By Hafsa Ahsan
“Please forward to as many Muslims as you can.” This is the bottom line of most of the email messages which contain links to anti-Islamic websites, ‘fake’ Qurans and the like. Most people hit the forward button and send the email to their entire list of contacts. This response may be popular, but is it the right one?
Let’s have a look at some of the basic facts pertaining to such websites.
There are probably millions of anti-Islamic websites – you cannot stop them from originating. Most of these websites simply disappear on their own – simply because they have very little to keep the visitors coming back.
When you receive an email, which contains links to some of these websites, you naturally feel inclined to visit them. The people, to whom you forward the link, can similarly feel tempted to visit such a website to see for themselves, what it contains. This is the very act, which proves beneficial for the website owners.
Why? This is because every website has a counter for keeping track of its visitors. When a multitude of people visit the same website, the statistics counter shows very impressive figures. This helps the website get advertised and earn more revenue.
Plus, when you forward an email containing a website link, and it is forwarded millions of times, any search engine treats it as multiple web pages linking to one website. This improves the search engine ranking of the website, which means that this website will show up as first on such search engines as Google and Yahoo, even if the slightest keywords match the search.
The question arises: what should you do when you receive such an email? There are a number of possibilities:
1) Click on the “Reply All” button to ensure that your email goes to all those to whom the original mail was sent. Make your reply polite, yet firm. Explain how forwarding such emails is counter productive, and that the best course of action is to delete them altogether.
2) If you feel you will not be able to put your point of view across, then simply delete the email. Don’t even open such an email, if you feel you will be tempted to visit the offending websites.
3) Never forward such emails! Most importantly, do not post the contents of such an email on public forums or social networking websites. If the offending websites have forums, try to avoid them altogether. You can never do proper Dawah there – in fact, you will only end up wasting your precious time.
At the end of the day, remember that Allah (swt) has promised to protect the Quran. Also, no anti-Islam website can shake one’s Iman, if it is truly strong. The next time you receive an email containing offensive websites, hasten to delete it from your inbox – that is definitely the right attitude.
Quick Fact: No References, No Authenticity
There is a barrage of forwarded emails and cell phone messages containing Quranic Ayahs, Ahadeeth and incidents from the Seerah/Islamic history without any references mentioned. Forwarding them without authentication will entirely be on your account, especially if the information they contain turns out to be incorrect. Any Islamic information must be verified and authenticated, before you forward it.