showcase alisam.org was to present it piece-by-piece through short discussion formats via various social media outlets.
So, the “Ask An Imam” programme was launched in 2012. Its primary purpose is to introduce viewers to alislam.org, showcase its content and to entice viewers to visit and utilise alislam.org. Different formats of the show are utilised such as showcasing a brief overview of alislam.org, introducing a feature or a book on the website, discussing a topic or two, and then taking a few questions from viewers.
Another format is covering the latest Friday Sermon of Khalifatul Masih Vaa where viewers are shown how to access the Friday Sermon, a brief talk is given about it and finally a few questions are answered.
A third format is to introduce a book such as Invitation to Ahmadiyyat, by Khalifatul Masih IIra, where small portions of the book are shown, discussed and questions answered.
Each “Ask an Imam” segment is about 30 minutes in length where the addition of thumbnails with titles and tags allows for easy searchability and accessibility. Additionally, using Restream, a professional platform that allows multi-streams to 30+ platforms, “Ask an Imam’” is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube simultaneously.
Initially, the start of the Ask an Imam programme was slow with only one or two missionaries making recordings. By the grace of God, we are now recording programmes in three languages (English, Urdu and Spanish) in multiple time zones by murabbis around the world in Canada, Colombia, New Zealand, Philippines and the United States.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa has directed murabbis to exercise caution when answering questions on fiqh and that they should defer responding to those questions if there is a concern about information accuracy. Murabbis can later check for accuracy from Jamaat resources and elders and then provide answers to those fiqh questions in future segments, ensuring accuracy holds true for all other topics as well.
One positive aspect of the pandemic is that it has propelled more people online and therefore, Alislam viewership has doubled and the websites digital traffic has increased.
Our Holy Quran applications are particularly popular with people contacting us more frequently and asking more about the website and Ahmadiyya Muslim beliefs. The complementary benefit is that murabbis are getting better at using alislam.org and answering questions more accurately which is attracting a wider and larger audience.
Alislam.org is a markaz (central) site which is based in the USA and is predominantly run almost entirely by volunteers from Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, the Philippines, the UK and the USA. The team consists of one full-time waqif-e-zindagi (life-devotee), a few murabbis who work part time and an incredible team of female volunteers.
As we’re always looking to make improvements, I would encourage you and your friends to check out “Ask an Imam” and provide your feedback. I would also request you to set alerts on the digital platforms of your choice so you don’t miss out on any of the “Ask an Imam” programmes.
The Alislam team is humbly committed to continuing its work by following the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community motto “Love for all, hatred for none” and as stated in Holy Quran chapter 19, verse 97:
اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ سَيَجۡعَلُ لَهُمُ الرَّحۡمٰنُ وُدًّا
“Those who believe and do good deeds – the Gracious [God] will create love in their [hearts].”
Below are links to access the “Ask an Islam” initiative.
• Facebook: alislaminternational – www.facebook.com/alislaminternational/
• Twitter: @alislam – https://twitter.com/alislam
• YouTube: Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – www.youtube.com/channel/UC6YAKW3p7RYFaRUv_cDHupA
• Twitch: www.twitch.tv/askanimam
• Twitter/Periscope: @islam_urdu – https://twitter.com/islam_urdu?s=08
• YouTube: Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat – www.youtube.com/channel/UCnMPp5IzDsSK930uvVPu5zw
• Facebook: Preguntenalimam – https://www.facebook.com/Preguntenalimam/
• YouTube: Pregunten Al Imam www.youtube.com/channel/UCcNKA4CKspt5u7tfkFFtgyw
• Twitter/Periscope: @preguntenalimam – https://www.periscope.tv/preguntenalimam/1MnxnlkozdYGO