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Nov 16

Cannot recommend the Ummah1 Forum

The Ummah1.com Ning network, also found at http://ummah1.ning.com, was founded last year, and I was one of the early members, having joined in January 2009.  The website grew to almost 3,000 members, predominantly African-American, but also with a scattering of members of other ethnicities and nationalities. Members share personal photos and Islamic videos, make friends, and discuss Islamic issues through the forum.

At first I enjoyed my time on the site and made frequent use of the forum. I also connected with a few old friends who happened to join the site.

However, the forum on Ummah1 is unmoderated, and in recent months it has become an acrimonious and unhealthy place. Three “anti-Sunnah” activists, one of whom masks his identity, have become dominant players on the forum. They bill themselves as “Quran only” adherents, denying the relevance or importance of the Sunnah in Islam, and referring to the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as “fairy tales.” They are aggressive in trying to silence or belittle anyone who stands for both Quran and Sunnah.

Alhamdulillah there are several rightly-guided Muslims who have opposed them, but the point is that every single discussion devolves into a debate or argument over this same issue.

On a different end of the extremist spectrum, there is one very active member who is highly anti-American (despite being an American himself) and often makes vitriolic and extreme statements.

In response to this state of affairs, I sent the following message to brother Bilal:

“Brother Bilal, wa alaykum as-salam. Thank you for adding your voice and clarifying your position. Brother, I know your intentions are good in wanting this site to be “inclusive” of people of all ways of thinking. However, I can tell you from many years of experience on the internet that if the forum is not moderated, the constant acrimony and divisiveness will make it unpalatable to most people.

It’s a fact there are certain people with corrupt ideologies and hidden agendas who frequent Islamic forums and attempt to confuse and divide the Muslims. It’s vital to the health of the forum that these people be weeded out.

You have stated that you accept the Quran as the word of Allah and the final revelation, and you accept Muhammad (pbuh) as the Messenger, and you accept his recorded authentic Sunnah and sound Hadith. The great majority of Muslims around the world agree with you on this matter. I suggest that this should be confirmed as the ideological foundation of the website, and the common ground that you propose, and those who do not agree with this position are free to go elsewhere. There are many debate-oriented forums created just to discuss such issues.

It’s not because I am unable to answer these corrupt individuals. I am very familiar with their ideologies, which have been promulgated in the West by the false prophet Rashad Khalifa and others, for many years. I just don’t care to spend my time arguing the same points over and over with someone who is not really interested in learning, but is only here to sow seeds of misguidance. I’m also not comfortable merely ignoring them, because I worry that some Muslims (for example new converts who may not have an extensive Islamic education) may fall for their lies.

Leave the Muslims on this forum free to discuss issues such as taqwa and imaan, da’wah, the pillars of Islam, family and marriage issues, gender relations, current affairs, the media, the struggle to practice Islam in this day and age, fiqh, tafseer of Quran, sunnah, and any other issues that may concern them.

Let us discuss these issues in a peaceful and constructive atmosphere, without this constant fitnah being sown by those who deny the validity of the Sunnah and other basic components of Islam.”

However, as of this writing (November 2009) no action has been taken to moderate the forum. Because of this, I do not recommend the Ummah1.com website, and I am much less active there. I particularly feel it is an unhealthy place for new Muslims or those who have little Islamic knowledge, as they may be misguided by some of these anti-Islamic activists. At the least they will find the forum to be an unhelpful and disappointing experience.

In my next post Insha’Allah I’ll take a look at an Islamic forum that is healthy and operating the way it should.

4 comments

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  1. Jamal Abdus Sobour

    Ma Salama

    Thank you brother for continuing to bring this most serious to the front. It should concern any rightly guided muslim who come across this understanding. It is bida and nawqul . keep up the determining stance against these people who continue to deviate.

    Jamal

  2. Dawan

    BismiAllahi

    We have noticed this link on google in the past, however disregarded it and never opened it because as an active participant and supporter of Ummah1, we definitely recommend the site. Curious about the high search engine ranking of the link, we recently decided to open it only to find that the author of this blog has gone to great lengths to discourage participation on Ummah1 based on extremely personal opinions that seem to contradict the proclaimed purpose of this blog. As we read through the rationale for the rants in this blog, the following points came to mind:

    Why would someone want to try and discourage the participation of over 3,000 current members and unlimited potentially new members based on input from three members?

    All Muslims do not interpret “Qur’an first” or “Qur’an only as rejecting the sunnah of The Prophet.

    Criticism of one so-called anti-sunnah activists for masking his identity, yet the author of the blogs identity is concealed.

    Emphasis is place on one Muslim making ant-American statements, without any reference as to whether or not the statements are true.

    Brother Bilal’s good intentions are acknowledged and subtly belittled for lack of moderation.

    The author of the blog takes the position of knowing better how Ummah1 should be run, yet is quick to abandon and publicly condemn the site over a few controversial posts.

    We could go on, however we share the author’s concern for unnecessary arguing over on these issues and will close by thanking and congratulating all of the faithful Ummah1 members and participants with good intentions and ask Allah to Forgive, Guide and Protect us from non-Islamic influences….Ameen!

    Allah U Alim
    dawan

  3. IslamicSearch.com

    Dawan, As-salamu alaykum. This blog was founded with the idea of providing objective reviews of Islamic websites, whether positive or negative. Unfortunately I’ve been busy with other projects and have not tended to this site much. The review of Ummah1 was written about four years ago and accurately reflected my experience at the time. Although the forum had great promise, ultimately I felt its effectiveness was hampered by the lack of moderation and the extreme views of some participants. Perhaps it has improved since then. If so, ma-sha-Allah, that’s good news. It was not my intention to “condemn” Ummah1. I simply did not recommend it, especially for new Muslims. If you want to see that as a “rant”, so be it. I stand by my statement.

    Finally, I have not concealed my identity deliberately. If you look at this website you’ll see that I’ve pointed to other sites I’ve created and personal projects I’m working on.

  4. Dawan

    Wa Alaikum Assalaam admin (author)

    Our response was intended as an objective reminder for us all to ponder and pay close attention to the language we choose to use because we never know how it may be interpreted!

    JazakAllah Khair

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