One (by Benefit of Hindsight) Wow!

It has been nearly one year now since our first post on MuslimMatters.org. It seems like yesterday when we started rounding up like-minded writers to join students of knowledge in a blog that covered a variety of topics – from Islamic fiqh to politics to just carefree rants! Our goal was to fill, what we saw as, a gaping hole for mainstream moderate, yet “conservative”, Muslim opinion, upon the traditions of our faith, and to pull the discourse back from the fringe elements who seemed to have it all for themselves. :)

Some of our mundane achievements thus far: increasing readership almost 4-fold (and still growing), 200,000+ visitors (+ over half a million page views), ~200 authority on Technorati (+ ~1000 reactions/links to MM posts), 450+ RSS subscribers (between feed-burner and google), ~1000 members on our FB and googlegroups, and best of all: grabbing the attention and time of some of the brightest readers on the blogosphere (i.e. YOU). We also got into the Times UK's 30 most influential blogs, and had an honorable mention for best group blog on Brass Awards.

alhamdulillah, this is all only from Allah's blessing, and we are all cognizant and thankful of that, insha'Allah. May He continue to help us succeed through our service to the online Ummah – ameen!

Of course, all these achievements haven't been without mistakes, pitfalls and “sorry” posts. But it's a blog. Posts come in all varieties. Some are great, others maybe not that great :) Just the reality of things. Some of our other nags include: the blog layout/cover, over-aggressive/confused moderation at times, and other rookie mistakes. Thank you for your patience – we are still growing up. :)

We thought it would be a good idea to put together a top-10 list (in no particular order), and also mention some of our favorite readers/commentators:

10. Creating MM's Achilles' heel, but having it exorcised soon after.
9. Making new friendships & upsetting a few with this, while ruining others.
8. Lots of people hitting on MM about sex.
7. Commemorating a hero from VT, and a mad-scientist playing god.
6. Bringing stars down to earth, by paying respect to grassroot activism.
5. The Earth Complained, but women aren't far behind.
4. Tips on saving yourself from Banks, Media and Dead Ideas.
3. Waking people up to Islamophobia (many times) and talking about homegrown (what?).
2. Hitting up on controversies around Slavery, Zakat and Moonsighting.
1. Saving everyone's appetite & taste-buds for Doritos by halalifying them!

The staff voted for our favorite readers/commentators (i.e. YOU) and again in no particular order… (suspense…)

MOFW (multiple mentions), Dawud Israel, Sequoia, Aarij, Aboo Uthman, ExExBlogger & Hid. But this is just off the top of our head, so forgive us if we missed mentioning some of the other prolific commentators. :)

What we are thinking about for the future:
-Complete blog makeover (already in the process)
-Increasing participation of our specialist.
-New and different content, esp. audio-visual.
-New 1-stop RSS list of blogs
-New awards related to islamic content
-Attract more specialists
-More subject-matter experts
-Your suggestions?

Go ahead, it's your turn: tell us our goods, nags, suggestions for the future, and if you're up for it, how you can help us grow.

We love you all!

[Photo Credit: benefit of hindsight]

40 Responses

  1. Yasir Qadhi

    Celebrating Birthdays is not a Bid’ah :)

    One complaint that you didn’t mention: writers starting multi-series posts and then unceremoniously delaying them ;)

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  2. Amad

    Sheikh Sahib, that was what you might call a tongue-in-cheek or simply cheeky comment. I liked the ring of it.

    Multi-series posts: Salvification, Islamophobia, Sex & the Ummah… seems like you and me are dominating that list.

    Folks are awfully quite on this post… we can’t be that perfect??? Or that bad??

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  3. vindicated

    congrats.. keep up the good work! Love skimming through the posts every day.

    -one of the many not-so-vocal readers :P

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  4. Irum Sarfaraz

    Congratulations ten times over. Amazing achievement Masha Allah and a such a breath of fresh air for the oft accused ‘radically-conservative-outdated-Muslim’ like myself!

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  5. Mass

    Takbeer for your Blog.

