In its first international webinar organized by well-known English language teaching institute MMERC, participants highlight the uses of social media and warn against its misuses
By Manzar Imam
With changing communication styles ulama too are adapting to new modes of communication in order to keep abreast of time and changing situations. They wish to make the most of the modern means of communication. This was the overriding import of the views shared by ulama and scholars in a webinar on “Positive Use of Community Media and Ulama” held on Saturday, 4 July 2020. The programme hosted by Maulana Burhanuddin Qasmi, director of Markazul Ma’arif Education & Research Centre (MMERC), Mumbai was moderated by UK-based teacher and scholar Maulana Mohammad Afzal Qasmi. It was attended by MMERC alumni from different states of India and abroad.
Some participants gave brief presentations on different aspects of the use of social media. Maulana Shamsul Huda Qasmi, a teacher of English at Jamia Islamia Ishaatul Uloom, Akkalkuwa, while briefing about the evolution of different social media outlets emphasized the need for working in groups for larger benefit. A good research background and knowledge of the issues can be of great help while one uses any social media platform. “Polished language, knowledge, intellect and insightfulness are essential qualities for better use of social media” he said. In India as in the world, there are millions of daily active users of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other popular media outlets and social networking sites which one can use to convey his message to thousands of people in an instant, stated he adding that the same can be used to convey truth and true message of Islam.
Editor of Millat Times Shams Tabrez Qasmi said that social media provided great opportunity to share one’s thoughts with a wider community. While YouTube can be used for videos, Facebook is good for sharing long written messages. For short messages Twitter is a good platform while Apps like Instagram are better for photo-cum-message, he said.
Ghufran Sajid Qasmi, editor of Mumbai-based English-Urdu bilingual Baseerat Online, said, “During last one decade and especially during last five-six years, social media has done an amazing historic job”. Referring to a scholar he said that social media is like a double-edge sword. “It is upon the user to decide what he wants from it” because it can be used both for good and bad. He suggested that Muslims and ulama should work on three areas of education, economy and legal matters.
Delhi-based journalist and research scholar Manzar Imam maintained that days of traditional old media are past and they are now taken over by what is referred to as “new media”. He said, “Despite being short and handy new media is more powerful and has huge reach and impact”. He further said that one needed to be careful about the content one shared on any media outlet as sharing legally wrong material might land one in trouble.
Maulana Burhanuddin Qasmi, who is also editor of Eastern Crescent, suggested to create different groups with different experiences to make better use of the available media outlets. Maulana Afzal Qasmi elaborated on the need for effective use of community media in an age which is conspicuously driven by technology. He maintained that instead of beating around the bush about anything and everything under the sun it is better to work on those areas where one’s voice can be heard. Maulana Muddassir Ahmad Qasmi, Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi (Africa), Sikandar Azam Qasmi, Qeyamuddin Ansari, Maulana Parwez Alam Qasmi, Umair Akhtar, Jaseemuddin Qasmi, Mohammad Noman, Abdur Rauf Qasmi, Maulana Abdul Aleem (Qatar) and others also exchanged shared their thoughts about effective use of social media.