April 29, 2009

Sometimes, you just need to stop and smell the dead bugs that have been sitting on that windowsill for the last two years

A few days ago, my feed reader led me to a fairly bad article that caught my attention.  I read it before heading off to work, shortly after it was published, but did not have time to share my comments at that time.  I thought to myself, by the time I get home, dozens of other people would probably say the same thing.  If not, maybe I'd leave a comment - it had been a while that I'd been an active contributor to the Muslim blogosphere.

"Dozens" was an understatement.  The response was angry, constant, unforgiving.  I briefly considered adding a comment to echo the overwhelming majority opinion against the article, but stopped myself - what more would I be contributing?

Unfortunately, that question has been popping up all too often of late, holding back my erstwhile love of writing - the idea that I have to be contributing something amongst the millions of other voices out there.  When I evaluate the odds, I feel outnumbered, and busy myself instead with local endeavours, finding my place in the urban community that is slowly becoming home.

The plight of my city has given me tonnes of material to write about - never before has the Ottawa Muslim community been under this much public scrutiny. My recent travels have opened new worlds to me.  My new family life has filled that void that pervaded much of my earlier writing and life.  So why, then, am I holding back my thoughts?

The most memorable feedback I've ever received about my irrelevant opinions came from an anonymous e-mailer who I don't believe was even one of the regular commenters here.  After searching my rarely-used Hotmail account, I was reminded about other occasions where blogging lost value to me, but how I came back in the end. Their words:

"... and Allah has given you the gift of writing.  Use this gift to remind people of what is important, or maybe just to pay attention to things we tend to take for granted.  With the right intention, this blog could be your ticket to acceptance by Allah."

So perhaps there is room to contribute to the world, at this little corner of blogspot.com?


  1. Definitely - though Allah knows best!

    I think we need to think more 'local', even on the net. I don't mean geographically. I love that I am friends with people from so many corners of the globe, that I would never have known if it wasn't for blogging, alhamdulillah.

    By 'local', I am referring to our own sphere of influence, however big or small it may be. We are all part of a network, and therefore all have the ability to make a difference in some way, insha'Allah.

    You make one person think, or laugh, or remember Allah: that's like throwing a pebble in the lake. And only Allah knows how far those ripples will reach. :)

  2. Btw, I hope I wasn't too cheesy with the whole 'pebble/lake/ripples' analogy...

  3. Which article did you read? I'd like to read it too and see just how bad it was. :)

  4. It definitely clears up my own thought. Writing. If not anybody else, it will help ourselves, inshaAllah.

  5. Salaams,
    It's for similar reasons that I've always been ambivalent (not to mention very sporadic) about the whole enterprise of blogging.

    At the same time, there's a lot to be said for helping to keep people informed about important matters by sharing useful info they may not have come across. I periodically vow to switch to linking without commentary, but then something ticks me off and I slip back in editorializing mode.

    It's not an easy balance to strike, whether from a practical standpoint (i.e., costs/benefits for the time invested) or in spiritual ones given how blogging naturally feeds one's ego and desire for attention.

    I think you're on to something with the local angle. You add the most value when you talk about things about which you have more knowledge and/or experience than most of your readers. And it's more likely you'll have an impact, as well, when you focus on local politics and community affairs.