    I suggest that you folks include more social science academic style posts on your blog and to poke Musa Maguire to post more often.

    and perhaps if you could get some discussions on Islamic Political Theory that would be great !

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  6. Tanveer

    We muslims are blessed that we have some dedicated and sincere people who put in their valuable efforts (thoughts, time and resource) in writing articles or blogs to ensure we are checked in with reality that most critical thing is to worship Allah subhanatalla

    Congratulations, I have been a silent reader for most of the past one year and have occasionally put my comments when I feel it makes sense to comment.

    Suggestion/comments/advice:
    As this blog or site is dedicated on MATTERS about muslim, I would request, suggest or advice the administrators or responsible folks to make sure that topics are relevant (like they have so far been) and conversation or dialog are constructive to benefit readers. At times blog topic is simple, but comments to-and-fro takes away from the initial point the writer makes. Comments portion of the blog is really misused at times by either commenting negatively, cursing and baseless arguments. We all forget the hadith to leave an argument for the sake of Allah even if we are right .

    PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT THIS DOES NOT BECOME a “MuslimCHATTERS.org” website.

    I understand responsibility lies at both sides writers and readers, but my suggestion is to come up with rules to make it that way, so that we use this website to LEARN not to abuse our learning.

    Jazakallah Khair. May Allah s.w.t bless you all with more knowledge, patience at times to deal with critical readers like me :-)

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  7. iMuslim

    Jazakallah Tanveer for your thoughtful suggestions, masha’Allah. We will definitely have to come up with a good strategy to avoid a MuslimChatters.org type scenario!

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  8. SaqibSaab

    Yay. Shaykh Yasir let’s have a cake with a giant ‘1’ candle on it when you come to Chicago this weekend.

    Comments portion of the blog is really misused at times by either commenting negatively, cursing and baseless arguments.

    Tanveer Bhaiya, it’s unfortunate it happens, but such is just the nature of a blog; those kinds of things are expected with open commenting.

    In any case. it’s a real treat when I see your name in one of the comments! Please comment more often. :)

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  9. AnonyMouse

    Al-Hamdulillaah! It’s only by the Grace of Allah that we’ve managed to reach such a point… from 0 to 229, 423 visitors (well, that’s the number it’s showing right now) over a single year!
    I know that for me, MM has been an amazing opportunity to learn and grow, especially as a writer.

    May Allah keep us firm upon the Straight Path, increase us in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, and keep us always amongst the sincere, ameen!

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  10. Dawud Israel

    Ahh shucks ya thought about me… -blushes-

    Few suggestions:

    1) Faster loading server–my browser is fast on just about every website except for MM. Waallahi this really tests my sabr!

    2) The whole Brass Crescents thing kinda peeved me off. They didn’t really reward you guys or other Muslim bloggers with anything…and that’s basically just something for the nafs yea? I wish MM and others had just completely ignored the awards…

    3) More diversity. I mean I know it’s obvious MM is Salafized but at least show some of the views of Traditional Muslims. Sometimes this place is like “AlMaghrib Lite” or “AlMaghrib Plus” which can be bad if the problems we are discussing relate to the Ummah overall and not just a section of the Ummah. Just think about it ok?

    4) A harsh word of critique to the shuyookh: You guys have created “personality cults” and people are taking notice how you behave in regards to this. Remember Allah is watching how you represent the deen.

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  11. ibnabeeomar

    “A harsh word of critique to the shuyookh: You guys have created “personality cults””

    i don’t think that’s necessarily a fair statement to say any shaykh has ‘created’ something like that. you can’t control how ppl react. in any case, if you have some specific concern, i think itd be better served if you sent that privately inshallah.

    jazakallahu khayr

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  12. AnonyMouse

    I’m going to be a bit selfish here, and ask for commentary/ critique on my writing… have you seen it get better or worse? Where should I improve? What topics do I write well on, and what should I just leave alone?

    Personally, I think my best articles were my earlier ones… which is odd and disappointing… but anyway, what do YOU think?

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  13. Nadia

    Congratulations MM! May Allah allow many more beneficial posts to come forth. Always keep your intention for Him and He will give success inshallah.

