Time to gain Knowledge
Nasima H. Khan
Friday, September 14, 2007 11:28:34 PM Oman Time
IN the holy month of Ramadan, curiosity about the religion Islam sees a sharp increase. Non-Muslims wonder at the discipline and piety with which their Muslim brethren go about their month-long fasts. And also at the calm and patient nature that each one dons. Muslims, too, suddenly find there are so many things they want to know about their own religion, and about how those things apply to themselves.

The internet now is a ready reckoner for all that one may want to know about Islam, its social and legal practices, its history and anything else connected to it. There is a plethora of websites that claim to give detailed information about the religion. Through the next few weeks, we will choose a few that we recommend and give you details about them.

We start this week with . Displayed in shades of cream and brick, the site offers news that affects different parts of the Muslim world with changing news pictures. A special section down the left focuses on Ramadan. If you click on the link that reads ‘Ramadan moon and things that matter’, a page opens with further links of ‘health that matter’, ‘earth that matters’ and ‘people that matter’. There are sections on Shariah, health and science, Muslim affairs, ‘Reading Islam’, family, culture, youth and Euro-Muslims, that offer a lot to read. The site focuses not just on the religion, but also on the global Muslim community and its concerns. Articles under the section ‘Living Shariah’ tell you how to organise your life during Ramadan, or discuss ‘Ramadan and the unity of Muslims’. Along with providing up-to-date scientific news, the section on health and science also provides a link to ‘Faith and the Sciences’. Under this come debates on evolution and on human-animal hybrid cells.

The section ‘Reading Islam’ focuses on understanding the religion and also gives live examples of people in today’s world who have converted to Islam. These are stories of inspiration. In addition, this website has something for everybody, from family to relationships, to youth to the European Muslim community. This website is definitely worth a visit, and I have a feeling I may be coming back to it in future write-ups. An interesting part to click on would be ‘Ask the Scholar’, through which one may ask any questions, religious or personal pertaining to the Islamic way of life, to be answered knowledgeably by scholars.

We come next to . Designed in an attractive combination of blue and white, the main page of this website currently focuses on Ramadan. The highlight is Ramadan shopping at Islamicity. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you also have a longish section on ‘Islamic books and gifts’. Some of the items on offer here are extremely attractive, such as a book called Twenty favourite Tales from the Quran — an ideal gift for children.

“Ramadan, if understood, could become our basis for a reformed world, for any real and lasting change is rooted in an idea, an idea that is subsequently actualised.” In this thought-provoking manner begins the link to the article ‘Reflections on 9/11 and Ramadan’. And there is one on ‘What would Jesus do about Iraq?’ But those who want to steer clear of political comment and the closeness of the start of this Ramadan with a dreaded date in history, can move on to the section describing fasting according to the Holy Quran or to the Ramadan Information Centre.

There is always the news and analysis section to brush up one’s knowledge with. And the multimedia section offers prayers, Holy Quran recitations and other recorded clips. There is much on this site to explore. Besides ‘discovering Islam’ here, you can donate online, or make use of services offered in marriage match-making, cookery recipes etc.

Happy browsing.