By Nargis Rahman
A Rutgers University senior, Rizwan Ali, Facebook-messages narrations of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, to help Muslims and non-Muslims learn more about Islam.
The group, “Ahadith Per Day Keeps Shaytaan Away: part 2!!” was created as a reminder for people to learn, understand and teach others about basic principles in Islam on the widely-used online network.
Hadith are the narrations of the words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. According to Ali, “shaytaan,” or satan, is what is kept away with a hadith a day.
After being a member for some time, Ali, who is also MSA President at Rutgers University, realized messages were not sent everyday. He knew the creators and a year and a half ago decided to become a part of the team.
The group uses Riyadh-us-Saliheen, a collection of hadiths or oral narrations from the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, covering topics such as good character, basic daily activities, self discipline, and helping others.
Through his work, Ali said he tries to clear up misconceptions about Islam. He wants to spread the true message about Islam but foremost wants to learn about it himself through lectures, Islamic classes, and reading circles.
Ali said politics aid in the negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims.
He said people are starting to realize there’s nothing to be afraid of.
“There are a small percentage of those who are nut jobs, but they’re only a very, very small percentage and do not portray Islam as a whole.”
“In fact, since 9/11…hundreds of thousands of people have entered into Islam all across the world.”
“People are educating themselves about this beautiful religion. The more people learn about Islam, the more they’ll understand it. And our group is here on Facebook to help.”
Over 2,000 members have joined worldwide from Europe, Australia, and India. There are concentrations in Arizona, Michigan, California, and New Jersey.
Not all members are Muslim.
“These reminders are very practical and Muslims and non-Muslims alike will benefit from them, God willing, so I encourage all to join,” Ali said.
Ali sends emails to family and friends who are not on Facebook, but sticks to Facebook where the online trend started.
Ali said Facebook could be a waste of time if it distracts you from remembering God. He said Facebook is not full of reminders about Islam.
“Anything that keeps a person away from remembering [God] is a waste. But to have this group which reminds you daily of Islam and gives you good and helpful messages, I think that’s important.”
Ali did not start the group. He’s following in the footsteps of others; Ambreen Raqib, Sitwat Hashmi, Samir Hashmi, and Saima Khan,” from New York and New Jersey.
He said he enjoys sending out the messages.
“I’m very, very happy each time I hit the “send” button because I know that I’ve done whatever I can to help spread something good,” Ali said.
Ali said he gets the most feedback for clarifications on hadiths. It makes him dig deeper and learn a lot in the process.
“When group members reply back to me after I send out a particular hadith and tell me how much they appreciate it, or how much these beautiful reminders help them or that a certain hadith that was sent was just what they needed, that feels good.”
Ali is an English major who hopes to go to Law School to help Muslims.
“In the future if I’m a lawyer I see myself helping Muslims as much as possible,” Ali said.
He started working with Muslims as a founder of Muslim Students Association at Richfield Park High School during his senior year. The group was organized following a request for Zuhr, midday prayer break during school hours so students could pray on time. Ali said that led to weekly discussions about Islam and the MSA group.
“We had a good amount of Muslims in our school, no one prayed Zuhr on time. My friend and I went to the principal and said we’re Muslim, we need to pray and we need a designated place to pray,” Ali said.
Ali is a youth leader for Young Muslims, a national youth initiative to keep the youth in the Masjids and among good role models.
He is one of the co-founders in his community. The group meets once a week for discussions.
Ali said he was pushed into the program when he was 14-15, and realized there was a need for good role models. He now helps run the program.
“I see myself kind of an like an elder guy in the community.”
“A lot of kids don’t have anyone to look up to. Instead of going out on Friday nights, we bring them to Masjid.”
Ali interns for CAIR-NJ. He puts the weekly newsletters together.
“There’s a point in my life where deen (faith) is very important, education and family is important in my life. All three of that goes together in one.”
Visit, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2225726745 to join “Ahadith per Day keeps Shaytaan away: part 2!!”