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  14. Anisa

    Asalaamu Alaaikum
    Alhamdulilah!! Mabrook!
    I love this site, insha’Allah it grows even more and benefits all.
    Keep up the great work!
    Wa’alaykum Asalaam
    your sister Anisa aka Shaykha…

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  15. Graceful

    I LOVE this blog masha Allah :) I hope to see great things happen on this in the coming year insha Allah.

    Sr. Anonymouse, subhan Allah, your articles always seem to generate a ton of comments and I am always amazed and blown away at the fact that you’re still a teenager. I pray to have a daughter like you, you’re very eloquent in your writing, very mature in your Deen masha Allah and you touch on topics that need to be discussed.

    As far as your other questions, I’d have to organize my thoughts before posting, but I just had to let you know to keep up the beautiful work!

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  16. Faiez

    Congratulations to MuslimMatters on having Tanveer comment on their blog.

    Keep up the good work.

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  17. SaqibSaab

    What is going on in Chicago? Is that a public event or something private?

    Musa, it’s some event he’s in town for non-AlMaghrib related.

    i think its an almaghrib course in chitown this wknd

    He’ll be coming for his second AlMaghrib seminar in Chicago in mid-June inshaAllah. Besides, we just finished Seerah with Sh. Abdul Bary like two weeks ago!

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  18. Aiyah

    Acctually celebrating birthdays is bida’.
    The evidence in the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicates that celebrating birthdays is a kind of bid’ah or innovation in religion, which has no basis in the pure sharee’ah. It is not permitted to accept invitations to birthday celebrations, because this involves supporting and encouraging bid’ah. Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not allowed…?” [al-Shoora 42:21]

    “Then We have put you (O Muhammad) on a plain way of (Our) commandment. So follow that, and follow not the desires of those who know not. Verily, they can avail you nothing against Allaah (if He wants to puish you). Verily, the zaalimoon (wrongdoers) are awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) to one another, but Allaah is the Wali (Protector, Helper) of the muttaqoon (pious).” [al-Jaathiyah 45:18-19]

    “Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord, and follow not any awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) besides Him. Little do you remember!” [al-A’raaf 7:3]

    According to saheeh reports, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does something that is a not part of this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) will have it rejected” (reported by Muslim in his Saheeh); and “The best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The most evil of things are those which have been newly invented (in religion), and every innovation is a going astray.” There are many other ahaadeeth that convey the same meaning.

    Besides being bid’ah and having no basis in sharee’ah, these birthday celebrations also involve imitation of the Jews and Christians in their birthday celebrations. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, warning us against following their ways and traditions: “You would follow the ways of those who came before you step by step, to such an extent that if they were to enter a lizard’s hole, you would enter it too.” They said, “O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said, “Who else?” (Reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
    This is from islam QA

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  19. Qas

    You have successfully refuted Shiekh Yasir Qadhi, Aiyah. As bro EE, would say “you gave it! Full force!”

    Can’t shake the feeling that Yasir Qadhi’s post might be tongue-in-cheek cause of the :) symbol.

    (sarcasm above…do not respond)

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  20. Ibrahim

    InshaAllah, I would like to know where is bro. Abu Bakr? Haven’t seen a post or a comment from him in a long while, and I used to like the few posts he wrote. I came to MM through his blog.

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  21. Sara

    MashAllah I love this site. I don’t post or reply often generally because I don’t feel I have anything new to offer. But I check it several times a day (sometimes more). Alhamdulillah I came to Islam about six months ago, and this site always provides food for thought. Thank you so much for the work that you all put into it…
    The only thing that I would really appreciate is more downloadable mp3 files (especially ones that work on iTunes). There have been a few that I can put on my iPod and listen to as I walk around campus… it is a nice shot of emaan during a busy day.
    Oh, and Mouse, I love you articles. I haven’t been following the blog for that long so I can’t say much about your progression, but I always appreciate what you write. You have a very distinct style… it lends itself well to response and discussion. I know that really isn’t the critique you are looking for, but that’s all I got…
    Anway, congratulations on 1 year. May Allah accept your hard work.

