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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]

allah ayah dawah insha'allah muhammad quran

About iMuslim

Mehzabeen (iMuslim) is a UK born n' bred sister of Gujarati Indian descent. She has spent a good chunk of her life trying to scrape together a formal education in the Biological Sciences, and in 2008, was awarded a doctorate for research conducted at Imperial College London, masha'Allah. Her interests include all things Apple Mac, all things chocolate-based, and all things Islam (not necessarily in that particular order). Other online projects include iMuslim.tv, SignLabs.org, and the Muslim Bloggers Directory.

20 comments

  1. More like fasadbook according to Phatwa Factory :P

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  2. Alhumdulillah

    My partner and I completed a comprehensive research paper on the Islamic Ruling on Online chatting for Arees Institute, and Facebook is OK with certain guidelines. These “APPS” are good with me.

    Shirtman

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  3. Shirtman, we can consider publishing the paper if you’d like to pursue that. If so, email it to us, and we’ll review it. Very innovative of Arees to do so mashallah… though with Sh. Isam Rajab, its not that surprising :)

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  4. check this out:
    http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=2700056252

    unfortunately not many good islamic charity organizations are registered with Change.org. I have contacted two of the charity organizations I know to add themselved to this. Inshallah we can use the social network to get people to contribute..

    Another idea i have is a charity drive, kind of like you select a project, and then it shows you a bar showing how much of the target is left…this would be cooool..i havent found any good app that does that yet..this way we can have for example support orphans charity drive OH YEAH! Inshallah

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  5. Well…I remember joining Facebook and thinking…how can I change it up?

    Well someone beat me with this:
    http://www.thesakinacenter.com

    It’s like, cyber-counseling for Muslims INSIDE facebook. I really liked this cuz I’ve seen some things from brothers and sisters on FB that need to be addressed by trained people and this is it. You know, when you see someone who is feeling really troubled…?

    My top Islamic FB apps:
    -The Daily Jolt
    -Islamify.com
    But I don’t really use these so…might just get rid of them.

    To be honest, no one uses the Islamic gift or those other ‘trashy’ apps. It’s really just a waste of time and shows how easily Muslims put their eggs in the wrong basket… :S

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  6. I strongly dislike Apps in general, and have very few included in my profile… and I don’t think any of them are Islamic… but that’s probably because I use FB to interact with a relatively small number of people whom I personally know, and rarely get involved in FB campaigns or the like.

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  7. Agreed, Sakinah looks very promising masha’Allah. May Allah grant them tawfeeq.

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  8. I too like the sound of Sakinah – ameen to above.

    I think FB is what you make of it. When people like Sh. Faraz Rabbani and Imam Zaid Shakir are using it, then it shows it can be used as a means for Muslims to make more useful, and rewarding connections. It’s obvious that it can be abused like pretty much everything else… so it’s down to the individual to keep themselves in check, and down to the ulema to give them a good example to follow – which is pretty much the reason Sh Rabbani gave to me when he explained why he was on there!

    Apps-wise… I don’t use the Islamic gifts apps… just accept what others send to me (is that rude?!).

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  9. @Shirtman – I’d like to read that paper too!

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  10. IslamPhone next…

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  11. more like Fisqbook as myfriend calls it.

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  12. facebook: exposer of all sins.

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  13. facebook: exposer of all sins

    Wallahi this is so true.

    ANyway the following is an interesting read:

    “With friends like these …”

    The US intelligence community’s enthusiasm for hi-tech innovation after 9/11 and the creation of In-Q-Tel, its venture capital fund, in 1999 were anachronistically linked in the article below. Since 9/11 happened in 2001 it could not have led to the setting up of In-Q-Tel two years earlier.

    I despise Facebook. This enormously successful American business describes itself as “a social utility that connects you with the people around you”. But hang on. Why on God’s earth would I need a computer to connect with the people around me? Why should my relationships be mediated through the imagination of a bunch of supergeeks in California? What was wrong with the pub?

    And does Facebook really connect people? Doesn’t it rather disconnect us, since instead of doing something enjoyable such as talking and eating and dancing and drinking with my friends, I am merely sending them little ungrammatical notes and amusing photos in cyberspace, while chained to my desk? A friend of mine recently told me that he had spent a Saturday night at home alone on Facebook, drinking at his desk. What a gloomy image. Far from connecting us, Facebook actually isolates us at our workstations.

    Continue reading the article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jan/14/facebook

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  14. and blessings

    (babies, weddings, etc.)

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  15. Facebook is an exposer of sins, if you choose to expose your sins… it has no ability in itself to do so, without the direct action of the user.

    It seems that my personal experience of FB is a lot more positive than most of the commenters on this thread!

    I have two profiles: one for my blogging, and a personal one just for close friends and family. Alhamdulillah, my blogging one has been a great resource for recruiting people to campaigns, and seeking help for projects. My personal one has also been a blessing, as I can now connect with family who live in other countries, all in one place. It’s not like we were on the phone to each other, and then moved to a less personal platform; rather, we had not spoken for years, added each other on FB, and now keep in touch on a regular basis, masha’Allah – even if it is just the odd “salaam”, but it is better than before (which was nothing!).

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  16. MASHA ALLAH

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