Islamic Experiences’ one year anniversary!

Salam everyone. Tomorrow is July 31, 2011 which means it is officially Islamic Experiences’ 1 year anniversary! Reflecting back when this site was first created, it seems like this site has matured quite a lot. The quality of articles and experiences have increased. The amount of original content has increased. The amount of viewers has increased as well. A lot of new features have been added over this past year and the future seems bright and exciting; not to mention Ramadan is just 2 days away! (It may be tomorrow or the day after August 1st for some).

Over the past year, Islamic Experiences has expanded. We’ve created a Facebook page so that people with Facebook can know when there is a new article or experience that has been posted. We have created an application for the Nokia Ovi App store so people with Nokia phones worldwide can view Islamic Experiences at the palm of their hands. We integrated Google Translate so that anyone can translate this site into their own language for easier reading and understanding. We have made it much more easier to share your stories and experiences. We have integrated an abundance of tools so you can share an article or experience via Facebook, Twitter, email, and even printing! There are just countless of features we’ve added as the year went by and we plan to give you even more in the following years to come if Allah wills it.

Click “Read More” to see what Islamic Experiences has planned for the future!

Oh and if you want to see what our first post ever was? Click here

Our plans for the future will be categorized into two categories: “Future Plans” and “General Ideas.” Let’s start with Future Plans.

Future Plans

  • Expanding our presence: This means that we will go out of our way to make sure that everyone knows about Islamic Experiences and what it has to offer. This also means that we will encourage people to write an experience or story regardless of whether they are a Muslim or non-Muslim. The rest of the things listed below will also be a form of expanding our presence.
  • YouTube channel: It seems like many Islamic websites have content posted on YouTube that features lectures that help spread the knowledge of Islam. We have mentioned in the past that a story or experience can be submitted in a form of a video. Those videos would be posted on our YouTube account. How else can we make use of YouTube? Read below.
  • Exclusive lectures: What’s the use of a YouTube channel that doesn’t have valuable and original content to offer? There are many lectures on YouTube about Islam and we want to a part of that. Not only will this expand our presence with the world but it will also help millions of people learn about Islam. Here’s how it’s going to work. Islamic Experiences has collaborated with the Baruch Muslim Students Association (a student organization located at Baruch College in New York) to help record, and upload lectures that the club will be having every week. Of course these lectures will be given by Shiekhs and Imams either well known or locally known. We expect to upload these lectures starting from the second week of September inshaAllah. We will also upload other lectures and recordings as well inshaAllah.
  • Connect with other Islamic websites, companies, and organizations: When Islamic Experiences first started, we immediately established a connection with an Islamic website known as The Muslim Voice. Their logo is located at the right sidebar of this site and when you click on it, it will lead to their site. Our logo is also located at the left sidebar of their site and when a person visiting their site clicks on it, it will lead to our site. We are looking to do more than that as well as add more connections/partnerships. We are currently in talks with an Islamic clothing company to see if such a partnership can exist. As mentioned above, we have collaborated with the Baruch Muslim Students Association to share lectures on YouTube. So collaborating with other colleges or even local mosques aren’t far-fetched possibilities.
  • New logo and original images: We are currently trying to find a person that can draw or Photoshop images for all of our future posts. This has been done recently but our Photoshop skills are….well, not good. We are also looking to create a new logo. Although the logo seems original enough, we wanted to make it even more original. Also the logo was created with a low-pixel density. Which means that if you try to expand the logo to make it bigger, the logo gets pixelated and blurry which isn’t good if we ever want to post videos on huge screens or create huge banner advertisements. Surprisingly however, many people suggested that we should not do this and felt that the logo should be untouched. Therefore, this part of our future plans will probably the last thing that will be accomplished if we decide to do this.
  • Original articles: Usually when no one posts an experience or story, we share an article that we think will be beneficial for you to learn and read. However, this won’t be the case anymore. Instead of just copying and pasting a story into our site, we will research various topics and write articles on them. This is for the benefit of both you and Islamic Experiences. Not only will you learn more about Islam, but we too, will learn more about Islam as well! The only time we will share an article or video on our site is if we feel like no matter how hard we try, we can never write about a topic as good as the other author did. All other articles or videos we feel like sharing will be posted on our Facebook page.

General Ideas

  • Twitter account: When we created our Facebook page, we also wanted to create a twitter account. However, when we tried to create our username, the last one or two letters from “Islamic Experiences” couldn’t fit. Therefore we decided that the tradeoff of a few letters wasn’t worth creating the account. This doesn’t mean that we aren’t interested in making one and if many people want us to create one, we will.
  • Total redesign of our website: We just recently renovated our website and it looks better than ever. However, we are trying to figure out ways to make it easier for people to view and read older articles that are being pushed back further as more articles are being posted. There are a lot of technical stuff involved in this and we just payed our website host the renewal fee to keep our domain for another year. So this might not happen anytime soon.
  • Getting Imams and Shiekhs involved with this site: What makes other Islamic sites stand out in comparison to Islamic Experiences is the fact that many of their articles are written by Imams or Shiekhs. This is a good thing because anyone reading their articles will know for sure that any information they have learned is accurate. This is not to say that our articles aren’t accurate but rather, its good to have a seal of approval by someone far more knowledgeable than we are. This is something that we hope can happen sooner rather than later.
  • Changing our mission statement: Our current mission statement is the first line of text you see when visiting this site. It is “Welcome to Islamic Experiences, where people can share their struggles, successes, and experiences in practicing Islam.” There is nothing wrong with it; however, as more ideas and features are being implemented, we feel that our current mission statement isn’t accurate or descriptive enough in showing what Islamic Experiences is really about. We are actively thinking of a new way to describe what we do in under one sentence. If anything, this would be one of the general ideas that might be done first before any of the ones above.

As you can see, next year is going to be a very busy year for us! We will be making sure that all of our plans and goals will be accomplished in order for you to get more out of this site. As you may have noticed, we talked a lot of about making a presence and to expend this site so more people can know about it. One thing to note is, the reason we are looking to expand this site is not for the purpose of being popular or being known just for the sake of being known. The purpose of creating and expanding this site is to get people to share their knowledge of Islam through the form of stories and experiences. We are not looking to compete with other Islamic websites for the sake of competing. We, like them, want to spread the knowledge of Islam and like any other website that has just been published, we need help in getting the word out that there is another Islamic website where people can learn Islam from.

With that being said, I pray to Allah to guide us to the right path, to protect us from doing evil, to help Islamic Experiences accomplish its goals so we can help others learn about Islam, and to forgive all of us of any wrong doing. Ameen.