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  22. Muslimah

    It’s been a year already? subhanallah.

    Keep up the goodwork!

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  23. Nazia

    Yay MM! MashaAllah, you guys have really maintained the professionalism and level of thought put into the posts and comments. This is actually my FAVORITE blog!

    I guess the only suggestion I have is to discuss things more at a practical level than a theoretical. Some of the posts are very informative and inspirational, but they don’t help much on a practical level because you don’t know how to take that information forward. Since you have several students of knowledge on this blog, more posts geared towards practical solutions in modern Muslim life (in America specifically) would be awesome!

    Other than that, I really love all the different perspectives and styles. Good work guys!

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  24. Dawud Israel

    “i don’t think that’s necessarily a fair statement to say any shaykh has ‘created’ something like that. you can’t control how ppl react. in any case, if you have some specific concern, i think itd be better served if you sent that privately inshallah.

    jazakallahu khayr”

    Wa iyak

    My point is this is a test from Allah. Nothing more.

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  25. Bubaker

    Barak Allahu Fikum… May Allah(SWT) Bless your work and every sincere person’s deeds.

    -Wa in shakartum, la Yazidannakum-
    “And if you show thanks, then [Allah(SWT)] will Increase it for you.”

    Alhamdulillah I always tingle with anticipation when I visit MM – Jezakum Allah Khayr to everyone.

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  26. Omar Mumtaz

    One year of great work masha’Allah.
    JazakumAllahu khayran, and keep it up!

    -Words of appreciation from a silent but consistent reader :)

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  27. Manas Shaikh

    this blog was beneficial for me. i would not use that word for most blogs.

    jazakAllah khair for all the effort you have put in. congratulation for the amazing success you have achieved, and a prayer that you shall be able to deliver on the responsibilities that comes with the success that Allah (SWT) has granted you.

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  28. aarij

    Subhan Allah, I love how Sh. Yasir mentions something and everyone’s in fatwa-seeking mode!!

    Alhamdulillah, this blog has been amazing. I remember it being mentioned at IlmFest in Toronto when Sh. Yasir was being introduced…and I’ve been hooked ever since.

    There has been a great mix of knowledge, reminders, laughs and solid opinions…a very beneficial experience in all. Especially for someone like me who doesn’t like to read the news, I get all my Muslim-related news here without the spins and the mirch masala. Well, not sure about the mirch masala ;) Ya’ni, lots of mirchi is some of the comments!

    I’m surprised (pleasantly!) that the staff remembered my comments. Alhamdulillah.

    My fav. posts:

    1. Muslim Guide to Money Management. A ground-breaking series in my opinion.

    2. A new measure of Muslim unity by Musa Maguire. I think that it’s probably the best piece of Muslim-blogging that I have read. Where is br Musa these days?

    3. Muslim fashion post by br. Omar (the follow-up was funny too).

    4. Of mice and men – been eating mac and cheese and other cheesy stuff from outside ever since ;)

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  29. aarij

    Also a few suggestions:

    1. Please keep the comments open. I’m not a fan of having comments moderated before they are posted.

    2. Organizing the knowledge: the articles of Islamic knowledge, the standout series (no single articles) should be put in a separate page/sub-page for easier access. PDFs are a nice-to-have.

    3. Pick a different theme. This one is like…one of the worst in WP. Sorry guys.

    4. A monthly MM event…not just once-in-a-bluemoon Ramadan talk/coference call. That would set the standard very high.

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  30. Amad

    Aarij bhai,
    1) Comments are not moderated. Some get stuck in spam. Certain people will be put into moderation queue based on historical trolling.

    2) Good idea.

    3) Happening.

    4) If we can do once quarterly, that would be a huge step forward. You can blame our shayookh on that one :)

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  31. ExEx Blogger

    Wow…I am mentioned… :)

    No Happy Birthday To You
    There’s No Cake For You
    You’re Closer to Your Graave…
    Doing Zikr’s the best way!

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