By Noorjehan Arif and Sadaf Farooqi
She sets out for a walk in the park near her home, with her toddler safely packed in his stroller. Along the way, she pauses to snap pictures of a beautiful flower and the picturesque landscape. As her son chews on his snack, she takes another snap of him holding his apple. After an hour or so, she returns home to check on the dinner in the oven. When it is ready, she intends to take a picture of it too. She proceeds to log on to her online Quran Tafseer class on the computer, for which she has registered as a student, as her toddler plays with his toys in the living room.
At night, when the family has retired to bed, she turns on her husband’s laptop and logs onto her blog. She starts typing a blog post about her day: the trip to the park; the special recipe she baked; and what she learned in the class. She uploads the digital photographs into the post. A few minutes of formatting, followed by a preview, make her smile with satisfaction as she clicks on the “Publish” button.
The next morning after breakfast, she checks her blog to find a few comments under her post, left by Muslim sisters scattered around the world. They have subscribed to her blog feed and have already read her post. She spends a half-hour or so responding to their queries.
Whether it is Europe, North America, or the UAE, Muslim women and girls are turning to the blogosphere to share their life experiences with like-minded global readers. Having to live somewhat isolated from their immediate families after marriage, in small communities having very few Muslims, they do not feel lonely because their blogging makes them feel part of an online sisterhood.
It is not just personalized blogs that Muslimahs use to connect to the world from within their cozy homes. There are several group-blogs that publish posts written by a variety of different bloggers, a few times a week. An example of this is America’s “Grow Mama Grow” blog (growmama.com), where young Muslim mothers share experiences and inspirational stories with each other.
A special benefit of blogging is the ease with which one can connect with women having similar challenges, e.g., having to raise speciAl-needs children, for instance, a child with autism or dyslexia.
Dealing with two children – an infant and a child afflicted by autism – juggling a work-at-home job and, in the middle of it all, getting all the household chores done, Zeba calls herself a “Road Warrior Momma of a special lil boy with Autism and a special lil girl with especially big hair!” She makes blogging an outlet to let people know how she is faring. She also uses it for her brainstorming sessions, as a relaxation technique and a way to update her family about her life. Her blog/online diary (www.abezsez.com) is a means of getting feedback from her friends as well!
Muslim Mom (http://muslimmomintheusa.blogspot.com/) writes about her actions and reactions to her son’s activities and indicates the various techniques she employs for enhancing her son’s development and mental growth. She also discusses the various ways Islam can be incorporated in her son’s life, in order to strengthen his Deen in the face of the religious and cultural differences around him.
MMT is yet another blog, which focuses on the intricacies this home-schooling mother faces in raising her children as well as provides lessons of parenting that can be used by any mother. She also gives references to mom blogs in different parts of the world that talk about the ways of raising children in various environments and countries, including Gaza Strip, Syria, India and Pakistan.
Thanks to the blogosphere, a homebound Muslimah raising young children can now have a significant impact on a global level, by blogging from within her home to a diverse and unrestricted reader audience. She feels part of a huge community and, therefore, keeps loneliness at bay because of the positive impact she is having on so many people’s lives!