In the olden days of Facebook, the only way to express your “Muslimness” was in the Religious Views byline of your profile, or by joining one of the many Islam-related user groups (like MuslimMatters.org), or with a clever twist of your ID (like iMuslim UK).
Then last year, the launch of Facebook Platform – a framework for software developers to create applications that interact with core Facebook – allowed the creation of useful apps like Qurʾān Verses, which you could proudly display on your profile, in hope that visitors may reflect on some Islamic wisdom as they posted yet another video on your 'Funwall'.
But over the past few weeks, something strange has happened. There has been an explosion in the release of new third-party applications that are specifically targeted at the growing community of Muslims on one of the world's most popular social networking sites. I know this, because my daily routine now includes sifting through a whole heap of add-requests!
Many of these new apps are virtual gift exchange programs based on Gift Creator, that allow users to send Islamic images to one another, such as the Names of Allāh, photos of masjids, and Islamic greetings – there is even a special one for sisters called Muslimah's Wardrobe, where users can 'shop' for funky hijab pins and colourful scarves to give to their Muslimah gal pals.
A screen shot from the Gift Creator-based application, Almighty God “Allāh”.
I have to admit that I do get a little annoyed – okay, a lot annoyed – by people who insist on cramming their profile page with a million app boxes that take a year to load, and eventually cause my browser to freeze up. However, I also feel that by adding these little apps, I may be doing my bit to spread awareness on Facebook, as the most popular ones are listed higher on the Applications page. That is why when faced with my daily list of new add-requests, I tend to click “Sure!” rather than “Ignore”, but then intentionally deselect every tick box on the following installation page (other than the first one), thus keeping my profile user-friendly, inshā'Allāh.
A screen shot from the Facebook installation page.
It's nice to see that people are making the effort to Muslimify Facebook. One hopes that upon seeing an āyah from the Qur'an, or an image of “la illaha illallah, Muḥammad-ur-rasoolallah” a Muslim would be reminded of Allāh, and encouraged to behave with more decorum when interacting with their friend in Islam; or that sending a virtual gift to a brother or sister will increase the love between you, as it does in real life – although give me a real slice of chocolate cake, over the pixelated kind, any day!
So, what is your favourite Islamic Facebook app? Do you have one in mind that you'd like to create? And how effective are they as tools for nasihah and da‘wah?
["Facebook" Image credit: pshab]